With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, cybercrime is on the rise. This is not to scare you, but it is the perfect time to make sure you and your devices are protected from malware and other viruses.
Today we are going to talk about how to protect yourself from spyware.
Cybersecurity companies spend a lot of time and effort in protecting their customers from malware and viruses. However, sometimes spyware gets overlooked.
What is Spyware?
Spyware is a type of malware with the goal of obtaining your private information without your consent and then sends it to other cybercriminals who will use it in harmful ways. Honestly, it can be hard to find trustworthy and reliable anti-spyware programs, especially considering some are actually spyware in disguise!
We have weeded through nearly 50 antivirus software systems on the market today and analyzed whether or not their anti-spyware is up to par. While many did not meet the standard, some did, and we will present those to you today.
We have divided our list into two sections:
- Antivirus software that includes anti-spyware protection (Get one of these if you don’t have anti-virus installed).
- Dedicated anti-spyware software (Get one of these if you already have a current anti-virus installed, but you need additional spyware protection).
Best Antivirus Software That Includes Anti-Spyware Protection
Norton is a trusted leader in fighting all kinds of cyberthreats, including malware, viruses, ransomware, and spyware. It excels at 100% detection and removal rates, which is why customers stay committed to Norton.
One reason why Norton is so effective is that it uses artificial intelligence to stay ahead of the new and emerging spyware threats.
With Norton 360, you will get:
- Malware scanning and removal
- Online cyber threat detection
- Smart firewall
- Dark web monitoring
- Secure VPN
- Password manager
You can use Norton 360 on your Mac, smartphone, or tablet, but Windows users get extra anti-spyware features, which is pretty cool. The reason is that spyware often targets Windows users because of some of its security vulnerabilities (so if you use Windows, keep that in mind!)
Some of the extra Windows features include “SafeCam,” which protects your PC’s webcam and “PC Cloud Backup,” which gives you 10 GB of extra storage. If you need to protect more than once device, Norton 360 Deluxe is the same price as 360 Standard for the first year, and it comes with parental controls for up to five devices.
Our verdict: Norton’s trustworthy reputation comes with plenty of evidence, and we can proudly stand behind this company when it comes to keeping your devices protected online, specifically from Spyware.
McAfee is another great leader in cybersecurity, and its Total Protection plan offers malware, spyware, and virus detection and removal. In addition, this plan adds extra spyware protection with the following features:
- Unlimited VPN
- Performance Optimization
- Safe Web Browsing
In addition, you will get Wi-Fi protection, a password manager, ransomware protection, encrypted storage, and more.
McAfee Total Protection also offers identity theft protection for U.S.-based users, such as Dark Web Monitoring, Social Security Monitoring, and 24/7 Identify Theft Support. We also should add that McAfee stands by their promise of “viruses removed or your money back,” so as a customer, you are 100% guaranteed protection!
Our verdict: McAfee Total Protection offers great antivirus protection with strong tools that fight spyware. The only thing we don’t like is that their extensive Identity Theft Protection is only available for U.S. users, but overall, McAfee is a wonderful choice for a cybersecurity package.
First, we must mention that TotalAV has seriously improved its antivirus products in the past year. Today, TotalAV’s antivirus is backed up by powerful technology, which is why it is trusted by more than 500,000,000 customers!
TotalAV offers great overall cybersecurity protection, and they focus specifically on preventing spyware. The free version is not all that useful, but the paid versions include all the features you are looking for in an antivirus. In addition to real-time antivirus protection, here is what the cheapest paid version, Antivirus Pro 2020 offers:
- Spyware detection and removal
- Adware cleaner
- Remote firewall access
- Phishing protection
- Device optimization tools
TotalAV offers great introductory prices, but their renewal prices often come as a surprise to some customers. Make sure you know what your renewal price will be if you sign up.
Our verdict: TotalAV has definitely stepped up their game as far as offering some of the best antivirus protection on the market. We recommend TotalAV not only as an all-around best antivirus option but because of the extra spyware protection.
