Why do we need an antivirus? Our safety is at risk. Any Windows PC is hackable. Any click can be tracked. By buying the best antivirus program, we recover our security and our privacy. And, equally important, we regain our peace of mind. Our device will be safe from malware. Our passwords will be protected from hackers. Our activity on the network cannot be spied on by companies that seek to flood us with ads. And our children will be protected from inappropriate internet content.
But there are literally hundreds of antiviruses available. How do we choose one? That’s what we’re for. We have been testing and analyzing the best antivirus for Mac, Windows, Android and iOS since 2014. We have selected the best from fifty antivirus applications, and we present them below. Arm ourselves with anti-malware, firewall, webcam protection, password managers, virtual private networks (VPNs),parental control, game power-ups and anti-drag software: these are the tools of the Swiss army knife that the cybersecurity industry puts at our disposal.
So, what are the best antivirus for Windows 10 PC?
BitDefender Antivirus Scan
Best Antivirus for Windows 10 PC of 2021
- Perfect antimalware for Windows: BitDefender discovered one hundred percent of the 10,249 malware samples in malwareprotection tests.
- No impact on the speed of our PC: BitDefender scored 97.1% in the PC Mark Performance Test. This means that it will not slow down the speed of our computer.
- Anti-phishing:We will receive a warning prior to visiting suspicious websites known to steal sensitive information, such as credit card details.
- Firewall:Automatically blocks any unauthorized device in your attempt to connect to our PC and access our private data.
- Password Manager: Generates and stores unique passwords for all our accounts.
- Free Limited VPN: We can encrypt our internet connection, so that we are anonymous online and safe from hackers.
- Webcam Protection: We will receive a notice when an application tries to activate our webcam and will block its access.
- Parental controls: We will be able to limit screen time and filter out inappropriate websites for our children, even remotely.
- Additional functions in hand: BitDefender includes anti-ransomware,anti-drag, microphone protection, online secure banking, and many other internet securityfeatures.
- Discounts: BitDefender offers great discounts for users in Spain and Latin America. It has, therefore, the best value for money.
- Free VPN limited to 200 MB per day: Unlimited VPN has an additional cost. However, the waste is worth it. We’ll get a version of Hotspot Shield’s speedy VPN with a discount.
Norton Antivirus Scan
One of the best antivirus software for PC
- Perfect antimalware for Windows: Norton discovered one hundred percent of the 10,249 malware samples in software detection tests
- No impact on the speed of our PC: Norton scores a 97.3 in the PC performance test. This means that it will have no impact on the agility of our computer.
- Antiphishing:We will receive a warning before accessing a fraudulent site, from those who try to steal our confidential information, such as our credit card details.
- Firewall:When we connect to the internet, any suspicious traffic is prevented from accessing our PC, so that it can not obtain our data and files.
- Password Manager: We can create strong and unique passwords for each of our accounts, and store them in a virtual safe.
- Free and unlimited VPN: We will surf the net anonymously by encrypting our internet connection and hiding our IP address.
- Webcam Protection: We will block spyware and hackers from accessing our foreign webcam.
- Parental controls: We will be able to filter what our children do online and set limits on their screen time, among other things. Norton parental control is the best in the industry.
- Additional functions: Norton includes cloud backups and a string of identity theft protection features in its premiumpackages.
- No VPN on AV Plus: Norton’s most basic antivirus package, AV Plus, does not include the VPN. Yes it is included in the 360 Standard, Deluxe and Premium packages.
Panda Antivirus Scan
Excellent antivirus protection for Windows 10
- Perfect antimalware for Windows: Panda detected 100% of the 10,249 malware samples in the malwaredetection test.
- No impact on the speed of our PC: Panda scored a 97.0 in the PC performance test. This means that it will not reduce the speed of our computer one iota.
- Antiphishing:We will receive a warning when VIEWing malicious web precious that attempt to steal our personal or financial information.
- Firewall: It automatically prevents any unauthorized device from connecting to our PC or laptop.
- Password Manager: Panda has created a brand new password manager, which allows us to create and store a specific password for each account.
- Free VPN: We can encrypt our internet connection with Panda’s VPN – based on Hotspot Shield technology – to become anonymous online.
- Parental control:We will be able to manage what our children see and do online, and what applications they can access.
- Additional functions:Panda has a few very useful additional functions, such as a dedicated analysis for USB drives and a cleaning tool to speed up our devices.
- Less effective antiphishing: Panda’s anti-phishing discovered fewer malicious URLs than BitDefender and Norton.
- Android-only password manager app: On Windows and Mac, it only works as a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox.
- Free VPN limited to 150 MB daily: 150 MB fall short. And if we want the unlimited version, we will have to go through the box or get Panda Dome Premium.
