Other great antivirus options
Kaspersky Lab has been in the news a lot lately. and not in a good way. We can't tell you whether the company actually is spying on the NSA on behalf of the Russians, but we can tell you that Kaspersky antivirus software is really, really good. That said, we understand if you don't want to use Kaspersky software. Here are our most recommended antivirus products that aren't made by Kaspersky Lab.
Basic Antivirus: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus has excellent malware-detection scores and the best selection of useful extra tools at this price. It's got a password manager, a file shredder, a secure browser for online shopping and banking, and dedicated protection against encrypting ransomware, all presented in an easy-to-use interface.
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus
Free Antivirus: Avast Free Antivirus
Avast Free Antivirus has a friendly interface, a nearly imperceptible system impact and useful extra features, including a password manager and a network scanner. Avast has recently improved its antivirus protection to the point where it's almost perfect, and we can recommend Avast Free Antivirus without reservation.
Avast Free Antivirus
Midrange Antivirus: Bitdefender Internet Security
Bitdefender Internet Security is just behind Kaspersky Internet Security in terms of malware protection, and matches Kaspersky's light system impact and rich feature set. Like Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, it's got a file shredder, a password manager, a hardened web browser and specialized protection against ransomware, and adds parental controls, a two-way firewall and webcam protection. Its only drawback is a long full-scan time, but most users won't notice any slowdowns.
Bitdefender Internet Security
Mac Antivirus: Avast Free Mac Security
Avast Free Mac Security packs in a password manager, barely leaves a smudge on system impact and doesn't charge a dime. With a 99.9 malware-detection rate, it's just a hair behind Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac.
Avast Free Mac Security
Premium Antivirus: Bitdefender Total Security
Bitdefender Total Security doesn't have Kaspersky Total Security's VPN client, backup software or online storage, but matches it for other useful extra features and adds anti-theft protection for laptops. Bitdefender’s antivirus engine is just behind Kaspersky’s at detecting malware, and has an even lighter system load, making it a close second behind Kaspersky.
Bitdefender Total Security
Android Antivirus: Bitdefender Mobile Security
Bitdefender Mobile Security has nearly flawless malware protection, a minimal performance impact and robust privacy-protection tools, and incorporates Android Wear watches into the app's anti-theft features. But there are no scheduled malware scans, and no freemium option. (The separate Bitdefender Antivirus Free for Android only scans for malware.) Still, at $15 per year per device, Bitdefender Mobile Security is well worth the expense.
Bitdefender Mobile Security
Paul Wagenseil is a senior editor at Tom's Guide focused on security and privacy. He has also been a dishwasher, fry cook, long-haul driver, code monkey and video editor. He's been rooting around in the information-security space for more than 15 years at FoxNews.com, SecurityNewsDaily, TechNewsDaily and Tom's Guide, has presented talks at the ShmooCon, DerbyCon and BSides Las Vegas hacker conferences, shown up in random TV news spots and even moderated a panel discussion at the CEDIA home-technology conference. You can follow his rants on Twitter at @snd_wagenseil.