Top 5 Best Antivirus for Windows 10
Compare the best brands
- Protection for Windows 100% 100%
- Speed 100% 100%
✓ 30-day money-back & 24/7 support
✓ Award-winner in all independent tests
Read our full BitDefender Review
- Protection for Windows 100% 100%
- Speed 93% 93%
✓ 60-day money-back & 24/7 support
Read our full Norton Review
- Protection for Windows 98% 98%
- Speed 88% 88%
✓ 30-day money-back & 24/7 support
Read our full BullGuard Review
- Protection for Windows 97% 97%
- Speed 85% 85%
✓ 30-day money-back & 24/7 support
Read our full Panda Review
- Protection for Windows 93% 93%
- Speed 84% 84%
✓ 30-day money-back & 24/7 support
Read our full McAfee Review
The Best Antivirus of the Year
Millions of users in the world trust BitDefender Antivirus Plus as the industry leader in antivirus technology.
BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2019
Trusted by over 500 million users around the world
✓ The Best and Fastest Antivirus Protection
✓ Award-Winner in All Independent Tests
✓ 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
“Product of the Year” – SoftwareLab.org
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How We Test
Below we explain with factors go into the calculation of our editors’ rating, what each of these factors mean, and the data sources we use
How We Test
Buying the best virus protection for Windows is crucial.
So want to be as transparent as we can about the data and methods we use to determine the best antivirus software for Windows 10 of 2018.
We break out editors’ rating down into 6 factors. Each of them matters, but not all are equally important. That’s why they have different impacts on the rating. Below you can see the 6 factors and the weight they have in the calculation of the rating.
- Protection from Malware 50% 50%
- Impact on Performance and Speed 15% 15%
- Devices and Features 10% 10%
- User Reviews 10% 10%
- Value for Money 10% 10%
- False Positives 5% 5%
The protection, performance and false positive data comes from AV-Comparatives and AV-Test. These are widely considered the most reliable and objective antivirus testing institutes.
The user review data comes from TrustPilot and the Google Play Store. TrustPilot is internationally recognized for its ability to attract large amounts of verified user reviews from both consumers and business customers.
The Google Play Store, in turn, is where Android users download and rate their apps. It has one of the largest databases of software products in the world.
The value for money is based on pricing and features data, both of which come from the cybersecurity companies. The supported device’s data also comes directly from the vendors.
Protection from Malware
Protection from malware makes up 50% of the total score
Protection from malware is the core feature of any antivirus program.
Malware stands for malicious software. As it represents a very wide range of cybersecurity threats, protecting you from it is not straightforward or easy. The most advanced antivirus programs for Windows 10 use 3 separate methods to keep you and your devices safe from infection.
Signature file detection:
Signature file detection is the most basic and oldest form of malware detection. Using this method, your system is scanned for known malware, which are discovered on the bases of their digital signature. This is also why antivirus software are often called virus scanners.
A digital signature is a unique pattern used to recognize specific malware. Imagine it as the equivalent of a fingerprint left at a crime scene. It is unique to each form of malware and allows for very accurate recognition of which form of malware is attempting to cause the damage.
These digital signatures are stored in a huge database of previously discovered malware threats. Whenever a cybersecurity company detects a new form of malware, the database is updated. These databases can have up to hundreds of millions of malware samples in them.
Being relatively straightforward, this method is highly reliable for sniffing out known forms of malware and remains the base technique for many anti-malware tools.
Besides it strengths though; being fast, easy to operate and widely available, this technique also has its flaws. Mainly that it relies on frequent database updates to be able to detect the latest malware, and that without it, it simply cannot detect new attacks.
This is where the next method of detection comes into play.
Heuristic file detection:
Heuristic file detection is a more advanced form of malware detection. Imagine it like a detective analyzing behavioral patterns that are typical to criminals in order to find suspects.
In the case of cybersecurity, this method is used to detect unknown malware samples that are not yet stored in any database. By recognizing behavioral patterns that are typical of malware, the antivirus software can detect suspicious files.
There are two main ways to further analyze malware that have been uncovered due to their suspicious behavior:
File Emulation: This method is often referred to as sandbox testing. The antivirus software will execute the potential malware within a dedicated virtual machine, the “sandbox”, allowing it to simulate the effect of the potential malware while keeping it in isolation.
Within the sandbox, it analyzes the behavior of the program for common malware patterns such as file overwrites, rapid replication, or the attempt to hide specific files. If any common malware practices are detected, the file is flagged as suspicious and action taken.
Genetic Signature Detection: This method analyzes the potential malware for overlap with existing malware. Often, malware is slightly adjusted by its creator to pass the signature file detection test, while in essence still being the same program.
