Best Internet Security Suites Software of 2018

Nicole Johnston ·
Updated
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We tested 22 internet security programs and narrowed it down to the best 13 solutions by looking at how effectively each detects and blocks malware. We also considered whether the program slows down your system and evaluated the number and quality of advanced security tools. Bitdefender Internet Security is our top pick for the best internet security software because it is consistent in protecting against malware, including ransomware and phishing schemes. Plus, it offers an impressive number of tools for the cost of the program.     

Best Overall

Bitdefender Internet Security 2018

Bitdefender Internet Security 2018 scores high for virus protection in independent test labs and easily recognizes and blocks ransomware and phishing schemes.
View on Bitdefender
$39.99@Bitdefender
Best Overall Bitdefender Internet Security 2018
Best Value

Kaspersky Internet Security

Kaspersky Internet Security comes with the most security tools, and it costs less than other computer protection programs.
View on Kaspersky Lab
Best for Multiple Devices

Norton Security Deluxe

Norton Deluxe Security is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems, plus it can be used to protect iOS and Android cell phones and tablets.
View on Norton

Product
Price
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$49.99CJ
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$39.95CJ
$34.99CJ
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Overall Rating
9.7
9.5
9.2
9
8.8
8.7
8.6
8.4
8.3
8.2
Test Results
9.8
9.8
9.8
9.8
9.5
9.5
9.5
9.5
9.3
8.8
Scanning & Detection
10
8
9
8.8
8.3
8.3
7.3
9
7.3
7
Privacy & Protection
9.3
10
8.3
8
8
7.5
8
6.3
7.5
8
Standout Feature
Secure Delete
Multiple Devices
Parental Controls
100% Guarantee
Easy Install
Web-Reputation Technology
Safe Banking
DNS Redirecting
Cleanup Tool
Online Backup
Virus Detection & Removal
100%
87%
100%
100%
96%
100%
100%
99%
99%
87%
Loss of Computer Resource
97%
88%
93%
97%
89%
89%
96%
88%
81%
79%
False Positives
96%
99%
99%
95%
100%
96%
85%
96%
92%
96%
Minimum Number of Licenses
3
1
3
5
1
3
1
1
3
1
Gamer Mode Enabled
Manual
Manual
Manual
Manual
Automatic
-
-
Automatic
-
-
Ransomware Protection
Spam Filters
-
$
-
$
-
Antiphishing
$
-
USB Autoscans
Email Scanning
Instant Messaging Protection
Social Network Protection
-
-
-
-
Rescue CD or USB File
-
-
Vulnerable Software Detection
-
$
$
Mobile Protection
$
$
$
$
$
Firewall
Parental Controls
$
-
Webcam Protection
-
-
-
-
-
Password Manager
$
$
$
Secure Browsing
$
Safe Banking
$
-
-
Online Backup
$
$
$
-
-
-
Weekday Phone Support Hours (Eastern Time)
24/7
24/7
5am - 11pm
24/7
6am - 5pm
5am - 8pm*
9am - 5pm*
24/7
9am - 6pm
24/7
Weekend Phone Support Available
-
$
-
Live Chat
$
-
Best Overall
Bitdefender consistently scores high on independent tests for virus detection and protection. It blocks ransomware and phishing schemes, and it automatically checks all incoming messages and shared files in both emails and USB drives for any threats, stopping them before they can attack your computer.
Bitdefender Internet Security includes a personal firewall that works alongside the one included with your operating system. This gives you double protection against hackers and internet snoops. We noticed a slight slowdown on our test computers while Bitdefender Internet Security 2018 was running. Other independent tests show similar results. Another drawback is that it doesn’t have online backup to safeguard sensitive files in case of an attack, though this is available with its premium security suite, Bitdefender Total Security 2018. The basic package also doesn’t include mobile protection. However, Bitdefender does offer mobile security protection for Android cell phones and tablets that you can purchase separately from its computer security program.
Pros
  • Very effective at detecting and blocking malware
  • Automatically scans incoming email and USB files for threats
  • Includes a personal firewall
Cons
  • No online backup
  • Extra cost for mobile protection
  • Some slowdown when running
$39.99Bitdefender
Read the full review
Best Value
Because of the number of tools included, plus excellent virus protection and very little system slowdown, Kaspersky is our pick for the best value in internet security. One of the best tools included with Kaspersky Internet Security is its parental controls.
These let you block inappropriate websites by selecting a filter category, such as pornography, drugs or suicide. You can also set time limits for when your child can be online and for how long. Kaspersky Internet Security also includes a personal firewall and a safe browser. The basic Kaspersky Internet Security package comes with three licenses, though you can purchase more as needed. Kaspersky is compatible with mobile devices, so a single purchase will secure your computer, cell phone and tablet. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer online backup of your files, nor does it include a password manager, which is a good tool for protecting sensitive login information from internet snoops and hackers.
Pros
  • Has the most security tools, including parental controls and time management tools
  • Scores perfectly for virus protection in independent tests
  • Costs less than most programs
Cons
  • Extra cost for password management
  • Doesn’t offer online backup
  • No 24/7 support
$39.99Kaspersky Lab
Read the full review
Best for Multiple Devices
Norton Security Deluxe comes with a minimum of five licenses that you can install on any computer, cell phone or tablet, because Norton is compatible with them all. It gives you a single online account where you can manage all your devices from one place.
Norton has excellent virus protection, plus it includes security tools, such as safe browsers, a firewall and phishing detection, that help keep your system safe from hackers, internet snoops and identity thieves. Norton offers online backup with its premium product, Norton Security Premium, but Norton Security Deluxe doesn’t have this feature. It also tends to mark some legitimate files as threats and move them to its quarantine file. You will need to manually restore them; otherwise, Norton will delete them permanently after a few days.
Pros
  • Compatible with Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices
  • Comes with a 100-percent guarantee to protect against viruses
  • Includes password management
Cons
  • No designated social media protection
  • Extra cost for online backup
  • Tags some legitimate files as malware
$49.99Norton
Read the full review

