Ratings and reviews can be very helpful but they can also be very confusing because every rater and reviewer will have their own criteria for evaluating a product and these may or may not match up with what you want or need from it.
The way to deal with this is to understand the core features of the product and what they mean in practice and then read the description of any given product to see which, if any, of these features it offers. You’ll often find that products which offer strong functionality will also consistently appear in the “best-rated” lists even if different reviewers put them in different places.
With that in mind, here are the core features of the major, best-rated antivirus products
They are cloud-based
These days you’ll probably find that all of the best-rated antivirus products are cloud-based. There are two main reasons for this. First of all, it allows updates to be applied more quickly, which is a huge benefit in the fast-moving world of IT security (and also eliminates the possibility of the updates failing to be applied due to user error). Secondly, it vastly reduces the burden on the host PC. This is a clear win for people with budget/older computers but also benefits people with newer computers as it means that they can save their computing power for when it matters to them rather than having to “waste” it on their antivirus.
They offer protection against all malware
Even though everyone talks about the “best-rated antivirus products”, the term “antivirus” is a throwback to the days when viruses really were the only form of malicious software there was. These days, there is a huge and diverse range of malicious software and it’s getting bigger all the time. You need protection against everything cybercriminals can throw your way, from adware to worms.
In particular, you need robust protection against spyware as this is designed to be extremely difficult for humans to detect on their own. Spyware is exactly what it sounds like, it spies on your computer and passes on the information to the person who controls it. Spyware is dangerous on its own, for example, it can harvest the details needed for someone to steal your identity. It can also be used to open a door for other forms of malware, such as cryptojackers.
As their name suggests, these take over your computer to mine for cryptocurrency. This may not sound like a big deal, actually it can be very serious. Leaving aside the wear on your computer and the use of your internet connection (and the bills this may cause), the fact is that spyware is used by cybercriminals, so any funds generated through your computer could be used for criminal activities and the trail would lead straight back to you.
You also need to have confidence that the antivirus product will be quickly updated to protect against any new threat which emerges. The key word here is “quickly” (which is why cloud-based antiviruses are so useful). Basically the quicker a cybersecurity company can put out protection against a new form of threat (or a new variation on an existing threat), the less damage it can do.
They provide valuable add-on functionality
The best-rate antivirus products will actually be all-round security products with valuable add-on functions such as ad-blockers and firewalls. Ad-blockers are exactly what their name says and these days they’re a security essential to protect against the spread of viruses. Some viruses can be activated just by an advert being shown on screen, the user doesn’t even have to click on anything and virus-infected adverts have been found on even high-profile websites like Spotify. Firewalls are often marketed as “browsing protection” and these days that’s their main purpose.
Having these functions integrated into your antivirus not only saves money, it also ensures that everything just works out of the box without users having to work out how to get the different functions to work together rather than seeing each other as threats.
They are backed by a reputable brand
If you look at the lists of the best-rated antivirus products, the chances are that you’ll see the same brands coming up again and again. There is a reason for this. These are brands which have proven themselves reliable not just over weeks and months, but over years and decades. Comodo, for example, has been protecting people for over 20 years and is trusted by millions. Click here now to download Comodo antivirus for your computer.