Anti-malware software has quickly become an important and fundamental aspect of your device/system’s security, seeing as malware has gotten so prolific. The issue is that not a lot of people know which anti-malware they should be using. Read on to find out top anti-malware software picks, both free and paid-for.
Anti-Malware Software – Which Ones Should You Be Using?
The Best Paid-For Anti-Malware Software
Malwarebytes has managed to remain one of the most popular anti-malware software throughout the years. They offer a wonderful service, both for personal use and for businesses, that can not only defend your system from malware but also clean it up entirely.
In fact, it’s the only anti-malware software that received a full “flawless” clean-up score with AV-TEST.org.
This software should be your go-to problem fixer if you suspect an ongoing malware infestation in your system. The great thing is that they even have a plan called “Malwarebytes Chameleon” that can be installed onto Windows even if anti-malware installations are blocked. While the free version of Malwarebytes (look for it below!) is more of a remedy for hacked systems, the full paid-for version also:
Prevents malware, spyware, and viruses.
Stops ransomware attacks.
Shields programs and systems from hackers (available only on the Windows version)
Allows for safe web browsing (for Windows and Android only)
Has a default auto-update setting for continuous protection.
Bitdefender has garnered up a reputation for being a leader in the anti-malware and anti-virus community. You can opt to choose one of the 3 paid-for options: the Internet Security 2019 plan, Total Security 2019 plan, and Family Pack 2019 plan. The price might seem a little extravagant, but if you think about it in the long run it is totally worth it. Also, Bitdefender usually has offers in place that you can benefit from, all you have to do is check their website.
If you’re an internet user who’s looking for a solid anti-virus/anti-malware software and would enjoy a few added security features, then this is the service for you. They themselves suggest using the Total Security 2019 plan, which comes with coverage for up to 5 devices and lasts for a whole year. You can even test out the offer with their 30-day free trial option.
McAfee is a very popular internet security company, it even partners with a lot of Computer brands, so you might have the software on your system already.
They offer different products for individual users (which they refer to as consumers) and businesses. For the regular user, you have the option of choosing one of 3 packages:
1 Device McAfee Total Protection: You’ll get the standard anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-spam protection, ransomware protection, PC optimization feature, a PC Booster, Firewall and network monitoring, Mobile Security (if you choose to use it on your mobile device), and a File encryption.
5 Devices McAfee Total Protection: You’ll get an ID Theft Protection feature on-top of the standard features mentioned above. You’ll also be able to use the software on 5 devices simultaneously.
10 Devices McAfee Total Protection: You’ll get the ID Theft Protection feature, the standard features mentioned above, and be able to secure the devices of all of your family.
Of course, the pricing differs per package: $59.99, $89.99, and $99.99 respectively. Do check the website if you plan on using this service, as they usually have offers and discounts you can benefit from. You can even sign up for their free trial period to test it out for yourself.
Another household name, Norton is known far and wide for their internet security packages. They have many different plans for businesses users that require complex security solutions, but they do offer 4 distinct packages for the every-day user. Each package comes with the option of a one year or two-year subscription:
Standard Package: This package can defend against viruses, spyware, malware, and online threats. It also safeguards your personal information and transactions. You can only use this package on one device.
Deluxe Package: This package can be used on up to 5 different devices. You’ll get the same features in the Standard Package with and added user-friendly Web Portal that helps you manage all 5 devices.
Premium Package: This package can be used on up to 10 different devices. You’ll get the same features as with the Deluxe Package and 25 GB of secure online storage.
Delux with LifeLock Package: This is basically the Deluxe Package with LifeLock Identity Theft Protection, so 2 services in one. This is a great option for users who are worried about their identity being stolen online.
You can test out all of their services with their free trial option, which you can find here. When you plan on purchasing a package, make sure to check their Norton Deals page for all of the offers and discounts they have.
Finally, Kaspersky is another internet security company known for its dedication to combating online threats. Kaspersky has a very robust list of offerings, with 3 distinct packages to choose from, you can customize your subscription to match your needs based on how many devices you want to cover and how many years you’d like the subscription to run. You can check out the different customizations here. The packages on offer are:
Internet Security (For one specific device).
Internet Security (more than 1 device).
Total Security (up to 10 devices and 2 user accounts).
All packages offer anti-malware, anti-virus, pro-privacy features. They also all have an online banking protection feature for your transactions. The Total Security feature differs by adding a Parental Control feature for your children. You can check out all of their products here.
The Best Free Anti-Malware Software
Kaspersky Labs offers a free anti-malware software on top of their award winning paid-for versions. The product is completely free and doesn’t ask you to subscribe to anything after a period of time. You’ll get the same award-winning technology protecting your system from common viruses, malware, suspicious websites, infected files, and dangerous applications. When it comes to free software, make sure that you only download this program from Kaspersky’s official website. Do not use any third-party websites for this download, you might end up harming your system instead of helping it.
The sad thing here is that this service is only available to Windows users. Kaspersky does not have a mobile or MacOS version of this free anti-malware software.
If you find that you’ve been hacked or infected with malware, the best and easiest way for you to fix that problem is to get yourself Malwarebytes. While they do have a fantastic paid-for anti-malware software, they also offer a free malware remover software.
The good part is that you can make sure that you stop the hack or the malware from doing anything really harmful to your system and your data. However, this version of Malwarebytes does not act as an anti-malware software from a preventative point of view. It’ll clean out infections, but it won’t catch them. Use this if you want to clean out your system, but consider going the extra mile for their paid-plans to guarantee no malware infections in the future.
Avast is a name that you’ve probably heard of, given its vast popularity with everyday internet users. They do offer a paid-for version of their anti-malware software, but sadly it didn’t really make our list of the best 5 above.
The free version, however, is a great option for anyone who wants protection against malware, malicious links, downloads, and viruses. It even scans your Wi-Fi network (and all connected devices) to make sure that you don’t have any vulnerabilities you need to worry about.
Avira is another great option for free anti-malware software. In fact, Avira offers a range of free products, including a free VPN. However, I wouldn’t suggest you use that as free VPNs can be incredibly dangerous.
Their free anti-malware, however, is a good option for people who want protection against malware, viruses, infected links, adware, and spyware. You can get the anti-malware software here. Same as with Avast, be sure to only download this software from Avira’s official website.
5. Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool
If you have a PC that still uses Windows 7, Vista, 2003, 2008, or Windows XP, then most of the software I detailed above might not work for you.
However, Microsoft has a nifty Malicious Software Removal Tool that you can use to help you keep older OS models updated.
Warning: Risks with Free Anti-Malware Software
As with all things free online, you need to be a little careful. Sometimes, a free software is just malware in disguise (yes, even free anti-malware software). To be sure you’re not downloading anything that might harm you later, only use trusted sites for your downloads. Make sure you’re getting the software from the developers themselves, not a third-party website.
Anti-Malware Software – Final Thoughts
There you have it, our top picks for Paid and Free anti-malware software. Remember to only download software off of trusted websites so as to not fall victim to infected links and files. As a rule of thumb, try to only download software off of the developer’s official website. Of course, that all has to do with who the developer is. Let me know which anti-malware software you use in the comment section below! Is there anything you think that we missed out in this article?
A reader, writer, and avid internet user. Hiba has spent the better part of her adult life looking for ways to have a safer and more user-friendly online experience, all while praising the uses of VPN connections to anyone who would listen.