Bitdefender Total Security 2015
Bitdefender Total Security 2015

Best Internet security software suite

Bitdefender Total Security 2015 does it all, experts say. It absolutely slays malware in test after test, and it's crammed with extras like online backup, PC tune-up and in-cloud storage (2 GB are free). New features for 2015 include the ability to automatically change the alert levels based on your activities, such as playing games or watching movies. If your computer is lost or stolen, anti-theft features will help you track it down while protecting sensitive data from prying eyes. See our full review

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Breaking it down

Ease of use

Easy set-up, simple interface. Bitdefender Total Security's features are easy to use, testers say, though Tom's Guide complains that some may be a little hard to figure out at first. The user interface has been streamlined for 2015, which has earned kudos. "Rather than having a lot of tiles slide awkwardly through the Bitdefender window, as in the 2014 version, here there are three large tiles and four subsidiary ones, giving quick and easy access to all the program's key functions," says PC Advisor's Simon Williams. Once it's installed, Bitdefender Total Security will immediately run a scan. From then on, it can scan on Autopilot by default. In this mode, Bitdefender handles threats intelligently and silently.

Reviewers generally like usability, but share a couple of gripes. Jill Scharr fromTom's Guide complains that she "would like to see more documentation inside the program about exactly what the many features do and how to customize them." Some users complain that auto-renew is set by default, and turning that off is something that is regularly missed. We saw conflicting reports from users regarding whether or not they could obtain a refund if they unintentionally renewed their license.

Features

Rare extras like anti-theft. Bitdefender Total Security contains almost every feature Bitdefender has to offer. You'll find some of them on Bitdefender's less expensive products -- like Safepay for secure online transactions, privacy protection while you're web surfing or on Facebook, and robust parental controls. You'll be able to control your kids' Windows and Android accounts, monitor phone calls, texts and Facebook messages, and more.

Bitdefender offers other features only on Total Security -- and experts say they're really useful. In-cloud data storage (you get 2 GB free) syncs data among your devices. Encrypted vaults store your data securely, and a file shredder deletes data completely. Device anti-theft, rare for a PC suite, lets you locate, remotely lock down or even completely wipe your laptop. PC tune up features goes beyond the usual defrag-and-cleanup, with sophisticated duplicate-file and registry cleanup tools. One-Click Optimizer is the tool that many will rely on. "It will recover disk space by deleting junk files, wipe out useless and erroneous Registry data, and clear away traces of your PC and browser usage" says PCMag.com. Those who want to dig deeper will find more advanced PC Clean-Up and Registry Cleaner tools. Automatic security profile switching minimizes spurious security interruptions and alerts during certain activities, such as game playing and movie watching, but PC World's testers found that it didn't always work.

Performance

Award-winning security that won't bog down your computer. Blocking malware, malicious websites, phishing sites -- Bitdefender does an award-winning job in test after test. It won't slow your computer down, either, experts say. It earns top grades in independent tests by AV-Test. org, AV-Comparatives.org and others. It's an Editors' Choice at PCMag.com and Tom's Guide. User reviews are split down the middle at most sites, however. Some love BitDefender, others hate it, complaining of various issues with performance or installation -- something that's true of virtually all security software. Also, like almost all security software, BitDefender won't coexist peacefully with security programs from other vendors. Make sure you completely uninstall any of those before installing BitDefender to minimize headaches.

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Bottom line

In test after test, Bitdefender Total Security 2015 finishes at the forefront with near-bulletproof protection against all types of malware and good overall usability. Bitdefender's top-of-the-line software comes fully loaded with just about every security option you can imagine. One caveat is that things can get a little ugly if you have other security software already installed, so completely remove those first before adding BitDefender to your PC.

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The best Internet security software typically includes three essential components -- antivirus, anti-spyware and a firewall -- along with optional features, such as a spam filter and parental controls. Some companies bundle additional components as well, including identity theft prevention, anti-phishing software and online backup. Smartphones are increasingly vulnerable to malware too, and we cover both PC and smartphone Internet security software in this report, as well as some double-duty products that protect both PCs and mobile devices.

In naming the best Internet security suites, we look first to performance, but also ease of use and features. Of course, the most important feature of any Internet security software is its antivirus protection (and if that's all you are interested in, we review stand-alone antivirus software programs in their own report).

