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Before You Buy Antivirus Software

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The Internet makes it possible for a new virus to spread around the globe in only minutes. Antivirus software is one of the single most important pieces of software on your system. While many new systems come with antivirus software pre-installed, it may not be the best choice for your needs and it most certainly is out of date by the time it’s delivered to your home. Here are some of the basics to consider before you buy antivirus software.

Certifiable Protection

Antivirus software must be able to detect 100% of all in-the-wild threats to provide proper protection. Various agencies exist to determine which products meet these criteria. AV-Test.org performs the most extensive testing, using both in-the-wild (ItW) and Zoo viruses with displayed results for various categories of threats. Their results form the decision basis for our Top Picks.

True Cost of Ownership

After choosing a few certified products to test, determine what the actual cost of ownership is. Unlike other forms of software, antivirus software must be continually updated to remain effective. Additionally, new versions should be purchased annually to maintain the highest level of protection. Vendor prices for upgrades and annual licenses vary widely.

Features, Bells, and Whistles

If you use email, IM, or file-sharing applications, you will want to choose virus software that offers extra protection for those avenues. If you have an older system, you may want to forgo some of the extra bells and whistles and choose a basic antivirus software package that consumes fewer system resources.

Antivirus Software Top Picks

Using the above criteria and testing performed by AV-Test.org, over thirty virus software programs were analyzed and seven were chosen as this year’s Top Picks for antivirus software for Windows. Excellent options for Macintosh users are also available.

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