The antivirus software analyzes the source code of the potential malware, and compares it to the source code of the known malware in the database. If a specific percentage of the codes overlap, the file is flagged as suspicious and action taken.
User-focused protection features:
As the best antivirus software for Windows 10 become increasingly sophisticated, malware increasingly targets the weakest link in the chain: Users. It does this by trying the trick you to visit malicious websites, downloading and installing malware, or opening email attachments with malware in them. In response, the cybersecurity companies are developing tools to help you avoid these pitfalls.
Among these tools are:
Web advisors that help you detect and avoid visiting harmful websites.
Wifi advisors that advise you which wifi network is safe and which isn’t.
Password managers that help you create and store unique passwords.
Online banking protection tools that open dedicated and encrypted browsers when you visit online payment and banking websites.
Impact on Performance and Speed
Performance impact makes up 15% of the total score
Performance impact refers to the decrease in operating speed your device suffers from having antivirus software installed on it.
This is measured, amongst others, in the loading speed of websites, the time it takes to download a program, and the percentage of resources an antivirus program requires to run in the background. It is the second most important category of the six as it influences the day-to-day usability of your device.
Devices and Features
Supported devices makes up 10% of the total score
Here we investigate which devices are supported by the antivirus software, and which features are available. Often, cybersecurity firms build full security solutions for Windows, but far less complete antivirus for Mac, Android, and iOS.
A note on iOS:
Each of the antivirus software in our list offers support for Windows, Mac, and Android. Not all, however, offer support for iOS, the operating system of iPhones and iPads.
Although iOS is generally a safer, and less malware sensitive, operating software, it is not bulletproof. Mainly because people are still people.
iOS users, just like any other, still visit dangerous websites, fall into phishing traps, use unsafe passwords, and surf on unencrypted WiFi connections.
It is therefore that users on iOS can benefit from a cybersecurity product that offers them a password manager, web and wifi advisor, VPN connection, and anti-phishing protection.
User Reviews make up 10% of the total score
User reviews play a very important role in online purchasing. They reflect not only the quality of the product, but also the after-sale support and overall buying experience.
Sadly, customer reviews are easily faked by both companies and review websites trying to sell more products. This makes it difficult to know which reviews to trust.
To use only the most objective user reviews, we have analyzed the data of TrustPilot and the Google Play Store. These specialize in the collection of verified user reviews and are two of the largest and most trustworthy sources in the world.
Value For Money
Value for Money makes up 10% of the total score
Malware can cause incredible damage with a great financial impact. The price of an antivirus product should therefore not be the main consideration.
That being said, price does play a part. All the antivirus products in this list have been selected due to their excellent protection features. But their prices do vary quite a bit, with BitDefender and Panda generally offering the best value for money.
False Positives makes up 5% of the total score
False positives, called somewhat confusingly “usability” by AV-Test, reflects an antivirus’ ability to determine the difference between a clean file and malware. When it mistakes a clean file for malware, it is called a false positive. No antivirus is completely free from false positive errors, but some produce considerably more than others.
AV-Test is a German test institute that independently researches IT security. It has been performing in-depth tests since 2003. AV-Test uses state-of-the-art test facilities and is fully transparent in both its testing practices and results. To run its test it uses one of the world’s largest malware databases. It is the first of the two sources for protection and performance data.
AV-Comparatives is an independent test institute from Austria that likewise researches cybersecurity products. It has been performing in-depth analysis since 1999, and uses one of the largest collection of malware samples worldwide, to run accurate tests in a real-world environment. It is the second of the two sources for protection and performance data.
TrustPilot belongs to the most trustworthy sources of user reviews in the world. With over 45 million reviews covering more than 200.000 businesses, it has one of the largest databases globally and offers great insight into product satisfaction and customer experience.
The Google Play Store is the app store for Android, the most used mobile operating system in the world. The Google Play Store has one of the largest software review databases in the world.
Tech enthusiast and founder of SoftwareLab. He has degrees in Engineering and Business, and has been active in the analysis of software, electronics and digital services since 2013.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below we have summed up the most commonly asked questions surrounding the topic of cybersecurity and the best antivirus software.
Antivirus software, also known as anti-malware software, helps in the prevention, detection, and removal of malware on your devices. It fights a wide range of malware, including worms, viruses, adware, spyware, ransomware and more.
On top of that, it offers a range of additional protection features that help you generate and store safe passwords, avoid dangerous websites and wifi connections, and keep you safe from scams.
Malware is a collective term used to describe many forms of cybercrime and malicious software. Among these are ransomware, spyware, adware, phishing, keyloggers and many more. The goal of malware is nearly always the financial gain of the cybercriminal or the destruction of property.
