A good antivirus should protect you against all types of malware such as worms, Trojan horses, and ransomware. Additionally, it must be able to identify and stop the spread of potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), which can alter your browser’s settings or display ads on your screen. Certain premium antiviruses offer extra features like dark web monitoring, ID theft alerts and parental controls.

If you’re using Windows, Microsoft’s built in protection against malware, referred to Windows Defender on older computers or Windows Security on more recent machines, does a decent job of protecting your computer. It’s not as effective or fast in detecting malware as standalone antivirus brands that frequently score well in independent lab tests. The product doesn’t offer any extra security features like password management or software for other devices.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is the best antivirus for Windows based on malware prevention impact on the system, as well as ease of usage. It scores highly in the respected AV-Test labs and is easy to install and run. It provides one PC for an affordable price, however you can have more protection for a few dollars more with Bitdefender Total Security or Antivirus Plus.

A top-quality paid antivirus suite usually comes with a range of additional features. These can include the use of a VPN and performance-optimization tools and software for Mac OS, iOS, and Android. If you prefer to stick to the basics and just get the best protection against malware, Sophos Home Premium is an excellent choice. It includes a few extras at an affordable cost.

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