If you need more than just malware protection from your antivirus download, a full internet security suite may be the way to go.
Their services are useful for protecting many different types of digital property. Antivirus security is always included, but other features such as ransomware defence, a VPN, and a password safe may be available depending on the provider and the package. You need look no further than these all-inclusive downloads if you want the maximum level of safety while using the internet.
Computers big and small, like the Mac and the PC, as well as smartphones and tablets like the Android and the iPhone, all have access to internet security suites. They provide protection for multiple devices with a single, straightforward plan, meaning you can safeguard your entire collection of computers, whether they run on Mac OS X or Windows (usually five or more).
Most services include encryption software, and some even have a "rescue disc" option to undo recent attacks. Most come equipped with multiple contemporary firewalls and privacy upgrades.
Internet security suites and antivirus software are typically aimed at home users, but businesses can benefit from services like cloud antivirus and endpoint protection that provide enterprise-level security. In addition, employees have access to a variety of resources for gaining cybersecurity knowledge and skills online.
Select an internet security suite from our handpicked list, and you'll have more then the basics covered. What follows is a list of the products that we believe to be the best currently on the market.
Why Is Internet Security Important?
With so much sensitive information stored online and an ever-growing number of hackers preying on unprotected accounts, it is imperative that users take every precaution to keep their data safe while using the Internet.
Hackers are multiplying all over the web, and they're getting better at using malware and social engineering to steal passwords, usernames, and other sensitive information.
If you don't have adequate online security, you could be the next victim of a hack that exposes your financial information, compromises your social media accounts, and causes you to become a victim of identity theft or fraud.
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What’s the Difference Between Antivirus and Internet Security?
Complete internet security goes beyond the protection offered by antivirus software by adding features specifically designed for use on the Internet, such as the ability to scan files and software, monitor user activity, and search for vulnerabilities.
In fact, many online security products are marketed as "suites" because they bundle multiple programmes into one convenient user interface.
Firewalls, anti-spam tools, ad blockers, safeguards for your webcam and keyloggers, parental controls, and security for your credit card and bank account are all examples of these. There may also be added defences against spyware and adware that are unique to the web.
However, internet security suites may place a greater strain on your computer's resources than traditional antivirus software because of all the different programmes they require.
Can I Create My Own Free Internet Security Suite?
Investing in a top-tier internet security suite from a reliable provider has many benefits. You can still make your own modular suite by piecing together the best open-source tools for the job.
Despite the potential financial benefits, doing so will require a significant amount of time and effort on your part. It is up to you to determine which parts are necessary and which ones are optional, such as antivirus, firewall, and backup applications, and to resolve any issues that arise.
Incorporating more parts into a system will make it more difficult to operate and require more power. The drawbacks of using a free service, such as constant upgrades-please-pay-us-money advertisements, will also affect you.
When you subscribe to a premium internet security suite, the provider bundles together multiple services into one convenient package. They may also extend their protection to a variety of devices and provide several levels of safety.
The Best Internet Security Suites and Software
Bitdefender Total Security
Bitdefender Total Security, the top product from the reliable security firm, is the best all-around internet security suite available.
Total Security gives its subscribers access to a wide range of useful tools. Other than the typical antivirus tools, you also get a firewall, Wi-Fi security advisor, a safe browser for internet banking, a file shredder, and a vulnerability scanner (improved for 2021).
In addition to its security features, Total Security also provides a set of tools for maintaining and improving your computer's performance. Despite their usefulness—for instance, by removing temporary files to boost startup speed—the flagship Bitdefender package offers even more, such as protection for Macs and apps for iOS and Android mobile devices in addition to Windows PCs.
Bitdefender's Total Security is an easy decision if you need protection for multiple devices or operating systems, as it costs only slightly more than the company's middle-tier security suite, Bitdefender Internet Security.
The good news continues with the fact that independent and in-house testing has shown that Bitdefender barely affects your computer's performance (certain competitors perform slightly better in this area, but you won't notice the difference in real-world use).
Finally, you should know that you can try this suite for 30 days at no cost other than your email address. If you're interested in Bitdefender, you can try it risk-free for a month at least before committing to a subscription.
Norton 360 Deluxe
We found that Norton 360 Deluxe was the best all-around value among NortonLifeLock's security suites, and we expect that this is the case for the vast majority of people who are looking to secure more than one device.
While some of the independent test lab results have been a little mixed, Norton provides good antivirus protection overall, along with a plethora of features like webcam protection as well as dark web monitoring, an impressively intelligent firewall, and a set of parental controls.