Intego Antivirus Scan
Excellent antivirus for Mac
- Exclusive for Mac: Intego was designed exclusively for MacOS, making it one of the best solutions to protect Apple’s operating system.
- Perfect antimalware for Mac: Intego discovered one hundred percent of malware tests in independent tests.
- No impact on the speed of our Mac: Intego outperformed the industry average in all performance tests, which means that our Mac will not lose a single speed tip.
- Antiphishing:We will receive a warning before accessing a fraudulent site, from those who try to steal our confidential information, such as our credit card details.
- Firewall:When we connect to the internet, any suspicious traffic is prevented from accessing our Mac, so that it can not get our data and files.
- Parental control:We will be able to manage what our children see and do online, and what applications they can access.
- Additional features:Intego has a few very useful additional features, such as a backup and a cleaning tool to speed up our devices.
- No password manager: Intego does not offer us the option to create and save unique and highly secure passwords.
- No free VPN: Intego doesn’t include a free version of its VPN. If we want to be anonymous online, we will have to acquire theVPN.
BullGuard Antivirus Review
Excellent antimalware, but some features are missing
- Perfect antimalware for Windows: BullGuard discovered one hundred percent of malware tests in independent tests.
- No impact on the speed of our PC: BullGuard outperformed the industry average in all performance tests, which means that our PC will not lose a peak of speed.
- Antiphishing:We will receive a notice before entering a website from which it has been confirmed that it is attempting to steal confidential information, such as our credit card information.
- Firewall:Prevents any device not authorized by us from connecting to our PC and accessing our personal data.
- Parental controls: We may block categories of websites, such as adult gaming or entertainment, set time limits for internet use, and many other things.
- Additional functions: BullGuard incorporates a gaming enhancer, a home network scanner, cloud backups, and a few other utility features.
- No password manager: BullGuard does not offer us the option to create and save unique and highly secure passwords.
- No free VPN: BullGuard doesn’t include a free version of its VPN. If we want to be anonymous online, we will have to acquire theVPN.
- High-priced VPN: BullGuard’s VPN is a basic version of NordVPN, but it costs the same as this one. It would be more like us to subscribe, directly, to NordVPN.
- Norton parental controls are best: Those parents who want until the last complement, we will do better to bet on Norton instead.
McAfee Antivirus Scan
- Excellent anti-malwareprotection : McAfee detected 10,242 (99.93%) of 10,249 malware samples in the malwaredetection test.
- No impact on the speed of our PC: McAfee scores a 97.8 in the PC performance test, so our computer will continue to fly, as usual.
- Antiphishing:We will receive a warning before accessing a website that is known to be trying to trick users into revealing their sensitive information.
- Firewall: Automatically prevents any program or device from connecting to our PC without our permission.
- Password Manager: McAfee’s password manager, which helps us create and store unique passwords, is the best of five antiviruses in this particular test.
- Free unlimited VPN: We will be anonymous online by encrypting our internet connection and masking our IP address with McAfee Safe Connect.
- Parental controls: We will block our children’s access to inappropriate websites and specific applications, we will be able to set screen times and track their location.
- Additional functions: McAfee includes performance optimization, home network protection, encrypted file storage, and more.
- Anti-malware protection one step below others: McAfee left more malware samples in the pipeline than BitDefender and Norton in the detection tests.
- Norton parental controls are still the best: If we buy an antivirus for parental control, we recommend Norton instead.
- VPN with an invasive logging policy: McAfee VPN tracks what we do online. Yes, we will outwit hackers,but we won’t be anonymous. We recommend avoiding this VPN.
Digital privacy and security are essential. And knowing which sources to trust when choosing our security software is equally important.
Therefore, we want to be transparent about the methods we employ to analyze and select the best antivirus programs for Windows 10 and Windows 11 PCs in our comparison.
Below are the three factors that we consider most important. All of them matter, but not in equal measure. Therefore, each of them has a different impact on the final score. To learn more about what each factor contributes, we just have to read below.
The main function of an antivirus program is protection against malware threats and phishingattacks. The AV-Test and AV-Comparativestesting laboratories, one German and the other Austrian, respectively, run several in-depth studies each year to analyze how the various brands manage these threats.
To do this, they subject each of the security tools to the three tests described below. Instead of duplicating their work, we use their findings to determine the score for each of the brands in our comparison.
Real-time protection testing
The goal of this exercise is to discover how antivirus software responds to online malware threats.
This is done by accessing a malicious URL and observing whether or not the URL is blocked. If the block is performed, the antivirus passes the test.
In the event that the URL is not blocked, the malware will be allowed to run. If the antivirus software detects the malware at this stage (either through digital signature or behavioral detection methods) and blocks its execution, the antivirus also manages to pass the test.
If neither the URL nor the malware is blocked, then the system is compromised and the antivirus suspends the test.
Malware protection testing
During these tests, computers are exposed to malware via USB or network disk drives, rather than over the internet.