Types of Malware
Below we describe the classical forms of malware, such as adware and spyware, and also highlight a range of other forms of digital crime, such as phishing scams and social engineering. We have ordered these alphabetically.
Adware is malware aimed to show you unwanted ads, often in the form of pop-ups or toolbars. AdWare is usually harmless although annoying, and comes pre-installed with free software. Some adware, however, track your surfing behavior and monitor your keystrokes, blurring the line between spyware and adware.
A Botnet is a term used for a “network of robots”. It represents a large number of malware-infected devices that can be remotely controlled by a hacker. Its purpose is often the implementation of DDoS attacks or spreading further malware.
New software and hardware often have security vulnerabilities. A computer exploit is the abuse of this vulnerability for malicious intent. Usually, these vulnerabilities are detected too late, when a hacker has already exploited them.
A computer virus is a piece of code designed to cause harm to your devices. As the biological virus from which the computer virus gets its name, it is designed to automatically, and without permission, replicate itself across devices and networks.
A computer worm is an annoying form of self-replication malware that often slows down the devices it infects tremendously. It is known to spread via file sharing (P2P) websites and email attachments.
Hacking is the process of manipulating a computer through programs or scrips, such as malware. By doing so, the hacker attempts to access the information that flows through the system. Common tools used for hacking are viruses, worms, trojans, ransomware and DDoS attacks.
Cybercrime is a term used to describe all forms of digital crime. It is among the fastest growing, most scalable and most profitable forms of crime in the world. In recent history, ransomware attacks such as WannaCry in 2017, have made headlines around the world.
DDoS attacks, standing for Distributed Denial of Service attacks, take down websites or entire networks by overwhelming them with internet traffic. This traffic is usually sent from thousands of malware-infected devices, called a botnet.
Identity theft is an increasingly common form of cybercrime. It happens when a cybercriminal or hacker gets access to your sensitive data, such as tax information, credit card data or passport details. These are then used to pay for products or services or to open up new accounts such as phone contracts.
Keyloggers are software that spy on the information you type on the keyboard of your electronic device. By tracking your keystrokes, criminals can steal passwords, bank account details, and passwords
Phishing scams are emails trying to get people to reveal personal information. These emails seem to come from credible sources, such as your bank, PayPal or the tax authorities. In them, you are redirected to a website where you are requested to enter personal information such as your bank details, PayPal information or passwords.
Ransomware is a specific form of malware that locks you out of your device, and demands a ransom fee to grant you access once again. Attacks such as Wannacry, Locky, Petya, Cerber, and CryptoLocker have spread globally in recent years and caused incredible damage.
A rootkit is software that gives a hacker remote administrative access to your device. Hidden deep within your operating software, it is very difficult to detect. The damage inflicted can range from the fairly harmless to full-blown identity theft.
Internet scams describe a wide range of fraud, in which the scammers attempt to get personal or financial information, or make you pay for a product which will never arrive. Famous among these internet scams are the Nigerian scam emails and Craig’s list scams.
Social engineering attempts to manipulate people in giving up financial or personal information such as bank details, passwords, or access to an IT network. This is usually done by appealing to a person’s vanity, fear of authority, altruism, greed or curiosity. As the target of social engineering is a person, rather than a computer weakness, even the best antivirus for Windows 10 can’t protect you fully.
Spam is a collective term for unwanted email, often ending directly in the spam folder. These are bulk messages, will little personalization sent to thousands of people, in order to advertise a product. The best antivirus software come with built-in spam filters, as do most email clients.
Spoofing is the attempt by a criminal to trick people into handing over sensitive data by pretending to be someone else. This can be done in the form of IP spoofing, in which a message seems to come from a trusted IP address. In the form of email spoofing, where the email is designed to appear to come from a legitimate email address. Or in the form of DNS spoofing, in which the DNS of a domain has been modified to drive traffic to a specific, often malicious, website.
Spyware, as its name suggests, spies on you. It analyzes what you do online, copies your browser history and steals financially sensitive information such as banking, PayPal, or credit card details. Keyloggers, which are programs design to track the information you type, are a common form of spyware.
Hackers sometimes add a piece of malicious SQL (Structured Query Language) code to the input field of a website. This code is designed to create, read, alter or delete information from the database of the website and grant a hacker access to it.
A Trojan Horse, as in the legendary Greek tale, masks itself as something it is not. It pretends to be a useful or fun item to watch or download, while in reality, it is downloading other malware onto your device.
When a new software product or update is released, it frequently has cybersecurity vulnerabilities. As long as no one is aware of the flaw it is called a zero-day vulnerability. A zero-day exploit is when someone abuses the vulnerability with malicious intent.
Below you can find all the sources we have used in our analysis