Among all-in-one security suites, we see terrific feedback for Bitdefender Total Security 2015. It scores well in testing and earns raves from professional reviewers including Editors' Choice selections at PCMag.com and Tom's Guide. User reviews are more mixed, but that's not an unusual situation with most Internet security software, especially commercial suites. Bitdefender earns top scores in most independent lab tests, including a 100 percent detection rate against both new and established malware by AV-Test.org.

Bit Defender offers comprehensive protection. "It pulls together almost every imaginable security feature in one package, and they all work well," says PCMag.com's Neil J. Rubenking. Those features include antivirus, anti-phishing, anti-spyware, a software firewall, parental controls, PC tune up and optimizer functions, file encryption, anti-theft, online backup and more. New this year is a feature that monitors usage to change your profile -- say for movie watching or game playing -- to keep spurious warnings and intrusions to a minimum. It's supposed to work automatically, but Sarah Jacobsson Purewal at PC World reports that the performance of that feature was inconsistent.

If everyone only used PCs, we might be done at this point, but they don't, and we aren't. Mobile devices are increasingly vulnerable to malware attacks, and are more vulnerable to other issues -- such as being stolen or lost -- than PCs or laptops. Bitdefender Mobile Security (Est. $15 per year per device) scores terrifically in lab testing, and packs a lots of mobile goodies into the package. Those include a Privacy Advisor that tracks how your apps use your personal information and anti-theft features that will locate your device, or lock it and wipe the data on it. It can also trigger alerts and alarms on your Android smartwatch if it and your smartphone are out of range of each other. You can also buy Bitdefender Mobile Security and Bitdefender Total Security 2015, along with Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac ($60 for 3 Macs), as Bitdefender Total Security Multi-Device for $100 per year for up to 5 devices, or $130 per year for up to 10.

If you have lots of computers to protect, or are looking for an-all-in-one security software solution for PCs, Macs and mobile devices, Norton Security with Backup is an excellent choice as well. Norton Security is Symantec's sole antivirus/Internet-security software product starting in 2015. It pulls the features and functions of the entire former Norton line, including Norton Antivirus, Norton 360, Norton Mobile Security, Norton Internet Security for Mac, and more into one package. Norton Security with Backup includes protection for any combination of 10 PCs, Macs or mobile devices (Android and iOS, including the iPhone and iPad). It also a utility to automatically back up files to either a cloud service (25 GB of online backup from Symantec is part of the deal) or an external drive. If you have a lot of devices to protect, that makes Norton Security with Backup one of the most economical commercial suites available. If you don't have as many devices to protect, and don't care about the backup feature, you can save a few dollars by opting for the base version of Norton Security (Est. $55 per year for up to 5 devices).

Whichever version you opt for, protection is first rate. Norton Security is an Editors' Choice at PCMag.com, and is also its pick as the best cross-platform multi-device security suite. AV-Test.org puts Norton Security at the top of the pile in its testing of both performance and usability. Norton products were once reviled as horrific resource hogs, but those days are now ancient history. The user interface has been greatly simplified over the years. One caveat is that testing of previous versions revealed good but not quite as bulletproof malware protection for Macs and mobile devices (the latest version is yet to be tested on those platforms). User feedback at sites like Amazon.com and Google Play is relatively strong. The biggest negative that reviewers find is that the most robust parental control features require the separate purchase of Norton Family Premier (Est. $50 per year).

What about free Internet security software? Try as we might, we could not find a totally free security suite for PC users that passes muster. Testing reveals protection that lags behind the best commercial Internet security software, and we see lots of reports of usability issues. However, if your main interest is in a solid antivirus product -- and that's what most concerns most users -- we did find some solid antivirus solutions that will do a terrific job of protecting your computer and not cost you one cent. For more on those, see our report on antivirus software.

That said, if you are only looking for the best free Internet security software to protect your mobile device, there are some suites worth considering. Chief among them is Avira Free Antivirus Security (Free). Testing by AV-Test.org and AV-Comparatives.org show that protection is solid. Feedback at Google Play is also strong. In addition to antivirus, Avira Free Antivirus Security can track your phone's location, and allows you to lock or wipe it if stolen. It can also block calls and contacts, and a new Identity Safeguard feature guards against hacked emails -- either yours or anyone on your contact list. Avira is available for both Android and iOS, and goes by different names in each platform's app store. For Android, it's called Avira Antivirus Security in Google Play. In iTunes, it's identified as Avira Mobile Security.

