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The best antivirus software (2024)

If you use a computer for anything these days, you’ll want to be protected with one of these antivirus software programs.

Antivirus logos on a purple background
Image: KnowTechie

Since the advent of personal computers, malicious forces have existed to undermine our individual and electronic security.

Hackers, phishers, spammers, scammers, and loads of unsavory characters work hard to steal our personal information, turn our computers into ghost machines, and break stuff.

So, it’s paramount that we continuously use software designed for our protection, like one of these antivirus programs.

Each antivirus software program provides a similar service to the next: protecting our devices and identities from malicious forces.

Because as much as some of us like to think we’re amateur-hour security experts, scammers have become more advanced and skilled.

So it’s integral to our personal safety and computer health that we suck up our pride and utilize the best antivirus software of 2024.

Best Overall

Norton 360 deluxe [12 month]

Norton 360 Deluxe [12 month]

$19.99 $17.99

Norton 360 is one of the leading antivirus providers, with real-time monitoring and protection against malware and other threats. You also get a fully-featured security suite with a VPN, password manager, firewall, and dark web monitoring.


OS Compatibility: Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS

Cost: Subscription with free trial

What We Like:
  • Real-time protection against malware, ransomware, viruses, and more
  • Dark web monitoring to notify you if your personal information is up for sale
  • 25GB of secure cloud backup for important files, so you won't lose them even if the worst happens to your computer
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02/21/2024 10:11 pm GMT

There’s a reason Norton 360 is one of the most popular and well-known antivirus software packages on the market.

It successfully defeats threats, using heuristic analytics and machine learning to kill the most advanced malware.

It has a firewall, password manager, VPN, dark web monitoring, ransomware protection, and more.

The dark web monitoring is a nice touch. We might never enter the shadow world, but our data might. Norton 360 keeps it secret, private, and secure.

Best for Windows

Windows security Windows Security

Rebranded to Windows Security, this inbuilt antivirus comes with every copy of Windows 10 or 11 to protect your PC from threats and viruses. It's really all you need these days, but it isn't the most fully-featured security suite so you don't get any added extras.


OS Compatibility: Windows

Cost: Free with Windows

What We Like:
  • Built-in to every version of Windows 10 and 11
  • Completely free to use
  • Protects against viruses and other threats
KnowTechie is supported by its audience, so if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale.

Whelp, it goes without saying that if you have a Windows PC, you have one of the most competent but annoying antivirus programs in Windows Security.

Built into every new copy of Windows, Security does a nominal job of protecting your PC. It’s no slouch, but it’s not a feature-rich antivirus program.

Windows Security does offer real-time protection and regular updates itself, slogging your RAM as it does so. But it’s a small price to pay (nothing) for moderate protection without a premium.

It’s worth mentioning that Windows Security used to be called Microsoft Defender, but it was rebranded as Defender, and now the name of the security product included with Microsoft 365.

Best for Mac

Intego mac internet security x9 Intego Mac Internet Security X9
$39.99 $29.99

The old paradigm of Macs not needing antivirus is misguided. With the surging popularity of Apple's OS, hackers have shifted to crafting Mac malware so you need protection. Designed specifically for the needs of macOS, Intego gives you real-time monitoring, a smart firewall, optimization tools and smart backups to keep your Mac safe.


OS Compatibility: macOS

Cost: Subscription

What We Like:
  • Customized antivirus and security for macOS users
  • Real-time monitoring and backup options that work with Time Machine to keep you protected
  • Smart firewall to proactively protect from threats
KnowTechie is supported by its audience, so if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale.
02/21/2024 10:11 pm GMT

If you are a macOS person, you’ll need an antivirus program optimized explicitly for macOS, which is Intego.

Intego enhances Apple’s built-in security features with real-time monitoring, Mac optimization tools and backup options, and toggle boxes for network security.

One standout feature is the customizable smart firewall. This ensures you get the best protection on your Mac no matter where you work.

Intego does offer a Windows antivirus scanner, but it’s a pale imitation of the Mac version.

Best for anti-phishing

Mcafee total protection 2024 ready McAfee Total Protection 2024 Ready
$119.99 $21.99

McAfee's security suites bring multiple added extras over the real-time antivirus protection, including AI-powered scam protection, a VPN that can turn on automatically on public Wi-Fi, a secure password manager, and options to secure all of your devices.


OS Compatibility: Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, Chrome

Cost: Subscription

What We Like:
  • Protect every device from PCs, Macs, iPhones, and Androids with one subscription
  • AI-powered protection against scammers
  • Added value with VPN, password manager, and dark web monitoring
KnowTechie is supported by its audience, so if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale.
02/21/2024 10:37 pm GMT

Ironically, McAfee’s image is used just as much on malicious websites as phishing spam, even though it works to protect against it. Don’t let that put you off, though, as those sites are fraudulently using the logo to trick you.

