What Is the Best Antivirus Software in 2019?

Antivirus software is a critical component in modern device security. Whether it is a PC, tablet or mobile phone, the risk of losing critical data such as banking credentials or other personal information to hackers is real. Malware on your device can corrupt data and render your system unusable.

Your first line of defense is an up-to-date, functional antivirus software that can detect and stop every kind of threat to protect the integrity of your device and secure your data.

What is an Antivirus?

An antivirus is a software program that is installed on a computer or any other device to detect, prevent and remove threats. The potent threats inherent on computer systems are known as malware. These could be in the form of viruses, trojans, worms or ransomware.   

Generally, viruses are programs that execute malicious activities on your device including but not limited to damaging your system, stealing data and monitoring your activities.

Anti-virus software works by creating a buffer that prevents these threats from  penetrating your device or neutralizing them if they are already present. This happens in two major ways:

First, the antivirus program contains a collection of profiles of known viruses. When it scans a file, a reference is made to this collection and if there is a match, the file is either repaired, deleted or quarantined.

Secondly, this utility program works by monitoring any suspicious activity within a device. A program can be flagged by an antivirus if, for example, it tries to change settings or attempts to install an executable file. The antivirus will therefore act immediately to disable the suspicious program.

Antivirus programs are equipped with an auto-update feature that enables them to download new virus profiles regularly to counter evolving threats.

Why Do You Need an Antivirus?

An antivirus software is an important security component for staying safe while using your computer or any other device, whether it is connected to the internet or not – threats can find their way into your computer through the internet or when an external device such as a USB drive is plugged in.

The ever-present threat of cyber crime calls for vigilance to safeguard data on computer systems, smartphones and other devices. An antivirus is actually your first line of defence for emerging threats to your computer system because it will:

  • Warn you of possible threats to your computer system
  • Protect you from incoming threats
  • Destroy possible threats

Guarding against hackers

Hackers are people who look out for vulnerabilities in your computer system and use them to gain access. They can steal your personal information such as bank account and credit card details leading to identity theft and bank fraud.

They can also install ransomware on your computer, lock it down, denying you access until you pay the ransom. Hackers can also install spyware such as keyloggers (can be used to steal your passwords) or other programs that can use your webcam to monitor your activities.

The antivirus software is capable of detecting such tools used by hackers and block them from penetrating your computer system.

Protecting and restoring data

An antivirus program will disable the viruses by disinfecting the bits of data affected and restoring the original data which would otherwise be lost. Viruses can corrupt files and completely damage your computer. The antivirus software protects your system and the data from such an eventuality.

Hackers are finding new ways to infiltrate computer systems and other devices. An updated antivirus software will protect against viruses, phishing scams, ransomware and all other types of emerging threats.

Selecting the Best Antivirus

A good antivirus will detect threats and neutralize them before they reach your system. If they do reach your system, the program will work to delete, quarantine or disinfect the offending file or program.

Some antivirus software may detect and destroy a particular malware while others may not. The capabilities of such programs vary and your choice should be guided by the ability to to thwart threats before they cause any damage.

Consider the following factors when choosing an antivirus program:

  • Ease of use –  the program should be easy to download, install and set up. After being setup the interface should be easy to navigate and use to perform the intended function.
  • Effectiveness against emerging threats – the antivirus should be able to stop your computer from becoming infected and be dynamic enough (with daily updates) to deal with new malware and keep up with the creativity of hackers.
  • Advanced features – It should have advanced security features such as safe browsing and banking tools to keep your transactions safe, password managers to help safeguard your credentials and firewalls to give an extra layer of security.

With the factors above in mind, it is easy to determine which antivirus software meets the threshold to be crowned the best. We have reviewed the various programs available in the market today and the following made the cut in a combination of factors that can protect and secure your devices.

1. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019 stands out in test results as an effective program with amazing features such as multi-layer Ransomware protection and remediation, Bitdefender VPN, Bitdefender Safepay, File Shredder and many more.

The exceptional features of Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019 combine watertight security tools with superb performance across privacy and ease of use, delivering a product that is great value for money.

The Web Attack Prevention feature has web filtering technology that blocks malicious websites. It filters search results to ensure they are safe before you actually click on a link.

This antivirus program is an efficient anti-malware solution that works against ransomware, spyware, rootkits (the Rescue mode removes rootkits before Windows starts, rebooting the computer in Rescue Mode for clean-up and restoration), viruses, worms, trojans and zero-day exploits by heuristically learning the behaviour of such threats.

For safe online banking, a dedicated browser secures your transactions to prevent fraud while Bitdefender Safepay will automatically fill out credit card details in billing fields. An anti-phishing component detects and blocks websites that masquerade as trustworthy in order to steal financial data.

The Password Manager ensures that your passwords, credit card information, and other sensitive data is secured in a cyber-vault for easy access. It allows you to autofill online forms and can even recommend secure passwords.

