Viruses on your phone or computer can cause a lot of problems. They can slow down your devices, corrupt your files, steal your information, and even make your gadgets completely unusable. Thankfully, there are some great antivirus apps out there that can help you get rid of these pesky viruses and keep your devices safe and secure.
Why you need an antivirus app
Antivirus software is essential for protecting your devices from malware, spyware, ransomware, and other cyber threats. Here are some key reasons why an antivirus app is so important:
- Detects viruses and malware – Antivirus apps constantly run scans to identify any potential infections on your device. This allows you to take action before the virus can do harm.
- Removes infections – Once a virus is detected, the antivirus software can quarantine or remove the threat so it can no longer impact your system.
- Prevents infections – Antivirus programs have real-time protection that blocks suspicious files, websites, and downloads from infecting your device in the first place.
- Protects against information theft – Viruses can contain spyware that steals your personal data. Antivirus apps block this activity and keep your information safe.
- Stops ransomware attacks – Sophisticated ransomware can lock you out of your device and files. Antivirus tools can halt these attacks in their tracks.
- Lightweight protection – Most antivirus apps use minimal system resources, so they don’t slow down your device while running scans and real-time protection.
Bottom line – antivirus software provides a critical layer of protection that every internet-connected device needs to stay healthy and secure.
Features to look for in an antivirus app
Not all antivirus apps are created equal. When choosing antivirus software for your devices, here are the key features you should look for:
The antivirus program should offer real-time scanning to block threats before they can infect your system. This dynamic protection monitors system activity, apps, new files, and networks for anything malicious.
In addition to real-time protection, the best antivirus apps allow you to run scheduled system scans. This allows you to take a deep look for viruses across your entire device on a regular basis.
Quarantine of threats
When the antivirus app detects a potential threat, it should quarantine the file so that it can no longer harm your device. Quarantining isolates the threat until you can determine if you want to delete it permanently.
Malware scanning and protection
Antivirus software should check for all forms of malicious software, including spyware, ransomware, adware, keyloggers, bots, and more. Comprehensive malware protection is essential.
Phishing and fraud protection
Many antivirus apps now include tools to detect phishing scams and sites. This helps protect you from frauds and cybercriminals when browsing the web.
Some antivirus programs offer features to clean up unneeded files, close resource-draining apps, and optimize device performance. This helps counteract any slowdown caused by real-time scanning.
Additional security tools
Top antivirus apps may include extra features like VPNs, password managers, firewalls, parental controls, identity protection, and more. These can further enhance your security.
Light system impact
You want an antivirus app that runs efficient scanning and real-time protection without significantly slowing down your device. The best apps use minimal system resources.
Keep these key features in mind when comparing antivirus apps and choosing the right solution for your needs.
The top antivirus apps
Here is an overview of some of the top-rated antivirus apps available today:
Bitdefender Mobile Security
Bitdefender Mobile Security provides excellent protection against Android and iOS threats. It offers real-time scanning, scheduled scans, a VPN, web protection, anti-theft tools, app locker, and more. Bitdefender earns top scores for malware detection from independent labs.
Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus
Kaspersky is a respected name in cybersecurity. Their mobile antivirus app gives real-time protection, app scanning, web filtering, anti-spam features, and minimal battery drain. It consistently earns top reviews for catching the most malware threats.
AVG AntiVirus FREE
For Android devices, AVG AntiVirus FREE is a great basic antivirus solution, with 100 million+ installs. It provides real-time malware scanning, virus removal, performance optimization, and other useful tools.
McAfee Mobile Security
McAfee Mobile Security offers complete protection from apps, networks, web browsing, and more. Powerful features include App Lock, WiFi Protection, Battery Optimizer, Call Blocking, and Device Lock to help secure your Android phone.
Malwarebytes focuses on detecting and destroying malware across Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows. Their smartphone app provides malware scanner, web protection, app audit, and scam call blocker. Malwarebytes is often ranked the top antivirus for malware detection.
360 Security – Antivirus
360 Security is a highly-rated, all-in-one antivirus and system optimization tool for Android. It features virus scanning, junk cleaning, RAM and battery boosts, app lock, WiFi security, and other performance enhancements.
Webroot Mobile Security
Webroot Mobile Security offers real-time anti-malware monitoring that is ultra-lightweight. Their antivirus app has web-based admin management, along with lost device features like lock and locate. It works across iOS, Android, Chromebook, and more.
Avast Mobile Security
Avast Mobile Security provides complete protection from online threats for Android and iOS. Powerful features include malware scanner, web shield, WiFi inspector, app locks, anti-theft tools, call blocker, photo vault, and Optimization Hub.
Norton 360 Deluxe
Norton 360 Deluxe gives you multi-layered antivirus protection for 5 devices – phone, tablet, computer, etc. It has an intelligent firewall, dark web monitoring, 50GB cloud backup, SafeCam, and more security tools. Works on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
While there are many good options, these antivirus apps consistently rise to the top in independent testing, user ratings, and malware protection.
