The best anti-malware software of 2021

Stepping into the new year of 2021 with comprehensive security software

The best anti-malware software of 2019The best anti-malware software of 2019

The start of the 21st century brought us into a new digital era where information is stored on digital drives, cryptocurrencies dictate prices of graphics cards, and such threats like ransomware devastate schools, hospitals, airports, and even cities.

The rise in technology made cybercriminals work harder, as they realized that making money online can be profitable and sometimes risk-free, increasing the frequency and severity of malware attacks all around the world.

While such threats like ransomware saw a massive rise in 2016, the number of attacks over the next few years declined. In 2019, the number of successful ransomware attacks was approximately 188 million.[1] Nonetheless, ransomware still remains one of the most devastating cyber infections which threatens businesses and regular computer consumers.

2018 saw heavy attacks of SamSam ransomware on Atlanta city and LabCorp, as well as GandCrab, being one of the most active crypto viruses throughout the year. Furthermore, a seemingly old but infamous WannaCry[2] was still extremely active, counting as many as 75,000 attacks in Q3 of 2018. Banking trojans like Trickbot, Emotet, and Ursnif made its appearances as well, stealing banking details in targeted and wide-spread attacks.

Even though malware attacks were active, 2018 was dubbed a year of data breaches. Such high-profile organizations as Quora question-answer site, Marriott hotel chain, MyHeritage genealogy service, and many others exposed millions of users' records, including names and surnames, emails, phone numbers, banking details, and other credentials.

The cybersecurity landscape in 2019 saw a return of well-known data-stealers such as Emotet, Dridex, and Ursnif, which target organizations on a large scale. Ransomware threats became even more prevalent, and new cybercriminal groups such as Maze and DoppelPaymer began stealing sensitive information from companies and then threatening to publish it if the ransom demands are not met.

High-risk threats such as Djvu ransomware were not the only ones that were prevalent during 2019 for consumers. According to the State of Malware report, adware saw a significant rise on all platforms:[3]

In fact, adware reigned supreme for consumers and businesses on Windows, Mac, and Android devices, pulling ever more aggressive techniques for serving up advertisements, hijacking browsers, redirecting web traffic, and proving stubbornly difficult to uninstall.

Researchers also report that Mac malware outpaced Windows PCs, with an increase of 400% on a year-over-year basis.[4] Without a doubt, Mac owners should pay much more attention to the security of these machines and equip them with third-party security software.

2020 was a relatively bad year overall, and, unfortunately, it did reflect similarly in the cybersecurity world. Hackers simply saw another opportunity to monetize on coronavirus struck hospitals, despite some groups promising not to attack the medical field during this difficult time. The COVID-19-related phishing also surged, with people being worried about methods of protection and willing to find out more about this unknown disease.

The past few years prove that, despite security precaution efforts, hackers can still take down even the most reputable businesses and organizations. What is more, regular users suffer from malware attacks every day. Unfortunately, some tend to close their eyes to threats and do not believe that a computer virus will attack them.

The number one step in cybersecurity is anti-malware software. Therefore, looking at 2021, we compiled a list of security applications that can significantly help you prevent the attack of the most devastating malware the next year.

Malwarebytes Premium offers fast system scans and anti-ransomware protection

Malwarebytes PremiumMalwarebytes Premium

Malwarebytes anti-malware software that offers protection for Windows, Android and Mac devices. Developers provide 14-day free trial to test the program’s capabilities and features. Once this term is finished, the user is left with anti-malware and anti-rootkit functions. The licensed version of this anti-malware software allows you to use these functions:

  • real-time protection that blocks malware attempts to infiltrate the system;
  • anti-exploit feature provides a full protection against system or software vulnerabilities so that they wouldn’t be exploited by malicious programs;
  • anti-ransomware function;
  • system repairs function after malware, spyware or rootkit attacks;
  • the protection against malicious websites.

Malwarebytes Premium edition has a super fast system scan. According to some tests, it might finish a scan in 2.5 minutes. Compared to other programs, the average scan time is 45 minutes. However, there’s a downside of a fast scan. It might slow down the computer’s performance. However, it takes only a couple of minutes, and it’s not a huge disadvantage.

