Best Antivirus Software UK

Why You Need UK Antivirus Software?

Over the years, Windows has continually updated its operating system to provide the best, most up-to-date features for its users throughout the world. Whether you live in the U.S., the U.K., Europe or any other country with access to Windows, those updates are consistent and compatible across borders. Regardless of where you live, Windows systems are susceptible to the same kind of malicious elements in the cyberworld. These threats try to infiltrate and take control of your computer and your personal data, sometimes even holding it hostage. In an effort to avoid detection, these threats come in many different forms, through emails, program downloads, popular websites, and even USB flash drives and other removable files.

When Window Vista was released in 2006, its primary purpose was to improve Windows' security features. It had its own antispyware program called Windows Defender to combat virus vulnerabilities that became apparent after the release of Windows XP. With the release of Windows 8, Microsoft upgraded Windows Defender with improved, more extensive antivirus features. Windows 10 went a step further, building Windows Defender into the operating system itself.

So you may legitimately wonder why you should bother with buying antivirus software when Windows has its own. It comes down to performance. While it is nice to have a built-in antivirus program for your Windows software, it doesn't quite give you the comprehensive protection you need to guard against malicious hidden forces in the cyberworld.

AV-Test Results

When evaluated by AV-Test, the respected independent test lab for antivirus software, Microsoft's in-house antivirus program doesn't score as high as third-party solutions. AV-Test puts each antivirus through rigorous testing in three key areas: protection, performance and usability. The best antivirus software for U.K. consistently gets near-perfect or perfect scores in each category. Bitdefender and Kaspersky Lab are two solutions that consistently score high marks in all areas of testing, regardless of the version of Windows operating system.

Protection
All Windows security programs are capable of detecting different types of malware, including basic viruses and aggressive rootkits. The main difference between these products is not whether they can find and remove malware, but how well they detect these threats. AV-Test, an independent antivirus test lab, takes the best antivirus software programs on the market and evaluates them based on rigorous tests of their ability to detect both brand-new and older malware.

While you look for the best antivirus software, check out the protection scores of each program to make sure it is capable of catching brand-new threats as well as established malware. The best software consistently scores 99 or 100 percent in protection, so pay special attention to programs that score in that range. Along with our top products, when it comes to protection, Panda and Trend Micro consistently perform above average in AV-Test's evaluations.

Performance
When looking for antivirus software, consider how impactful the program is on the host operating system. The more resources it uses, the slower your computer will run. Some lag may not be too noticeable, but several seconds can affect some applications, particularly movies and online games.

The top antivirus programs have little impact on system performance, meaning you can visit webpages, download files, use different applications and so on with only minor performance interference from the antimalware program. Avira is one program that tends to have little to no impact on Windows operating systems.

Usability
AV-Test's usability score reflects how often an antivirus application mistakenly believes a legitimate website or data file is malware and blocks you from accessing it. These false-positive alerts aren't very common among the millions of legitimate websites, files and programs accessed as part of the usability test. However, it is good to know if there is even a small chance that an internet security program for U.K. has a chance of blocking a legitimate file that is important for you to access. McAfee is one program that tends to score either perfectly or above average for usability in AV-Test's Windows operating system evaluations.

You can find more information in our articles about the best antivirus software in the U.K. For an in-depth analysis of antivirus software across all Windows formats and to read reviews of the best antivirus software, visit our antivirus software reviews site.

Types of Security Threats Antivirus Programs Protect Against

Cyberthreats have evolved in sophistication over the last decade, but the best antivirus software protects your Windows PC against all types of malware and other threats, whether they are brand-new or have been around for years. Here are some types of malware that are potential threats to your computer.

Worms
These malicious programs are designed to replicate themselves quickly with the intent to spread to other computers, often through a computer network. While they may not always be designed to intentionally impair computer systems, they do harm by consuming bandwidth, at the very least. Most worms are designed to spread as quickly as possible and are capable of creating backdoor security vulnerabilities, deleting files or even sending files via email.

Trojan Horses
Like the wooden horse in the Greek myth, Trojans present themselves as useful, interesting or routine programs to trick you into downloading and executing them to cause data loss, theft and sometimes total-system harm.

Spyware
This software is designed to gather information about you without your knowledge. This information can be sent to another party without your consent and sometimes even take control of your computer. Spyware is capable of collecting any type of data, including your internet history and banking information. Some forms of spyware can install additional software or change your internet or browser settings, which ranges from a mere annoyance to a problem that can take days to fix.

