In partnership with Bitdefender
Bitdefender Total Security scores high for malware protection, comes with a minimum of five user licenses and has extra security features to protect you from more than just malware.VIEW DEAL ON Bitdefender
We infected our test computers with over 350 live malware threats, including viruses, Trojans, rootkits and phishing schemes to see how 14 internet security programs handle identifying and stopping these threats.
We install every premium security suite we review on our test computers, as well as on our home computers so we can gather information about how they work in the real world.
In our lab we attempt to download or access several hundred types of malware through web browsers, including Trojans, ransomware, rootkits and malicious websites. We watch to see if the antivirus component of each program stops these internet threats before they can infect our computers, or if they wait until the threat is in the process of downloading – or completely downloaded – before snatching and quarantining it.
After running more than 12 tests on each computer, and considering the overall value of each program, we chose Norton Security Premium as the best solution.
Norton protects all your devices, hides your passwords and personal information online, monitors your internet connection and gives you 10 user licenses at a decent price. It also comes with a 100 percent virus protection guarantee.
Norton Security Premium
Norton Security Premium does a decent job of protecting against malware on computers and mobile devices, and it’s compatible with multiple operating systems.
Bitdefender Total Security 2019
Bitdefender Total Security scores high for malware protection, comes with a minimum of five user licenses and has extra security features to protect you from more than just malware.
McAfee Total Protection
McAfee is easy to install and use, even on mobile devices, and its security tools go beyond threat detection and include password managers and a VPN.
|Product||Price||Overall Rating||Value||Test Results||Malware Protections||Privacy Tools||Suggested Retail Price||Minimum Licenses Included||Virus Protection Guarantee||Mobile Compatible||In-House Malware Protection Score||Overall Malware Protection Score||Effect on System||Ease of Use||Ransomware Detection||Antiphishing||Spam Filters||Personal Firewall||Secure Browsing||Vulnerability Scans||USB Scanning||Gamer Mode Enabled||Online Backup||Social Network Protection||Password Manager||Parent Controls||Secure Delete||Safe Banking Tools||Webcam Monitoring||VPN||Weekday Phone Support Hours (Eastern Time)||Weekend Phone Support Available||Live Chat|
|Norton Security Premium||View Deal||5/5||10||10||10||10||$109.99||10||✓||✓||97%||99%||100%||90%||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Manual||25GB||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||24/7||✓||✓|
|Bitdefender Total Security Multi-Device||View Deal||5/5||9.3||10||10||10||$89.99||5||-||✓||99%||100%||100%||80%||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Manual||2GB||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||24/7||✓||✓|
|McAfee Total Protection||View Deal||5/5||9.8||9.8||10||8.8||$69.99||10||✓||✓||100%||100%||85%||80%||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Manual||1GB||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||-||-||5am - 11pm||✓||✓|
|Trend Micro Internet Security||View Deal||5/5||9.3||10||10||8.3||$89.95||5||-||✓||100%||100%||80%||85%||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Manual||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||-||-||-||24/7||✓||✓|
|Kaspersky Labs Total Security||View Deal||4.5/5||8.5||10||10||8.8||$79.95||1||-||✓||98%||99%||85%||90%||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Manual||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||-||-||5am - 8pm*||✓||✓|
|Avast Premier||View Deal||4.5/5||8.8||9.8||10||8.5||$69.99||1||-||✓||98%||99%||85%||75%||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Automatic||-||-||✓||-||✓||✓||✓||✓||24/7||✓||-|
|Avira Internet Security Suite||View Deal||4.5/5||9||9.8||9.3||8.8||$99.99||5||-||✓||96%||99%||85%||70%||✓||✓||-||✓||✓||✓||✓||Automatic||-||-||✓||✓||✓||✓||-||✓||24/7||✓||-|
