To keep your PC system safe when you go online, you need a complete set of defenses. This, of course, requires antivirus software — but viruses are far from the only threat your PC faces. That's why you need a full security suite. These products combine antivirus protection with other features that offer additional protection, for example providing warnings about phishing sites. You can also expect convenient features, such as password managers. Given the small differences in prices between antivirus software and internet security suites, it makes sense to spring for the more comprehensive protection.
Learn more about what these security programs have to offer in our articles about internet security suites. In our rankings, we found that the best products were the consistently high-scoring Bitdefender Internet Security, the comprehensive Kaspersky Internet Security and the full-featured Norton Internet Security.
At TopTenREVIEWS, we evaluate internet security suites according to how well they perform, the usefulness of their features and the quality of their technical support.
The performance scores we gave to security suites depended on how well they performed their key task: protecting against malware.
To get that protection, you might be tempted to skip the security suite, and just rely on the security features that Windows provides. But this would leave your system vulnerable. Though Microsoft includes progressively better security in each new Windows operating system, it only does so to provide a base level of protection for inexperienced users who try to get by without third-party security software. But that base level still doesn't provide ideal protection, as Microsoft's security products underperform third-party protection in independent security tests.
For those tests, we particularly trust an independent lab called AV-Test because it provides objective criteria to clearly reveal the best-performing products. AV-Test employs hundreds of workstations networked to dozens of servers, to expose security programs to tens of millions of existing and potential threats.
Internet security suites accomplish the core task of antivirus protection, but also include additional features lacking in most basic antivirus software. For example, internet security suites sometimes also include password managers and parental controls, which basic antivirus software usually lacks.
Help & Support
The best-performing internet security suites also fill their websites with helpful guides and other customer service resources. With a good internet security suite, you should expect technical support via online chat, telephone and email.
The best internet security suites offer complete anti-virus protection, plus a full set of additional security features. As shown in third-party testing, these suites offer far better protection than you'll get if you only use Microsoft Security Essentials. Read our rankings of the top programs to choose the best security suite to protect your system.