Ransomware
This incarnation of malware infects your computer with the intention of restricting your access to your computer system, perhaps preventing you from surfing the internet or accessing the hard drive, and then demanding a payment to the malware creators. It often imitates the look of genuine, trusted software to trick you into buying a solution. For example, it may tell you your user license for a particular application has expired and you need to repurchase the license. Some of the trickiest ransomware creators have acquired millions of dollars from unsuspecting users. Only five programs in our antivirus software review specifically target ransomware. In addition to our top pick, McAfee and Trend Micro are among those that offer it.

Rootkits
Rootkits are stealthy malware that give you privileged access to your computer as it hides out, attempting to gain administrative access to your computer, not letting you know it is in your system. This type of malware is generally difficult to detect and remove because it tries to thoroughly embed itself into your computer's system.

Malware is not limited to these five examples, but this gives you a sense of how malicious malware can be. Fortunately, antivirus software is designed to combat these threats by preventing them from entering your system and quarantining and removing any malware that does get through. The best way to protect yourself from malware is to update your computer system when prompted and to purchase third-party antivirus software that protects your computer 24/7.

Types of Security Software for Your PC

There are three generally recognized tiers of virus protection: antivirus software, internet security suites and premium security suites. Antivirus software is the lowest tier and is regarded as entry-level viral protection. Internet security suites, the next tier of protection, offer more functionality with further protections, such as firewalls and antispam tools. The top tier of virus protection is premium security suites, which are comprehensive tools to protect your system from the most aggressive malware with a variety of measures and protections. Each tier of PC virus protection lends itself to different users in different situations.

Antivirus Software
Antivirus software has fewer features than the security suites. It can block or remove spyware, worms, rootkits and other malware types. It can also scan incoming email for potential threats, automatically clean or quarantine infected files, and create bootable rescue disks to restore your system in the event of a crash, to name a few of its abilities.

Internet Security Suites
Internet security suites generally contain all of the tools found in entry-level antispyware, such as antimalware, PC tune-up utilities, safe online banking and shopping, secure browsing, vulnerability scanning, and privacy protection. However, these suites include features that add more levels of security, such as an alternative firewall from the one included with the Windows operating system. Many suites also offer social network protection to detect threats that enter through your online social presence. Additionally, these antivirus suites include parental controls to limit where your children go on the internet, which can protect your computer system and, more importantly, your children.

Premium Security Suites
Premium security suites offer even more protection than internet security suites. Premium suites include all of the features found in internet suites and add extra layers of protection in the form of file shredders, online backup, system tune-up utilities and password managers. In other words, these suites tend to be the best of the best in terms of protection, offering an entire arsenal of defenses and protection against malware.

G Data is a program that offers all three tiers of protection – an antivirus software package for basic protection, an internet security suite and a total security package for more comprehensive protection. Each one is optimized to run with any Windows system from XP and Vista to Windows 10.

Once you determine which level of security your system requires, be sure to consider the software developer's customer support before making a final decision. Look for a program that offers 24/7 access to support through email, phone or live chat. Regular, easy access to support ensures that you can get the help you need, whether you have a simple question or your entire computer system crashes and you need immediate help.

Best Features for Windows Antivirus in the UK

Even though Microsoft designed Defender to make Windows inherently secure, third-party antispyware is the best measure against attack from malware. The best antivirus for U.K. computers using Windows operating systems gives you the assurance that your system is protected from potential threats. In addition to good AV-Test results, consider the following features when choosing a Windows antivirus program to keep your system safe.

Email & USB Scanning
Websites, links and program downloads are common places for malware to hide. However, more and more threats are coming in through legitimate-looking email messages. It is also possible for infected files from one computer to transfer to another via USB drives. The best U.K. antiviruses automatically scan all incoming files regardless of where they originate, including USB drives and email messages.

Gamer Mode
Gamer mode is a setting that causes the antivirus software to automatically suspend some actions, such as automatic scans or pop-up reminders, when you are watching movies or playing game online. This mode allows you to continue your activity without interruption or the computer system lagging because of the antivirus program using valuable resources.

Rescue CD
No antivirus program is able to protect against every threat out there. That is why the availability of a rescue CD is valuable. This CD copies your important files and programs so that, if your computer is infected, you can restore necessary applications and documents. The only downside is that you need to remember to create a rescue CD often to ensure the most up-to-date files are saved.

Norton Security is one of the programs that has all of these features, including some uncommon ones like ransomware protection and extended protection to mobile devices.

The antivirus application included with Windows offers less protection than what you get from the best antivirus software in the U.K. Given the many online threats aimed at your computer and eager to steal your identity, we recommend buying and installing one of the best antiviruses for PC to boost your protection.