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12 best security software of 2014: 2014 best internet security software - best antivirus, best antispyware for Windows

The best security software for Windows PC and laptop

Best security software for PC or laptop. 2014's best internet security suites for Windows. Security suites tested, reviewed and ranked. (See also: 2014's best antivirus for PC and laptop.)

Internet security software is essential for keeping your PC or laptop secure from online threats. We use results from German testing house AV-Test.org in our security software reviews. Here we reviews the highest-rated products and assess their feature sets, usability and system impact to come up with our own ratings, looking to find the best overall package for keeping your PC or laptop safe.

Security vendors typically offer three levels of protection for Windows PCs. There is often a basic antivirus, perhaps with a firewall thrown in, usually available for free. Then there’s the internet security package, which typically adds anti-spam and parental control. Top of the range will be an all-embracing suite, with extras such as online backup, PC tune-up and identity protection.

We judge security software first and foremost on its efficacy on detecting and removing malware. These are the best software packages for securing your PC. Then we also look at speed and efficiency, value and ease of use. Here are the best security suites for Windows.

12 best security suites for PC and laptop: best security software

12. AhnLab V3 Internet Security 8.0

Scraping an AV-Test Certification may put some people off AhnLab V3 Internet Security 8.0, but standards in malware protection are now very high. We wonder if its scanning should be more thorough too. In its favour it's very easy to setup and use. For general-purpose home protection it's definitely better than having nothing, but there are more secure alternatives available at similar and lower cost.

11. ESET Smart Security 6

ESET Smart Security 6 is internet Security software that performs well. Here's our ESET Smart Security 6 review.

10. Panda Global Protection 2014

Panda Global Protection 2014 is very easy to set up and use and offers good coverage of the key malware threats, using cloud support for database and backup. Just 2 GB online storage is a bit feeble for three devices, although the Android and Mac protection is a welcome extension to the core PC software.

9. Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete 2014

Webroot's utilitarian approach may appeal to those who shun ostentatious software, and it's undoubtedly useful to have a product which can protect up to five devices at a time. That those devices can be based on a number of different platforms is also a benefit. The problem with SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete 2014 is the question mark over its ability to do the business spotting malware.

8. eScan Total Security Suite 1

Since Microworld produces IS software for Mac and Android, as well as PC, it would be good to have cross-platform support in this suite, but given the asking price for a 3-PC licence (you can buy 1, 2, 3 and 5 PC variants), it's still very good value. It's quick, AV-Test shows it to be effective and its no-nonsense interface is refreshing.

7. F-Secure Safe 2014

The Usability score of 5.5 reflects a low total of five false positives, during system scans and the use of legitimate applications. The 4.5 figure for a Performance score shows a noticeable resource hit while running regular computing tasks, like downloading and installing software.

6. G Data TotalProtection 2014

With excellent protection and decent performance at a good price, we like G Data TotalProtection 2014.

5. Kaspersky PURE 3.0 Total Security review

The price of Kaspersky PURE 3.0 Total Security makes it a competitive product for a full IS suite with all the trimmings and its AV-Test results put it in a very strong position. It's good to see anti-malware and backup apps combined in a wash-and-go product like this, though the interface would benefit from a more equable distribution of its function links.

4. Symantec Norton 360 2014

AV-Test gave the Norton code 17.0/18.0, a very good result. Broken down, this gives 5.5/6.0 in both Protection and Usability and a full 6.0/6.0 in Performance, even if this wasn’t reflected in our own tests of PC slowdown.

3. Bullguard Internet Security 2014

We like Bullguard Internet Security 2014 a lot. It's AV and protection provision is robust and well automated, but it's also one of the most comprehensive suites we look at each year. Combining IS, backup and tune-up seems to us the ideal approach and this one suite handles all these issues in a sensible and easily controllable way. It's also one of the most economically-priced solutions out there.

2. Qihoo 360 Internet Security 4.3

Although the Performance score, which shows the resource hit, is a bit low, this wasn’t reflected in our own, admittedly simpler, test. The Protection result was pretty good on recent threats, though it dropped down to around 90 percent on zero-day attacks.

1. Bitdefender Total Security 2014

Technically one of the best IS suites you can buy, Bitdefender Total Security 2014 also offers a swathe of extras which all help to protect some aspects of your Windows life online. Even though it's so feature-rich, it manages to set itself up and run unobtrusively in the background. We'd have liked a bit more online storage, particularly since it's a 3-PC licence, and there are better Bitdefender choices if you want to protect devices running a variety of operating systems.

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