|ESET Total Security||View Deal||4.5/5||7.8||10||10||9.5||$79.99||1||-||-||99%||99%||100%||90%||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Automatic||-||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||-||-||-||-|
|Webroot Internet Security Complete||View Deal||4.5/5||9.3||10||8.5||8||$79.99||5||-||✓||98%||98%||100%||80%||✓||✓||-||✓||✓||✓||-||-||25GB||-||✓||-||✓||✓||✓||✓||24/7||✓||-|
|BullGuard Internet Security||View Deal||4.5/5||9.3||9.3||10||7.5||$99.95||10||-||✓||85%||92%||75%||80%||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Manual||20GB||-||-||✓||✓||✓||-||-||24/7||✓||✓|
|eScan Internet Security Suite||View Deal||4.5/5||8.3||9.8||10||7.8||$55.95||1||-||-||92%||92%||100%||70%||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Manual||-||-||✓||✓||✓||-||✓||-||24/7||✓||✓|
|F-Secure Internet Security||View Deal||4.5/5||9||9.8||8.5||8||$69.99||3||-||✓||98%||99%||84%||65%||✓||✓||-||✓||✓||-||✓||-||-||✓||✓||✓||-||✓||-||✓||9am - 6pm||-||✓|
|Panda Dome Complete||View Deal||4.5/5||8.3||9.8||9.3||8.5||$94.99||1||-||✓||97%||99%||75%||65%||✓||✓||-||✓||✓||✓||✓||Manual||✓||✓||✓||✓||-||✓||-||✓||-||-||-|
|Comodo Internet Security Complete||View Deal||4.5/5||9||9.8||7.8||7.5||$89.99||3||✓||-||95%||97%||75%||80%||✓||✓||-||✓||✓||-||-||Manual||50GB||-||-||✓||✓||✓||-||-||-||-||-|
Norton Security Premium scored the highest overall for malware protection. We were thoroughly impressed with how well it quickly stopped threats from infecting our computers – and blocked us from accessing infected websites.
This premium security suite comes with a minimum of 10 licenses and is compatible with Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices, making it the best choice if you have multiple devices running different platforms. It comes with parental controls to help you keep track of what your kids are doing online, including filtering and blocking inappropriate content by selecting a filter category or by adding a site’s URL to the blacklist. You can also set time limits.
Norton’s premium program also includes a password manager and safe banking tools, which keep identity thieves from swiping your sensitive information while you bank or shop online. Norton is easy to install and doesn’t use up too much of your computer’s resources, so you shouldn’t experience too much slowdown or lag during virus scans. It also comes with a 100 percent virus protection guarantee. If, while using Norton Security Premium, your computer becomes infected, Norton will work to restore your computer. If it can’t remove all threats and fix the damage, Norton will refund your money.
Bitdefender Total Security comes with a minimum of five user licenses, so you can protect multiple devices at a decent price. It is a bundled program that includes Internet Security 2019, Antivirus for Mac and mobile security for both Android and Mac cellphones and tablets.
This premium security program has all the tools that come with its basic internet security suite, including a password manager, parental controls and dedicated social media protection. It also comes with a VPN to make you invisible to internet snoops while you’re online, and webcam monitoring that disables your webcam if a program or person accesses it without your permission. One of Bitdefender Total Security’s best features is its secure delete – it destroys malware so there is no chance of it returning to your computer. It uses this same technology with its file shredder feature, which makes sure your deleted personal files and applications are irretrievable after you run them through the shredder.
During our in-house tests, McAfee detected and protected against all malware threats we used, including Trojans, rootkits and ransomware. This security is available on all devices, including tablets and cellphones, and it comes with extra security tools to keep your family safe.
If you attempt to visit a website that is known to have malware downloads, phishing schemes or malicious links, McAfee displays a warning message within the browser. McAfee Total Protection encrypts and password protects documents on your desktop so they can’t be swiped, plus it comes with a personal firewall, password manager and parental controls.