Also, the parental controls are first-rate, allowing you to keep tabs on your children's whereabouts and activities via GPS tracking of their mobile devices and comprehensive monitoring of their online activities. When it comes to this, Norton excels.
A fully integrated VPN (which could be a significant cost saver in and of itself) and 50GB of online backup storage are also included (ditto).
When comparing Norton 360 Deluxe to other security suites, it's important to keep in mind that it slows down your computer more than average. However, it's still not that much slower than the competition, and you won't really notice the difference in day-to-day use.
Norton 360 Deluxe protects up to five devices, including Windows and Mac computers, as well as mobile apps for Android and iOS (meaning the VPN can be used with all of the covered devices). This Norton package is a good value when compared to the competition (compare it to Norton's other offerings with our guide to choosing your Norton plan), and it comes with robust parental controls, making it ideal for use in a household.
Kaspersky Total Security
One more seasoned player in the security field is Kaspersky Total Security. It provides top-notch antivirus protection while being extremely gentle on computer resources. The 2021 update adds new performance settings to help laptop users save power.
The basic Kaspersky Anti-Virus package has limited features because it focuses on the essentials, and the few extras it does offer are of low quality.
Kaspersky Total Security is preferable because it protects against more threats and doesn't cost much more than Kaspersky Anti-Virus (at least if you want to protect multiple devices; and with Kaspersky's deals, both these products can sometimes be pitched at around the same price, anyway).
In addition to the standard antivirus, malware removal, and webcam protection found in most security suites, Total Security also includes a secure web browser, protection against webcam hijacking, software updater (more useful than most such efforts), file backup tool, and a solid password manager, as well as the full version of Kaspersky's Safe Kids module.
The latter is a cutting-edge system for keeping tabs on your kids' digital activities. Some of the extras, such as the troubleshooting wizards and spam filter, aren't quite as polished as the rest of the package, but you're still getting quite a bit for your money.
Trend Micro Maximum Security
When it comes to security software, Trend Micro's Maximum Security is the best of the best. Users will appreciate the programme's streamlined design and effective virus protection. The multiple layers of defence provided by Trend Micro against ransomware have earned it a high rating from independent testing facilities.
The package also includes highly customizable, top-tier URL filtering for safer web surfing. When it comes to virus scan options, however, pickier users may be dissatisfied to find that Trend Micro's offering doesn't provide nearly as much granular control as they'd like.
Maximum Security provides parental controls, social network protection, and more, but its PC maintenance tools aren't particularly powerful. Data theft protection features, a secure vault for storing sensitive files, and a solid password manager are all included.
The site's helpful mobile apps are designed to be easy to use, so even users with less technical expertise can benefit. We're so confident you'll love this that we'll let you try it out for a full month without spending a dime.
While Avast's free antivirus software is highly regarded, the paid Avast Ultimate is a formidable all-around security suite. Avast Ultimate is another option for those looking for a full VPN bundled with their antivirus software, providing superior online security compared to standard antivirus suites and making it a good value for money.
Although Avast SecureLine VPN isn't quite as fast as some of the top competitors, it still provides a service that's adequate in most situations. The password manager, secure browser, and network protection features found in Avast Ultimate are all above-average.
Professionals have a lot of leeway in setting up this suite. In terms of antivirus protection, it does its job adequately and is bolstered by a laudable Ransomware Shield.
However, we did notice a slight slowdown in performance during our review, and some users may find Avast's unwanted attempts to flog its other products in a paid suite to be annoying. But these quibbles aside, Avast Ultimate is an excellent choice if you need a VPN in addition to antivirus.
Webroot Internet Security Plus
Webroot's strength is how quickly and easily it can be put to use. This product requires very little memory and storage space because the virus definitions are hosted remotely.
Webroot Internet Security Plus is packed with useful extras but won't significantly impact your computer's performance. The inclusion of a LastPass subscription is especially welcome given the high quality of the product overall. Other features include defences against ransomware, phishing, and online banking, as well as an anti-phishing system, a firewall, as well as a password manager.
Downsides? It's true that Webroot's malware scanning speeds are among the best in the industry, but it's been a while since the company's antivirus engine has been independently tested. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but our personal experience with it and the ratings we've seen paint a less-than-perfect picture of its efficacy as an antivirus. Keep in mind that the iOS app does not offer virus scanning and only provides a secure browser, backup system, and password manager.
If you are not completely satisfied with Webroot's Internet Security Plus suite within the first 70 days of use, you can get your money back.