Avast! Free Mobile Security (called Avast! Mobile Security & Antivirus on Google Play) is another free Internet security suite for mobile devices. It also scores well in lab testing, is an Editors' Choice selection at Tom's Guide and receives solid user reviews at Google Play. However, Avast! Free Mobile Security is only available for Android devices.

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Most independent test labs only evaluate antivirus software or the antivirus component of security suites. AV-Test.org is particularly helpful because it also rates factors such as usability and a suite's impact on a computer's performance. Technology websites generally defer to these labs when it comes to rating effectiveness, but PCMag.com conducts its own testing as well. Others, such as Tom's Guide and PC World focus their reviews on usability factors. User reviews at sites such as Google Play and Amazon.com are useful for evaluating how Internet security suites perform in the real world.

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Norton Security with Backup
Norton Security with Backup

Best value Internet security software suite

If you have a lot of devices to protect, it's hard to argue with the value offered by Norton Security with Backup. One subscription covers up to 10 devices, and those can be any mixture of PCs, Macs, and Android or Apple smartphones and tablets. Protection is robust, especially for PCs, and the software's impact on system performance is minimal to non-existent. The 25 GB of free online back-up is a plus, or you can use the software to back up data to an external drive. However, if you demand the most robust parental controls, you'll need to budget extra for a Norton Family Premier subscription (Est. $50 per year).

$55.63
short-report
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[teaser] => If you have a lot of devices to protect, it's hard to argue with the value offered by Norton Security with Backup. One subscription covers up to 10 devices, and those can be any mixture of PCs, Macs, and Android or Apple smartphones and tablets. Protection is robust, especially for PCs, and the software's impact on system performance is minimal to non-existent. The 25 GB of free online back-up is a plus, or you can use the software to back up data to an external drive. However, if you demand the most robust parental controls, you'll need to budget extra for a Norton Family Premier subscription (Est. $50 per year). 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The best Internet security software typically includes three essential components -- antivirus, anti-spyware and a firewall -- along with optional features, such as a spam filter and parental controls. Some companies bundle additional components as well, including identity theft prevention, anti-phishing software and online backup. Smartphones are increasingly vulnerable to malware too, and we cover both PC and smartphone Internet security software in this report, as well as some double-duty products that protect both PCs and mobile devices.

In naming the best Internet security suites, we look first to performance, but also ease of use and features. Of course, the most important feature of any Internet security software is its antivirus protection (and if that's all you are interested in, we review stand-alone antivirus software programs in their own report).

Among all-in-one security suites, we see terrific feedback for Bitdefender Total Security 2015. It scores well in testing and earns raves from professional reviewers including Editors' Choice selections at PCMag.com and Tom's Guide. User reviews are more mixed, but that's not an unusual situation with most Internet security software, especially commercial suites. Bitdefender earns top scores in most independent lab tests, including a 100 percent detection rate against both new and established malware by AV-Test.org.

Bit Defender offers comprehensive protection. "It pulls together almost every imaginable security feature in one package, and they all work well," says PCMag.com's Neil J. Rubenking. Those features include antivirus, anti-phishing, anti-spyware, a software firewall, parental controls, PC tune up and optimizer functions, file encryption, anti-theft, online backup and more. New this year is a feature that monitors usage to change your profile -- say for movie watching or game playing -- to keep spurious warnings and intrusions to a minimum. It's supposed to work automatically, but Sarah Jacobsson Purewal at PC World reports that the performance of that feature was inconsistent.

If everyone only used PCs, we might be done at this point, but they don't, and we aren't. Mobile devices are increasingly vulnerable to malware attacks, and are more vulnerable to other issues -- such as being stolen or lost -- than PCs or laptops. Bitdefender Mobile Security (Est. $15 per year per device) scores terrifically in lab testing, and packs a lots of mobile goodies into the package. Those include a Privacy Advisor that tracks how your apps use your personal information and anti-theft features that will locate your device, or lock it and wipe the data on it. It can also trigger alerts and alarms on your Android smartwatch if it and your smartphone are out of range of each other. You can also buy Bitdefender Mobile Security and Bitdefender Total Security 2015, along with Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac ($60 for 3 Macs), as Bitdefender Total Security Multi-Device for $100 per year for up to 5 devices, or $130 per year for up to 10.

