Users are spoiled for choice when selecting an Internet security suite, with three strong contenders for our Best Reviewed title, as well as two competitors that offer something a little different.
Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 (*Est. $25 for 3 PCs) , Norton Internet Security (2013) (*Est. $20 for 3 PCs) and BitDefender Internet Security 2013 (*Est. $25 for 3 PCs) are consistently at the top of the pack in comparative reviews of Internet security software. All of these software suites have very good or excellent performance records as well as an extensive array of features; however, each software suite comes with its strengths and weaknesses. Overall, Kaspersky edges out the other two, but it's worth looking into all three before you decide.
All three of these Internet software suites have antivirus, anti-spam and anti-spyware tools, as well as parental controls. Their differences are fairly minor, but that might make a difference to your decision.
If you conduct financial business on the Internet, then Kaspersky's Safe Money and BitDefender's Safepay features will help your peace of mind. For additional security, these two software suites have virtual keyboards to foil keyloggers from accessing any sensitive information you type, including passwords.
Parents who want to monitor their children's Internet use will find parental controls in all three of these security suites but offered in slightly different ways and with a different focus. Kaspersky Internet Security provides extensive controls including the ability to create a user profile for each child and to control the "what and when" of Internet access. Norton Internet Security handles parental controls by providing a gateway to its free Norton Family service (you can upgrade to the Premier version for $49.99 a year). In addition to the standard parental controls, BitDefender Internet Security allows parents to monitor their kids' Facebook pages, as well as their online messaging and web access.
If you don't want to be bothered with updating your security software, then consider Norton Internet Security. There is no longer a yearly designation associated with Norton software, though we include the annual date as part of the name to differentiate it from previous versions. Updates to Norton software are now automatic, and no reboot is required.
Speed and protection levels come into play in choosing Kaspersky Internet Security as our best reviewed Internet security software suite. Its results in professional tests slightly edge out both Norton Internet Security and BitDefender Internet Security in speed and in the number of malware attacks it stops.
If you're looking for an online backup feature, consider Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete (*Est. $30 for 3 PCs) . With an impressive 25 GB of free hosted online storage, SecureAnywhere Complete handily beats out the 2 GB space offered by Norton 360 and BitDefender Total Security software. SecureAnywhere Complete receives good marks for protection, but reviewers complain about its slow speed when repairing damage and that it lacks parental controls.
Mac users should also consider Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete as it supports OS X operating systems. Mobile device users will also be happy with this software as it comes with Android and iOS phone and tablet protection.
Also compatible with Mac OS X operating systems is Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security 2013 (*Est. $25 for 3 PCs) . This software package has an extensive collection of support information, including instructional videos as well as system tune-up tools, which are, however, more limited than those in stand-alone products.