Trend Micro Maximum Security comes with cloud protection as well as a unique tool that monitors files and documents stored online in places like Google Docs or Dropbox, or you can back up your files onto Trend Micro’s server since you get 25GB of storage space with your yearly subscription.
This program impressed us during our internet security tests by finding and protecting against every threat we exposed it to, including rootkits, Trojans, viruses and ransomware. And when we performed deep virus scans, Trend Micro was fast and didn’t cause any slowdown to our computers. However, not all test labs had the same experience; some have reported significant slowdown while testing Trend Micro. This premium security comes with parental controls and a GPS tracking feature for any mobile devices you download it to.
For gamers we highly recommend Avast Premier Security because of its automatic gamer mode that instantly recognizes when you’ve started playing a game and reallocates some of its resources, keeping you protected while also giving you as much of your system’s power as possible for smooth, uninterrupted gameplay.
Avast Premier doesn’t cause system lag while you’re playing, which is especially important during versus play. This is also useful while streaming movies since it can prevent excessive buffering. On top of its impressive gamer mode, Avast offers great malware protection, a personal firewall and a vulnerability scanner. Avast Prime includes webcam monitoring and a password manager as well as tools to keep your personal actions and information safe from hackers and internet snoops.
Why Trust Us
We have been researching and testing internet security solutions for over 15 years. We test these products in our lab continually throughout the year and stay informed about the test results of independent laboratories so we can compare our findings.
Many of us are parents ourselves, and we treat our research and testing as though we are looking for a solution to keep our own families safe, which we are! We often install these programs on our home computers and devices to get a good understanding of how they work in real-life settings and not just in a controlled test laboratory.
As part of our research, we keep on top of the changes and developments in the internet security industry. We read news reports about cyberattacks and security threats and attend tradeshows, such as the annual RSA Conference, which connects us with other internet security experts and keeps us abreast of emerging threats and technology.
One such expert we consult with often is Mitchell Stephens from Emagined Security. Stephens’ primary responsibility is to search for weak points in a company’s networks and help them find solutions to better protect themselves from viruses, bots, hackers and phishing schemes. With his help, Top Ten Reviews developed a unique testing methodology that simulates real-word internet use and the most likely way your computer would become infected, and used these tests to see how well antivirus, internet security and premium security programs prevent these attacks.
Testing Premium Security Software
We install every premium security suite we review on our test computers, as well as on our home computers so we can gather information about how they work in the real world. In our lab we attempt to download or access several hundred types of malware through web browsers, including Trojans, ransomware, rootkits and malicious websites. We watch to see if the antivirus component of each program stops these internet threats before they can infect our computers, or if they wait until the threat is in the process of downloading – or completely downloaded – before snatching and quarantining it.
As part of our testing, we check to see if the programs create any noticeable lag or slowdown. To do this, we first time how long it takes to attach files to emails, download programs, navigate the web, watch videos online and play games, both before and after we install any antivirus program on our computer. Independent labs conduct similar tests, and we use their findings as well as our own to see which programs are a good fit for home computers that are used for specific functions, such as multiplayer gaming.
How much does premium security software cost?
Because premium internet security suites include the best protection and all the security tools available from the developer, you can expect to pay between $70 and $120 for the software. Very few internet security programs come with only a single user license; most include between five and 10 licenses. This cost is for a one-year subscription that you will be required to renew annually to stay protected.
There are several internet security programs that include many of the advanced protection tools you need to secure your computer, or the exact same features as its premium solution, but come with fewer licenses and cost $20 less. For example, both Bitdefender’s and Trend Micro's basic internet security programs come with three licenses, while their premium suites come with five.
The biggest differences we’ve found between internet security and premium security programs are, first, the inclusion of mobile protection, or a program that is compatible with mobile devices so you can protect both your come computers and your cellphones. The second is access to secure online storage generally used for backing up your most critical programs and files. Comodo Internet Security Complete comes with an impressive 50GB of space. That’s enough to store 75 million raw photographs.