ESET Smart Security Premium
You get a lot for your money with ESET Smart Security Premium. This is a fantastic addition to Windows devices, as it provides parental controls, protection for webcams, monitoring of networks, additional network security, and an anti-theft feature (with location tracking and other cool features). In addition to Windows and Mac, Linux is also addressed here.
ESET provides a plethora of features, but the quality varies. Parental controls, for instance, are extremely basic, but the password manager is quite robust. Experts will appreciate ESET's extensive configuration options, while computer newbies may struggle to get to grips with its many features.
Although ESET has received mixed reviews from third-party testing labs, the product's core antivirus protection appears to be reliable. Some people will appreciate the additional features that come with Smart Security Premium, such as the password that was mentioned earlier and a secure file vault that can be used to safeguard any confidential information on your computer.
However, if you don't need the extra features, it's not the best bargain.
McAfee Total Protection Multi-Device
McAfee's basic offering, Total Protection Individual, protects just a single device. McAfee Total Protection Multi-Device is the superior option if you own more than just a Windows PC and are considering this purchase.
McAfee periodically runs sales that make it possible to purchase a comprehensive security suite that protects up to 5 Windows or Mac computers and an unlimited number of Android or iOS devices for the same price or sometimes even less. In addition to the main service, we also offer identity theft protection.
McAfee is great for beginners thanks to its straightforward interface, but advanced users may find it lacking in functionality. And there are a few nitpicky things about the interface that can be frustrating.
Results from independent labs show that McAfee Total Protection is only slightly better than adequate when it comes to keeping viruses at bay. Reviews of McAfee, a company that makes antivirus software, have been mixed.
McAfee's Multi-Device package is a good deal and a reliable option, with features like a built-in (if limited) free VPN and optimisation tools that speed up your time spent online and in apps.
Bullguard Premium Protection
Consider also BullGuard, a security suite that uses multi-layered defences and cutting-edge machine learning to thwart malware both now and in the future.
A firewall, vulnerability scanner, and home network scanner are also included to check the security of your wireless network and prevent any unwanted intrusions. BullGuard Premium Protection also provides a special perk for gamers in the form of a Game Booster optimisation feature.
AV-Test, the sole independent test lab that covers the security firm, has given BullGuard a high rating for its antivirus engine. In addition, BullGuard Premium Protection provides excellent value for those who need to protect multiple gadgets. Although it has fewer features than BullGuard's Internet Security Suite, protecting 10 or more devices with it is actually cheaper overall. An unusual situation, to be sure, but one we won't argue with.
Here's a curious case: compared to competing internet security suites, Avira's premium offering lacks some essential protections. However, it more than makes up for this in other ways, which, depending on your needs and use case, may make it appealing.
So while Prime lacks the protections of a firewall and parental controls (as well as any sort of backup facility), it does come with some cool extras. That includes a good VPN, with unlimited bandwidth, and some top-notch software for keeping your computer running smoothly.
Consider Prime if you need a VPN and a new security suite in addition to those speed enhancement tools. In the latter scenario, Avira Prime proves to be a tremendous bargain, as it gives you both a reliable antivirus engine and the additional security of an Avira VPN. Some people, however, may long for the aforementioned suite's essential features, such as parental controls.
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How to Choose the Best Internet Security Suite for You
Is it necessary to instal so many additional programmes alongside your antivirus software? The use of a password manager seems to have few detractors. Outside of that, though, you need to think about your specific situation.
Parental-control software can help you monitor your children's computer and mobile device use and even find them if they disappear.
Those who are financially secure should consider getting identity theft protection. You should use a virtual private network (VPN) whenever you are in a public place like a hotel or airport.
Check out our recommendations for the best identity theft protection services, best backup data services, best parental-control apps, and best password managers to get a sense of the standalone services against which these premium security suites are pitted.
Although Internet security suites may seem pricey at first, they are actually much more cost-effective than buying each individual component separately. Which ones are essential to you?
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Always included is antivirus protection; additional security features like ransomware protection, a virtual private network, and a password safe may be optional add-ons. Antivirus and Internet security suites are typically created with home users in mind. However, solutions like cloud antivirus and endpoint protection can help businesses. Some Internet security suites have been found to increase the load on your computer. The best open-source tools can still be used to cobble together a custom modular suite.