Bitdefender tops the rankings in detecting and removing viruses, including spyware. In fact, Bitdefender earned “Product of the Year” from AV-Comparatives in 2019.
Bitdefender’s specialty is protecting its customers’ financial information. If you bank online, then you are vulnerable to a type of spyware called a “Banking Trojan.” A banking trojan disguises itself as an app or software that downloads to your device, and once installed, it steals your banking details.
Bitdefender protects against banking trojans by providing a secure browsing tool called “Safepay.” In addition, Bitdefender’s Total Security includes:
- Multi-layer ransomware protection
- Password manager
- Microphone monitor
- Webcam protection
Our verdict: Bitdefender’s Total Security is not only a great all-around cybersecurity program; it is excellent for additional security features that protect against spyware. Those who do online banking and shopping will especially benefit from this software.
As a company that started out as an anti-spyware product, Malwarebytes is still a world-class anti-spyware product, but it also protects against a range of other threats.
Malwarebytes works by monitoring the behaviors of your files and apps. If it sees any suspicious activity (like accessing certain parts of your device or logging your activity), it takes immediate action to eliminate the threat to protect your private information.
Even though Malwarebytes does a good job of protecting against spyware, it does not include a firewall or VPN, which are important features. However, Malwarebytes has incredible malware detection and protection, it’s easy to use, and most customers are pleased with the services.
Our verdict: Malwarebytes is good for basic protection against malware and spyware without a lot of extra security features. If you want simple and basic, go with Malwarebytes, but if you want a more comprehensive plan with extra security features, go with Norton or McAfee.
Avira Antivirus Pro is great for protecting against spyware and malware in real-time. It also excels in detecting keyloggers, which is a type of spyware that records what you type, including messages, passwords, credit card numbers, or other personal data. If you spend a lot of time surfing, shopping, and paying online, Avira may be your best bet.
Here’s what you will get with Avira Antivirus Pro:
- Blocks malware, ransomware, and spyware in real-time
- Safe browser to protect from phishing
- PUA shield which protects against malicious software
- Ad blockers
We love Avira because it works for all types of devices, even older computers. This software is lightweight and won’t slow down your device a bit. You probably won’t even notice it working, but it is!
Our verdict: Avira Antivirus Pro is extremely efficient, offering top-notch protection against keyloggers and security threats. It’s so easy to use and lightweight that it works well for any computer or device.
Originally, Adaware (formerly known as Lavasoft), was designed to block ads and web trackers. Now, it has developed its software to protect your PC against malware, phishing, spyware, ransomware, online scams, viruses, and hackers.
Here’s how it works: Adaware’s Antivirus Total’s Digital Lock feature works to prevent spyware from stealing your personal data by:
- Encrypting your private files using “military-grade” 256-bit AES encryption
- “Shredding” any unencrypted files by erasing and overwriting them
- Using multiple levels of encryption and password protection to private documents
With Adaware Antivirus Total, you will also get:
- Virus, ransomware, spyware, and malware protection in real-time
- Download protection
- Email protection
- Web protection
- Parental controls
- Incredibly powerful firewall
Our verdict: Adaware offers a highly competitive level of protection for your personal information. The Digital Lock feature gives you peace of mind knowing that your sensitive documents on your PC are well protected.
Dedicated Anti-Spyware Software
Our first seven recommendations work well if you need comprehensive protection. Our last three recommendations are for those who already have all-in-one protection but want extra spyware safety. You can use these products in conjunction with your existing antivirus.
SUPERAntiSpyware is an excellent tool for fighting spyware and related-malware, including the following:
- Adware (no more annoying ads!)
- Rootkits that take over parts of your PC
- Trojans that look innocent, but attack your system when installed
SUPERAntiSpyware offers a free and paid version. The paid version, SuperAntiSpyware Pro, offers the following features:
- Detection and removal of malicious threats
- In-depth system analysis
- Browser cookies and pop-ups remover
- Repairs PC damage
- Flexible scanning options
Our verdict: SUPERAntiSpyware works well with your existing antivirus protection. Since it specifically adds a strong layer of spyware protection, it will protect you against all the emerging threats online.
