The Best Antivirus for 2013

What to buy and what to know

There are a huge number of small businesses setting up these days and as the market becomes more fragmented and focused on niche services, this trend looks set to continue. The economic downturn has provided many people with the opportunity to

The Best Antivirus for 2013

Which of the current antivirus tools are best? PCMag sorts them out.
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The Best Antivirus for 2013 (update)

2013 isn't even half over, yet the first 2014-model antivirus has shown up, and the flood of products labeled 2013 is diminishing. Most vendors that run on a yearly schedule wait until the fall to release the next year's version, just like car manufacturers. Others have abandoned year and version numbers altogether; for those, we tack on the current year in parentheses.

As new versions arrive, most of the same products retain their positions at the top of the heap. Here are the best from the current crop of antivirus products.

Name Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus 2013 Norton AntiVirus (2013) Kaspersky Anti-Virus (2013) Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2013 Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus+ 2013
 
Editor Rating          
Lowest Price $19.99Webroot
$39.99MSRP
$58.87Lenovo
$39.99MSRP
$39.95Kaspersky Lab North America | United Kingdom
$39.95MSRP
$39.95BitDefender
$39.95MSRP
$39.95Trend Micro
$39.95MSRP
Type Business, Personal, Professional Business, Personal, Professional Personal, Professional Business, Personal, Professional Business, Personal, Professional
OS Compatibility Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac OS, Windows 7 Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7 Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7 Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7 Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7
  Read the Review Read the Review Read the Review Read the Review Read the Review
Name Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus 2013 Norton AntiVirus (2013) McAfee AntiVirus Plus 2013 Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2013 Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus+ 2013
 
Editor Rating          
Lowest Price $19.99Webroot
$39.99MSRP
$58.87Lenovo
$39.99MSRP
$24.99McAfee $39.95BitDefender
$39.95MSRP
$39.95Trend Micro
$39.95MSRP
Type Business, Personal, Professional Business, Personal, Professional Personal, Professional Business, Personal, Professional Business, Personal, Professional
OS Compatibility Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac OS, Windows 7 Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7 Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7 Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7 Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7
  Read the Review Read the Review Read the Review Read the Review Read the Review

The Best Products
The antivirus field is huge; I currently track over forty products. In a field that big there's room for multiple products to merit being designated Editors' Choice.

Three products share the Editor's Choice honor for best overall antivirus: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2013$39.95 at BitDefender, Norton AntiVirus (2013)$58.87 at Lenovo, and Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus 2013$19.99 at Webroot. Norton and Webroot tied for second place in my malware removal test, with 6.6 points. Bitdefender, with 6.4 points, wasn't far behind.

Of the ten products tested using my current malware collection, the two top scorers are free products. Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ 10.5 detected 83 percent of the samples and earned 5.8 points. avast! Free Antivirus 8 only detected 75 percent, but still managed 5.8 points due to more thorough cleanup of what it found.

Once you've installed protection and cleaned up any existing threats, your antivirus will spend most of its time fending off new attacks. Most products are much more effective at preventing a new attack than at rooting out malware that's had time to dig in its heels. In my malware blocking test, Webroot scored an impressive 9.9 of 10 possible points, the best of any product tested with my previous malware collection. As for newer products, the top score among those tested with my current collection goes to Ad-Aware Free; it got 9.4 points.

No budget for security? That's no excuse for skipping antivirus protection. With 9.3 points for malware blocking, AVG Anti-Virus FREE 2013 scored better than both Bitdefender and Norton, and its malware removal score of 6.5 points came in just behind Norton and Webroot. AVG and Ad-Aware are our current Editors' Choice products for free antivirus.

Interesting Variations
A full-scale antivirus tool both cleans up existing threats and keeps new attacks from getting a foothold. Sometimes, though, a counterattack by entrenched malware means you can't even install that hot-shot antivirus. In that case, a free removal-only tool can be a godsend. In my malware removal test, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 1.70 scored higher than any of the competition, paid or free. The well-known Malwarebytes is our Editors' Choice for free cleanup-only antivirus.

Of course, you do have to work to make sure your antivirus stays up to date, and you need to deal with any threats it reports. Or do you? In fact, once you install Daily Safety Check Home Edition%displayPrice% at %seller% you don't have to do a thing. Its managed antivirus will scan your system and block attacks, and it also ensures that you have all the latest security patches. If necessary, a support agent can remote into your PC to clean up the worst infestations. All you need to do is view emailed safety reports. This unique service has earned Editors' Choice for consumer-side managed antivirus.

If ransomware or other malicious software has made it impossible to boot Windows, you need a solution that doesn't rely on Windows. When you boot from the hardware-based FixMeStick 2013$59.99 at Sears, it automatically updates itself and runs a scan. All you need to do is click OK when it asks permission to clean up.

Newcomer Jumpshot%displayPrice% at %seller% is another interesting cleanup-only tool. It conceals a full-scale Linux-based bootable antivirus behind a user interface based on cartoon-style "minions" that handle tasks like wiping out malware, tuning system performance, and protecting your privacy. Jumpshot scored higher than any other product tested with my current malware collection.

Antivirus Tests
Where did those scores come from? To test an antivirus product's ability to deal with existing malware infestations, I install it on twelve or so malware-infested virtual machines. After running the most comprehensive scan available, I check which threats the antivirus detected and note how well it cleaned them up. This article explains how I derive the scores in the chart that follows: How We Test Malware Removal.

Related Story Antivirus malware removal chart

Starting with the introduction of my new malware collection earlier this year, I've added a new metric to my malware removal charts, an ease of installation score. I base this score on how tough it is to install the product on my malware-infested systems. A product like Malwarebytes that installs on all twelve with little or no help from the vendor's tech support, well, that's a five-star performance. If tech support supplies ancillary tools like rescue disks or threat-specific removal tools that make installation possible, we're at four stars; Kaspersky is an example.