While Malwarebytes Free can serve as a complementary application to your main anti-virus program, the Premium version of the software can entirely replace it. The machine learning technology and features like Anomaly Detection Engine increase the security of businesses and regular users.

The anti-malware was included in the CRN Security 100 list which informs the best tools for cybersecurity protection. Malwarebytes was nominated as 14th of 20 Coolest Endpoint Security Vendors in 2018.[5]

Latest Windows version: 4.0
Size: 18.9 MB
Price: $39.99 for one machine, $59.99 for 10 machines

Pros Cons Conclusion
Protects from exploit and ransomware protection Heavy computer resource usage during scans Malwarebytes Premium offers great anti-virus protection and can be used together with other antivirus software to ensure maximum computer’s protection
Uses behavior-based detection Lower-than-industry average detection rates of 0-day malware attacks
Works together with antivirus programs
High-detection rate
Provides a real-time protection
Protects from ransomware

Bitdefender Total Security shows excellent independent testing labs results

Bitdefender Total Security 2019Bitdefender Total Security 2019

Bitdefender Total Security offers a multiple computer, mobile and online protection once you obtain the license. This program deserves to be on the list of the best anti-malware software of 2019 because it provides plenty of security features, such as:

  • Complete data protection;
  • Advanced threat defense;
  • Webcam protection;
  • Multi-layer ransomware protection and remediation;
  • Anti-phishing;
  • Anti-fraud;
  • Anti-Theft;
  • Network threat prevention;
  • Secure browsing;
  • Safe files feature to protect the most important files from modifications;
  • Malware detection and removal.

As you can see, anti-malware offers all needed security features that you might need to protect your computer, data, sensitive information and identity from cyber criminals. Additionally, software has advanced features, such as social network protection, parental advisor or Battery Mode to save your laptop’s or smartphone’s battery life. Developers offer 30-day free trial to test all these features yourself before buying the license.

Antivirus software is also nominated as PC Mag Editors’ Choice in 2016:[6]

If what you want is every possible security component in one integrated package, Bitdefender Total Security is exactly what you need. It's an Editors' Choice for security mega-suite. Neil J. Rubenking

According to February 2018 – October 2018 AV-TEST results,[7] Bitdefender Total Security collected 6 from 6 points in Protection, as well as Performance category. The same test results also proved that it has low impact on computer’s performance. Anti-malware received 5.5 out of 6 points. In both categories, anti-malware bypassed antivirus programs like Kaspersky, Symantec, and McAfee.

Minimal system requirements
Operating system: Microsoft Windows 10/8.1/8/7
Available free hard disk space: 1.5 GB
Price: $ 44.99

Pros Cons Conclusion
Multi-layer ransomware protection Average hands-on test results Bitdefender offers maximum computer, privacy and identity protection for all your devices and gives additional features for a better experience.
Additional PC cleanup tools
Antivirus protection
Great independent testing labs results
Anti-phishing protection
Webcam protection
Low impact on computer’s performance

Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus provides the fastest system scan results

Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirusWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus

Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus is one of the fastest and best anti-malware software that is available on the market. The program needs only 20 seconds to scan the computer[8] and detect malicious components. However, full system scan might take a little bit more time.

Quick system scans might negatively impact computer’s performance. It might use about 30% of computer’s CPU during the scan.[9] However, it requires less than 1% of CPU in the idle state.

The program also takes only 15 MB of the space. However, the small anti-malware offers a bunch of great features, such as identity theft protection, secure browsing and phishing protection, webcam protection and, of course, malware protection and removal.

It uses metadata, behavior patterns, cloud database, and heuristic detection system to detect malicious components on the system. Compared to other software tests results, Webroot ranks average or higher.

Size: 15 MB
Price: $29.99

Pros Cons Conclusion
High malware detection scores Does not have independent lab results The fast and small anti-malware program that offers protection from recent cyber threats
Fast system scans Might cause system slowdowns during the scan
Does not require lots of space
Ransomware protection
Detects malicious domains perfectly

Zemana AntiMalware provides real-time and zero-day protection

Zemana AntiMalwareZemana AntiMalware

Zemana AntiMalware offers a real-time computer protection for Windows computers only. It can detect, block and remove browser hijackers, adware, potentially unwanted programs, ransomware, bootkits, rootkits and other malware. The software has OPSWAT Certification which ensures that anti-malware tool is reliable and effective.

