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The best antivirus software for 2022

In 2020, Google registered a record 2 million phishing websites. That worked out to a nearly 20% increase from the year before, with the company detecting an average of 46,000 new phishing websites every week.

Since then, phishing has been a big issue when online. The best way to protect yourself from viruses and malware is to steer clear of phishy looking sites and not respond to emails from shahs asking you to transfer funds to them. However, with such a proliferation of scams out there, it’s hard to keep your computer 100% secure — even if you have a Mac and no matter how careful you may be. This is all the more true if your computer is used by multiple family members, and especially so if you have kids going online.

One of the best ways to protect yourself is by installing antivirus software, which will defend you against not only computer viruses but also phishing attempts, malware, trackers, adware, and spam. Many also come with additional services like VPN, dark web monitoring, and password protection, and some are even free! To help you decide which software to choose, we’ve highlighted our picks for the best antivirus software below.

McAfee Antivirus

Images of McAfee antivirus protection highlighting the mobile security feature, WiFI Guard with VPN and how it can scan for threats.
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  • Starts at $35 per year
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Up to 10 devices protected
  • Available for Windows and macOS
  • VPN, firewall, and password manager
  • Optional identity theft protection

McAfee is perhaps the longest-running name in protection against viruses. It first unveiled its antivirus software in 1987, long before we had to worry about phishing and spam. The company has kept up with the times, though, and still offers premium protection in the form of a number of different packages. While plans start at the promotional rate of $35 for the first year of McAfee’s Single Device plan, its Family Plan is a much wiser choice, offering more robust protection for a larger number of devices (10 instead of just one) for just $10 more. Like other services, McAfee is compatible with Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS devices and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. In addition to the protections you would expect (virus, spam, malware, etc.), it comes with VPN, firewall, and password manager. Plus, if you enroll in auto-renewal, you get identity theft protection and a free year of Gamer Security, which consists of cloud-based antivirus protection, game-boosting technology, and robust system monitoring. Even better, McAfee has 24/7 support service.

Norton Antivirus

Norton Antivirus on mobile displaying how it offers protection against cyberthreats, scans Wi-Fi to avoid unsecured networks, and discussing its dark web protection.
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  • Starts at $20 per year
  • Up to 10 devices protected
  • Available for both Windows and macOS
  • Wraparound protection with VPN and password management
  • Credit monitoring services available with LifeLock Select
  • Cryptocurrency mining option

First released more than 30 years ago, Norton has long established itself as a trusted brand in protection against viruses. As such, you’ll get added peace of mind when you sign up for one of Norton’s four levels of protection. And you can give Norton a test run with a seven-day trial.

While Norton’s antivirus protection starts at just $20 for one year of Antivirus Plus, we’d suggest going with Norton 360 Premium as you can currently get your first year for $95 off its regular price. For $30, you can protect up to 10 devices, which includes both Mac and Windows machines, as well as smartphones and tablets.

Norton will protect you against viruses, spyware, malware, and ransomware and comes with features like a Smart Firewall, 100GB cloud backup, a VPN, and a password manager. Even better, there are parental controls for keeping your kids safe online. Plus, Norton announced in 2021 that it will be adding cryptocurrency mining abilities, so you can actually make back some of that subscription fee.

Kaspersky Total Security

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  • Starts at $30 per year
  • Can pay for the number of devices you need
  • Anti-phishing protection across all products
  • Available for Windows and macOS as well as smartphones
  • Secure vault for document storage
  • Parental controls and content blocker options

Another long-trusted name in antivirus software, Kaspersky, like others on this list, offers several levels of protection, and right now, they’re all half-off. Its base level starts at $30 for the first year and will protect three devices, but for just $20 more ($50), you can upgrade two levels to its Total Security package, which not only gives you added services but will also protect an additional two machines.

This subscription will protect you from viruses, malware, spyware, ransomware, and phishing email, and will defend against network attacks. It also has payment protection to keep hackers from stealing your credit card information, a vault for storing sensitive documents, password protection, parental controls and an adult content blocker, and a two-way firewall. It also comes with a GPS child locator and blocks webcam spies from accessing your computer’s camera.

Trend Micro Premium Security Suite

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  • Costs $130, on sale for $60
  • Up to 10 devices protected
  • Available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Chromebook, and much more
  • Includes secure VPN protection
  • Password management tool
  • ID & Mobile Security

Trend Micro’s Premium Security Suite does so much more than just protect you from viruses while browsing online. It does this brilliantly thanks to its ability to detect malware, ransomware, dangerous websites, viruses, and any other threats, through its Maximum Security tool. However, it goes multiple steps further to ensure your online experience is secure.

