Think about how much time we spend online. We use our computers and devices to communicate with family, friends, and coworkers. We buy things online all the time. It is getting more common just to order groceries online than to actually go to the grocery store! We love to watch movies and shows online. We are checking our phones, mobile gadgets, and computers constantly to make sure we don’t miss anything!

There is something we need to chat about though—internet security software. This is a serious topic, because with all the time we spend online, we are also exposing ourselves to online threats that can damage or destroy our devices.

Whether you are buying a new or used device or you are happy with the ones you have, you need to consider what internet security you will use. Yes, you need it. What if a virus takes over your laptop and you lose everything on it? And yes, even though MacBooks don’t have a lot of security issues, you still need to protect yourself even if you have a Mac, so don’t get in the line of thinking that “Macs don’t get viruses.” They do.

Trust me; you don’t want to skimp on the cyber security you purchase to keep yourself and your computer and devices safe. We did some extensive research on the best security systems in 2019, so here us out.

Cyber Security Terms You Should Know

Before we begin, we need to go over some terms related to cyber security. After all, there’s nothing worse than reading about protecting yourself and your computer and not understanding what the terms mean. With that said, here are a few you should know if you don’t already:

The Cloud

When you hear people talking about “the cloud,” they are probably not talking about the puffy white things in the sky. When it comes to cyber security, they are referring to a collection of their files in a large, remote storage area that they can open no matter what device they are on. Storing files in the cloud is a common, easy way to keep track of your files because if something were to happen to your computer, your files would not be gone.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A VPN refers to a tool that allows the computer user to remain anonymous online by masking the location and encrypting traffic. A secure VPN is important, obviously, and you will read more about this term in this article.

Firewall

To put it in one way, a firewall is a defensive technology designed to keep the bad guys away. A firewall, which can be either hardware or software based, is a network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic.

Malware

Malware (short for “malicious software”) is an umbrella term that describes all sorts of destructive software that can destroy a computer. Common forms of malware include viruses, worms, ransomware, and Trojans.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that threatens to publish the victim’s data or blocks access to it and demands a “ransom” in order to unlock it. Ransomware is typically spread through spam emails, or your computer can be infected by visiting an infected website.

Virus

A type of malware that is designed to corrupt, erase, or modify information on a computer before replicating and affecting other computer systems. Viruses can be hard to remove, and they can destroy entire computer systems.

Top Rated Internet-Security Suites

You may have heard of an anti-virus suite. What is an anti-virus suite, and how does it compare to a stand-alone anti-virus program?

An anti-virus or internet security suite is a term to refer to programs that contain security systems beyond a basic anti-virus. Security suites are designed to keep you safe in every way possible while you are online.

A good antivirus with other protection tools will protect you from any vulnerability your network or device may have.

The six internet security programs in this article are all anti-virus suites or internet security suites. We just wanted to point out that we are looking beyond just an anti-virus—we want as many security features as we can find!

That’s why we did the homework and compiled reviews for you. That’s right!

Check out what we found…

1. Norton

Norton Antivirus ReviewEveryone knows who Norton is—this company has been making cybersecurity software for a while now. In fact, if you hear the word, Norton, you probably immediately think, “antivirus” or “internet security.” Norton is a fantastic company that has been trusted for years, is trusted now, and will be trusted for years to come.

Norton is versatile, and we love that it can protect anything from a single laptop to an unlimited number of computers, tablets, and smartphones with excellent malware detection.

Even though we already know and love Norton, we still tested their security system, and of course, it confirmed everything we already knew. Here’s some features we found most beneficial that come with ALL Norton products:

  • Anti-virus protection
  • Backup software
  • Cloud storage
  • Password manager
  • A two-way firewall
  • Unlimited VPN service
  • Webcam protection
  • Dark web monitoring

Let’s look at some of these features in detail:

Anti-virus protection

Norton scores high in the anti-virus protection category. All the products protect against malware, spam, phishing attacks, and malicious email attachments, and all come with browser extensions to block potentially harmful websites.

For example, in German lab AV-Test’s Windows 10 tests from January to June of this year, Norton scored 100 percent in detecting viruses. This is impressive, as we found no other brand that scored 100% in catching viruses.

Cyber Security and Privacy Features

Beyond antivirus protection, Norton scans your system for other weak spots, like outdated software, where hackers try to sneak in.

All of Norton’s products also include a Norton password manager—password managers house all your passwords as well as other information you need to keep. You only need to remember one single password if you have a password manager, simplifying your life for sure.

SecureVPN is a feature that lets you activate a VPN connection, meaning that your computer’s files are saved in the Cloud Backup. You will never need to worry about losing anything on your computer.