One of the best anti-malware software variants has free and premium versions. While the free version works as a scanner and protects from major cyber threats; premium version provides real-time monitoring and protection from advanced threats, such as ransomware, zero-day malware or rootkits.

According to some test results, malware removal software might take up to 90 minutes to complete a system scan.[10] Compared to other programs, it’s twice longer than average antivirus scan time. However, the program requires less space than Webroot. It takes only 6 MB.

Latest Windows version: 3.0
Size: 6 MB
Price: $ 24.95

Pros Cons Conclusion
Zero-day protection Slow system scans compared to other antivirus in the market A small security software that offers a high level of security to protect from advanced cyber threats. However, a very slow system scans might be bothersome and might disturb work with a computer.
Protection from potentially unwanted programs
Rootkit an bootkit removal
Real-time protection

Emsisoft Anti-Malware provides great real-time protection from malware and ransomware

Emsisoft Anti-MalwareEmsisoft Anti-Malware

Emsisoft Anti-Malware protects from ransomware, banking trojans, bots, backdoor threats, and potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). Thus, it ensures that Windows computers are protected from all recent cyber threats that might provide bigger or smaller damage to the system.

To achieve great malware detection results and be included in the best anti-malware software of 2019 list, it uses 4-layer protection and dual-engine malware scanner. Emsisoft Anti-Malware scanner combines antivirus and anti-malware technologies. Thus, it explains high detection rates. It also has a custom-built “ransomware detector” that keeps your files safe and sound from file-encrypting viruses.

Another advantage is that it can complete scan within one minute. Compared to other antivirus, this one operates effectively.

Latest Windows version: 2020.8.0.10325
Size: 267.75 MB
Price: $ 29.99

Pros Cons Conclusion
Behavior-based malware and ransomware detection Does not show the best results in anti-phishing detection The program offers great results in malware detection and protection. Thus, it keeps the system protected by providing continuous real-time scans
High malware detection scores
Excellent malicious domain blocking results
Quick system scans
Provides news and alerts about malware
Real-time protection

Bonus: Reimage – a multifunctional application to keep the system secure and optimized

Reimage PC repairReimage PC repair

Reimage is an extraordinary tool that we would like to introduce at the end of the best anti-malware software of 2018 review as the bonus software. This program has two different capabilities:

  • computer repair function;
  • virus protection and removal.

This double functionality can greatly improve your computer’s state because you cannot only remove malware from the system but can also repair its negative impact.

During the system scan, Reimage Repair looks up for viruses, malware or corrupted files. For that, it uses Avira AntiVir engine. After it removes malware, it also fixes all errors in PC OS. Typically, they include these computer-related issues:

  • Windows errors;
  • Blue screen of death;
  • Damaged dlls;
  • Freezing computer;
  • Virus damage;
  • Provides OS recovery.

Reimage database includes 25,000,000 essential system components that are used to reverse the damage caused by malware. Thus, the program is capable of returning the affected computer to its previous state. This tool is extremely useful after the ransomware attack because this type of cyber threat can alter Windows Registry.

Reimage is an amazing software program for what it does[11]

The program has three major versions: Windows, Mac and mobile. The last one is compatible with Android operating system and can be acquired for free.

Pros Cons Conclusions
Fixes corrupted system files or registry entries Does not provide real-time protection Reimage can be used as a malware removal tool and a repair software
Repairs major system errors Does not fix problems with third-party software It is an exceptional tool that can reverse virus damage without a need to reboot computer
Eliminates Blue screen of death Cannot eliminate hardware problems
Increases computer's speed
Detects and deletes malware
Improves system stability
Has frequently updated database
About the author
Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

Lucia is a News Editor for 2spyware. She has a long experience working in malware and technology fields.

Contact Lucia Danes
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