The best antivirus alternative for Windows and Mac monitors and identifies malware on your devices. It then eliminates it, before it has the chance to cause damage or steal personal information. It also stops the infiltration of new threats into your computer. Antivirus programs usually detect and block viruses and worms. They also protect against Trojans, spyware, adware cryptojackers, keyloggers, and rootkits.

The software works by analyzing traffic and files, identifying malicious code, and scanning for signs of virus infection. It can also prevent malicious websites from being blocked and warn users to potentially harmful downloads. A majority of antiviruses include an internet firewall and a virtual private networks (VPN) along with a password manager, as well as parental controls. Some antiviruses are free however, others require an annual subscription.

Contrary to older software that rely on signature detection, advanced antivirus software uses machine learning and behavior analysis to identify threats. They’re particularly effective in stopping zero-day and ransomware attacks.

Antivirus software can also stop virus from self-replicating when your operating system is running. In order to do this, they execute the boot scan command, which shuts down the OS and searches your hard drive for potentially infected data.

Bitdefender, Avast, and Norton are top-rated antivirus software with high rates of detecting malware. Independent testing labs such as AV Comparatives, AV Test, and SE Labs have given them high marks and provide real-time protection. They are available for Windows, macOS and Android. Avira is another Kaspersky competitor, offers outstanding protection against malware without draining your CPU. It’s also available for Windows, macOS, and Android and comes with a selection of other security tools.