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Best antivirus software

By Andrew Laughlin

Discover the three best internet security software packages that Which? recommend – and whether the big names in antivirus software, such as Avast, AVG, McAfee and Norton, make the cut among our Best Buys.

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Assuming you don't want an avalanche of malware, including viruses, Trojan Horses, ransomware and other internet nasties, attacking your computer, kitting yourself out with internet security software is a must.

There's a bewildering amount of security software packages on the market, each claiming to give you great PC protection. 

So we've whittled down the hordes to unveil the best antivirus software packages that impressed us most. 

Or, if you want to choose from all our highest rated packages, click to head to our Best Buy antivirus software reviews.

Only logged in Which? members can see which products we're talking about and our full impressions below. If you're not yet a member you can get instant access by joining Which?.
Brand Product name Score Overall protection Ransomware Phishing Price
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You may not have heard of the brand behind this antivirus software, but rest assured that they are experts in obliterating any malware that tries to infect your PC. You can’t get better protection for your computer, based on our expert and independent testing.

Find out which package we're talking about by logging in or joining Which?.

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Although it’s not our highest scoring antivirus package, this security software is still an excellent choice. It obliterated all malware that we threw at it in testing and is straightforward to use. You also get a good range of features and extras included.

Discover the antivirus on test here by logging in or joining Which?.

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You’ll know the brand behind this excellent Best Buy antivirus software, and you’ll love the first-rate protection it offers for your PC. It effectively deals with online threats, does a good job of detecting malware during scanning and won’t quarantine files that are actually safe.

Which antivirus software is it? Log in or join Which? to find out. 

Key

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Antivirus software to avoid

With Best Buy and high-scoring anti-virus software packages available for free, a paid-for package has to really justify you shelling out.

While the above software services are well worth the money, the one below failed to impress in our expert and in-depth testing. It struggles to give comprehensive protection against malware and isn't worth downloading to your PC.

Do I need antivirus for my Windows PC?

Recent versions of Windows have these tools built in. Windows 10 offers the most complete protection; its updated version of Defender includes antivirus, firewall and anti-spyware capabilities. 

We've found that Defender offers a good, basic level of protection, but Best Buy antivirus packages go further. If you don't to pay for antivirus software, see the best free anti-virus software available

If you’re using any earlier version of Windows, such as Windows 7, you’ll definitely need some additional antivirus security software to protect your computer from online nasties. 

The three key tools you need on your side are a firewall, an anti-spyware tool and an antivirus program. Either go for a complete package, or download individual software tools for your PC. 

How often should my antivirus software update and scan? 

It’s vital to keep your computer’s antivirus protection up to date, otherwise newer threats may be able to slip past your defences. 

Most security software automatically checks for updates at least once a day, although it’s worth investigating whether your program is set up correctly. 

Your security software gives real-time protection against threats as they emerge, but regular system scans are important, too. Most security suites are configured to perform an automatic scan once a week, often offering the choice of a ‘quick’ or ‘full’ scan depending on your needs. 

We recommend carrying out a full scan once a week. You can do a manual quick scan any time you choose if your computer is exhibiting suspicious behaviour.

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