Simple, effective, trusted. That’s how SpywareBlaster is described, and we agree.
SpywareBlaster’s specialty is blocking ActiveX malware. ActiveX controls are Internet Explorer’s version of plug-ins, for example, the flash player. These controls have access to your device or computer if you opt to install and run them.
The problem is that ActiveX controls are a common target for hackers who can use them to gain access to your system. SpywareBlaster is effective at protecting against this threat.
SpywareBlaster offers free and paid versions. SpywareBlaster AutoUpdate is a great value product and provides the following features:
- Protection against spyware, adware, and other online threats
- Automatic updating
- Technical support
Unlike other antiviruses, SpywareBlaster doesn’t scan your computer; it blocks incoming threats. Because of this, you will need to use this product in addition to a comprehensive antivirus software like Norton or McAfee.
Our verdict: SpywareBlaster is the perfect solution to spyware that attacks your computer via ActiveX website content. You will need additional antivirus software to provide you with comprehensive protection, but SpywareBlaster works well to target spyware, specifically.
Spybot – Search and Destroy is another excellent spyware protection software. Managing your “tracks” is this software’s specialty. These “tracks” are your PC’s records of the following:
- The documents you have opened
- The websites you have visited
- The applications you have used
Spyware criminals like to gather this type of data so they can gain your personal information and control of your PC. Spybot cleans up your usage tracks, making you less of a target for spyware hackers.
We should mention that Spybot offers advanced options for experienced users. Some of these may be complicated, so if you’re new to the cybersecurity world, you may want to opt for another solution. Also, if you want more comprehensive protection, Spybot’s premium plan, Spybot Home, offers real-time protection against malware and other online threats.
Our verdict: Spybot – Search and Destroy offers excellent spyware prevention, detection, and removal for users. Some of its features may appear a bit complex, so if you want a simpler software, choose another one of our recommendations.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have compiled some common questions that users ask about spyware to help you understand this complicated online threat.
What is spyware?
As we mentioned earlier, spyware is a type of malware that “spies” on your device. Its goal is to watch your activity and collect your private information. Hackers who use spyware may steal your credit card information, social security number, web browsing history, and any other personal information.
How does an anti-spyware software work?
Anti-spyware software detects and removes spyware from your system. It also prevents spyware altogether. Here’s how it works:
- Detects and removes spyware that is already on your device
- Prevents you from downloading spyware
- Encrypts your files to keep them secure
- Encrypts your keystrokes to confuse “keyloggers.”
- Blocks access to your device’s camera or microphone
- Scans the web for any signals that your personal information has been compromised
Anti-spyware software often comes in a comprehensive, antivirus subscription or a standalone one.
If I have antivirus protection, do I need additional spyware protection?
It depends. First, keep in mind that anti-spyware and antivirus software are not always the same thing. Most antivirus protection fights viruses and may not include spyware protection. If this is the case, you do need additional spyware coverage.
If your antivirus package includes spyware protection (like our top seven recommendations,) you do not need additional spyware protection unless you do a lot of shopping and banking online, and in that case, extra spyware security would be useful.
How do I install anti-spyware software?
All you need to do in order to install anti-spyware software is to purchase it from a reputable cybersecurity company and download it. Our top ten anti-spyware recommendations are all excellent choices.
What about free anti-spyware software? Is it credible?
It depends. Research the company and the reviews. Some “anti-spyware software” is actually spyware in disguise, so it is crucial to know what you’re downloading. All our recommendations in this article are 100% credible.
It’s important to take the threat of spyware very seriously. Having your personal information stolen can lead to devastating results. The biggest problem is that most people think they are protected from spyware with an antivirus, and while this is true sometimes, it’s not true all the time.
Make sure you check your antivirus for spyware protection, and if you don’t have it, download one of our recommendations!