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Anti-virus software

Computer viruses can cause serious damage to your computer. They may delete important files, steal sensitive information or even stop your computer from working altogether. Because new viruses appear every day, it’s vital that you have effective anti-virus software.

Anti-virus software comparison chart for 2021

Displaying 1 to 10 of 14        Previous | Next

Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Norton AntiVirus Plus
G Data Antivirus
Avira Antivirus Pro
ESET NOD32 Antivirus
Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security
Panda Dome Essential 2021
Excellent
Five stars means excellent
Very good
Four stars means very good
Good
Three stars means good
Average
Two stars means average /
Poor
One star means poor
Bitdefender AntiVirus Plus has been awarded best buy Product image of bitdefender antivirus plus Product image of webroot secure anywhere antivirus review Product image of kaspersky anti-virus Product image of vipre antivirus plus Product image of norton antivirus plus Product image of g data antivirus Product image of avira antivirus pro Product image of eset nod32 antivirus Product image of trend micro antivirus+ security Product image of panda dome essential 2021
 
 
 

*$59.99
$30 off

*$39.99
$10 off

*$59.99
$30 off

*$34.99
$5 off

*$39.95
$10 off

*$39.95
$10 off

*$34.99
$8.75 off
Ratings
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Protection
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Independent lab results
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AV-TEST
bitdefender antivirus plus  av-test webroot secure anywhere antivirus review  av-test kaspersky anti-virus  av-test vipre antivirus plus  av-test norton antivirus plus  av-test g data antivirus  av-test avira antivirus pro  av-test eset nod32 antivirus  av-test trend micro antivirus+ security  av-test panda dome essential 2021  av-test
AV-Comparatives
bitdefender antivirus plus  av-comparatives webroot secure anywhere antivirus review  av-comparatives kaspersky anti-virus  av-comparatives vipre antivirus plus  av-comparatives norton antivirus plus  av-comparatives g data antivirus  av-comparatives avira antivirus pro  av-comparatives eset nod32 antivirus  av-comparatives trend micro antivirus+ security  av-comparatives panda dome essential 2021  av-comparatives
Detection & removal
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ActiveX
bitdefender antivirus plus detects activex webroot secure anywhere antivirus review detects activex kaspersky anti-virus detects activex vipre antivirus plus detects activex norton antivirus plus detects activex g data antivirus detects activex avira antivirus pro detects activex eset nod32 antivirus detects activex trend micro antivirus+ security detects activex panda dome essential 2021 detects activex
Adware
bitdefender antivirus plus detects adware webroot secure anywhere antivirus review detects adware kaspersky anti-virus detects adware vipre antivirus plus detects adware norton antivirus plus detects adware g data antivirus detects adware avira antivirus pro detects adware eset nod32 antivirus detects adware trend micro antivirus+ security detects adware panda dome essential 2021 detects adware
Browser exploits
bitdefender antivirus plus detects browser exploits webroot secure anywhere antivirus review detects browser exploits kaspersky anti-virus detects browser exploits vipre antivirus plus detects browser exploits norton antivirus plus detects browser exploits g data antivirus detects browser exploits avira antivirus pro detects browser exploits eset nod32 antivirus detects browser exploits trend micro antivirus+ security detects browser exploits panda dome essential 2021 detects browser exploits
Dialers
bitdefender antivirus plus detects dialers webroot secure anywhere antivirus review detects dialers kaspersky anti-virus detects dialers vipre antivirus plus detects dialers norton antivirus plus detects dialers g data antivirus detects dialers avira antivirus pro detects dialers eset nod32 antivirus detects dialers trend micro antivirus+ security detects dialers panda dome essential 2021 detects dialers
Keyloggers
