Choosing a security toolkit with anti-virus, firewall and anti-malware programs is a matter of personal preference, your needs, your technical ability and experience, features offered, user friendliness, ease of updating (and upgrading to new program release), ease of installation/removal, available technical support from the vendor and price. Other factors to consider include detection rates and methods, scanning engine effectiveness, how often virus definitions are updated, the amount of resources the program utilizes, how it may affect system performance and what will work best for your system. A particular anti-virus that works well for one person may not work as well for another. You may need to experiment and find the one most suitable for your use and your system. There is no universal "one size fits all" solution
that works for everyone and there is no best anti-virus
. For more specific information to consider, please read Choosing Your Anti-virus Software
and How to choose a firewall
.No single product is 100% foolproof
and can prevent, detect and remove all threats at any given time. Just because one anti-virus detected threats that another missed, does not mean its more effective. The security community is in a constant state of change as new infections appear and it takes time for them to be reported, samples collected, analyzed, and tested by anti-vendors. Security vendors use different scanning engines and different detection methods such as heuristic analysis
or behavioral analysis
which can account for discrepancies in scanning outcomes. Depending on how often the anti-virus database is updated can also account for differences in threat detections.
Further, each vendor has its own definition of what constitutes malware and scanning your computer using different criteria will yield different results. The fact that each program has its own definition files means that some malware may be picked up by one that could be missed by another. Thus, a multi-layered defense using anti-spyware products (including an effective firewall) to supplement your anti-virus combined with common sense
, safe computing
and safe surfing habits
provides the most complete protection.
My personal choice is NOD32 Anti-Virus
if choosing a paid for program as it leaves a small footprint. Kaspersky Anti-Virus
is also a good choice.
If you're looking for a free alternative, I recommend any of the following:
Use trustworthy security tools like:
I recommend taking advantage of the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (Pro) Protection Module
in the full version which uses advanced heuristic scanning technology
to monitor your system and provide real-time protection to prevent
the installation of most new malware. This technology runs at startup where it monitors every process and helps stop malicious processes before they can infect your computer
. Keep in mind that this feature does not guarantee something will not slip through as no product can detect and prevent every type of malware. The database that defines the heuristics is updated as often as there is something to add to it. Also keep in mind that Malwarebytes does not act as a real-time protection scanner for every file like an anti-virus program so it is intended to be a supplement, not a substitute
. Enabling the Protection Module
feature requires registration and purchase of a license key
that includes free lifetime upgrades and support. After activation, Malwarebytes can be set to update itself and schedule scans automatically on a daily basis. The Protection Module is not intrusive as the program utilizes few system resources and should not conflict with other scanners or anti-virus programs.
If any conflicts between Malwarebytes and another security program are reported, suggested solutions are usually provided in the Common Issues, Questions, and their Solutions, FAQs
thread. I know and have worked with some members of the research team so I can attest that they make every effort to resolve issues as quickly as possible.
You can supplement your security tools and get a second opinion by performing an Online Virus Scan