After exposing a PC to a malware sample, an on-demand scan is run. If the antivirus detects the digital signature and prevents it from running, the antivirus passes the test.
In the event that it does not detect the digital signature, the malware is allowed to run. Here, the antivirus has a second chance to “hunt” the malware. On this occasion, using its functions of detection of anomalous behaviors.
If, again, it fails to detect the malware, the antivirus fails the test.
Phishing attacks attempt to trick users into revealing sensitive information to hackers,such as their credit card details. This is done by mimicking legitimate websites, often PayPal and banks, and by asking users to enter their login details.
This is an important test, because phishing attacks do not infect a PC with malware, but rather attempt to manipulate the user through social engineering and spoofing. Therefore, antivirus requires a different set of capabilities than is needed to detect malicious code or suspicious file behaviors.
The test, in itself, is very simple. Determines whether the antivirus program, or its browser extension, warns the user when the user tries to access a fraudulent website. If not, fail the test.
The privacy industry is taking the world by storm. At a time when governments, internet service providers and big data companies can follow our every single fingerprint, consumers are clamoring for their privacy. To meet this demand, cybersecurity companies are adding privacy features to their products.
Below, we describe the most essential privacy features. This comparison is based for your score on our experiences with these tools.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A VPN allows us to encrypt our internet connection and mask our IP address. The advantage of this practice is that neither hackers, nor internet service providers, nor big datacompanies, nor governments will be able to see what we do online. In practice, this restores our anonymity when surfing the net.
Until very recently, antivirus and VPNs were distinct industries. This is no longer the case. Almost all antivirus manufacturers now offer VPN connections as part of their product. However, the way they do this varies considerably. In our analysis of the various VPNs, we checked the following:
The impact on upload and download speeds, and latency (the ping).
Whether Netflix streaming and torrentingare allowed, and whether they work.
The number of servers available and where they are located.
Security features such as 256-bit AES encryption and the OpenVPN protocol.
The price of the VPN.
Who is the creator and owner of the VPN, and what their logging policy is.
The last point – the records policy – is of particular importance. Although we are anonymous online when we use a VPN, the VPN company itself can still track what we do. After all, our online activities flow through their servers.
Of course, a VPN shouldn’t follow our movements. A VPN is a privacy product. And that means privacy in the eyes of everyone, including the VPN provider itself. Unfortunately, many free VPN services, and even some paid ones, abuse their power by collecting and reselling our data.
So, what about the companies in our comparison? Are they reliable? Is it worth leaving your rooms in your VPNs?
Norton: A trustworthy brand with a good deal for your VPN.
Norton has developed its own VPN, called Norton Secure VPN. It’s included for free in all of their antivirus products, except for their most basic product, AV Plus.
The VPN has a few flaws (it doesn’t allow torrenting and lacks a kill switch), but it’s secure, fast, works with Netflix, and enforces a clear zero-logging policy (i.e. it doesn’t track anything we do online).
And the fact that it’s included for free makes it the best VPN deal among the big antivirus brands.
BitDefender and Panda: Both are reliable companies and offer good conditions for their VPNs.
BitDefender and Panda have not developed a VPN of their own. Instead, they “subleasse” hotspot Shield’s VPN under their own brand name.
Hotspot Shield’s VPN, owned by Pango, is one of the global leaders in the industry. It’s fast, very secure, allows torrenting, and works with Netflix. It can compete seamlessly with other shiny names, such as CyberGhost and NordVPN.
The VPN marketed by BitDefender and Panda is a slimmed down version of the Hotspot Shield VPN, as we lose several server locations and the kill switch in the deal. However, it is offered at a very significant discount. While Hotspot Shield places its subscription around 100 USD per year, we can get the BitDefender subscription for 39.99 USD.
Something noteworthy is that although BitDefender and Panda own our data, Pango processes it on their behalf. Fortunately, Pango has a clear zero-logging policy,which means that none of our online activity is stored. Thus, we have the guarantee that we are completely anonymous online.
BullGuard: A reliable brand, but its VPN is no bargain.
BullGuard markets a basic version of NordVPN’s service under its own name. Although NordVPN is great (fast, secure, works with Netflix and torrenting,and enforces a clear zero-logging policy),not all of its features are available in the BullGuard version (only sixteen server locations and no kill switch).
This is not in itself a problem, as long as the price reflects it, as in the case of BitDefender and Panda. After all, if we receive less, we should pay less.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Bullguard’s VPN and NordVPN have very similar prices, which doesn’t make sense. So, if we want to get hold of NordVPN’s excellent service, it is better to go directly to the source. We recommend not paying more for less with the BullGuard service.
McAfee: A company unworthy of our trust and, therefore, a terrible option for our VPN.