bitdefender antivirus plus detects keyloggers webroot secure anywhere antivirus review detects keyloggers kaspersky anti-virus detects keyloggers vipre antivirus plus detects keyloggers norton antivirus plus detects keyloggers g data antivirus detects keyloggers avira antivirus pro detects keyloggers eset nod32 antivirus detects keyloggers trend micro antivirus+ security detects keyloggers panda dome essential 2021 detects keyloggers
Phishing
bitdefender antivirus plus detects phishing webroot secure anywhere antivirus review detects phishing kaspersky anti-virus detects phishing vipre antivirus plus detects phishing norton antivirus plus detects phishing g data antivirus detects phishing avira antivirus pro detects phishing eset nod32 antivirus detects phishing trend micro antivirus+ security detects phishing panda dome essential 2021 detects phishing
Rootkits
bitdefender antivirus plus detects rootkits webroot secure anywhere antivirus review detects rootkits kaspersky anti-virus detects rootkits vipre antivirus plus detects rootkits norton antivirus plus detects rootkits g data antivirus detects rootkits avira antivirus pro detects rootkits eset nod32 antivirus detects rootkits trend micro antivirus+ security detects rootkits panda dome essential 2021 detects rootkits
Script blocking
bitdefender antivirus plus detects script blocking webroot secure anywhere antivirus review detects script blocking kaspersky anti-virus detects script blocking vipre antivirus plus detects script blocking norton antivirus plus detects script blocking g data antivirus detects script blocking avira antivirus pro detects script blocking eset nod32 antivirus detects script blocking trend micro antivirus+ security detects script blocking panda dome essential 2021 detects script blocking
Spam
bitdefender antivirus plus detects spam webroot secure anywhere antivirus review detects spam kaspersky anti-virus detects spam vipre antivirus plus detects spam norton antivirus plus detects spam g data antivirus detects spam avira antivirus pro detects spam eset nod32 antivirus detects spam trend micro antivirus+ security detects spam panda dome essential 2021 detects spam
Spyware
bitdefender antivirus plus detects spyware webroot secure anywhere antivirus review detects spyware kaspersky anti-virus detects spyware vipre antivirus plus detects spyware norton antivirus plus detects spyware g data antivirus detects spyware avira antivirus pro detects spyware eset nod32 antivirus detects spyware trend micro antivirus+ security detects spyware panda dome essential 2021 detects spyware
Trojans
bitdefender antivirus plus detects trojans webroot secure anywhere antivirus review detects trojans kaspersky anti-virus detects trojans vipre antivirus plus detects trojans norton antivirus plus detects trojans g data antivirus detects trojans avira antivirus pro detects trojans eset nod32 antivirus detects trojans trend micro antivirus+ security detects trojans panda dome essential 2021 detects trojans
Viruses
bitdefender antivirus plus detects viruses webroot secure anywhere antivirus review detects viruses kaspersky anti-virus detects viruses vipre antivirus plus detects viruses norton antivirus plus detects viruses g data antivirus detects viruses avira antivirus pro detects viruses eset nod32 antivirus detects viruses trend micro antivirus+ security detects viruses panda dome essential 2021 detects viruses
Detection technology
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Scans
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On-access scans
bitdefender antivirus plus offers on-access scans webroot secure anywhere antivirus review offers on-access scans kaspersky anti-virus offers on-access scans vipre antivirus plus offers on-access scans norton antivirus plus offers on-access scans g data antivirus offers on-access scans avira antivirus pro offers on-access scans eset nod32 antivirus offers on-access scans trend micro antivirus+ security offers on-access scans panda dome essential 2021 offers on-access scans
On-demand scans
bitdefender antivirus plus offers on-demand scans webroot secure anywhere antivirus review offers on-demand scans kaspersky anti-virus offers on-demand scans vipre antivirus plus offers on-demand scans norton antivirus plus offers on-demand scans g data antivirus does not offer on-demand scans avira antivirus pro offers on-demand scans eset nod32 antivirus offers on-demand scans trend micro antivirus+ security offers on-demand scans panda dome essential 2021 offers on-demand scans
Quick scans
