The best antivirus alternative for Windows and Mac detects malware on your devices. It then eliminates it before it can cause damage or steal personal information. It also blocks new malware from infiltrating your computer. Antivirus programs typically detect and guard against viruses such as worms, viruses, Trojans and spyware, as well as adware keyloggers, cryptojackers and rootkits.

The software analyzes files and traffic to identify malicious code, and detects signs of infection. It can also warn you of dangerous downloads and block harmful websites. Many antiviruses come with a network fire wall as well as a virtual private network (VPN) and password manager and parental controls. Some are available as a free version and others require a paid subscription.

Advanced antivirus solutions, in contrast to legacy software which relies on signature-based detection methods, employ machine-learning and behavior analysis to identify threats. They are particularly effective in preventing zero-day and ransomware threats.

Antivirus programs also stop viruses from replicating themselves while your operating system remains in operation. To do this, they run a boot scan command that shuts down the operating system and checks your hard drive for potentially infected data.

Bitdefender, Avast and Norton are the top-rated antivirus software solutions. They have excellent rate of detection of malware. Independent testing labs like AV Comparatives, AV Test and SE Labs have given them top marks and they offer real-time protection. They are available for Windows, macOS and Android. Avira is a second Kaspersky competitor, offers outstanding security against malware, without consuming your CPU. It’s also available for Windows, macOS, and Android and offers a number of other cybersecurity tools.