Best (Premium) Internet Security Software
It's a cruel world out there, with no shortage of malware, ransomware and phishing attacks to swoop in and steal your data, money and online persona. What is the best way to protect your devices, and your peace of mind?
The answer is to build the tallest and thickest wall around your digital life with a premium antivirus suite. Based on our extensive testing, your best option is Kaspersky Total Security. It not only offers excellent malware detection but also a sandboxed browser for banking and shopping, plus unique webcam protection.
Why Premium Antivirus?
Premium antivirus products cost upward of $100 per year, but offer a world of extra features that low-cost or free antivirus programs don't have. Their product licenses often cover multiple installations on several platforms — including OS X, Android, iOS and, sometimes, Windows Phone — although other platforms' software may be more limited than the Windows version. The most cost-effective premium packages offer all-you-can-scan plans, with unlimited device installations across multiple platforms.
How We Tested
We've done extensive evaluations on six of the latest flagship antivirus suites from Avast, AVG, Bitdefender, Kaspersky Lab, McAfee and Trend Micro. We installed the latest version of each suite on a 2-year-old Dell Inspiron 7537 that had a Core i5 4200 processor, 6GB of RAM and a 700GB hard drive, of which 114GB was filled with an assortment of data and programs. The system ran 64-bit Windows 8.1.
To assess each suite's ability to protect against malware, we used the most recent set of antivirus-software evaluations conducted on Windows 8.1 by Germany's AV-TEST lab. The anti-malware engines were subjected to an onslaught of the world's worst malware in January and February of 2015. We also gauged the program's impact on system performance by comparing three sets of OpenOffice benchmark scores — one before we loaded the program, and the other two while performing a full scan and a quick scan.
In addition to looking at each app's security and privacy features, we dove deeply into their setups, interfaces and ease of use.