The Ultimate Antivirus Software Buying Guide for 2022

antivirus software buying guide

When choosing antivirus software for your devices, you probably shouldn’t experiment too much but rather go for options with a proven record. 

That said, this field can be a bit confusing if you’re just getting into cyber protection or even if you’re a past user looking for a new solution. That’s why we provided you with all the necessary information in our antivirus software buying guide.

Your Personal Antivirus Software Checklist

All electronic devices that can be connected to the internet are at risk of e-threats. Of course, since PCs, laptops and mobile devices are using the internet to a larger extent than a microwave, they are prone to more types of infections and get attacked more frequently.

So what should you look for to ensure your devices are protected?

Core Solutions

A decent AV tool should keep your PC protected from all kinds of malware, including spyware, ransomware, worms, Trojans, rootkits and more. That’s possible by scanning your device, identifying e-threats and removing them. 

The best antivirus software will work silently in the background, notifying you only when something suspicious is detected. It will also advise you on how to improve your computer’s safety and which websites or files you’d better not interact with. 

In this sense, you should always rely on test scores from independent labs, such as AV-TEST, NSS Labs and AV-Comparatives. These organisations provide antivirus ranking based on AVs Protection, Performance and Usability, publishing reports every 2-3 months to ensure security companies regularly update their software. 

Right now, Avast is rated as the best anti virus software against malware, detecting 96.3% of online threats. 

Feature Preferences

Apart from having a basic antivirus engine, you should think about adding additional layers of protection. Luckily, these features are usually offered by security companies as part of an all-in-one package.

If having large amounts of encrypted traffic is a must for you, look only into offers with an unlimited VPN. If you don’t have children, then the Parental Control feature probably wouldn’t benefit you as much. 

By considering your needs and preferences, you’ll come closer to the must-have features and then proceed to choose the best plan for you.

Scanning Options

The best virus software usually offer three types of scans:

  • Full Scan – When you have a bit more time on your hands. You can do it every once in a while.
  • Quick Scan – Scanning new files and data, and it should always be turned on.
  • Custom Scan – You can select which files/locations you want to scan.

Note that some AVs have as many as five scan options, giving you more insight and control into the duration and coverage of the scan. 

Compatibility and Speed

Before finally deciding on a top antivirus for your PC, take into consideration their system and software requirements. You can usually find these on the company’s home page, after which you can compare them to your computer’s configuration.

If you’re planning a cross-platform setup, check if the selected plan is compatible with all the devices you plan to use it on, whether it’s macOS, iOS or Android.

Moreover, you should pay special attention to speed reviews because heavy scanning can sometimes slow down your device and work process. If the AV offers a Speed Up feature or a OneClick Optimizer, you’re good to go. Webroot, one of the lightest and fastest AVs on the market, is worth looking into. 

Customer Support 

Nobody expects you to be an expert on computer viruses, so you will need additional help on some matters. Therefore, make sure you select a security company that can provide 24/7 support for your region.

Many providers, like TrendMicro, are available through live chat, phone, and email, while some even have an integrated option inside the software for reporting a problem directly.

Privacy Policy

Since we rely on antiviruses to protect us from malware, we let them have enormous access to our files. In some cases, that can be a two-edged sword, as was the case with the Avast data leaks.

To make sure that you know what you’re getting into, carefully read the company’s privacy policy and don’t hesitate to get legal help if you still have questions. 

Ease of Use

Antiviruses vary in their ability to organise many of their features in compact and easily accessible ways.

For that reason, you should choose intuitive software, especially if you are not that tech-savvy. Also, make sure that the antivirus easily removes the threat from your device for you (if it finds any) rather than make you go through complicated procedures to get the job done. 

When it comes to user-friendly interfaces, Avast is one of the best, with its non-risky design that hasn’t changed much over the years. VIPRE is also quite user-friendly, taking great care to provide easy navigation and use. 

Compatibility with Platforms and Apps

Antiviruses now usually provide cross-platform protection, offering plans for more than one device, whether it’s the best virus protection for Mac, Windows, or Android. There are also custom features designed for different platforms and apps, targeting their specifications, as devices can differ drastically from one to the next.

Look for an AV that is not only compatible with your device but also has most of the same features across all major platforms. Bitdefender Mobile Security ranks pretty high in this area, so it might be a good option to consider.  If you are a Linux user, ESET NOD32 Antivirus should be one of the first tools to try out.

Cost of the Best Antivirus Software in Australia

Price is naturally a huge factor when it comes to choosing the right AV solution.

Some companies, such as Avast, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, and Avira, offer free versions of their software. 