When we considered the overall value of each premium security software, we also considered whether the program included a virus protection guarantee. There are only three programs we tested that offer this. Both Norton Security Premium and McAfee Total have a money back guarantee if your computer becomes infected while you’re using their program and their support team isn’t able to fully recover your device. Comodo also has a protection guarantee, a $500 payout for becoming infected.
What should a premium internet security program include?
The most important consideration when choosing a premium internet security suite is how well it can protect your computer from malware threats. This includes not only Top Ten Review’s real-life and other third-party lab test results, but also several features designed to keep malware at bay. These typically include a firewall, phishing and spam filters, safe browsing and vulnerability scans. After malware protections, privacy tools set premium security suites apart from basic antivirus programs.
Of the 14 programs we tested, 10 of them blocked 96 percent of threats from infecting our computers. Most of these programs scored higher than 98 percent, though only two, McAfee and Trend Micro, scored 100 percent in our malware protection tests. We also considered other third-party laboratories and their findings to calculate an overall protection score. Considering scores from AV-Comparatives, AV-Tests and other test laboratories, most premium security suites earned an overall protection score of 99 percent. Bottom line, most security programs do well at keeping your computer and other devices secure.
We feel the most important malware protection any antivirus or internet security program can include is safe browsing. Some programs, like Comodo Internet Security Complete, include this feature without you having to install a web extension, but most, including our top pick, Norton Security Premium, require an extension. Safe browsing functions are efficient at stopping malware coming through your internet browser and infecting your computer. No one wants to deal with finding and removing threats from their computer, so it’s best to stop threats before they enter your computer.
Another important feature we looked for is a firewall. While your Windows operating system comes with a firewall, research has shown it isn't very effective at protecting your system. A third-party firewall, such as the one included with BullGuard Premium Protection, seals any holes in your operating system’s firewall and adds another layer of protection, making it more difficult for threats, including hackers, to break into your computer. Good firewall protection is especially important if you often connect to public Wi-Fi since it will help protect your personal information from internet snoops. It also monitors your internet connections at home to make sure someone outside of your home isn’t trying to piggyback on your system and cause it to slow down.
Privacy tools are included with premium internet security programs to help shield your identity and block harmful content while you’re online. We prefer programs that include a password manager, secure login tools, parental controls and safe banking tools. A less common but important feature found in the best premium security suites is a virtual keyboard. This feature lets you enter your passwords into online fields for email, bank and credit card account access without using your actual computer keyboard. This makes it more difficult for hackers to swipe your passwords with keyloggers, which can provide them access to financial, email and other sensitive information they can use to steal your identity. Kaspersky Total Security is one of the products that include a virtual keyboard.
More and more security programs are including a VPN and webcam monitoring. VPNs, like the one included with Webroot Internet Security Complete, make you invisible to adware, browser cookies and spybots so your online history can’t be logged, tracked or used to create ads based on the sites you visit or terms you search for.
Webcam monitoring keeps a close eye on your webcam and disables it if an unauthorized person attempts to access it. This is a new trick hackers are using to spy on you and your family in your own home. Webcam monitoring, which is included in both Norton Security Premium and Bitdefender Total Security, is a valuable tool in keeping your personal movements and information private.
Help & Support
Because your computer is always vulnerable to threats, it is important to look for a premium security suite that offers extended support hours so you can connect with personnel whenever you experience a problem. Most of the services we reviewed have 24/7 access and even live chat support so you can connect with a representative for immediate assistance rather than waiting for an email response to come.
Related Product Reviews
- Norton Security Premium
- Bitdefender Total Security Multi-Device
- McAfee Total Protection
- Trend Micro Internet Security
- Kaspersky Labs Total Security
- Avast Premier
- Avira Internet Security Suite
- ESET Total Security
- Webroot Internet Security Complete
- BullGuard Internet Security
- eScan Internet Security Suite
- F-Secure Internet Security
- Panda Dome Complete
- Comodo Internet Security Complete