Bitdefender VPN protects your online presence by encrypting all Internet traffic up to 200 MB daily. This prevents your browser history from being logged or traced, keeping your sensitive activities private on the web. The File Shredder on the other hand deletes files for good and leaves no traces on your PC.

A Vulnerability Assessment scan looks for security holes and vulnerabilities on your PC. With just one click, Bitdefender checks for unsafe system settings, outdated software, missing Windows security patches and any other vulnerabilities. It then recommends the best available fix by giving you a legitimate link where you can download the latest patch.

The Game, Movie and Work modes detect when you play, work or watch a movie, pausing any unnecessary requests such as pop-ups and background activities, to free up system resources and speed up things.

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019 puts together the best overall antivirus program that detects and stops threats before they cause any damage. The interface is easy to use with extra security tools such as a VPN that is not included in other basic antivirus programs.

Pros

  • Accurate for most threats
  • Includes a VPN
  • Has a password manager

Cons

  • Doesn’t include a firewall

2. Kaspersky Anti-virus

Kaspersky Anti-Virus is a valuable security program that offers unique features  such as simplified security management and automatic scans. It prevents cryptomining infection which protects you from unauthorised use of your system resources by those involved in mining cryptocurrencies.

Kaspersky’s accurate engine detects and removes threats while blocking dangerous sites. Through its web filter, Kaspersky prevents your browser from visiting dangerous URLs effectively protecting you from websites that could potentially infect your computer.

The simplicity of the program’s interface makes it easy to use with helpful  on-screen instructions. This makes it perfect for anyone including beginners. It has a smart monitoring technology which tracks and reverses malicious actions, keeping the integrity of your data and system.

Kaspersky uses heuristic detection to identify and block phishing websites that trick you into giving away your login credentials. Its systems are so good they can detect the latest techniques being used by these websites even before they are profiled and blacklisted.

Another feature is the System Watcher. It basically detects malicious activity such as that exhibited by ransomware. This feature is effective against most ransomware even those that launch at Windows startup.

The Privacy Cleaner component helps you to erase your trail of activities after browsing the web. When cookies are enabled in your browser, a history of which sites you visited, what you downloaded and other details are retained. This tool is useful in clearing cookies, history, and temporary files for the major browsers including Opera, Internet Explorer and Chrome.

Pros

  • Easy to use interface
  • Excellent in blocking malware and malicious URLs.
  • Very easy to use

Cons

  • Password manager and online banking bundled in the premium suites.

This antivirus ranks among the best in removing malware from infected systems and protecting you against potential  threats.

3. Norton Antivirus Plus

Norton AntiVirus Plus delivers powerful protection for your device by combining great features including cloud backup, a smart firewall, a password manager and a multi-layered, advanced security setup that protects against existing and emerging malware threats.

The file reputation service heuristically identifies suspicious activity from downloaded files to enable you catch items that may not be flagged by the URL blocker – which warns you and blocks malicious websites.

Norton has an intelligent behaviour monitoring feature that monitors your whole system to find malware and take remedial measures. The program updates automatically to keep up with new virus definitions.

The Smart Firewall monitors all communications between your computer and other devices for any unauthorized traffic. When detected, such traffic is blocked to protect your financial information and sensitive data.

The program allows you to run scans manually by customizing them to check specific areas or to run at scheduled times. Options include backups, quick scans or full scans.

The password manager helps you to easily create, store, and manage your passwords. The utility also manages your credit card information and other credentials to help you stay safe and secure online.

The Virus Protection Promise is a guarantee that if a Norton expert is unable to remove the virus from your device, then you may be entitled to a refund. This is  based on the actual price you paid for a qualifying Norton subscription.

The cloud backup offers 2GB of space for automatic, secure cloud backup for PCs. This space is used to store and protect important files and documents against ransomware, hard drive failures or when  devices are stolen.

Another feature is Real-time Threat Protection. This multi-layered, advanced security system  helps to protect against existing and emerging malware threats by ensuring that virus definitions are up to date..

Norton AntiVirus Plus represents one of the pioneer brands in antivirus software and has been highly rated across test labs. It is a value-for-money product that is easy to use and is designed to deliver multilayered protection with the least impact on system resources.

Pros

  • Easy to install and use
  • Excellent blocking of malicious URLs.
  • Great features including a spam filter and password manager.

Cons

  • Expensive compared to others with similar features.

Conclusion

As mentioned above, the best antivirus program detects and stops threats before they reach your system. Preventive measures ensure that you don’t have to deal with the effects of an infection.

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is the best in its class based on its ability to detect and eliminate ransomware, rootkits, phishing schemes, Trojans, spyware, viruses and other malware.

With an intuitive user interface that is easy to navigate, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019 does not slow down your computer (a gaming mode frees up your system’s resources for online gaming), has extra security tools such as a password manager, a file shredder, safe banking tools, web filtering to block access to malicious sites and a VPN.

No other antivirus program bundles so many features in one package the way Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019 does and its great performance in detecting and neutralizing threats, puts it at the top of our list as the best antivirus for 2019.