The Best-Rated Antivirus Programs of 2012

Computers have become such an indispensable and valuable part of our everyday experiences that we cannot seem to live without them. From logging into our social media accounts to conducting our business transactions, computers make such tasks possible. With this rapid pace of growth, however, comes the ever-increasing threat that malicious software such as viruses poses to unwary computer users. They have reached levels of sophistication unheard of before, so much that more efforts are spent to counter them. Fortunately for us, there are software manufacturers who are always working on giving us antivirus programs of better quality and service, and have consistently ranked on the top of the best antivirus reviews. Presented below is a short list of the top-ranked antivirus software available today.

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The Vipre Antivirus is a relative newcomer in the antivirus category and it has not garnered the general following that is being enjoyed by the other more established antivirus programs. Nevertheless, it has proven to be as capable of eliminating virus infections. It handles itself well as it goes through the three general tasks of antivirus protection, namely, deterrence, discovery, and removal. It will not cause your computer to bog down. However, it may take you some effort to install it in your computer but once you have completed the process, just reboot your PC and you’re good to go.

The BitDefender Antivirus Pro, meanwhile, features remote network administration and interception of pre-determined user information. It is easy to use and offers you beginner, medium-level, and professional-grade utilities in its antivirus arsenal. It runs discreetly as you work with your computer and it leaves PC processes untouched. These features have enabled BitDefender to be included in the best antivirus reviews for last year.

The McAfee Antivirus is well-known as one of the first antivirus programs to be offered commercially. Throughout the years, the company that makes it has strived to offer the best that can be found in antivirus software. It is so fast that when it detects viruses, it works to intercept them to within a millionth part of a second. It is 8 times quicker than its previous incarnation and it gives you more security from dangerous Internet sites than other comparable antivirus software. Despite it being a little sluggish compared to other competing antivirus programs, it is still included in the best antivirus reviews of 2012.

Like its competitor the McAfee Antivirus, the Norton Antivirus 2012 is the product of another trailblazing antivirus manufacturing company. It is noted for offering a comparatively broader area of antivirus security and attributes. This high grade of protection is augmented by continuous updating and any kind of spurious activity is checked by its SONIC 3 behavioral safeguard.

The Avast Pro Antivirus is another highly-recommended antivirus product that has gained renown due to the effective security that it offers against viruses and other types of malware. You will find it suitable in handling most kinds of malware such as viruses, spyware, and Trojan horses.

The Kaspersky Antivirus is considered to be one of the best antivirus products sold today. It works actively to shield your PC from commonplace malware as well as those that are recently developed and discovered, malware that comparable antivirus software would find difficult to identify. Its 2012 version offers a desktop utility that is easy and quick for you to use; it also can check Internet sites and emailed messages for any hint of malicious information.

Finally, the ESET NOD Antivirus 4 is a dependable antivirus product that can guard your PC from most threats. It gives you real time protection as you surf the Internet and makes sure that your PC runs at optimum levels.

So the next time that you need to buy or download an antivirus program, consider these well-regarded products. Having them listed in the best antivirus reviews for 2012 will mean that you will not go wrong with your choice of any of them.

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How to Choose An Antivirus Program

It is quite possible you are inundated on a daily basis with spam mail and unwanted pop-ups which advertise the latest in spy-ware and antivirus protection. As un-amusing and counterintuitive as it may be, competition and the effective differences between competing antivirus application developers is so tight, that even the manufactures of antivirus programs are willing to exploit your computers weaknesses to advertise their solutions.

The sheer size and efficiency of the internet as well its billion-plus users makes new computer viruses more dangerous and virulent than ever. Viruses can literally spread around the globe in only minutes, effecting thousands of unprotected and unprepared users and businesses virtually instantly and simultaneously. The need for antivirus protection is of paramount concern for virtually all PC users.

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First Things First: What IS a Computer Virus?

To be considered a true computer Virus, a program needs the ability to replicate itself and trigger its activity at specified events. A computer virus is just one of three types of programs known as “maliceware”. “Maliceware” are applications designed to damage, delete or steal your information, hijack your computer and even damage or destroy your computers hardware. The three types of “maliceware” you need to concern yourself with are Viruses, Trojans and Worms. Most antivirus programs are designed to detect and defend your PC from all three threats.