McAfee took over TunnelBear (a VPN company) in 2018. Since then, it includes its VPN (now called Safe Connect) for free in its McAfee Total Security package. Unfortunately, it’s a VPN to avoid.
McAfee’s VPN is fast, relatively secure, and allows torrenting,but it’s not compatible with any streaming service (Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, or Disney+). And, to make matters worse, McAfee’s logging policy is simply a calamity:
McAfee stores our IP address, our location, the websites we visit, the links we “click on,” and many other nonsense. It retains our data forever and reserves the freedom to sell it to third parties. Worse, impossible. There is very little difference between McAfee’s logging policy and that of any average Internet service provider.
Certain antivirus brands, such as BitDefender, now also include an anti-tracking tool, in the form of a browser extension. Although there are many good anti-tracking tools on the market, good and free, it is good news to see how BitDefender has increased its privacy features.
As the name suggests, anti-tracking tools block items such as cookies. This will put an end to all those annoying ads that are on our heels online. This has the double advantage of enhancing our privacy and making websites load much faster.
Microphone and webcam security
Hackers are able to activate the microphone and webcam of our laptop without us not realizing it. It’s as creepy as it sounds. Luckily, both Norton and BitDefender include webcam security by default in their antivirus packages.
Any program that runs permanently in the background requires a certain amount of resources. Antiviruses are no exception. However, its impact varies significantly. While some are barely noticeable, others can slow down our system by up to 20%.
AV-Test and AV-Comparatives labs run performance tests, in which they measure the resources required by antivirus software to perform its tasks.
Tests measure the slowdown caused by an antivirus program when copying, downloading and organizing files, installing and launching applications, or browsing websites.
AV-Comparatives runs the tests on low-performance Windows 10 and Windows 11 computers (Intel i3 CPU, 4 GB of RAM and an SSD as a hard drive), using tests developed by themselves, in addition to standard performance tests, such as the Mark 10 Professional PC.
AV-Test runs the tests on both low-end Windows 10 and Windows 11 computers (Intel i7, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM) and high-end (Intel i7, 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM).
We use your results, combined with the results of our own tests, as the basis of our verdict in the speed section.
Sometimes we wonder why we don’t recommend free antivirus programs. The answer is simple: its features only include basic antivirus protection and sometimes a WiFi scan.
This leaves your online life completely unprotected. In addition, some free antivirus programs (such as Avast) have collected user data and sold it to marketers.
Don’t take any chances on your security or privacy. Get real virus protection.
The most common functions
What is antimalware?
Antimalware programs detect and remove malware (or malicious software) from your device. They also prevent us from downloading and installing new malware. In their war against digital threats, they have three strategies in their arsenal:
Detection based on the digital signature: When an anti-malware program identifies potentially harmful software, it can analyze some of its code and contrast it against a database containing all known malware. If a match occurs with any of the signatures of the malware contained in the database, the program is marked as malicious. The disadvantage of this detection method is that the database has only known malware, which means that new malware can sneak in without being detected.
Behavior-based detection: To detect unknown malware in the jungle of emerging threats, the behavior of programs can be analyzed. If an application behaves in an unusual or unauthorized manner, it will be characterized as malicious. This method is at the forefront of cybersecurity and often employs artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect malware.
Sandboxing: A sandbox is an isolated digital test environment, in which suspicious programs can be run. In this airtight environment, its behavior can be analyzed safely, without running the risk of infecting the rest of the system. In order not to compromise the processing power of our device, the analysis of the sandbox is usually carried out in the cloud.
What is anti-ransomware?
Ransomware is a modern form of malware that blocks us from accessing our own files or devices. It then requires us to pay using an untraceable method, such as a cryptocurrency transaction, to re-unlock it. The best way to protect ourselves against ransomware is to prevent it from being installed. There are four methods to this end:
Invest in cybersecurity programs: The best antivirus programs have features that prevent the exploitation of vulnerabilities to protect valuable files and prevent ransomware from taking our devices hostage.
Back up regularly: Whether online, through a cloud storage provider, or on a standalone hard drive, a backup can be a real lifesaver. Whatever we choose, we must make sure to employ an encrypted system with multi-factor authentication.
Do not bypass security updates: When our device requests to update its operating system, we must do so without delay. These are often security updates. For example, the infamous WannaCry ransomware attack took advantage of a Windows vulnerability for which Microsoft had already released a patch. However, many users had simply not updated their system.
Do not let your guard down: Often, it is the end users themselves who install the ransomware. Through a cunning use of social engineering, users are tricked into downloading attachments, or clicking on links that we should not touch. If it looks bad, it usually ends badly.
What is anti-phishing?
A phishing email comes from a seemingly legitimate sender or a trusted source, and asks us for login credentials or payment information. Often, they are sent in barrades of emails to thousands of users simultaneously. Being very generalist, they are usually quickly identified by users with digital culture.