For instance, it includes VPN Proxy One Pro — a secure VPN, so when you use public Wi-Fi, you can be safe in the knowledge that your browsing activities are highly protected. There’s no risk of information leaking out here to nefarious sources. Alongside that, you also get Mobile Security which keeps your smartphone safe from dangerous websites, malicious apps, unsafe Wi-Fi networks, all while ensuring your phone runs at peak performance.

Adding onto that is ID Security which monitors and receives alerts any time it spots personal information of yours on the dark web. Able to conduct a personal data search, it lets you see if your email address, credit card details, passwords, or bank account information have been leaked due to data breaches. Throw in a Password Manager tool and the Trend Micro Premium Security Suite is the Swiss Army Knife-esque tool your computer and other devices have always needed.

Bitdefender Antivirus

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  • Free version available
  • Premium edition from $30 per year
  • Available for both Windows and macOS
  • VPN included with Antivirus Plus
  • Behavioral detection as well as virus definition scans
  • Battery saving mode for laptops

They say the best things in life are free, and while we know that certainly isn’t always true, Bitdefender’s Antivirus Free Edition makes a good case for it. While the company offers free antivirus software for Mac desktops and laptops as well as Android devices, Bitdefender works particularly well with Windows machines.

Bitdefender was designed to be fast and obtrusive so that it won’t use up much of your computer’s resources. Instead of doing time-consuming scans or popping up with ads or suggestions, Bitdefender works in the background, monitoring activity and utilizing behavioral detection. Then, when it detects something suspicious, it springs into action. This is particularly good news if you are a gamer who wants antivirus protection but doesn’t want software using up precious processing power.

Bitdefender’s free edition protects against phishing by sniffing out and blocking suspicious websites and scans for malware, viruses, worms, Trojans, ransomware, zero-day exploits, rootkits, and spyware. For those wanting additional protection or a VPN, Bitdefender offers two additional levels of security starting at $30 per year.

Sophos Home

Sophos antivirus software displaying the full scan process and laying out its automatic protections including automatic virus protection and web protection.
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  • Starts at $60 per year
  • Free trial available
  • Up to 10 devices protected
  • Available for Windows and macOS
  • Anti-phishing protection across all products
  • Password and webcam protection

Sophos keeps things simple by offering one level of cybersecurity. Its Sophos Home service is compatible with Macs and Windows PCs as well Android and iOS devices. For $60 a year (or less if you opt to purchase a two- or three-year plan), you get a good deal of protection. It begins by doing a deep scan of your device for viruses, Trojans, rootkits, spyware, etc. Then it continues to protect against such threats, as well as A.I. intrusions, in real time. It guards against webcam invasions and encrypts your keystrokes to keep your passwords protected against hackers. Sophos also blocks phishing and other suspicious sites and automatically scans your downloads. And it comes with parental controls and filtering options for keeping your kids safe. Protection for 10 devices is included in your subscription, as is 12-hour live email and chat support.

Avast Antivirus

Three images of Avast Security software on mobile with one displaying its Wi-Fi protection, one analyzing the storage for viruses, and one allowing you to lock apps.
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  • Free version available
  • Premium version starts from $70
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Available for Windows and macOS
  • Wi-Fi protection included
  • Ransomware protection

Another free and light option, Avast is available for Mac and Windows machines as well as Android and iOS devices. Its machine-learning virus protection is designed to defend your computer without slowing you down. Avast uses smart analytics to detect and block viruses, malware, spyware, ransomware, and phishing before they affect/infect your machine. It also scans your computer to detect vulnerabilities and inspects your Wi-Fi network for weaknesses and strangers piggybacking on it. Should you need them, Avast also offers additional premium services for a fee.

Vipre Antivirus

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  • Starting at $15 per year
  • Available for both Windows and macOS
  • Malware, spyware, and ransomware detection and removal
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Advanced protection features available
  • US-based support

Fortunately, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to get great antivirus protection. Vipre offers an antivirus subscription plan for as little as $15 a year to protect five devices. But while its basic plan, Antivirus Plus, will protect you against viruses, malware, spyware, and ransomware, we recommend going with its top-tier protection, the Ultimate Security Bundle, especially if you own a Windows machine.

With the Ultimate Security plan, you’ll also get anti-spam protection for warding off phishing attempts, a firewall to block suspicious network traffic, anti-tracking, a blocker for your webcam and microphone, a scanner that checks if your information is being shared on the dark web, and an unlimited VPN to use with all your devices. Living up to its name, the Ultimate Security Bundle will give you complete peace of mind. Even better, right now it’s only $40 for the first year ($140 thereafter), which is $100 off its regular price. Plus, if you’re not completely satisfied, Vipre offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Of course, if you don’t feel like parting with any of your hard-earned cash, there are plenty of free antivirus software options to choose from.

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Slaybaugh
Stephen Slaybaugh is a freelance writer with with more than 20 years experience. He’s written extensively about internet…
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