bitdefender antivirus plus includes quick scans webroot secure anywhere antivirus review includes quick scans kaspersky anti-virus includes quick scans vipre antivirus plus includes quick scans norton antivirus plus includes quick scans g data antivirus includes quick scans avira antivirus pro does not include quick scans eset nod32 antivirus includes quick scans trend micro antivirus+ security includes quick scans panda dome essential 2021 includes quick scans
Deep scans
bitdefender antivirus plus includes deep scans webroot secure anywhere antivirus review includes deep scans kaspersky anti-virus includes deep scans vipre antivirus plus includes deep scans norton antivirus plus includes deep scans g data antivirus includes deep scans avira antivirus pro does not include deep scans eset nod32 antivirus includes deep scans trend micro antivirus+ security includes deep scans panda dome essential 2021 includes deep scans
Selective scans
bitdefender antivirus plus includes selective scans webroot secure anywhere antivirus review includes selective scans kaspersky anti-virus includes selective scans vipre antivirus plus includes selective scans norton antivirus plus includes selective scans g data antivirus includes selective scans avira antivirus pro includes selective scans eset nod32 antivirus includes selective scans trend micro antivirus+ security includes selective scans panda dome essential 2021 includes selective scans
Scheduled scans
bitdefender antivirus plus includes scheduled scans webroot secure anywhere antivirus review includes scheduled scans kaspersky anti-virus includes scheduled scans vipre antivirus plus includes scheduled scans norton antivirus plus includes scheduled scans g data antivirus includes scheduled scans avira antivirus pro includes scheduled scans eset nod32 antivirus includes scheduled scans trend micro antivirus+ security includes scheduled scans panda dome essential 2021 includes scheduled scans
Compressed files
bitdefender antivirus plus includes compressed files webroot secure anywhere antivirus review includes compressed files kaspersky anti-virus includes compressed files vipre antivirus plus includes compressed files norton antivirus plus includes compressed files g data antivirus includes compressed files avira antivirus pro includes compressed files eset nod32 antivirus includes compressed files trend micro antivirus+ security includes compressed files panda dome essential 2021 includes compressed files
File exclusion
bitdefender antivirus plus includes file exclusion webroot secure anywhere antivirus review includes file exclusion kaspersky anti-virus includes file exclusion vipre antivirus plus includes file exclusion norton antivirus plus includes file exclusion g data antivirus includes file exclusion avira antivirus pro includes file exclusion eset nod32 antivirus includes file exclusion trend micro antivirus+ security includes file exclusion panda dome essential 2021 includes file exclusion
Updates
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Features
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Devices
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Extra protection
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Help & support
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Telephone support
bitdefender antivirus plus offers telephone support webroot secure anywhere antivirus review offers telephone support kaspersky anti-virus offers telephone support vipre antivirus plus offers telephone support norton antivirus plus offers telephone support g data antivirus offers telephone support avira antivirus pro does not offer telephone support eset nod32 antivirus offers telephone support trend micro antivirus+ security offers telephone support panda dome essential 2021 does not offer telephone support
Email support
bitdefender antivirus plus offers email support webroot secure anywhere antivirus review offers email support kaspersky anti-virus offers email support vipre antivirus plus offers email support norton antivirus plus offers email support g data antivirus offers email support avira antivirus pro offers email support eset nod32 antivirus offers email support trend micro antivirus+ security offers email support panda dome essential 2021 offers email support
Live chat
bitdefender antivirus plus offers live chat webroot secure anywhere antivirus review offers live chat kaspersky anti-virus offers live chat vipre antivirus plus offers live chat norton antivirus plus does not offer live chat g data antivirus does not offer live chat avira antivirus pro does not offer live chat eset nod32 antivirus offers live chat trend micro antivirus+ security offers live chat panda dome essential 2021 does not offer live chat
