Been hacked yet? Seventy-three percent of all Americans have fallen victim to some type of cyber crime, and 47 percent have had their personal information exposed by hackers. And it’s getting worse: Over 27 million Americans have fallen victim to identity theft over the past five years — 9 million in the last year alone. Some may say it’s just a matter of time, but there’s an easy and inexpensive way to lower those odds: an anti-virus app. Here are a few that could save your bacon.
This 15-megabyte software can scan your device for malware in about 20 seconds, making it significantly smaller and faster than competing products. Its Identity Shield feature helps keep your shopping, banking, and browsing history under lock and key. And if you’re especially concerned about being spied on via your computer’s webcam, Webroot will automatically detect and block those threats.
One of the de facto names in anti-virus protection, Norton guarantees expert support for its product from the moment you purchase it. That single purchase can be applied to multiple Macs, PCs, and smartphones, so your entire ecosystem of internet-connected devices can be kept secure by the same software.
Another product by one of the giants of antivirus and spyware protection, Kaspersky’s countermeasures are user-friendly while remaining tough against malicious threats to your privacy and security. It calls out malevolent websites with its Safe Surf feature, and higher-level options grant you access to a secure on-screen keyboard and password management tools.
Though the company is lately better known for its reclusive, erratic founder, McAfee is the most renowned of virus protectors. Three tiers of protection are available; all come with a 30-day guarantee and full 24/7/365 support, and McAfee often has introductory promos to entice new customers. Great for all devices, Mac or PC.
This one goes several steps beyond its little brother above. You can schedule regular virus scans, maintain strong phishing prevention, and it even encrypts your keystrokes as you type. This means that even if someone is tracking what you write with keylogger software, they won’t be able to make sense of your keyboard input. This solution might be a bit over-the-top for casual internet users, but could be essential for those who make a living with their computers.
This is a virtual private network, or VPN, that acts like something of a bulletproof vest for the internet. It not only filters every piece of data that passes through your computer, but it also gets around firewalls and geographically blocked content. Connecting to the internet through Hotspot Shield helps you conceal your identity, your location, and protects you from malware. There’s a free tier — but even on the internet, you get what you pay for.
Why not use the same antivirus tools that major companies like Ford and Coca-Cola use? Sophos’s consumer product will block malware content, phishing scams, and shady websites from manipulating your data as it runs unobtrusively in the background. If you want to scan a specific file to ensure it’s not a problem, you only need to right-click on it.