Other Perks

Norton has sped up its scanning process too, thankfully. They used to be, well, we can just say it, rather slow, and when the software was scanning the computer, you couldn’t really do anything but wait. Now the Norton software scans are quicker and easier—they don’t slow down your computer and you can browse the internet or write an email while they are detecting any threats.

As far as customer service goes, Norton ranks among the best. You get 24/7 phone support for billing and technical questions and a customer service live chat support for a quick response to any issues you encounter.

In addition, you can get a 60-day trial of any of Norton products, so you can use them before you buy them. What a deal!

Our Final Verdict

Norton is among the best, most trusted, internet security systems out there. Norton will not only protect your computer from threats, but it will keep you safer while protecting your information while online.

Read Norton Internet Security Antivirus detailed review.

2. Bitdefender

We are also impressed with the internet security system, Bitdefender. Launched in 2001, Bitdefender is a Romanian internet security software company with offices in more than 100 countries.

This security system has some impressive features, and as they state on their website, “protecting over 500 million systems worldwide,” adds to their credibility and products.

When looking at Bitdefender products, we found some common features:

  • Multi-Layer Ransomware Protection
  • Web scanner
  • Applications scanner
  • Vulnerabilities scanner
  • Zero System Slowdowns
  • Webcam Protection
  • Automatic Upgrades
  • SafePay
  • Little performance slow down

There are several programs you can choose from, so make sure that you explore each one. The bare-bones product is the Antivirus Free Edition, which offers excellent malware protection, but doesn’t include some of the perks that the other higher priced products include.

Let’s see look in detail at some of these features:

Anti-virus Protection

Bitdefender’s malware protection accomplishes three methods of protecting your computer, all at once. A file-scanning engine compares a suspect code to any known malware signatures, while a investigative monitor watches file behavior and inspects code.

If anything suspicious is found, it wastes no time and goes up to the company’s servers for analysis, and if a legitimate threat, this information goes out several times daily to its 500 million users.

In 2019, during three bimonthly rounds of tests conducted by German independent lab AV-TEST, Bitdefender Internet Security mostly detected 100 percent of previously unseen “zero-day” malware and known “widespread” malware on Windows 10.

We found that the Bitdefender antivirus protection is among the best out there. Plus, the speed and the fast response is amazing.

Cyber Security and Privacy Features

All Bitdefender paid products come with a generous set of extra features, including anti-phishing protection, multilayer ransomware defense and the new VPN client software, which is provided by Hotspot Shield. You get 200MB of VPN data a day for free; it’s $40 per year for the premium version with unlimited data.

Bitdefender features several continuous scanners—web, applications, and vulnerabilities, that continuously scan your computer for threats. The web scanner scans the web, the applications scanner scans your applications, but the vulnerabilities scanner—this one is pretty cool. The vulnerabilities scanner helps users find main risks of their computers in just minutes by revealing missing updates or weak passwords. Just an extra later of protection!

There’s also the password manager, which works with the browser extensions for Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. The Safepay hardened browser creates HTTPS connections, has an on-screen keyboard, and blocks add-ons and screenshots.

The Wi-Fi network scanner examines your home network for weak encryption and weak passwords related to your Wi-Fi network. This feature is especially helpful if you need to connect to a hotspot.

Other Perks

Bitdefender Internet Security and Total Security add a two-way firewall to supersede Microsoft’s built-in one, webcam protection that notifies you when an application tries to use the camera and file encryption.

The parental controls included with Internet Security and Total Security block specific applications and objectionable websites, schedule kids’ online access and show how often each application is used.

Of course, an important part of reviewing these internet security systems is to review the company’s customer service practices. Bitdefender contains a large database with answers offered for a range of security questions. If you still have questions, you can reach out to the support team to help you. Just choose from consumer or business, pick the product you own, and the support team will help. Customers raved about the support team in reviews we read—the team was referred to as “professional,” “excellent,” and that you can get support you need “at any hour.”

Our Final Verdict

Based on the research we did, we know that Bitdefender is a true computer defender, and it is worth the money and time you put it into it; with an excellent support team to back up the products, you can’t go wrong.

Read our Bitdefender detailed review.

3. McAfee

Surely you have heard about McAfee. This internet security system offers total protection for all devices and offers several plans that you can choose from.

Here’s what we love about McAfee:

  • Protects against all cyber threats
  • Protects all your devices with just one subscription
  • Password manager
  • Easy to use web-based console
  • File locks
  • 100% guarantee

We are going be honest: McAfee has come a long way over the years. They used to not have the positive reputation they do today. A new malware-scanning engine in 2017 changed their systems for the better.