Manual
bitdefender antivirus plus offers manual webroot secure anywhere antivirus review offers manual kaspersky anti-virus offers manual vipre antivirus plus offers manual norton antivirus plus offers manual g data antivirus offers manual avira antivirus pro offers manual eset nod32 antivirus offers manual trend micro antivirus+ security offers manual panda dome essential 2021 offers manual
Knowledge base
bitdefender antivirus plus offers knowledge base webroot secure anywhere antivirus review offers knowledge base kaspersky anti-virus offers knowledge base vipre antivirus plus offers knowledge base norton antivirus plus offers knowledge base g data antivirus offers knowledge base avira antivirus pro offers knowledge base eset nod32 antivirus offers knowledge base trend micro antivirus+ security offers knowledge base panda dome essential 2021 offers knowledge base
Forums
bitdefender antivirus plus offers forums webroot secure anywhere antivirus review does not offer forums kaspersky anti-virus offers forums vipre antivirus plus offers forums norton antivirus plus offers forums g data antivirus does not offer forums avira antivirus pro offers forums eset nod32 antivirus offers forums trend micro antivirus+ security does not offer forums panda dome essential 2021 offers forums
FAQs
bitdefender antivirus plus offers faqs webroot secure anywhere antivirus review offers faqs kaspersky anti-virus offers faqs vipre antivirus plus offers faqs norton antivirus plus offers faqs g data antivirus offers faqs avira antivirus pro offers faqs eset nod32 antivirus offers faqs trend micro antivirus+ security offers faqs panda dome essential 2021 offers faqs
Operating systems
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Windows 10
bitdefender antivirus plus  windows 10 webroot secure anywhere antivirus review  windows 10 kaspersky anti-virus  windows 10 vipre antivirus plus  windows 10 norton antivirus plus  windows 10 g data antivirus  windows 10 avira antivirus pro  windows 10 eset nod32 antivirus  windows 10 trend micro antivirus+ security  windows 10 panda dome essential 2021  windows 10
Windows 8
bitdefender antivirus plus  windows 8 webroot secure anywhere antivirus review  windows 8 kaspersky anti-virus  windows 8 vipre antivirus plus  windows 8 norton antivirus plus  windows 8 g data antivirus  windows 8 avira antivirus pro  windows 8 eset nod32 antivirus  windows 8 trend micro antivirus+ security  windows 8 panda dome essential 2021  windows 8
Windows 7
bitdefender antivirus plus is compatible with windows 7 webroot secure anywhere antivirus review is compatible with windows 7 kaspersky anti-virus is compatible with windows 7 vipre antivirus plus is compatible with windows 7 norton antivirus plus is compatible with windows 7 g data antivirus is compatible with windows 7 avira antivirus pro is compatible with windows 7 eset nod32 antivirus is compatible with windows 7 trend micro antivirus+ security is compatible with windows 7 panda dome essential 2021 is compatible with windows 7
Windows Vista
bitdefender antivirus plus is not compatible with windows vista webroot secure anywhere antivirus review is not compatible with windows vista kaspersky anti-virus is not compatible with windows vista vipre antivirus plus is not compatible with windows vista norton antivirus plus is not compatible with windows vista g data antivirus is not compatible with windows vista avira antivirus pro is compatible with windows vista eset nod32 antivirus is compatible with windows vista trend micro antivirus+ security is compatible with windows vista panda dome essential 2021 is compatible with windows vista
Windows XP
bitdefender antivirus plus is not compatible with windows xp webroot secure anywhere antivirus review is not compatible with windows xp kaspersky anti-virus is not compatible with windows xp vipre antivirus plus is not compatible with windows xp norton antivirus plus is not compatible with windows xp g data antivirus is not compatible with windows xp avira antivirus pro is compatible with windows xp eset nod32 antivirus is compatible with windows xp trend micro antivirus+ security is compatible with windows xp panda dome essential 2021 is compatible with windows xp

