Five Best Antivirus Applications

Five Best Antivirus Applications

The internet is a glorious and exciting world, but unless you’re properly protected with a good antivirus application, it can also be a dangerous one. We’ve come a long way since the days of Norton, with handfuls of excellent freeware software that can keep your computer safe from malware just as well as their bloated, more expensive counterparts. Earlier this week we asked you to share your favourite antivirus application, and today we’re rounding up the five most popular answers. Hit the jump for an overview of the five best antivirus applications.

AVG Anti-Virus (Freeware and Shareware)

The lightweight AVG Free provides protection against the various nasties floating around the internet. Like many of the options in the Hive Five, AVG provides freeware (with limitations) and commercial versions of their software, but most users find AVG Free is all they need—though many users prefer versions prior to the most recent 8.0 release.

NOD32 (Shareware)

NOD32 is best known for its speed and small system footprint, but users also swear by NOD32 as a comprehensive and bulletproof solution. At US$40/year for a home licence, it’s not free, but NOD32 die-hards claim the pricetag is well worth it.

Avast Antivirus (Freeware and Shareware)

Available in both freeware (Home) and shareware (Professional) flavors, Avast Antivirus is the happy home of many an AVG-switcher. Avast is slightly heavier on system resources, but users argue its excellent protection more than makes up for the increased footprint. The freeware version will cost you an email address to get a free registration code from their website.

Avira AntiVir (Freeware and Shareware)

According to many of its users, Avira is the go-to freeware app for detecting viruses and other malware that other antivirus apps miss. Like several of its peers, Avira is available in both freeware (Personal) and shareware (Premium) versions, and most people find the freeware alternative plenty to suit their needs. One downside to Avira on install is pop-up ads enabled by default (adware, anyone?), but you can disable the ads with a couple of clicks.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus (Shareware)

Fans of shareware antivirus app Kaspersky point out its consistently strong ratings in malware protection as well worth the US$60 licence. Kaspersky also boasts an extremely quick response time to new viruses, earning it a special place in the hearts and system trays of its users.

This week’s honorable mention goes out to ClamWin, the only open-source option featured in the bunch.

If you’ve got more to share, whether your antivirus-app of choice made the list or not, let’s hear more about your favourite in the comments. If you give a new antivirus app after reading through some of your other options, you may want to check out the harmless EICAR virus test to see what your new antivirus tool looks like when it catches a new virus.

Adam Pash is a senior editor for Lifehacker who loves a good antivirus app. His special feature Hive Five appears every Thursday on Lifehacker. Subscribe to the Hive Five RSS feed to get new installments in your newsreader.


  • It is sad to see AVG 8 go down the track of bloatware.

    I have used NOD32 in the past and loved it. Once the network edition of AVG has expired I will consider using NOD32 again.

  • AVG is not usually rated as the best protection. But with the new version 8 looking good and inc spyware detection too it is hard to beat for the average user not doing ridiculously unsafe surfing. Plus AVG has always used a minimum of system resources (memory) which makes it good even for older/slower PCs. Combine with windows firewall and you have a totally free, low overhead security system that is adequate for most home users 🙂

  • “The internet is a glorious and exciting world, but unless you’re properly protected with a good antivirus application, it can also be a dangerous one.”

    open your eyes and your minds to an OS that doesn’t require this AV type of nonsense.

  • Don’t waste your time with AV or anti-malware solutions. They’re reactive solutions. Go with the Proactive approach. Prevent things from happening instead of reacting to things when they happen!

    For WinXP or newer…

    (1) Create a Limited User Account and use it.

    (2) Install SuRun to escalate to Admin privileges if you need it.

    (3) Use “Software Restriction Policy” (SRP) if your version of Windows that supports it. (tighter security). WinXP Pro has it available. In WinXP Home, you need to manually add it. While in Vista, I think its only available to the Business, Enterprise and Ultimate editions. I am not sure if you can manually add SRP capability to other versions of Vista.

    (4) Install third party firewall if you don’t like the Windows Firewall.

    (5) Use your head. The brain is the most amazing component in the area of computer security.

    That’s it. You do NOT need to install extra crap in regards to security.

    I do these kinds of things on my Windows and Linux boxes. I don’t have issues.

  • in the past ive used nod32 and kaspersky anti hacker but since moving to france i decided on kaspersky security suite ver 7.
    through out this year i have been continually fighting with this security suite becuase of its lack of ability to protect my system. it has become nearly a full time endeavour just to keep this laptop opperational.Some of the problems i think are that
    after the installation kisv7 needs to upload the virus data files and it is during this s.l.o.w process with dial up the pc
    is at its most vulnerable. upon completing the update kisv7
    continues with a scan finding nothing!!!!! windows advises that the kisv7 is off line but kisv7 says otherwise.
    this machine has had its o/s reinstalled after the drive being reformatted umpteen times but the end result is allways the same.
    conclusion from my experiance the only good feature that this
    program has is the uninstall button providing that it works.
    i voiced my opinions on the forum and got thrown off.
    incidently i ran tds3 on the machine and that identified kasv7 as a rat. i know that tds3 is no longer with us UNFORTUNATLY.
    but i could use another programme like that again if anyone knows of one?

    mean while my machine continues to be infected, these help guis just keep activating untill the pc crashes!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mac’s don’t need anti-virus software. Sure, you can find so-called expert articles that say so, but recently Apple confirmed that Mac’s are secure out of the box, and only mentioned antivirus as an option.

    Do the calculation. How much do you spend on anti-virus subscriptions per year. Let’s say $60. Over a 4 year lifetime of a computer, that’s $120, which is close to 10% of a $1,500 iMac computer.

    Plus, not only is that a saving on anti-virus software, it is peace of mind not having to worry about viruses and spyware. Just don’t fall for social-engineering malware that tricks you to click the button. There’s no software that can save you from foolishness at falling for such tricks.

  • R you silly fool, Mac’s are only safe while they have a small user base. Hackers don’t want to waste their time on small fry things when they can hack something and affect 80%+ of PC users.

    When/If Mac ever corners enough of a market to be of interest to hackers, then you will moste certainly need AV.

    It’s the same reason why many games aren’t made for the mac. What’s the point when most people don’t use them?

  • I have to agree with ‘J.’ Macs have been safe thus far because there has been no real reason to attack them…the juice was just not worth the squeeze. Now that they are gaining popularity, you are seeing all kinds of antivirus companies come out with products for them because they are now being attacked. Ah, the price of fame…

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