What Does an Antivirus Program Do?

Antivirus programs take two common approaches to recognize threats to your computer.

1. Signature Detection: Via Signature Detection an antivirus application scans your computer, drives and storage devices for files that contain a code it recognizes as a virus variant.

2. Activity: An antivirus application will monitor the activity on your computer for suspicious behaviors i.e. modification of system files or folders and unauthorized connections to the internet to name two.

Signature detection generally requires the manufacturer of an antivirus application to obtain a copy of a specific virus and then reverse-engineer it to obtain markers relevant to its programming. These markers are then loaded into your antivirus software via updates. Signature detection is a sound methodology for detecting and protecting against computer viruses, however it can be rendered useless when faced with a virus for which is has no definition.

Antivirus applications that scan for potential computer virus activity can be more useful at detecting the latest threats than those reliant on signature detection. It is important to note that because many applications perform the same activities as a virus – writing and changing system files for example – a user can quickly become inundated with numerous and unnecessary warnings by antivirus applications that utilize this method for detection.

Most of today’s “solid” antivirus programs utilize a combination of both signature detection and virus activity to protect your computer against threats.

How to Choose the Antivirus Program that is Right for You.

If you try surfing the web for insight into what is the best antivirus program or manufacturer, you will quickly find yourself neck deep in a sea of advertisements which profess themselves to be legitimate and impartial evaluators of the available programs. The truth is, of the major manufacturers, no one solution can provide for all of your potential needs. They all have instances where they are not as effective as the competition at detecting or eliminating a specific infection or threat. There are many good Antivirus applications and manufacturers all vying for your business, be it for personal or business use, and choosing the correct application or manufacturer for your computer security can generally come down to a few simple questions.

How at Risk are You?

Asking yourself this question is perhaps the first and most important step toward choosing what degree of protection you need, and how much money you are willing to spend, on Antivirus protection. Risk generally equates to your computers exposure to outside applications, files or connections. If you were to operate a computer that would never come into contact with any program or file not manufactured by a secure source, then you have virtually no need for an Antivirus application. Simply put, if you never plan to connect your computer to the internet, download files with it or upload “at risk” files from outside data sources, you should have no need for Antivirus software.

If you are a casual user who perhaps connects to the internet on occasion through a temporary or dial up connection and only download or upload files and programs from reasonably secure sources, your need for an antivirus program is clear, however, your risk may be minimal. In this situation the types and range of protective applications can be kept to a minimum; a basic antivirus program designed to regularly scan your hard drive for infections should offer you the protection that you need. There are many good antivirus programs that will fit this need available as shareware – a free download – throughout the internet.

Now, if you are like what I would consider to be the majority of today’s computer users, you are a high risk user and need a wide variety of the most up to date antivirus programs available. If you have a broadband internet connection which keeps your computer connected to the internet 24/7. If you regularly upload and download files and applications from random and un-trusted sources, you need to invest in very thorough security for your computer. High risk users should invest in an antivirus program that offers real time scanning of all incoming and outgoing connections or files, a firewall to prevent unauthorized access to your PC via an open broadband connection, a pop-up blocker that prevents your computers web browser from being hijacked and adware scanners that detect pop-up, spy-ware, tracking and redirection software.

Are you Purchasing for Business or Home?

Antivirus software manufactured for business and home can be two very different applications both in cost and effectiveness. Home versions generally cost less and come with fewer options than business based antivirus programs. Generally the home user does not need the added functionality built into business versions and as such, I would not recommend that a home user invest in an antivirus solution designed for business.

Good antivirus software designed for business is focused on security, both from external and internal threats, as well as ease of maintenance. Most corporate versions of antivirus applications allow for a central point of control over entire networks. Protection can be divided between internet or application servers and individual PCs. New software updates are generally “pushed” from a central application server through the entire network, allowing for simplicity and assure-ity of a network’s protection. Most times, corporate versions of antivirus applications do not allow individual users within a network to make changes to their protection settings; this is of key importance when considering overall network security and stability.