All too often, getting antivirus protection installed on an infested system takes hours or days of back and forth with tech support. If after a super-lengthy process the product does get installed, that's worth three stars. If it totally can't install on one or more of the twelve systems, well, we're down to one star. That's not the bottom, though. Sometimes the cleanup process renders a test system completely unusable. A product that "kills" any test system beyond tech support's ability to fix gets zero stars. And yes, it does happen.

I also install each product on a clean test system and see how well it prevents infestation by the same collection of threats. Most antivirus tools wipe out a portion of the samples the moment I open the containing folder. I launch those not killed on sight and observe just how far they get before the antivirus takes action. The article How We Test Malware Blocking explains in detail how I come up with the scores in the chart below.

Related Story Antivirus malware blocking chart

Independent antivirus testing labs have vastly more resources at hand than I do, so they can perform tests on a scale beyond what I can manage. At present I track results from AV-Comparatives, AV-Test, ICSA Labs, Virus Bulletin, and West Coast Labs. I hope to be adding tests from NSS Labs and Dennis Labs later this year. The chart below summarizes current results, and this article goes into more detail about how I interpret those results: How We Interpret Antivirus Lab Tests.

Related Story Antivirus lab tests chart

Other Notable Products
Kaspersky Anti-Virus (2013)$39.95 at Kaspersky Lab North America | United Kingdom gets praise from the independent labs, and Kaspersky researchers always seem to be on the forefront of new malware discoveries. It scored just behind Norton and Webroot in my malware cleanup test.

TrustPort Antivirus 2013 and G Data AntiVirus 2014 both got 9.0 points for blocking my current malware collection, though they didn't score nearly as well for malware removal. Yes, 2014 is not a typo; G Data is the first vendor I've seen releasing a 2014-model product.

Whatever your antivirus needs, one of the over forty tools listed here should do the job.

set up on their own, perhaps through necessity rather than choice but there is a definite trend towards new firms starting out. It can often be daunting and many new businesses are not quite sure what they need or how they should progress and develop. One thing that is certain in the modern business world is that computers, PDAs and even tablets are at the heart of what businesses needed to have in order to progress.

As soon as firm starts to have more than one computer, it is worthwhile to start thinking about a network or business servers to start building a connection between these machines. Staying in touch is crucial in business and the communication process starts deep within the firm, long before a customer is spoken to. One of the main features that a business server provides is being able to store documents, files and important information on a shared server. This means that this information can be accessed at any time, speeding up the process and ensuring that everyone is sharing the same information and "singing from the same hymn sheet" as it were.

The ability to work on the same information is crucial if you are dealing with a regular customer client base. It may be that different salespeople or colleagues will talk to clients over a different period of time. It is therefore important to have all of their details and sales history in a stored place so it can be referred to at all times. If each client stored their own information regarding customers, it would start to get messy and extremely unprofessional. This would not be good for the long-term prospect of the firm and it certainly wouldn't impress the client.

This is where having business servers in place can really assist a firm developing a professional image, which is central to everything a company does in the modern era. If you are looking to develop your firm into a modern and thriving business, image is crucial and a great way to have a positive image is to utilise business servers to store your data and keep everything you need up to date.

When it comes to computing in a business environment then business servers are going to be an important part, along with other networked devices such as business printers that could connect to your business' network.

Windows Small Business Server

Windows Small Business Server(SBS) 2011 offers a range of features designed to boost productivity, security and efficiency in small businesses. Providing simple, centrally managed, shared and secure access to resources such as documents, printers, fax services and much more, it's the all in one solution for the small business.

Microsoft's research shows that companies using the server have boosted their productivity and efficiency by up to 70% and expanded their business by as much as 40%. It is a clear winner that can help push a business to the next level.

How? Take a look at its benefits and features

Anywhere access means that staff can have information at their fingertips wherever they are. Via the server's Remote Web Workplace, they can access company e-mail and intranet and connect to their office desktop to run the programmes and access the documents they need.

‘Enterprise class' email offers a massive central storage capacity and built in protection, with new encryption features and a SPAM filter included. When they are out of the office, staff members can share information via their iPhone, Windows Mobile or other Smartphone.

A customizable intranet, Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 allows company announcements to be made, calendars and documents to be shared, policies to be published, emails to be archived and teams generally kept working together and in the loop. Employees can use it to communicate with each other and even build their own discussion platforms to share the vital information needed to fuel the efficiency of the business.

Individual staff accounts can be password protected with a user permission feature whereby they can share personal calendars and give access to their inbox, facilitating collaboration and teamwork.

Electronically managed resources make booking meeting rooms, ordering projectors and other facilities and arranging catering swift, simple and efficient.

A centrally managed update service, combined with your antivirus software, keeps your network, computers and servers up to date and protected against the latest threats.

Choose from two editions, and then add an additional server licence and Microsoft SQL Server to the package with Small Business Server Premium. This will give even greater performance and scalability.

Standardize and control your network by adding Microsoft Small Business Desktop Platform licensing plan. This plan provides licences for:

  • A Windows Operating System
  • Microsoft Office Small Business 2010 (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher and Outlook with Business Contact Manager)
  • A small Business Server CAL (a license required to use all Small Business Server services).

Only one Microsoft licence is needed per computer and one agreement number to manage all computers. Make a one-off payment or select a subscription based package, spreading the cost as the business develops.

In short, with Windows Small Business Server, all the benefits that large groups and companies enjoy through expensive bespoke systems are available at a fraction of their price. Contact Us for further details.