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15 February 2021

Best antivirus software

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.
Woman using laptop security
Michael Passingham

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.

Best antivirus software

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81%
Best Buy
£58.00
Reviewed

This package's protection scores are excellent. The only area in which it didn’t manage perfect scores was when it came to downloading malware, where it didn’t detect all the viruses we downloaded. This is a small issue, but it’s worth keeping in mind that as soon as these files were opened, the software sprung into life and stopped them doing any damage.

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81%
Best Buy
£60.00
Reviewed

This package protects brilliantly against malware in all forms. Not only does it easily stop malware that’s already on your computer from running if you click on it, you’ll also find it’s adept at stopping you from downloading nasty files, so they don’t even get the chance to run. Phishing protection is also excellent, and as an added bonus its Mac software is also a Best Buy.

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81%
Best Buy
£42.00
Reviewed

This antivirus package put in an outstanding performance in dispatching nearly every single threat we threw its way. It had no problem dealing with various types of malware, both those stored on a USB stick and sitting on the computer’s hard drive. It also completely blocked our ransomware samples, keeping our files safe and unlocked. The only area where it didn't score top marks was phishing, where it missed the occasional dodgy website.

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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 Microsoft Windows 10 Security (formerly Windows Defender) offers a good, basic level of protection, but Best Buy antivirus packages go further. If you don't want to pay for antivirus software, see the best free antivirus software available

If you’re using any earlier version of Windows, such as Windows 7, it's time to upgrade as Microsoft has stopped providing security updates for it.

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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