Malware, Spyware, and Adware Protection
The internet is full of apps and scripts you really don't want on your computer. Ransomware encrypts your important files and demands untraceable cash to decrypt them. Spyware steals information about you and may even peek at your real-world activities through a webcam. Bots enlist your computer in a zombie army, making it spew spam or participate in denial of service attacks. Fortunately, antivirus tools protect against all kinds of malware, not just computer viruses. Check now to make sure all your computers are equipped with up-to-date antivirus protection. If not, don't worry. We've evaluated more than 40 antivirus tools to help you choose the one that's best for you.
I did say antivirus, but in truth it's unlikely you'll get hit with an actual computer virus. Malware these days is about making money, and there's no easy way to cash in on spreading a virus. Ransomware and data-stealing Trojans are much more common, as are bots that let the bot-herder rent out your computer for nefarious purposes. Modern antivirus utilities handle Trojans, rootkits, spyware, adware, ransomware, and more. PCMag has reviewed more than 40 different commercial antivirus utilities, and that's not even counting the many free antivirus tools. Out of that extensive field we've named four Editors' Choice products.
Several other commercial antivirus utilities proved effective enough to earn an excellent four-star rating. I eliminated two special-purpose products that aren't really like the rest: Daily Safety Check Home Edition and VoodooSoft VoodooShield. Also, Check Point's ZoneAlarm PRO uses antivirus licensed from Kaspersky, with almost no lab test results for ZoneAlarm itself.
The release of Sophos Home Premium, another four-star product, puts me in a pickle. I have eleven deserving products, but only 10 slots. I elected to put the new Sophos product in the chart and temporarily remove Emsisoft Anti-Malware. That leaves the ten excellent products you see above.
If you have malware, one of these products should do the job. All of them are traditional, full-scale, antivirus tools, with the ability to scan files for malware on access, on demand, or on schedule. As for just relying on the antivirus built into Windows 8.x or Windows 10, that may not be the best idea. In the past, Windows Defender has performed poorly both in our tests and independent lab tests It's improving; it earneddecent scores in some recent tests. Even so, our latest evaluation indicates that you'd still be better off with a third-party solution.
- PC MAGAZINE, by Niel J. Rubenking March 7, 2018 12:47PM EST