Something that is more difficult in the case of defined-target phishing attacks. These are highly personalized offensives, employing information from social media to focus on specific individuals. An email can appear to come from a co-worker, a boss, or even our spouse, significantly increasing your likelihood of success.
Although it is incredibly difficult to prevent a phishing attack of which we are the defined target, anti-phishing programs are very effective against generic attacks. The vast majority of these attacks are easily prevented with the following methods:
Antispam: By blocking emails that are suspicious, or that other users have marked as spam, most phishing emails go directly to the spam folder.
URL analysis: With the help of a browser extension, antivirus programs will warn us before accessing a website known to promote phishing.
What is anti-theft?
Phones and laptops are constantly stolen. Their portability is what makes them comfortable and vulnerable in equal parts. In the unfortunate event that a device is stolen, anti-theft programs can do four things for us:
Location Tracking: By using very low consumption tracking programs, the location of our device is tracked and updated in a central administration panel.
Data protection: Many anti-theft tools will allow us to remotely recover photos and documents, encrypt our hard drive, or completely erase all the files on our device.
Alarm and espionage tools: Certain anti-theft tools will allow us to display a message on the input screen, activate an alarm, or take photos of the thief using the front camera of our device.
Device Management: In the case of corporate anti-theft programs, all devices can be monitored, as well as their tracking, and organized under a single administrator.
What is a firewall?
A firewall is a barrier between our device and a network, such as the internet. You can filter traffic and prevent unauthorized intruders from accessing our files. In principle, it can be both a hardware and softwaresolution. However, in the case of antiviruses, it is restricted exclusively to the latter.
In the case of a two-way firewall, not only external connections are monitored, but also internal ones. This means that applications cannot connect to any server of their choice, without further a fee. The firewall monitors your activity and prevents any suspicious flow of data.
Lacking a firewall on our device is the equivalent of leaving the door of our house wide open. Thus, we allow any hacker access to our device and our network. This allows them to steal data, perpetrate identity theft, or hijack our device.
What is a VPN (or virtual private network)?
With the help of a VPN, we can surf the net anonymously and safely. That means no one, not even our own government or our internet service provider, can see what we do online.
There are many advantages that we gain like this. We will be able to download torrents safely, circumvent censorships, unblock Netflix catalogs from abroad and use public Wi-Fi networks without fear of hackers.
Although the technology is complex, the basic idea is easy to understand:
Normally, when we visit a website, our device creates a direct connection with it. This allows the owners of such computer-s knowledgeable sites to record a lot of information about us, such as our IP address, which is the digital equivalent of our home address.
When we employ a VPN, we initially create an encrypted connection to a VPN server before visiting the website. Thus, the site owner can no longer see our IP address. Instead, you see the SERVER’s IP address. This makes us virtually untraceable online.
In addition, the data we send to the VPN server is encrypted, which is a sophisticated way of saying that it is scrambled and unreadable. This allows us to use, in a safe way, public Wi-Fi networks, without having to worry about whether they spy on us.
In short, our anonymity online is restored.
What is an anti-drag function?
Online advertising companies track our browsing habits and collect data about our devices and browser settings. Together, this information creates a personalized fingerprint of who we are, allowing these companies to generate a customer profile and send us personalized advertising.
The results can be simply irritating, such as sneakers that we saw on Amazon and now do not stop chasing us in ads throughout the network. Or, directly, unfair, like that plane ticket whose price increased overnight.
Over time, all these ads pile up. After all, most users are more sincere with their search engine than with their spouse! Let’s consider, for a moment, everything we’ve searched for on the net, or the websites we’ve visited, in the last twelve months. Would we want someone to have access to that information?
Good anti-drag tools have a few aces up their sleeves to prevent all these discomforts:
- They can block attempts by ad companies to track us.
- They can camouflage our fingerprint, so they don’t know who we are.
- They can delete our browsing history on a regular basis and delete cookies.
- They prevent ads from being displayed, without altering the websites that host them.
- They can show us the tracking attempts that have been thwarted.
What is webcam protection?
Let’s imagine that someone is looking at us right now, through our webcam, without us knowing. The indicator doesn’t even turn on. And they could still keep an eye on us without us knowing. It’s a terrifying prospect. And, frankly, it’s perfectly possible.
Maybe we have downloaded a seemingly legitimate program, or we have clicked on a link in principle harmless, only to end up installing malware that acts like remote desktop sharing programs. From that moment on, a hacker can activate our camera remotely and observe us.
By updating our operating system, installing an antivirus with a firewall, employing secure Wi-Fi networks and avoiding dangerous areas of the internet, we reduce the risk of our webcam being hacked. All in all, we can go one step further.
By installing an antivirus with dedicated webcam protection, our camera is continuously monitored. When an unknown or suspicious application tries to activate it, the attempt is blocked and we are notified.