Although using a free edition is a good starter, it’s not a long-term solution. What’s more, some providers are aware that free versions are not a permanent solution, so they don’t even include this option or offer just a few features in their free plans.

The bottom line is that solid system protection requires an investment on your part. That said, the pricier, the better isn’t always true. 

The best option would be to try a certain antivirus solution and take it from there. 

The good news is that all industry leaders offer a 30-day trial version of their software, giving you time to see if the antivirus solution meets your needs or not. 

To give you a better idea of what you would get for your money, we chose three plans under A$100 from each company we reviewed, with Kaspersky taking the lead as one of the best value antivirus software available right now.  

Keep in mind that the prices below are for the first year only and in many cases, they get a bit higher with the second year renewal.

Kaspersky Anti Virus

Kaspersky Internet Security

Kaspersky Total Security

Real-time Antivirus, Anti-Phishing, Performance Optimization

Plus Payment Protection, VPN, AdBlocker, Private Browsing, Webcam Protection, Adult Content Blocker, Screen Time Management

Plus GPS Child Locator, Password Manager, File Protection

A$19.95/year

A$64.95/year

A$74.95/year

McAfee Individual

McAfee Couples

McAfee Family

Antivirus, Identity Protection,
Home Network Security,
Support,
Password Manager,
Safe Web Browsing,
McAfee Shredder,
Performance Optimization

Plus Multi-device Compatibility

Plus Safe Family

A$69.95/year

A$79.95/year

A$89.95/year

Bitdefender AV Plus

Bitdefender Total Security

Bitdefender Premium Security

Basic Antivirus,
Anti-Phishing

Privacy Firewall, Webcam &
Microphone
Protection,
OneClick Optimizer,
Anti-Phishing

Plus Unlimited VPN

A$39.99/year

A$59.99/year

A$99.99/year

Avast Premium Security

Avast One Individual

Avast One Family

Protection against all
e-threats,
Safe shopping & banking, Cyber Attack Protection

Advanced antivirus,
Firewall, Unlimited VPN, Password Manager,
Public Network Protection

All the other plans but for 6 accounts and 30 devices

A$69.99/year

A$71.88/year

A$95.88/year

Note: These are annual prices in Australia as of November 2021. Due to special offers, check the price before making a purchase.

Final Tips for Computer Protection

Even with having quality AV software, you still need to be careful with your online behaviour and not expose your data as much. 

Here are some tips on how to stop you from being an easy target for cyber attacks.

  • Regular software updates—Large software companies continuously work on improving their products in order to fix bugs that allow hackers to infect your devices.
  • Avoid suspicious links, ads and emails—Almost half of all infections happen because the user unintentionally clicked on something.
  • Monitor your kids—Be involved in your children’s online behaviour and explain why they should be careful.
  • Strong password—Choose passwords combined from upper letters, numbers and special characters and never use the same password for more than one device.
  • Watch for alarm fatigue—If you are frequently exposed to warnings, you may eventually become desensitised to them and take longer to react.
  • Think twice before downloading—One of the most common ways to unintentionally infect your device is by downloading a fake popular app, so double-check even if you’re sure.

Security Key Takeaways

When choosing an antivirus tool, make sure to rely on independent scores, check if it’s compatible with your device, read what else is included in the offer and compare it to alternatives from other security companies.

If you go through all of these steps, rest assured that your computer’s safety will be well-taken care of, whichever provider you decide on.

FAQs 

1. What is the best way to buy antivirus software?

The best way is definitely to buy it directly from the company or through an authorised reseller. Getting them from third parties can often cause serious damage to your system since you’re exposing it to potential hackers and viruses.

2. Does antivirus software slow down your computer?

Antivirus software that does in-the-cloud heavy scanning doesn’t affect your PC’s speed as much. Complete computer scans can last longer and slow down your device, but the usual background scanning is unnoticeable in most cases.

3. What is the best antivirus for Windows 10?

Most antiviruses are built primarily around Windows PC and are being improved according to its updates. Some of the best performing AVs are Kaspersky, Norton, McAfee, Bitdefender and Avast.

4. Does Windows 11 need antivirus?

Although it’s referred to as the most secure Windows version so far, thanks to its TPM 2.0 and Secure Boot, you should know these features only protect you from two types of threats. So, yes, you still need to consider buying antivirus softwanti-virusare for your PC. 

5. What are the main things a good virus protection program should do?

As stated in our antivirus software buying guide, a good AV tool should protect you from malware and protect your privacy. It should also advise you on making safe choices while downloading apps or giving away your personal data.

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