Here’s what’s offered in a McAfee internet security system:

Anti-virus protection

McAfee’s malware protection begins with a file scanner that matches files with known malware “signatures.” At the same time, heuristic analysis monitors file behavior, examines code, and runs unknown programs in “sandboxes” to see what the programs do.

Anything suspicious is uploaded to McAfee’s lab for analysis. McAfee sends newly generated malware signatures back down to its 465 million users several times a day. All of McAfee’s Windows antivirus products use the same technology to ferret out malware.

Results from German testing lab AV-Test  showed that McAfee Internet Security stopped 100 percent of widespread malware, detectable by signature scanning, on Windows 7 and Windows 10 systems in all tests in 2018 and in the first four months of 2019.

The core protection has improved a lot since mid-2017 and is now among the best in the business.

Cyber Security and Privacy Features

Even the basic AntiVirus and AntiVirus Plus products offer a handful of features, all of which they share with the four more-expensive programs.

McAfee’s PC Boost system-optimization tools will work to divert system resources to foreground applications, stop background videos, “shred” sensitive files and make sure you have the latest software updates. A two-way firewall checks data leaving and entering the system.

McAfee Internet Security offers a single license for the McAfee password manager. McAfee Total Protection features one to five password-manager licenses, depending up the subscription plan.

McAfee’s Safe Family parental controls come with the 10-device Total Protection plan and the unlimited LiveSafe plan. It can schedule kids’ screen time, block URLs, track the locations of the kids (or at least their phones) and block specific mobile apps. (I have two boys who love their IPads, and this sounds appealing to me!)

Other Perks

McAfee’s interface has a brighter and sharper look for 2019. Everything you need is in your face, and a green check mark in the upper left tells you everything is safe and secure. This program is easy to install and easy to use.

The great customer service McAfee provides is also worth mentioning. Not only can you get 24/7 support, McAfee stands behind its paid products with a guarantee to keep your system malware-free. Should you get a nasty infection, McAfee support technicians will set up a remote connection to fix the problem. If that doesn’t work, they’ll refund your money.

Our Final Verdict

McAfee’s antivirus products do their jobs well, from protecting against viruses to providing a collection of system-optimization tools.

Read our McAfee detailed review.

4. Panda

Panda is one our top anti-virus and security recommendations because it excels in both anti-virus and security. Panda is a perfect choice for laptop users because it has a device location tool that sends the location to the cloud, so you are more likely to find your laptop if it’s missing.

Panda’s logo is “Stop worrying about internet threats—visit any webpage, download any file, and play any video with complete peace of mind.”

  • Real-time anti-virus protection
  • Ransomware attack prevention
  • VPN for private internet access
  • Password manager
  • Device location and remote-control tool

Anti-Virus Protection

Panda’s anti-virus protection is pretty good. The company provides a complete antivirus and software security suite for Windows, Mac, and Android devices. This system quickly identifies and grabs threats.

Based on independent lab tests from AV-Comparatives, Panda’s real-time antivirus monitor performs well above average. AV-Comparatives used 316 live virus samples in their test. Panda Security’s real-time antivirus monitor found 100 percent of viruses tested, with no false positives.

The only thing we did not car for is that instead of completely deleting viruses/malware and removing them from your computer, Panda moves them to the computer’s trash bin. This can increase the risk of reinfection on your computer.

Cyber Security and Privacy Features

Some of the extra security and privacy features we saw in Panda are that it includes parental controls, social media protections, and safe banking tools.

The personal firewall monitors your internet connection to ensure that internet hackers cannot get your personal information. The password manager keeps your logins all in one place and protects them as you log in to online accounts.

Other Perks

The customer service that Panda offers is the best. Panda provides a plethora of support documents and articles to its users, so those are great, of course.

If you have questions or issues and you cannot find the answers in the library of information, you can email Panda customer service or even better, send the crew a chat in the “Live chat” on Panda’s website. I do love a live chat, and I was impressed that Panda features this helpfulBesSofw tool. One other option is the forums—I spend time researching forums to find answers to my questions, and forums are available for registered users to ask each other questions and troubleshoot any concerns.

Our Final Verdict

Other than the fact that Panda does not scrub any viruses or threats clean from your computer (instead, it moves them to your trash can), we can give Panda a thumbs up as far as an internet security suite. It provides above average protection, and with all the perks you get, you can’t really go wrong.

Read our Panda Antivirus detailed review.

5. BullGuard

BullGuard is the final product we reviewed, but that does not mean it is our least favorite or that it is the least effective. On the contrary, so much security is packed in BullGuard that we don’t even know where to begin:

  • Quick virus scans
  • Parental controls
  • Home network scanner
  • powerful backup tools
  • Free automatic updates
  • Minimum system requirements
  • 100% money back guarantee

Anti-Virus Protection

BullGuard features award-winning malware protection, along with a host of other features. It protects Windows, Androids, and macOS products.