The antivirus package is one of the best in the industry. McAfee’s best feature is its protection against phishing and web-based trojan attacks. If you have McAfee installed, you never have to fret when browsing even the most sus sites.

The subscription package can get expensive, but McAfee also offers some of the most comprehensive parental controls on the market.

There’s also a Wi-Fi scanner, which is especially helpful if you constantly connect to random Wi-Fi networks.

Best free antivirus

Malwarebytes premium Malwarebytes Premium
$59.99 $39.99

Malwarebytes has long been one of the better malware removal tools, and does a great job with the free version requiring manually triggered scans. Upgrading to the premium subscription adds scheduling, real-time monitoring, and other benefits like spam call protection on iOS devices.


OS Compatibility: Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, Android

Cost: Subscription with indefinite free trial

What We Like:
  • Free version gives you most of the functionality of the subscription
  • Protects against viruses, malware, spyware and ransomware
  • Works on most operating systems
KnowTechie is supported by its audience, so if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale.
02/21/2024 10:18 pm GMT

While Malwarebytes offers a comprehensive subscription plan with standard antivirus software features, the free version is the best option. While you must run it on-demand, you can use the free version forever.

The free version of Malwarebytes is one of the best ways to remove viruses and malware from your PC quickly. That’s not because it’s free, but because it has a constantly up-to-date database of the latest malware and is quick and easy to use.

Download, install, ignore the subscription buttons, and clean your PC of the crap you accidentally downloaded.

Best for businesses

Trend micro internet security Trend Micro Internet Security
$49.99

Trend Micro has more of a footprint in the enterprise space, but that means it's tried and tested and will protect your home computers just as well. Alongside the always-on antivirus it can protect you against identity theft, malware, ransomware, phishing links, and more.


OS Compatibility: Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, Chrome OS

Cost: Subscription

What We Like:
  • Enterprise-level protection with deep customizability
  • Encrypted password manager with support for 2-factor authentication
  • Helps keep your social media accounts safe
KnowTechie is supported by its audience, so if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale.
02/21/2024 02:07 am GMT

Trend Micro offers many customization options, which is why it’s popular for enterprise-level protection.

IT managers can adjust permissions and features based on organizational needs, and it works with the most popular operating systems.

It’s robust in the password protection arena, with 256-bit AES encryption, unlimited password storage, password generation, and two-factor authentication.

While Trend Micro might not be the most well-known antivirus software, it still offers enough for consideration.

Best extra features

Panda security Panda Security
From $3.99 per month

Many antivirus products have an unreasonably low device limit, but not Panda. You can use it on all of your home devices from one subscription, with no limits on the number of devices it will install on. That's a big bonus, and comes in addition to VPNs, PC optimization, and other added extras.


OS Compatibility: Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS

Cost: Subscription and free plan

What We Like:
  • Four different subscription tiers so you can choose the protection level you want
  • Added extras like VPN, Wi-Fi protection, ransomware protection, parental controls and PC optimization
  • Protect all of your home devices from one subscription with no limits
KnowTechie is supported by its audience, so if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale.

Panda’s VPN isn’t that great, but that’s a small thing in its sea of extra features.

The free plan offers essential virus protection for Windows and Android, but the subscription plan offers advanced ransomware protection, a password manager, parental controls, and a file encrypter.

But Panda’s best feature is its Rescue Kit. This bootable version resides on a USB drive, so if a virus obliterates your computer, you can salvage things. It’s much cheaper than scrapping your PC and starting over.

Best free trial

Sophos home Sophos Home
From $59.99 per year

Sophos Home is a fully-featured security suite that gives you a 30 day trial before you need your credit card details, so you can figure out if it's the home security option for you. It has advanced centralized management and works on most devices, including mobile ones.


OS Compatibility: Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS

Cost: Subscription and free version

What We Like:
  • Robust protection against online malware so that you can surf securely
  • A 30-day free trial that doesn't require a credit card
  • Parental controls, centralized security management, and ransomware protection
KnowTechie is supported by its audience, so if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale.

Sophos Home is a consumer-facing version of its enterprise-level malware protection software.

Its free version is pretty robust, offering supreme malware protection. Web pages packed with malware stand no chance against Sophos Home’s malware protection.

It’s all in how Sophos Home functions. It shuts down threatening processes when they are active and then automatically reverts data. Plus, it actively blocks websites known for dumping malware on computers, mitigating risk.

Best for online banking

Kaspersky internet security 2023 Kaspersky Internet Security 2023
$89.99 $22.99

Kaspersky is one of the biggest names in antivirus protection, and a solid choice for protecting your computers and cellphones from attacks. It's also got added extras like stronger protection when on online banking websites, a way to protect your webcam, and tracking protection.


OS Compatibility: Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS

Cost: Subscription

What We Like:
  • Works on all of your devices
  • Added value like parental controls and extra security when doing online banking
  • Protects against malware, tracking, and more
KnowTechie is supported by its audience, so if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale.
02/21/2024 10:48 pm GMT

While Kaspersky is a Russian company, it focuses more on capitalism than anything else.