Depending on the webcam protection function, we can also use the webcam settings to block access completely, block specific programs (such as browsers), or create a “whitelist” of allowed applications.
What is a password manager?
Do you use the same email and password combination for each site? Does our password include the name or date of birth of a loved one, or a pet? Or, perhaps, is it something of the type 1234567 or qwerty123? All of the above is extremely common, and very unsafe.
The violation of personal data on popular websites happens constantly. If we use the same email and password for each site, with only one of them being hacked and our account login information being stolen, all of our other accounts will also be compromised.
A password manager avoids this problem. By helping us generate random and very secure passwords, each of our accounts has a unique and bulletproof password. In addition, the password manager stores them all in a safe that only we can access.
The best password managers even autofill our email and password when we navigate to our favorite websites, giving us access without us having to do anything. It is one of those tools that will make us wonder how we had lived until then without it.
What is parental control?
The Internet is a wonderful thing. But it’s also crapped with inappropriate content. Things we probably don’t want our children to see. This is where parental control comes in. Its mission is to allow us to moderate the use that our children make of the Internet, in a multitude of ways:
Filtering and blocking: We may block access to specific websites, categories of websites (such as adult entertainment or gaming), and certain terms on Google or other search engines.
Outgoing information blocking: We may prevent our children from sharing sensitive information, such as our home address or payment information, either through email or websites.
Limitation of schedules: We may set time limits for the use of the internet, or specific websites. We can also determine at what times our children will be able to access the internet.
Supervision: We can track which websites our children visit, and receive a notice when they do. And also, without them noticing it.
Frequently asked questions
What is Adware?
Adware is the universal name for computer programs that have been designed to play various advertisements on a person’s computer. Adware programs can redirect search requests, play unwanted ads in your browser, and even collect data such as those used in advertising campaigns.
Adware programs can be either malicious or non-malicious. Malicious adware programs are those that collect advertising information without the user’s consent and cannot be located on the computer. Such “invisible” pieces of software that operate in secret often enter the user’s computer through freeware, infected web pages and emails, or remote installations through a backdoor.
Read the main types and examples of Adware
What is Antivirus?
Antivirus is a type of software, in principle designed to help eliminate computer viruses. Over time, this type of software has evolved to the point of being able to prevent various cyber threats from entering a computer.
Antivirus programs are usually packages of tools known to protect computers against malware, viruses, hackers, keyloggers, worms, adware, spyware, spam, phishing, rootkits, among others. These programs use so-called “definitions” that need to be updated regularly in order to ensure protection against the latest threats. They can also use sandbox detection (behavior-based detection), data mining, or even machine learning algorithms to detect, quarantine, and ultimately remove threats.
Read the main types and examples of Antivirus
What is a DDoS Attack?
DDos refers to distributed denial of service. This type of attack often disrupts traffic on individual networks or servers. It works through the flooding of the target with large amounts of data traffic, thus slowing down its performance. A DDoS attack can be directed towards the target or towards its infrastructure.
It is also important to know that most DDoS attacks are launched through the use of so-called zombie networks or a botnet. Because they can make use of multiple corrupted or compromised devices, these attacks can have devastating consequences and disrupt the regular flow of data and information.
Read the main types and examples of DDoS attacks
What is a SQL Injection Attack?
A SQL injection attack is often used to impersonate an identity and modify or corrupt existing data. This type of attack vector is quite common and is often employed against online sellers, marketplaces, or any other business that uses a SQL database. The main purposes of these attacks include gaining access to hidden data, modifying balances, and destroying data.
The attack is perpetrated by inserting a malicious SQL code into a field for execution or request to the database. Although there are many types of SQL injection attacks, they are considered less threatening compared to other types of malware programs and exploits, due to the constant improvement in the field of network security.
Read the main types and examples of SQL injection
What is a Botnet?
Botnets, also known as zombie army, are used by black hat hackers or pirates, for a wide spectrum of uses. Mainly, a botnet is a series of interconnected devices (computers, smartphones, etc.). Each of them operates with their bot unconsciously. This type of network can be created without the consent of the device owner and can be operated remotely by one or more individuals.
The most common use for the botnet is the launching of strong DDoS attacks, theft of personal information, and spamming, among other things. The combined computational strength of many devices, hijacked and connected through bots is what makes bots so dangerous and protection against them so difficult. Botnets can also be rented to individuals or groups that need computing power to attack.
Read the main types and examples of botnets
What is a Trojan Horse?
Trojan horse is the name that designates a malicious software that does not reproduce or spread through networks and appears to have a benign nature. There are many types of Trojan horse viruses, and they are cataloged according to the type of action they perform. As such, there are remote access Trojans, backdoor Trojans, and proxy Trojans, among others.
The typical method of spreading Trojan viruses is through social engineering techniques, such as phishing and spoofing. The victim unknowingly downloads them to their computer, usually attached to a seemingly legitimate file or software component.