As a business purchasing a corporate class antivirus suite, it is important that your protection extends to each individual user that will access your network. Exchange/mail and internet server protection is a must, as well as protection for mission-critical file and application servers. It is a good rule of thumb for IT managers within corporate environments to assume that all their users will do everything within their power to infect corporate equipment with viruses and threats. Though this most certainly is not true, assuming that users know how to protect themselves or their corporate computer environment from infection is in most cases professional suicide for the IT manger in charge.

Antivirus software for business is generally loaded with more options than software built for home, and as such is often times much more expensive on a whole. Usually business antivirus programs come as a server based application. Clients, or additional licenses, are purchased for each computer or user that connects to the antivirus server.

With Regard to the Antivirus Program Itself:

Determining the true quality and effectiveness of an antivirus program can sometimes come down to how often the manufacturer releases updates to the program. New viruses are introduced to the web on most certainly a daily, if not hourly basis. The best antivirus manufacturers release updates on a daily basis and often offer updates to their programs on a real-time, as needed basis. The ability for an antivirus software manufacturer to release constant, and relevant, updates to their programs should be of great concern to the user. Not having the latest updates can almost be as dangerous as having no protection at all.

Other Important Factors to Consider:

1. The programs compatibility with your current set up and operating system? – If you are still using Windows 98 and you are purchasing an antivirus software manufactured in 2006, chances are it is not compatible with your computer.

2. How much in the way of system resources does the program use? – Just like all applications and operating systems, antivirus applications will use your computers processing power, memory and storage space to function. Keeping this use to a minimum will help to keep your computer operating at peak performance.

3. What kind of protection does the software offer? – Does the program offer protection against multiple threats such as Worms and Trojans? Will the program scan incoming and outgoing text messages and e-mails?

4. Cost – How much will the protection cost you over the life of your usage? – Most antivirus programs require that you subscribe to their service and then purchase updates on a yearly basis. The costs of these updates can vary widely between manufacturers and should be considered when making your final decision.

Answering these questions truthfully though an honest assessment of your PC usage will help to guarantee that you invest the proper amount of money and time into ensuring your PC and data are safe and secure.

Get information about top antivirus 2017 here

How to Performance Test Antivirus Suite Software Before You Buy

The computer market is full of antivirus software suites, stating that theirs is the best and promising you excellent detection results and safe surfing on the web. The only problem with some of this information is that it tends to be bias.

Either the reviews are written by an affiliate who receives a commission for each sale or the antivirus company itself provides its own promotional information to convince you to buy.

This article will provide you with the steps required to performance test any antivirus software suites that you may be interested in purchasing to run on your PC. The test results will provide you with real-time information about how the antivirus packages run on your PC, allowing you to make the right purchasing decision first time round.

 

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Preparation

Before you take the plunge and start testing your antivirus suites, you should give your PC a performance service with one of the many free utilities available online.

Advanced System Care is a good clean-up/tweak utility that will give your PC a deep clean with a simple one-click interface. Before running any clean-up program, make sure you have a current data backup. Once you have used Advanced System Care, you may leave it installed if it does not impact too much on your PC’s resources or just uninstall it.

As a side note, you can possibly help your computers performance as well by editing your system’s start-up file by using the ‘msconfig’ utility to disable any unnecessary auto start apps when your PC starts up. If you are not familiar with this process and are unsure as to what to disable then just use the Advanced System Care program.

Online Research

Although you can gather some useful information from the reviewer or the vendor’s website, it is always wise to check the online forums or read independent reviews about the product you are researching, which do not have a bias, prior to your purchase.

One recommended website that offers an unbiased review is av-comparatives.org and provides test results for many antivirus products.

The two test results of interest are the detection and removal results, as you will be doing your own performance testing to see how the antivirus suites affect your particular PC within its own hardware/software environment. The detection and removal results are displayed by clicking on the ‘comparatives’ tab on the main page of av-comparatives website.

Not Created Equal

The main reason for performance testing antivirus products is that not all antivirus packages are created equal when it comes to providing PC and web browsing protection, memory usage, background scanning speeds, virus detection and removal, etc.

Minimum Requirements

Antivirus suites should have at least the following modules:

* Antivirus
* Antirootkit
* Anti-Phising
* Antispyware
* Antimalware
* Antitrojan
* Antiworm
* Antispam
* Safe Browsing
* Firewall
* Real time monitoring
* Scheduled scanning
* Automatic definition updating

Create a Short List

You will need to create a short list of the antivirus packages available that fit the above criteria for downloading, based on your online research.