Anti-virus software explained

Computer viruses can be picked up from many sources, including emails, websites and files from friends. Good anti-virus software will monitor all these areas and more, to prevent infection at the source.

Most viruses target computers running Microsoft Windows, but you should choose anti-virus software carefully no matter what kind of computer you have. It could save your files and help you avoid having to reload your computer from scratch.

The best anti-virus software will actually keep you protected from all threats which fall into the category of ‘computer viruses’.

They include:

  • Viruses. Installed onto your computer without you realizing, some may just display strange messages – but others will be much more harmful.
  • Spyware. You won’t know these malicious programs are present on your computer, but they send your private data to hackers online.
  • Spam. This junk email can cause havoc with your inbox, clogging it up with rubbish and preventing legitimate messages from getting through.

Many anti-virus packages integrate closely with other software on your computer. This helps them identify viruses earlier – for instance, by analyzing websites you visit to check they aren’t trying to place a virus on your computer.

Dealing with viruses

Anti-virus software monitors your computer for suspicious files and programs. Most packages compare what’s on your computer to a regularly-updated list of viruses. The best will also watch for unusual activity that could be a virus.

If it discovers a problem, anti-virus software will put affected files into quarantine, where they can’t cause harm. You may then be able to remove the virus without destroying the files it is attached to.

Because new viruses are discovered every day, it’s important you choose anti-virus software that downloads updated information about viruses (also called ‘virus definitions’) regularly over the internet.

What to look for in anti-virus software

Effectiveness

The single most important feature of any anti-virus program is that it must detect and stop virus attacks before they occur. If an infection has already occurred it must be able to contain, remove and possibly repair infected files. Plus, all of this should be accomplished without slowing your system to a crawl.

A good scanner should be able to detect zero day viruses as easily as it detects classics such as the 1999 'Melissa virus' and although this may seem obvious, it should effectively remove all traces of a virus from your computer.

Anti-virus software shouldn't be paranoid, flagging legitimate software as malware and otherwise interfering with your day to day use. A well designed program will keep your information safe without having a detrimental effect on system performance or interfering with day-to-day use.

Bear in mind that effectiveness can also be directly related to the frequency of virus definition updates. Software vendors that do multiple updates daily are more likely to catch the newest threats.

Performance

The biggest complaint that computer users have about anti-virus software is its potential to degrade overall system performance. However, an efficiently designed scanner shouldn't have any noticeable impact on your computer and should be able to scan files and folders quickly.

Protection levels

Effective anti-virus will use a number of different strategies to prevent and detect malware. Signature based detection is the most common, but heuristic-based detection is also used by the top anti-virus developers. The bottom line is that anti-virus software should protect you against viruses, worms and Trojans and if it can also protect you against spyware and rootkits even better.

Updates

In terms of updates, your anti-virus should give you the ability to set a scheduled automatic update as well as allow manual updates to ensure you always have the latest virus definitions installed. Some of the better security software vendors will also push updates to their anti-virus programs as new threats are identified.

Certifications

The most reliable way to gauge the effectiveness of any anti-virus program is to look for its certifications. These are awarded through independent testing and research organizations. These research companies regularly compare different software titles for speed, system impact and on-demand/on-access scanning performance.

Since certification testing is paid for by the vendor, it is important to remember that a lack of certification doesn't necessarily mean that the software has failed testing. It may mean that the developers never submitted the program for assessment. For example, in the case of a small new company, they may not have the budget to accommodate testing costs. Despite this caveat, certification remains one of the few ways to accurately measure how well anti-virus software works.

There are several established and respected anti-virus testing organizations. They are:

Anti-virus software carrying a seal of approval from these test organizations will undoubtedly do the job efficiently.

Ease of use

Since your anti-virus software will be used on a daily basis, it should be both easy to understand and operate whether you are a complete novice or seasoned expert. Walkthroughs, alerts and warnings should be straight forward and clear in their direction.

Help & support

Help and support are critical components in choosing an anti-virus program or full security system. Most companies will offer standard support such as FAQs or online manuals and some will have active user forums. However, these may not always answer the questions you have. Tougher problems may require telephone and/or email support which could incur additional fees. Apart from the limitations in features, one of the main differences between paid and free anti-virus tools is often the inclusion of technical support.

Q. What is a computer virus?

A. Computer virus is a tiny software program that is capable of replicating itself and spreading from one infected computer to other computers either via a network connection, website download or through email attachments.

Q. What harm can a virus do?

A. Once installed, a virus can do many things such as erase your entire hard drive, infect your email program and send itself to everyone in your address book or disable your computer security thereby opening your computer to even more opportunistic threats online.

Q. Who creates viruses?

A. Virus writers are often referred to as 'cyber-vandals'. These programmers are split into groups, each of which has different motivations for writing viruses. The most active group today use viruses to capture and steal personal data as well as financial information and passwords for identity theft and fraud purposes. However, there are still a number of cyber-vandals whose intent remains fixed on disruption and/or destruction of hard drive contents and internet service. One example of this would be a 'denial of service' attack that can cripple corporate websites.

