The 10 Best Anti-Virus Programs

By Margaret Worthington

There are many anti-virus programs available for purchase that can help protect your computer from malicious software threats. Finding the best anti-virus program requires looking at what's out there and comparing the available features to find exactly what you need. To help you navigate through all of the choices, here is a list of the top 10 best anti-virus programs, in no particular order.

Norton

Norton anti-virus products come in several types, each tailored to a specific market or demographic. Commonly pre-installed on computers that are purchased new, it offers everything from baseline anti-virus protection to advanced malware detection and firewall capabilities, depending on the version purchased.

McAfee

McAfee, like Norton, is commonly pre-installed on computers that are purchased new from the factory. It features standard anti-virus protection along with various other features, like email scanning, anti-malware software and a firewall.

BitDefender

BitDefender's Total Security features anti-spam software, anti-malware software and anti-virus software all in one convenient package. For added security, there are also options for parental controls and enhanced privacy protection.

Kaspersky

Kaspersky's anti-virus program not only detects viruses and malware, but can also detect and remove rootkits from your computer; this feature alone makes it extremely powerful against malicious software threats.

Avast!

For personal use, Avast! comes in free or professional versions, although the latter must be purchased for a yearly fee. Consumer Reports rates Avast! highly, and it not only features anti-virus protection, but it can also scan emails and instant messages in real time to further protect your computer.

AVG

AVG Anti-virus comes in two forms, a free version (for personal use) and a subscription version (for commercial and business use). Both versions offer excellent virus protection, but the subscription version also throws in additional features, like anti-spam software and a firewall.

F-Secure

The F-Secure Internet Security package presents anti-virus protection in an easy-to-use package, along with anti-malware components. The firewall and some aspects of the anti-spam portions of the software aren't as up to date as other products, but it is still excellent against viruses and other malicious software.

Trend Micro

In addition to producing a free online virus scanner for personal use, Trend Micro also produces a stand-alone application that offers anti-virus protection for your computer. It also contains anti-malware components for getting rid of more malicious software than just viruses.

ZoneAlarm

ZoneAlarm's legendary firewall software is just one portion of the ZoneAlarm Extreme Security program, which includes anti-virus and anti-malware software for the ultimate protection of your system.

ESET

ESET's NOD32 antivirus program provides baseline anti-virus protection for your computer; it also produces a "Smart Security" program which offers more advanced protection, such as anti-spam software and a firewall.