If you have lots of computers to protect, or are looking for an-all-in-one security software solution for PCs, Macs and mobile devices, Norton Security with Backup is an excellent choice as well. Norton Security is Symantec's sole antivirus/Internet-security software product starting in 2015. It pulls the features and functions of the entire former Norton line, including Norton Antivirus, Norton 360, Norton Mobile Security, Norton Internet Security for Mac, and more into one package. Norton Security with Backup includes protection for any combination of 10 PCs, Macs or mobile devices (Android and iOS, including the iPhone and iPad). It also a utility to automatically back up files to either a cloud service (25 GB of online backup from Symantec is part of the deal) or an external drive. If you have a lot of devices to protect, that makes Norton Security with Backup one of the most economical commercial suites available. If you don't have as many devices to protect, and don't care about the backup feature, you can save a few dollars by opting for the base version of Norton Security (Est. $55 per year for up to 5 devices).

Whichever version you opt for, protection is first rate. Norton Security is an Editors' Choice at PCMag.com, and is also its pick as the best cross-platform multi-device security suite. AV-Test.org puts Norton Security at the top of the pile in its testing of both performance and usability. Norton products were once reviled as horrific resource hogs, but those days are now ancient history. The user interface has been greatly simplified over the years. One caveat is that testing of previous versions revealed good but not quite as bulletproof malware protection for Macs and mobile devices (the latest version is yet to be tested on those platforms). User feedback at sites like Amazon.com and Google Play is relatively strong. The biggest negative that reviewers find is that the most robust parental control features require the separate purchase of Norton Family Premier (Est. $50 per year).

What about free Internet security software? Try as we might, we could not find a totally free security suite for PC users that passes muster. Testing reveals protection that lags behind the best commercial Internet security software, and we see lots of reports of usability issues. However, if your main interest is in a solid antivirus product -- and that's what most concerns most users -- we did find some solid antivirus solutions that will do a terrific job of protecting your computer and not cost you one cent. For more on those, see our report on antivirus software.

That said, if you are only looking for the best free Internet security software to protect your mobile device, there are some suites worth considering. Chief among them is Avira Free Antivirus Security (Free). Testing by AV-Test.org and AV-Comparatives.org show that protection is solid. Feedback at Google Play is also strong. In addition to antivirus, Avira Free Antivirus Security can track your phone's location, and allows you to lock or wipe it if stolen. It can also block calls and contacts, and a new Identity Safeguard feature guards against hacked emails -- either yours or anyone on your contact list. Avira is available for both Android and iOS, and goes by different names in each platform's app store. For Android, it's called Avira Antivirus Security in Google Play. In iTunes, it's identified as Avira Mobile Security.

Avast! Free Mobile Security (called Avast! Mobile Security & Antivirus on Google Play) is another free Internet security suite for mobile devices. It also scores well in lab testing, is an Editors' Choice selection at Tom's Guide and receives solid user reviews at Google Play. However, Avast! Free Mobile Security is only available for Android devices.

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Most independent test labs only evaluate antivirus software or the antivirus component of security suites. AV-Test.org is particularly helpful because it also rates factors such as usability and a suite's impact on a computer's performance. Technology websites generally defer to these labs when it comes to rating effectiveness, but PCMag.com conducts its own testing as well. Others, such as Tom's Guide and PC World focus their reviews on usability factors. User reviews at sites such as Google Play and Amazon.com are useful for evaluating how Internet security suites perform in the real world.

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Avira Free Antivirus Security
Avira Free Antivirus Security

Free mobile internet security software suite

Reviewers say that Avira Free Antivirus Security offers top-shelf protection for your favorite mobile device, yet it won't cost you a penny. Versions are available for both Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. Testing reveals robust protection, though you might get the rare false positive. User feedback is good as well. In addition to antivirus protection, you get the ability to track down your phone's location and/or to remotely lock it or wipe it clean. Avira Free Antivirus Security also blocks unwanted calls and contacts, and keeps an eye out for hacked email -- both your own and from your contacts.