Q. How did my computer become infected?

A. Though many infections occur from visiting compromised or hacked websites, the most common method of infection is through email attachments, often sent from people you know who are unaware that their computer is infected. Something as benign as a funny image, audio/video file and even a greeting card could actually be carrying a computer virus waiting to infect your system.

Q. How can I prevent a virus attack?

A. Despite their potential to do harm, there are several steps you can take to help protect yourself from infection such as:

  1. Avoid opening emails or attachments from people you don't know - and unless you are aware that someone is sending you an attachment, don't open one from a friend until you've confirmed that it is legitimate.
  2. Keep your computer up to date with all the latest security patches for your software and operating system.
  3. Install and use an anti-virus program or security suite. Scan all email attachments and downloads before opening.
  4. Stay informed about new security threats and try not to run your computer as administrator unless absolutely necessary.

The old adage that 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure' certainly applies to dealing with viruses.

Q. Are the established anti-virus companies the best ones to use?

A. Programs such as BitDefender and Kaspersky have been around for a long time and with good reason. Their developers are experts in security threats and their knowledge translates into solid anti-virus scanners.

Q. What are updates?

In order to maintain the highest level of virus protection, regular signature updates must be installed.

Q. What are certifications?

You can also easily check which programs are effective by looking for certifications. Most of the major players will be certified by Checkmark, ICSALabs and VB100% after having met the expectations of AV-Test.org through rigorous testing.

Q. Do we need to have use both an anti-virus and anti-spyware scanner?

A. The answer to this really depends on your internet surfing habits as well as what programs you use. Some spyware is bundled with legitimate software titles, iTunes and Bonjour spring to mind. Plus some websites are more prone to malware infection, such as gaming and music sites. So, your risk of infection is highly individual. However, if you've had a problem with slow performance, pop-ups and other nuisance computer issues, it may be worth checking your system for spyware and protecting it from future infection. Running both an anti-virus solution and antispyware certainly couldn't hurt.

Q. Do I have to uninstall the existing anti-virus program before installing a new one?

A. The short answer is yes - uninstall the old anti-virus program and reboot your computer before you begin installing the new program.

Q. Why don't you review all anti-virus software on the market?

A. Though there are many anti-virus titles available on the market, we've focused on the top performers that we feel offer not only the best available scanning systems but also good value for money.

Jargon explained

On demand scan

Also known as a manual scan. This when a scan is initiated by the user and not the software. It is the opposite of a scheduled or automatic scan.

On access scan

On access scanning checks files and programs as they are 'accessed' or opened to identify potential security threats.

Heuristic scanning

Heuristic scanning performs piece-by-piece examinations of suspected malware files and identifies sequences that differentiate viruses from normal programs.

False positives

Sometime legitimate software is erroneously identified as a malware threat generating a 'false positive' result from your anti-virus. Since anti-virus programs rely heavily on signatures to identify malware, the method isn't completely foolproof. Some identified virus signatures can also exist in legitimate software titles.

False negatives

When a malware scanner fails to detect a virus, it is referred to as a 'false negative'. This can occur if the virus is either too new, has a faulty signature or a defective configuration setting.

Quarantine

Anti-virus quarantine works in much the same way as hospitals quarantine patients with infectious diseases, the program will isolate a potential threat and place it into a secure folder that is not easily accessible to other parts of the system.

Within the quarantine dialog of most anti-virus software, users can examine a log that identifies what file was initially infected and are given the option to either permanently delete the suspicious file or to reinstate it in the event of a false positive.

Virus signature

A virus signature is an algorithm, made up of digits, that uniquely identifies a specific malware threat or group of viruses known as a 'family'. Signatures can be either a calculated snippet of code or an identified behaviour, such as trying to access certain programs or parts of the operating system without user initiation or awareness.

Zero day virus

A newly created virus that doesn't have a previously identified signature.

Rank
Bitdefender AntiVirus Plus
Webroot Secure Anywhere AntiVirus Review
Kaspersky Anti-Virus
VIPRE Antivirus Plus
Norton AntiVirus Plus
G Data Antivirus
Avira Antivirus Pro
ESET NOD32 Antivirus
Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security
Panda Dome Essential 2021