Online Antivirus Scan

If you do not have any antivirus software currently installed on your PC and you have been surfing the web, then I strongly suggest you scan your system with an online antivirus scanner before you download and install any trial antivirus suites.

To do this, just type in the Google search box “free online antivirus scanner” (without the quotes) and chose a well-known scanner such as Trend, AVG, Kaspersky, Comodo, McAfee or Eset then just follow the onscreen instructions to install the necessary software for the online scanner to run. Once the scan has completed and removed any infections, if any, then you are ready to download, install and start testing your trial antivirus suites.

Installed Antivirus Software

If you currently have any antivirus software already installed on your system then this must first be uninstalled completely and your system restarted before installing any trial antivirus packages.

Recommended Uninstaller Program

A good uninstaller program that is free is Revo Uninstaller. It does an excellent job of cleaning the registry of any leftover entries from your old antivirus program that its own uninstaller leaves behind.

To locate the uninstaller program just type into Google “free Revo Uninstaller” (without the quotes), then download and install it.

After you have downloaded and installed Revo Uninstaller, use it to uninstall your current antivirus program. Check pages 6-9 of the help guide by clicking on the help tab on the Revo Uninstaller menu bar to take you through the uninstall procedure.

If for some reason, when you go to install an antivirus trial and it will not install due to some leftover files from the previous antivirus program then download the previous installed antivirus programs removal utility from the vendor’s web site and run it.

N.B. Restart your computer after you have uninstalled the antivirus program.

System Resource Usage

The first and most important consideration when testing any antivirus suites is to note the amount of memory and computer resources it uses when running in the background and/or performing a scheduled scan, as this will be one of the deciding factors in your purchase.

Therefore, before installing any trial software you will need to check and note down how much memory and CPU resource is currently being used on your system, so you can compare it to the memory and CPU usage of your trial antivirus suites.

How to Check System Resource Usage

To check current memory and CPU usage on a Windows 7/Vista computer, right-click on the task bar (the task bar is the grey/blue bar at the bottom of your screen) then left-click on ‘start task manager’

To check current memory and CPU usage on a Windows XP/2000 computer, right- click on task bar (the task bar is the grey area at the bottom of your screen) then left-click on ‘start task manager’

Click on the “performance” tab within “windows task manager”. This screen shows memory and CPU usage of your computer.

Once you have noted the memory and CPU usage without the trial software installed on your system you can now go ahead and install the trial antivirus package.

After it has been installed and you have restarted your system you need to repeat the above memory and CPU check to note how much memory and CPU resource is being used by the trial antivirus software.

You then need to run a full antivirus scan of your system and repeat the memory and CPU check while the antivirus scan is running. Again, note the memory and CPU usage.

While the scan is still running, open and close a few programs and see how your computer performs. Type some text into notepad and note the response time. Your system will be slower than usual because of the file scanning but it still should be usable with an acceptable delay.

Once the file scan has completed, repeat the process of opening and closing some programs and using notepad to enter text. These quick tests should operate normally and without delay.

If there is a noticeable delay (much more than usual), then the trial antivirus program is using too much of your computers resources. This may be remedied by installing additional memory but for the meantime, we need to continue with our testing before we make any decision to purchase additional memory.

Once you have completed your testing of the first antivirus trial suite, uninstall it as per the instructions above with the Revo Uninstaller program and repeat the testing process for the other antivirus trial suite software you have downloaded.

Results

With your testing completed, you can now make an informed decision as to which of the antivirus suites best suits your PC. If you have a preferred antivirus package but it is impacting too much on your computers performance, then you have two choices, install additional ram (that is if the ram can be upgraded) or settle for another antivirus suite that does not impact on your PC’s performance.

If your PC performed badly with all of the antivirus trial software, the memory cannot be upgraded and you ran the Advanced System Care before testing the trial software then your system may require a re-installation of the operating system. Be aware that re-installing the operating system may not resolve the problem if the PC’s hardware is too old. This leaves you with the option of replacing your computer or finding an antivirus package that will not adversely affect your PC.

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