Free Estimated Price
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They can safeguard your data, control your kids' Internet use -- and some shield your tablets and smartphones, too. Find the right do-it-all software to protect your digital life, based on expert tests and feedback from users. ) ) [field_product_type_show_h2] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] => 1 ) ) [field_redirect_url] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] => ) ) [field_sdc_category] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] => ) ) [field_short_report_body] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] =>

The best Internet security software typically includes three essential components -- antivirus, anti-spyware and a firewall -- along with optional features, such as a spam filter and parental controls. Some companies bundle additional components as well, including identity theft prevention, anti-phishing software and online backup. Smartphones are increasingly vulnerable to malware too, and we cover both PC and smartphone Internet security software in this report, as well as some double-duty products that protect both PCs and mobile devices.

In naming the best Internet security suites, we look first to performance, but also ease of use and features. Of course, the most important feature of any Internet security software is its antivirus protection (and if that's all you are interested in, we review stand-alone antivirus software programs in their own report).

Among all-in-one security suites, we see terrific feedback for Bitdefender Total Security 2015. It scores well in testing and earns raves from professional reviewers including Editors' Choice selections at PCMag.com and Tom's Guide. User reviews are more mixed, but that's not an unusual situation with most Internet security software, especially commercial suites. Bitdefender earns top scores in most independent lab tests, including a 100 percent detection rate against both new and established malware by AV-Test.org.

Bit Defender offers comprehensive protection. "It pulls together almost every imaginable security feature in one package, and they all work well," says PCMag.com's Neil J. Rubenking. Those features include antivirus, anti-phishing, anti-spyware, a software firewall, parental controls, PC tune up and optimizer functions, file encryption, anti-theft, online backup and more. New this year is a feature that monitors usage to change your profile -- say for movie watching or game playing -- to keep spurious warnings and intrusions to a minimum. It's supposed to work automatically, but Sarah Jacobsson Purewal at PC World reports that the performance of that feature was inconsistent.

If everyone only used PCs, we might be done at this point, but they don't, and we aren't. Mobile devices are increasingly vulnerable to malware attacks, and are more vulnerable to other issues -- such as being stolen or lost -- than PCs or laptops. Bitdefender Mobile Security (Est. $15 per year per device) scores terrifically in lab testing, and packs a lots of mobile goodies into the package. Those include a Privacy Advisor that tracks how your apps use your personal information and anti-theft features that will locate your device, or lock it and wipe the data on it. It can also trigger alerts and alarms on your Android smartwatch if it and your smartphone are out of range of each other. You can also buy Bitdefender Mobile Security and Bitdefender Total Security 2015, along with Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac ($60 for 3 Macs), as Bitdefender Total Security Multi-Device for $100 per year for up to 5 devices, or $130 per year for up to 10.

If you have lots of computers to protect, or are looking for an-all-in-one security software solution for PCs, Macs and mobile devices, Norton Security with Backup is an excellent choice as well. Norton Security is Symantec's sole antivirus/Internet-security software product starting in 2015. It pulls the features and functions of the entire former Norton line, including Norton Antivirus, Norton 360, Norton Mobile Security, Norton Internet Security for Mac, and more into one package. Norton Security with Backup includes protection for any combination of 10 PCs, Macs or mobile devices (Android and iOS, including the iPhone and iPad). It also a utility to automatically back up files to either a cloud service (25 GB of online backup from Symantec is part of the deal) or an external drive. If you have a lot of devices to protect, that makes Norton Security with Backup one of the most economical commercial suites available. If you don't have as many devices to protect, and don't care about the backup feature, you can save a few dollars by opting for the base version of Norton Security (Est. $55 per year for up to 5 devices).

Whichever version you opt for, protection is first rate. Norton Security is an Editors' Choice at PCMag.com, and is also its pick as the best cross-platform multi-device security suite. AV-Test.org puts Norton Security at the top of the pile in its testing of both performance and usability. Norton products were once reviled as horrific resource hogs, but those days are now ancient history. The user interface has been greatly simplified over the years. One caveat is that testing of previous versions revealed good but not quite as bulletproof malware protection for Macs and mobile devices (the latest version is yet to be tested on those platforms). User feedback at sites like Amazon.com and Google Play is relatively strong. The biggest negative that reviewers find is that the most robust parental control features require the separate purchase of Norton Family Premier (Est. $50 per year).

