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Our toughest ever antivirus software test reveals new Best Buys

Protect your PC or Mac from the worst nasties the internet can throw at it with simple, effective antivirus software

Cyber threats now regularly hit the headlines. Hackers and virus-writers aren’t bored teenagers in hoodies – they’re organised groups able to cripple NHS computers and even allegedly sway presidential elections.

With more than one billion Windows PCs running today, it’s perhaps unsurprising that volumes of malware worldwide have more than tripled over the past five years.

Despite such digital doom and gloom, there’s no need to panic about your home computer. All you need to do to protect your PC or Mac is install a Best Buy antivirus package. It will run in the background, zapping nasties without you even knowing. Plus, with some great free packages available, all that protections could cost you nothing.

Antivirus software reviews – more than 20 tested PC packages plus Mac security

A global security problem, a global solution

As cyber security is a global problem, we need to think globally for the best solution. We’ve joined forces with other consumer organisations around the world – including in the US and across Europe – to create the most rigorous antivirus test we’ve ever conducted.

When we say tough, we mean it. Each package is bombarded with more than 10,000 samples of malware. We test how well they work while your computer is online, and offline, too.

As the world of cyber threats never sleeps, testing only once a year isn’t good enough. We’ll fire new malware at the programs every three months to ensure their standards haven’t slipped, and update our reviews accordingly.

Which? Tech Support – friendly one to one technology and computing assistance from our expert team

In search of the internet’s worst nasties

Unlike most computer users, we’re constantly searching for the world’s worst computer bugs. To test antivirus programs, we need plenty of the internet’s most destructive nasties, whether that may be viruses, ransomware or fraudulent phishing messages.

Our specialist lab operates what are called ‘honeypots’ – think of these as digital fishing nets designed to capture thousands of strains of murky malware, viruses and other online undesirables.

We have more than 60 honeypots around the world, capturing and storing up to 400,000 files every day.

PC packages tested

A Best Buy security software package will give you near comprehensive protection against a wide range of malware and online threats. It won’t pester you with messages, or wrongly quarantine a file that you actually want to use.

We test every single menu, control and feature to ensure that a package is simple to install, use and get rid of when you want to switch.

We’ve tested both paid-for and free PC antivirus packages. These include:

Apple Mac antivirus packages tested

Although Apple Mac computers are typically more resiliant to malware and online threats, they aren’t impervious.

Don’t take a chance with your valuable Mac – protect it with an effective antivirus package designed for Mac users.

We scour the world hunting for Mac malware – there isn’t much of it, but it does exist – in order to put Mac packages through their paces. But we also see how well they handle Windows malware, as you wouldn’t want to pass that on to a friend with a PC.

Our tested Mac security software includes:

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