Why Trust Us

For 15 years we have been researching and testing internet security programs. In addition to testing the software ourselves, we keep an eye on test results from independent testing labs. We subscribe to security and IT news outlets and blogs, which means we receive quick alerts of any security breaches or newly discovered malware. We also attend trade shows and conventions specific to computer protection to stay on top on what’s evolving in the industry

How We Tested

We are continually testing all kinds of internet security programs, from antivirus solutions to premium security software. Throughout the year we spend about three months testing the detection capabilities and the security tools of the top security software. We install keyloggers onto our test computers and test how well each program can find malware. We also visit several websites as we test, and watch the detection and activity reports to see that online threats – including spyware, adware and phishing schemes – are detected and blocked.

As part of our testing, we perform common tasks three separate times on our test computers, first without any internet security programs installed, then again as each program ran in the background and once more while performing a full virus scan. We repeated this several times on different computers, both in our testing lab and on our own home computers, to get a good idea of the resources each program uses and the slowdown they create.

After we gathered our results, we compared them to several other, third-party testing labs to determine an average score for virus protection and loss of computer resources. Our results usually mirrored those of other testing facilities.

What to Look for in Internet Security

Security and Privacy Tools
Internet security programs should include a personal firewall, instant messaging protection and a secure browser. Designated social media monitoring is also a good tool to have. These tools give you added protection against hackers and identity thieves that use social media sites to post malicious links and phishing schemes.

Parental controls are also good to have. These limit the time your child is online and block them from seeing inappropriate content. They are also good for blocking cyberbullies and predators from reaching your children.

The best internet security software comes with multiple licenses, or a single license that can be used to protect multiple computers, or even mobile devices, at once. Sometimes the only difference between a top-rated security program and the best premium security suite is the number of licenses you get.

We spoke with Mitch Stephens, a security consultant with Emagined Security. He suggests that keeping your system and program patches up to date is a good way to stay secure from online threats. One way to do this is to choose a security program that includes a vulnerability scan. Programs, such as ESET and Avast, use vulnerability detection scans to make sure the most recent software versions are installed on your computer, and if not, they provide you with a legitimate link to where you can download the latest updates. Without these patches, hackers and ransomware can take advantage of these weak points and use them to attack your computer.

Internet Security vs. Premium Security Suites
Internet security programs represent a step up from basic antivirus. They include additional tools to keep you safe beyond virus attacks. Premium-grade software typically goes one step further to include all the security related tools a developer has to offer. For example, Trend Micro Internet Security doesn’t include a password manager, but Trend Micro Maximum Security, does.

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