What about free Internet security software? Try as we might, we could not find a totally free security suite for PC users that passes muster. Testing reveals protection that lags behind the best commercial Internet security software, and we see lots of reports of usability issues. However, if your main interest is in a solid antivirus product -- and that's what most concerns most users -- we did find some solid antivirus solutions that will do a terrific job of protecting your computer and not cost you one cent. For more on those, see our report on antivirus software.

That said, if you are only looking for the best free Internet security software to protect your mobile device, there are some suites worth considering. Chief among them is Avira Free Antivirus Security (Free). Testing by AV-Test.org and AV-Comparatives.org show that protection is solid. Feedback at Google Play is also strong. In addition to antivirus, Avira Free Antivirus Security can track your phone's location, and allows you to lock or wipe it if stolen. It can also block calls and contacts, and a new Identity Safeguard feature guards against hacked emails -- either yours or anyone on your contact list. Avira is available for both Android and iOS, and goes by different names in each platform's app store. For Android, it's called Avira Antivirus Security in Google Play. In iTunes, it's identified as Avira Mobile Security.

Avast! Free Mobile Security (called Avast! Mobile Security & Antivirus on Google Play) is another free Internet security suite for mobile devices. It also scores well in lab testing, is an Editors' Choice selection at Tom's Guide and receives solid user reviews at Google Play. However, Avast! Free Mobile Security is only available for Android devices.

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Most independent test labs only evaluate antivirus software or the antivirus component of security suites. AV-Test.org is particularly helpful because it also rates factors such as usability and a suite's impact on a computer's performance. Technology websites generally defer to these labs when it comes to rating effectiveness, but PCMag.com conducts its own testing as well. Others, such as Tom's Guide and PC World focus their reviews on usability factors. User reviews at sites such as Google Play and Amazon.com are useful for evaluating how Internet security suites perform in the real world.

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Internet security software provides all-in-one protection

The best Internet security software typically includes three essential components -- antivirus, anti-spyware and a firewall -- along with optional features, such as a spam filter and parental controls. Some companies bundle additional components as well, including identity theft prevention, anti-phishing software and online backup. Smartphones are increasingly vulnerable to malware too, and we cover both PC and smartphone Internet security software in this report, as well as some double-duty products that protect both PCs and mobile devices.

In naming the best Internet security suites, we look first to performance, but also ease of use and features. Of course, the most important feature of any Internet security software is its antivirus protection (and if that's all you are interested in, we review stand-alone antivirus software programs in their own report).

What To Look For
  • Easy install and setup
  • The number of licenses
  • Parental controls
Read More

Among all-in-one security suites, we see terrific feedback for Bitdefender Total Security 2015 (Est. $60 for 3 PCs). It scores well in testing and earns raves from professional reviewers including Editors' Choice selections at PCMag.com and Tom's Guide. User reviews are more mixed, but that's not an unusual situation with most Internet security software, especially commercial suites. Bitdefender earns top scores in most independent lab tests, including a 100 percent detection rate against both new and established malware by AV-Test.org.

Bit Defender offers comprehensive protection. "It pulls together almost every imaginable security feature in one package, and they all work well," says PCMag.com's Neil J. Rubenking. Those features include antivirus, anti-phishing, anti-spyware, a software firewall, parental controls, PC tune up and optimizer functions, file encryption, anti-theft, online backup and more. New this year is a feature that monitors usage to change your profile -- say for movie watching or game playing -- to keep spurious warnings and intrusions to a minimum. It's supposed to work automatically, but Sarah Jacobsson Purewal at PC World reports that the performance of that feature was inconsistent.