Of course, you'll also have to deal with the cons of using a free service, like annoying "upgrades" that actually ask you to pay money. Up to five Windows or Mac computers can be protected by Norton 360 Deluxe. There is also cloud backup storage and a VPN (which may be a significant savings in and of itself). Remember that it will significantly decrease your computer's performance. Kaspersky Total Security is recommended over competing products because it offers superior protection against a wider range of threats at a comparable price.
The most advanced security software available is Trend Micro's Maximum Security. Value-conscious consumers can also consider Avast Ultimate, which offers full VPN functionality in addition to antivirus protection. When compared to its top rivals, Avast SecureLine VPN is noticeably slower. Avast Ultimate has better-than-average password management, a secure browser, and network security features. There are a lot of extras that come with Webroot Internet Security Plus that are helpful, but it won't slow down your computer too much.
Although ESET has a mixed reception from independent testing labs, its antivirus features appear to be solid. When it comes to preventing virus infections, McAfee's Total Protection is only slightly better than adequate. Rather than relying on a single line of defence, BullGuard employs a number of different lines of defence and machine learning to prevent malware. When comparing prices, BullGuard's Internet Security Suite is the clear winner over Avira Prime. In addition to the antivirus engine, this package also includes an Avira VPN for added protection. You can keep tabs on your kids' smartphone and computer use with the help of parental-control software. Those who have a comfortable financial cushion should think about securing their identities.
- If you need more than just malware protection from your antivirus download, a full internet security suite may be the way to go.
- Select an internet security suite from our handpicked list, and you'll have more then the basics covered.
- Investing in a top-tier internet security suite from a reliable provider has many benefits.
- When you subscribe to a premium internet security suite, the provider bundles together multiple services into one convenient package.
- Norton 360 Deluxe protects up to five devices, including Windows and Mac computers, as well as mobile apps for Android and iOS (meaning the VPN can be used with all of the covered devices).
- One more seasoned player in the security field is Kaspersky Total Security.
- The basic Kaspersky Anti-Virus package has limited features because it focuses on the essentials, and the few extras it does offer are of low quality.
- Kaspersky Total Security is preferable because it protects against more threats and doesn't cost much more than Kaspersky Anti-Virus (at least if you want to protect multiple devices; and with Kaspersky's deals, both these products can sometimes be pitched at around the same price, anyway).
- In addition to the standard antivirus, malware removal, and webcam protection found in most security suites, Total Security also includes a secure web browser, protection against webcam hijacking, software updater (more useful than most such efforts), file backup tool, and a solid password manager, as well as the full version of Kaspersky's Safe Kids module.
- When it comes to security software, Trend Micro's Maximum Security is the best of the best.
- The password manager, secure browser, and network protection features found in Avast Ultimate are all above-average.
- But these quibbles aside, Avast Ultimate is an excellent choice if you need a VPN in addition to antivirus.
- If you are not completely satisfied with Webroot's Internet Security Plus suite within the first 70 days of use, you can get your money back.
- ESET provides a plethora of features, but the quality varies.
- Although ESET has received mixed reviews from third-party testing labs, the product's core antivirus protection appears to be reliable.
- Although it has fewer features than BullGuard's Internet Security Suite, protecting 10 or more devices with it is actually cheaper overall.
- Avira PrimeHere's a curious case: compared to competing internet security suites, Avira's premium offering lacks some essential protections.
- Consider Prime if you need a VPN and a new security suite in addition to those speed enhancement tools.
- Check out our recommendations for the best identity theft protection services, best backup data services, best parental-control apps, and best password managers to get a sense of the standalone services against which these premium security suites are pitted.
FAQs About internet Security
Internet security is a central aspect of cybersecurity, including managing cyber threats and risks associated with the Internet, web browsers, web apps, websites and networks. The primary purpose of Internet security solutions is to protect users and corporate IT assets from attacks that travel over the Internet.
Network security is important for home networks as well as in the business world. Most homes with high-speed internet connections have one or more wireless routers, which could be exploited if not properly secured. A solid network security system helps reduce the risk of data loss, theft and sabotage.
In addition to viruses/malware, new security risks designed to exploit vulnerabilities in corporate email systems and websites continue to emerge. These include spyware/grayware, phish sites, network viruses/malware, Trojans, and worms. Collectively, these threats are known as security risks.
When choosing from among WEP, WPA, WPA2 and WPA3 wireless security protocols, experts agree that WPA3 is best for Wi-Fi security. As the most up-to-date wireless encryption protocol, WPA3 is the most secure choice.
While antivirus is essential to your computer security system, Internet Security is more comprehensive and powerful. The best way to protect your computer is to have both installed. This is because they will help protect against different types of threats.