Plus, with its safe, secure browser, anti-phishing protection, smart home monitor, and unlimited VPN, it’s one of the best security software for online banking and random financial transactions.

Kaspersky has a dangerous site protection feature and an antivirus engine that constantly updates itself.

While you might fear the call is coming from within the house, Kaspersky has done nothing but competently protect consumers from viruses for its entire existence.

Best budget

Bitdefender total security 2024 Bitdefender Total Security 2024
$44.99

Bitdefender has a hybrid security model that offloads the heavy scanning to the cloud, so your computer isn't using all of its resources to stay protected. It's also packed with optimizations to reduce battery drain, has a VPN, and ways to protect your webcam and microphone.


OS Compatibility: Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS

Cost: Subscription

What We Like:
  • Real-time protection against malware, web attacks, phishing, fraud, and more
  • Adapts to the hardware of your device to improve performance
  • Rescue environment for deep cleaning
KnowTechie is supported by its audience, so if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale.
02/21/2024 10:37 pm GMT

Bitdefender has two things that set it apart from its competitors. First, it has one of the most advanced antivirus engines backed by a killer malware database, AI detection, and machine learning.

Second, it has one of the best subscription tiers in its Total Security plan, which is less expensive than other services.

However, that plan doesn’t include a VPN, but the next tier does, and it’s an excellent VPN comparable to standalone products. If you have a budget for your protection, Bitdefender can save you a few bucks without sacrificing features.

Best for mobile

Avira prime Avira Prime
From $9.99 per month

This lightweight antivirus program is perfect for protecting your phones and other mobile devices, and it can block spam callers as an added bonus.


OS Compatibility: Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS

Cost: Subscription

What We Like:
  • Anonymizes your web browsing for security and anti-tracking
  • Optimizes your privacy settings and has an inbuilt password manager
  • Blocks spam calls on your mobile devices
KnowTechie is supported by its audience, so if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale.

Avira is best for mobile for the same reason it’s best for old Windows XP computers: It’s a very lightweight program.

This is because its antivirus engine lives in the cloud rather than in temp files on your PC. You don’t have to download anything of substance.

It’s also packed with system optimization tools, such as a startup optimizer, game booster, and junk file cleaner.

That junk file cleaner is handy because while junk files may not be virus-laden, they still take up space and slow things down. Avira also has clean apps for mobile devices, so you can keep those tiny computers virus-free.

Best bundled VPN

Totalav TotalAV
From $29 for the first year

TotalAV is a low-overhead antivirus with a fast VPN that works with streaming sites. It also has added value in a password manager, a remote log out tool, and secure browsing.


OS Compatibility: Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS

Cost: Subscription

What We Like:
  • Low cost subscription with included VPN
  • Web shield for secure browsing
  • Remote log out tool
KnowTechie is supported by its audience, so if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale.

TotalAV has all the stuff you’d look for in antivirus software, including a web shield that prevents you from even accessing scary websites.

But where it stands out as antivirus software is with its bundled VPN. It’s as good as or better than some standalone VPNs, totally secure, and works with streaming sites. Plus, it’s fast, which some VPNs struggle with.

Additionally, TotalAV has an excellent password product called Total Password that provides an encrypted box to store all your passwords and private data.

There’s even a tool to log you from all your accounts on any device remotely, a nice touch for antivirus software.

Things to consider when procuring antivirus software

Laptop with privacy screen on a wooden desk.
Image: Unsplash

1. Price

Many of the antivirus programs here list “subscription” under cost. Many have tiered pricing based on features like adding a VPN or monthly vs. annual billing.

But the gist is that before balking at $19.99, you should ask yourself what price you’d put on your computing security.

How much would you pay to ensure your identity isn’t stolen and your computer isn’t secretly used for doing crimes?

2. Features

Many antivirus software packages are just that. They are much more than antivirus protection. They offer password protection, dark web monitoring, VPN services, malware scanning, etc.

There’s no reason to get more than what you need. So, don’t spend the money if you don’t need ten licenses, enterprise protection, or a password locker. Buy the software and plan that contains the features you need.

3. Operating system compatibility

While most antivirus programs work with Windows and Mac, some are better suited for particular operating systems, especially mobile OSs like Android, iOS, and Chrome OS.

Pick the software that optimizes your security for your operating system or install Linux—your call.

Final thoughts on the best antivirus software of 2024

As technology progresses, so do the spammers, hackers, and phishers. Basic trojan horse viruses are a thing of the past (though still used), but we face new threats every day we use our computers.

Considering how much we spend annually on subscription services for entertainment and content, it’s a small thing to spend much less on software to protect that freedom.

Have any thoughts on this? Drop us a line below in the comments, or carry the discussion to our Twitter or Facebook.

Editors’ Recommendations:

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