Read the main types and examples of Trojan horses
What is Cyber-Crime?
Cybercrime, originally designated computer-oriented crime, is any form of criminal act involving a computer or a computer network. If computers, networks or other mobile devices are used either as tools to commit crimes or as intentional targets, the criminal act is classified as cyber-crime.
Under the name of cyber-crime are also crimes that use networks or telecommunications services (chat rooms, emails, etc.). Cybercrimes have multiple classifications, depending on the actions or tools employed. In this way, there are crimes of financial fraud that fit within cyber-crime, and also cyber-terrorism, online harassment, drug trafficking, human trafficking and others.
Read the main types and examples of cybercrime
What is a Scam?
A scam is any action involving a fraudulent scheme carried out for the purpose of stealing money, property or confidential information from individuals or groups. In this digital age, more and more scams are carried out through the internet, due to the ease of simultaneously directing them towards many individuals or targets.
Some notable examples of scams can be auction fraud, phishing, donation fraud, the Nigerian prince scam, catphishing, telephone marketing, email chains, online surveys and others. Scams can be targeted scams or simple steps into larger scams and serve as a means of advancing within the planned scheme.
Read the main types and examples of scams
What is a Zero Day Exploit?
A zero-day exploit can be one of the hardest things to protect yourself from. The reason is that, in reality, there is no way to protect yourself from a vulnerability that no one knows about. This name is given to unknown exploits, and means that only person or people who are taking advantage of them know their existence.
Once the zero-day exploit is known and published to other programmers and security experts, it is no longer called that. Instead, the exploit becomes known as an N-day exploit, where the N refers to the number of days since the exploit’s discovery.
Read the main types and examples of zero-day exploits
What is a Computer Exploit?
The name computer exploit can refer to software, data, scripts, or lines of code that exploit vulnerabilities in certain software or hardware. By using an exploit, one can either gain remote access to someone’s device or cause significant damage to the components of their software or hardware. This occurs as a result of unintended behavior caused by the attacker.
Computer exploits can come in various forms, and are typically classified according to the type of vulnerability they exploit. There are also both local and remote exploits. These classifications refer to the level of access required to use the exloit against a computer or network of devices. Zero-day exploits are the most dangerous, as there is no protection against them.
Read the main types and examples of computer exploits
What is a Computer Worm?
A computer worm is a malicious program that reproduces itself, which normally spreads through entire networks, and causes significant alterations in traffic. Although not typically designed to deliver any kind of payload, as most computer viruses do, worms are frequently used to establish a botnet.
Worms can install backdoors on the user’s computer. This, in turn, allows a third party to control those devices, install bots and create zombie networks, which can be used for stronger attacks, or rent to others with nefarious plans and in need of great computing power. Worms can also cause traffic disruptions or make systems unreliable or unsound, because they consume portions of the computational power of infected devices.
Read the main types and examples of computer worms
What is Computer Hacking?
Computer hacking can be used to describe two types of activities. It is sometimes used with a negative connotation, when it refers to activities practiced by those with malicious intentions. These individuals or groups use various computer exploits and malware programs to take control over the systems of other computers, with the intention of causing alterations or generating economic benefits.
This term is also used in association with activities practiced by programmers who work against malware programs, those who create antivirus programs, firewalls and patches for various system vulnerabilities. Thus, hacker is normally used for a hacker working on security, while hacker (cracker) is the term associated with individuals with malicious intentions.
Read the main types and examples of hacking
What is Social Engineering?
Social engineering refers to any action of psychological manipulation against individuals or groups in order to disseminate confidential information, or generally perform actions that may be harmful to them or their organizations.
There are different types of social engineering, which depend on how the manipulation is carried out or what goal it aims to achieve. Typically, the social engineering tactic is just one more step within a larger fraud, a means of taking the plan to the next step. One of the most common tactics is to impersonate trusted entities through direct contact or phishing.
Read the main types and examples of social engineering
What is a Keylogger?
A keylogger can be a hardware component or a software program, which is used to control and record keystrokes. The keylogger is normally designed to work in the background, and is totally invisible to the user’s eyes. Keyloggers can also be part of a malware package, known as rootkits, and serve as the basis for a major attack.
Not all keyloggers are used with bad intentions. Some companies use them to monitor the activity of their employees, some parents to monitor the online activity of their children, while others are used in the field of cognitive writing research. However, keyloggers can also be used to steal passwords and other sensitive personal information.
Read the main types and examples of keylogger
What is Malware?
Malware, or malicious software, is the term used to describe any type of software designed to provide unauthorized access to devices or device networks. Malware can also be used to steal, corrupt or collect data and hinder the target’s computer or the processing force of a network. Some common examples of malware include adware, spyware, keylogger, etc.
