It's "good news, better news" time. The good news is that no matter which antivirus program you use to protect Windows 10, the odds are pretty good that it will keep you safe. The better news is that if you have Avira or Kaspersky antivirus software, they'll protect you with intuitive software that doesn't put undue stress on the rest of your PC.
AV-Test, a Madgeburg, Germany-based security firm, periodically evaluates all sorts of antivirus software, and its latest round of testing zeroed in on Windows 10.
As usual, the company evaluated a variety of programs in three categories: Protection (how well a program stood up to both known and zero-day malware threats), Performance (how it affected a PC's overall performance) and Usability (how easy the program is to operate). Each category was worth six points, for a potential total of 18.
Only Avira Antivirus Pro and Kaspersky Internet Security received perfect scores, but they were not the only programs to earn AV-Test's highest recommendation. Bitdefender Internet Security, Symantec Norton Security and Trend Micro Internet Security received 17.5 points apiece. All five programs received a "Top Product" nod from AV-Test, meaning that they struck an almost perfect balance between protection, performance and usability. (All the Window antivirus products from a given brand should protect a computer equally well.)
Those who follow AV-Test's evaluations every few months will recognize these programs as the usual suspects that almost always earn top marks. Bitdefender and Kaspersky Lab in particular take home top honors again and again, so their accolades here are not surprising.
At the other end of the spectrum were Comodo Internet Security Premium, K7 Computing TotalSecurity and Microsoft Windows Defender, with 15 points apiece. That’s not exactly an ignominious low, though. Even the low-scoring programs blocked at least 95 percent of incoming threats, and AV-Test recommends any program that scores at least a 10 on its three-faceted evaluation score.
AV-Test evaluated 18 programs altogether. The remaining 10 scored between 15.5 and 17 points: AhnLab V3 Internet Security, Avast Free Antivirus, AVG Internet Security, BullGuard Internet Security, ESET Internet Security, F-Secure Safe, G Data InternetSecurity, McAfee Internet Security, Microworld eScan internet security suite and ThreatTrack VIPRE Internet Security Pro. If you have one of these programs, you’re probably pretty well-protected, in the grand scheme of things.
On the other hand, fi you don't have any of these programs installed, you should probably get one ASAP. While even the best AV programs have an impact on system resources (and a lot of them are easy to compromise, as AV-Test itself pointed out), they’re often the only thing standing between you and a devious hyperlink or phishing scheme.