Key factors in choosing antivirus software
When selecting an antivirus app for your device, here are some of the key factors to consider:
Your operating system
Make sure to choose antivirus software that is compatible with your device’s operating system – whether that’s Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, or something else.
Antivirus apps range from free to paid subscriptions around $30-60 per year. Determine how much you want to spend for your required level of protection.
Your features needs
Consider what security capabilities are important to you – malware scanning, web filtering, firewall, VPN, identity protection, etc. Choose an app aligned with your needs.
Look at how much system resources (CPU, memory, battery) the antivirus app uses. You want minimal impact on device speed and performance.
Check results from independent labs like AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives to see how each antivirus program performed in malware detection tests.
Read user reviews on app stores and forums to gather real-world feedback on the effectiveness, usability, and customer support of different antivirus options.
Weighing these key factors will help you select the very best antivirus solution for your specific technology setup and security needs.
Setting up and using your antivirus app
Once you’ve chosen the right antivirus software for your device, here are some tips for installing, setting up, and utilizing it:
Carefully read all prompts during installation
Pay close attention to any instructions or options offered during the installation process. This will ensure the app is properly set up and optimized for your device.
Launch a full system scan after installing
Run a complete antivirus scan immediately after installation to check for and remove any existing infections on your device.
Adjust your settings and preferences
Configure the antivirus settings to your liking. You can often choose scan frequency, security levels, notifications, and other custom options.
Create a scan schedule for regular checks
Set up automatic scans to run on a daily or weekly basis. This will help catch any new malware that may have reached your device.
Update antivirus software and definitions
Make sure you apply all app updates so you have the latest security capabilities. Also update virus definitions regularly.
Run occasional full scans
Even with real-time protection, it’s smart to run a complete system scan periodically to check for dormant or buried malware.
Don’t override alerts and notifications
Pay attention to any warnings or alarms from your antivirus app, and allow the software to remove any detected threats.
Following these tips will help ensure you get the most protection from your chosen antivirus program and keep your devices malware-free.
Common mistakes to avoid
While antivirus apps make protecting your devices much easier, there are still some mistakes that can compromise their effectiveness. Here are some key errors to avoid:
Disabling real-time protection
Turning off active, real-time scanning completely defeats the purpose of antivirus software. Never disable this feature.
Ignoring app alerts and notifications
When your antivirus detects a potential threat, pay attention! Don’t ignore its warnings allowing infections to persist.
Failing to do full system scans
Only running quick scans can miss malware hiding in less trafficked device areas. Regularly run full scans to be thorough.
Visiting dubious websites and links
Don’t tempt fate by visiting shady sites and clicking sketchy links. Stick to reputable, secure web domains.
Not updating the software
Outdated antivirus apps miss new threats. Always install the latest versions and definition updates.
Disabling additional security features
Keep additional tools like firewalls, VPNs, and web filtering enabled for layered protection.
Falling for phishing scams
Be wary of fake security alerts, support calls, fraudulent emails, and texts attempting to steal your information.
Overlooking minor performance issues
Lag, glitches, and battery drain can indicate an infection. Don’t ignore small performance changes.
Avoiding these common mistakes will keep your antivirus app running at peak effectiveness.
Signs you may have a virus
How can you tell if your device has been infected with a virus despite having antivirus protection? Here are some telltale signs of a malware infection:
- Unusually slow device performance
- Programs freezing or crashing unexpectedly
- Overheating of your phone or computer
- Poor battery life and fast drainage
- New toolbars, search engines, or homepage
- Frequent pop-ups and annoying advertisements
- Warnings from your antivirus program
- Unknown programs running in the background
- Strange activity like files being modified
- Spike in data or bandwidth usage
Stay vigilant for these and other suspicious behaviors. They likely indicate malicious software that may have evaded your antivirus defenses.
Removing a virus manually
If your antivirus software fails to remove a virus automatically, here are the steps to try removing the infection manually:
Disconnect from the internet
Unplug your device’s internet connection to isolate and prevent spreading the virus.
Boot into Safe Mode
Restart your device and boot into Safe Mode – this loads only essential programs the virus can’t hide from.
Delete infected files
Log into your antivirus console and manually delete any quarantined files that contain infections.
Run a full antivirus scan
Perform a full scan of your device in Safe Mode to clean any remnants of the virus.
Update your antivirus
Download and install the latest updates so your security software recognizes this virus moving forward.
Reset browser settings
Reset any modified browser settings back to defaults, including homepage, new tabs page, and search engine.
Change account passwords
Finally, change any passwords to accounts you accessed on that device prior to removing the virus.
With patience and care, you can manually disinfect your device. But avoiding infections in the first place with robust antivirus software is ideal.
Installing a trusted antivirus app is critical for protecting your devices from the constant onslaught of viruses and malware. Leading solutions like Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Malwarebytes, and Norton 360 combine advanced detection engines with real-time monitoring and scanning to keep your systems clean, safe, and secure.
Just remember to keep the software updated, follow alerts, run regular system scans, and avoid high-risk online activities. With the right antivirus app vigilantly guarding your technology, you can browse, work, and play with confidence and peace of mind.