Depending on the type of malware affecting a system, specific actions will have to be taken to stop the situation and repair the damage. For this reason, the best protection against most types of malware is normally a strong antivirus package that has the function of adware and spyware detection, an extensive virus directory, updated regularly and a firewall.
Read the main types and examples of malware
What is Phishing?
Phishing is one of the most popular techniques used in social engineering. It denotes any malicious attempt to obtain confidential or personal information illegally, while postulating itself as a trusted entity. Phishing is often done through email spoofing.
While most phishing attacks involve the use of fake web pages and redirect to these web pages with corrupted links or attachments, some phishing attacks are performed with old-school methods. For example, in voice phishing they typically use fake caller ID and VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services to gain the victim’s trust and obtain sensitive information.
Catpshishing is a popular method of phishing, in which the perpetrator attempts to engage the victim in an emotional environment in order to send them money. Law enforcement can also use catpshishing techniques to catch criminals.
Read the main types and examples of phishing
What is Ransomware
Ransomware is malicious software, most commonly used to hold various important files, programs, or entire networks hostage until a ransom is paid. It is also used to blackmail targets under the threat of making sensitive information public, unless the perpetrator’s conditions are met.
These attacks are typically launched with a Trojan virus, which typically emulates legitimate files that the user would download and open. What makes ransomware so dangerous, is not only the difficulty of decoding the encrypted keys, but also the difficulty of tracing the attack back to the perpetrators. This happens because most ransoms are paid in cryptocurrency, which is virtually untraceable.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a crime that involves someone deliberately using another person’s identity as a means of obtaining financial advantage or other benefits, while also causing the victim to suffer the consequences of the perpetrator’s actions.
When considered cyber-crime, it means that identity theft has happened as a result of various computer exploits, hacking, use of malicious programs or packages to collect the personally identifiable information, necessary to obtain the aforementioned benefits. Identity theft can also be used to describe actions in which a person’s personal information is used by a cybercriminal to steal money from their bank account or to open a new account and charge high bills.
Read the top types and examples of identity theft
What is a Rootkit?
The rootkit is usually a collection or package of software tools, designed to grant remote access and ultimately control over an external computer system or networks. It is often used with malicious intent, such as setting up a backdoor to a system. This backdoor can then be used to install other malware.
When not malicious to use, a rootkit program can be used to provide the end user with support over different programs or applications. Since the rootkit is not categorized as a virus or computer worm, it cannot spread by itself, which means it has to be installed directly. For this reason, rootkit malware frequently disguises itself as a legitimate program or hides within one.
Read the main types and examples of rootkits
What is Spam?
Spam is the designation used for the action of sending unwanted e-mail in large quantities. While the most popular method involves sending unsolicited and unwanted emails to trick people into providing their personal or sensitive information, spam can also be used for what is known as spam marketing campaigns. Spam campaigns can be started by botnets and are considered very cheap, even though they are not very reliable to most people.
Of course, the term is not only used for emails. In reality, spam defines any type of unsolicited electronic message sent en masse. This includes emails, phone messages, search engine messages, blog posts, social media posts, forum posts, classified ads, among others.
Read the main types and examples of spam
What is Email, IP or DNS Spoofing?
Spoofing is the practice of altering any form of communication from unknown sources in order to appear to come from reliable sources.
IP spoofing is used to disguise a computer in order to gain access to a network that is initially restricted, or to hide anyone’s activity on the network.
Email spoofing often involves the use of fake email accounts that appear almost legitimate, carry links or attachments that request either sensitive information, or lead to other websites that can spread malware.
DNS spoofing is typically performed to redirect traffic from trusted web pages to fake ones that can spread malware programs. Sometimes email spoofing and DNS spoofing go hand in hand.
Read the main types and examples of spoofing
What is Spyware?
Spyware is any type of malicious software, such as adware, Trojans, system drivers, or even tracking cookies, that can be used to collect and transmit sensitive information from individual computers or computer networks without the user’s consent.
Although spyware is typically used with bad intentions and programs often operate underground without the user’s knowledge, keyloggers could also be classified as spyware. As such, not all spyware is used to steal information. Sometimes it is used simply to control someone’s actions to better assess their productivity, interests or level of loyalty to their bosses.
Read the main types and examples of spyware
What is a Computer Virus?
A computer virus is the most common type of malware, affecting millions of operating systems every day. It is basically malware potentially capable of reproducing through the corruption of other programs, much like how the flu virus works. It inserts its own code into other programs, thus infecting them and causing them to malfunction or in a very specific way.
Not only is it one of the most harmful types of malware, but it can be costly because of the way it wastes resources, corrupts important data, and even causes system failures. Not to mention its potential use for identity theft, DDoS attacks, spreading political propaganda, terrorist propaganda, and many other things. Computer viruses do not attack until the file or program to which they are attached is opened. In this way, many can be removed before causing any damage.