Many antivirus programs check for malware and viruses. Good ones also offer real-time protection, which monitors for suspicious websites, suspicious links and other undesirable behaviour. They will also track the behavior of files downloaded to detect new threats that are not yet identified. Today, the best antivirus software must be able identify and eliminate ransomware. Certain products accomplish this through using sandboxing. This is where suspicious encrypted files are inserted into a separate area of the operating system and tested before being allowed to affect the rest of the system.

The most effective antivirus suites use very little system resources and are quick to run. They do not just detect malware and viruses but also safeguard your privacy, by encrypting emails and monitoring social media websites and ensuring online shopping and banking is conducted using secure connections. Some suites come with other useful tools such as password management, a file shredder, web protection for safe shopping and more.

If you decide to purchase a program ensure that it covers all devices and operating systems you want to safeguard. The top options are compatible with all major platforms which include Windows PCs (three out of four desktop and laptop computers), macOS and iOS. Some of the more advanced paid antivirus programs can also be used with Android devices, although you should check the company’s website for specifics. Certain vendors sell their software through online stores, however the majority will give you a code that can be used to download their software from their website or app store.