If everyone only used PCs, we might be done at this point, but they don't, and we aren't. Mobile devices are increasingly vulnerable to malware attacks, and are more vulnerable to other issues -- such as being stolen or lost -- than PCs or laptops. Bitdefender Mobile Security (Est. $15 per year per device) scores terrifically in lab testing, and packs a lots of mobile goodies into the package. Those include a Privacy Advisor that tracks how your apps use your personal information and anti-theft features that will locate your device, or lock it and wipe the data on it. It can also trigger alerts and alarms on your Android smartwatch if it and your smartphone are out of range of each other. You can also buy Bitdefender Mobile Security and Bitdefender Total Security 2015, along with Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac ($60 for 3 Macs), as Bitdefender Total Security Multi-Device for $100 per year for up to 5 devices, or $130 per year for up to 10.

If you have lots of computers to protect, or are looking for an-all-in-one security software solution for PCs, Macs and mobile devices, Norton Security with Backup (Est. $60 for 10 devices) is an excellent choice as well. Norton Security is Symantec's sole antivirus/Internet-security software product starting in 2015. It pulls the features and functions of the entire former Norton line, including Norton Antivirus, Norton 360, Norton Mobile Security, Norton Internet Security for Mac, and more into one package. Norton Security with Backup includes protection for any combination of 10 PCs, Macs or mobile devices (Android and iOS, including the iPhone and iPad). It also a utility to automatically back up files to either a cloud service (25 GB of online backup from Symantec is part of the deal) or an external drive. If you have a lot of devices to protect, that makes Norton Security with Backup one of the most economical commercial suites available. If you don't have as many devices to protect, and don't care about the backup feature, you can save a few dollars by opting for the base version of Norton Security (Est. $55 per year for up to 5 devices).

Whichever version you opt for, protection is first rate. Norton Security is an Editors' Choice at PCMag.com, and is also its pick as the best cross-platform multi-device security suite. AV-Test.org puts Norton Security at the top of the pile in its testing of both performance and usability. Norton products were once reviled as horrific resource hogs, but those days are now ancient history. The user interface has been greatly simplified over the years. One caveat is that testing of previous versions revealed good but not quite as bulletproof malware protection for Macs and mobile devices (the latest version is yet to be tested on those platforms). User feedback at sites like Amazon.com and Google Play is relatively strong. The biggest negative that reviewers find is that the most robust parental control features require the separate purchase of Norton Family Premier (Est. $50 per year).

What about free Internet security software? Try as we might, we could not find a totally free security suite for PC users that passes muster. Testing reveals protection that lags behind the best commercial Internet security software, and we see lots of reports of usability issues. However, if your main interest is in a solid antivirus product -- and that's what most concerns most users -- we did find some solid antivirus solutions that will do a terrific job of protecting your computer and not cost you one cent. For more on those, see our report on antivirus software.

That said, if you are only looking for the best free Internet security software to protect your mobile device, there are some suites worth considering. Chief among them is Avira Free Antivirus Security (Free). Testing by AV-Test.org and AV-Comparatives.org show that protection is solid. Feedback at Google Play is also strong. In addition to antivirus, Avira Free Antivirus Security can track your phone's location, and allows you to lock or wipe it if stolen. It can also block calls and contacts, and a new Identity Safeguard feature guards against hacked emails -- either yours or anyone on your contact list. Avira is available for both Android and iOS, and goes by different names in each platform's app store. For Android, it's called Avira Antivirus Security in Google Play. In iTunes, it's identified as Avira Mobile Security.

Avast! Free Mobile Security (called Avast! Mobile Security & Antivirus on Google Play) is another free Internet security suite for mobile devices. It also scores well in lab testing, is an Editors' Choice selection at Tom's Guide and receives solid user reviews at Google Play. However, Avast! Free Mobile Security is only available for Android devices.

Expert & User Review Sources

Most independent test labs only evaluate antivirus software or the antivirus component of security suites. AV-Test.org is particularly helpful because it also rates factors such as usability and a suite's impact on a computer's performance. Technology websites generally defer to these labs when it comes to rating effectiveness, but PCMag.com conducts its own testing as well. Others, such as Tom's Guide and PC World focus their reviews on usability factors. User reviews at sites such as Google Play and Amazon.com are useful for evaluating how Internet security suites perform in the real world.

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Bitdefender Total Security 2015 - up to 3 PCs, 1 year [Download]
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from Amazon.com
New: $53.97   
In Stock.
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Norton Security with Backup (For 10 Devices) [Old Version]
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New: $49.00
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  

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