Cyber Security and Privacy Features

BullGuard’s scans are quick yet detailed. A quarantine zone is offered where users can delete or release files that BullGuard flagged as suspicious. You can even run a scan right from your dashboard while you’re doing other things online.

We also must mention the firewall protection. BullGuard keeps it simple—you either allow or block firewalls.

The backup system is great too. Users can create a backup utility that integrates well with cloud storage providers such as Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive.

Of course, we must mention the Parental control which allows parents to limit what their kids are looking at online. It also comes with a maximum usage setting that shuts the device off after a certain amount of time.

Other Perks

We were impressed by the consistent user reviews on how easy BullGuard is to use. It’s easy to install, it’s easy to navigate, and it’s easy to use on a daily basis. The program is also nicely designed and kept to a minimum, so you’re not overwhelmed when looking at it. A simple notification counter sits on your dashboard, drawing attention to any issues that need to be addressed.

BullGuard operates email support in eight languages, live chat support, and an online help center. The company commits to a 24-hour response time, and most queries are answered in much less time.

Our Final Verdict

BullGuard is easy to use, and its multi-device option makes it a great choice for multi-device security.

Read our BullGuard Antivirus detailed review.

6. AVG Ultimate

AVG Ultimate made our list because it provides powerful protection for Macs as well as PCs and mobile devices. Personally, I use a MacBook, so I was eager to hear more about this product. Here’s all AVG Ultimate has to offer:

  • Virus protection and removal on Mac, PC, and mobile devices
  • Privacy features
  • Computer tune-up
  • Runs quietly for fewer distractions
  • Blocks malicious websites, emails, and downloads
  • Automatic updates
  • Provides unlimited number of connected devices per user license

Anti-Virus Protection

AVG Ultimate comes with some impressive packages that are both antivirus protection and systems performance. Even the free version of AVG offers solid protection. The latest version of AVG includes both signature matching technology and heuristic analysis, so you will be protected against malware, ransomware, viruses, and other malicious infections.

The AVG products perform well in lab tests; even the free antivirus software scored a 99.9% in AV-Comparatives’ malware protection test in March of 2019.

Cyber Security and Privacy Features

AVG Ultimate comes with some impressive features—one being the tune-up. Similar to taking your car to get a tune-up, AVG offers a computer tune-up, which means deleting old data, enhancing your battery life, and identifying any issues that could potentially harm or shorten your computer’s life.

Other privacy features we like are the online transactions and file shredder that ensures your deleted items cannot be restored.

In addition, there is the web shield that allows the program to block malicious sites, and email shield that prevents spam, and on-demand scans that will continuously check to see if your devices are running properly.

One of the packages includes webcam protection, an enhanced firewall, and an encrypted vault where you can store important files.

Other Perks

AVG Ultimate lets you set up an account on an infinite number of devices in your home. We thought this was pretty cool, plus a way to save money!

In addition, the customer service is pretty good if you have any issues. There is a large knowledge base, including frequently asked questions that other customers have asked.

Our Final Verdict

We are impressed with AVG Ultimate and all it has to offer PC users, Mac user, or mobile device owners. We love the advanced protection that you can put on not just your devices, but your family’s devices for no extra charge.

Read our AVG Antivirus detailed review.

Free Versions

We have reviewed our top five internet security systems, but you still may be left with questions. One question users ask is, “are the free version effective at protecting my device?”

The answer is there are some great free versions of cybersecurity packages out there, but they will not include all the bells and whistles, so to speak. If your goal is to protect yourself device from viruses, then the free ones will do the job.

However, if you want added security such as parental controls and password managers, your best bet is to go with a paid version that offers more perks. It goes without saying that an Internet Security Suite will cost more since it offers better protection and more tools.

Also, keep in mind that many companies, Norton being one of them, offer free trial periods, such as 60 or 90 days, for users to try out the product, and then decide if they want to purchase it or not. This would be a great option to start with.

The Bottom Line

When choosing an online security system for your laptop, desktop, smartphone, or other devices, you should first decide what you need. Obviously, you want a great anti-virus, but what else?

Maybe you are looking for a firewall, a solid VPN service, or a parental control feature. Maybe you need anti-fraud and anti-theft features to make you feel more secure when you are online. Maybe you’re like me, and you need all of the above!

Make a list of what you need in your security system, and then go from there and look at the options for you.

The main point here is that you need online protection!

Seriously—going without it is not even an option. Look through our top six, and pick one that works for you. You will thank us later!