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Security showdown 2014

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | Feb. 3, 2014
Free programs will take you only so far in protecting against viruses, malware, ransomware, especially now that phones and tablets are as commonly targeted as PCs. Many suites promise to protect you, but only a few offer comprehensive security with minimal hassle.

Most of the suites we tested did a very good job in the key areas of protection, speed, and ease of use. In our ratings, minor differences—a touchscreen-optimized menu here, an unusually high number of false positives there—tipped the scales. Kaspersky Internet Security 2014  came out as our top choice, thanks to its exceptional results in every testing category.

Here are the suites we tested. You can click on each link to read individual reviews, or simply read this list for quick star ratings and summaries.

Kaspersky Internet Security 2014—4.5 stars Its exceptional all-around protection, extremely user-friendly interface, and small footprint make Kaspersky perfect for novices and advanced users alike.

Symantec Norton Internet Security 2014—(4.5 stars) Norton is a solid choice, thanks to its excellent detection rate and polished, touchscreen-friendly interface.

McAfee Internet Security 2014 —(4 stars) McAfee's touch-optimized interface is ideal for Windows 8 users, but the suite is a bit weak on zero-day defense.

F-Secure Internet Security 2014 (4 stars) F-Secure delivered fantastic malware detection rates, but its interface needs some improvement.

Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security 2014—(4 stars) Trend Micro's suite offers robust protection and a lot of extra features for the money.

Eset Smart Security 7—(3.5 stars) Eset Smart Security 7 offers great protection if you can tolerate the drag it puts on your system.

AVG Internet Security 2014—(3.5 stars) AVG's suite offers good protection, but its many advanced options render it most suitable for power users.

Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete—(3 stars) Webroot's suite has a nice interface, but the program needs to get better at detecting zero-day attacks and distinguishing between threats and nonthreats.

Avast Internet Security 2014—(3 stars) Avast's suite has some premium features and is generally easy to use, but it fell short in the crucial area of protection.

Vipre Internet Security 2014—(3 stars) Vipre's suite competently guards against known threats, but its zero-day detection was below average in our roundup and its interface lacks polish.

Still not convinced you need a good security suite? Tony Bradley pegs the biggest threats we face in 2014.

Best Overall: Kaspersky Internet Security 2014
This year's roundup was highly competitive, but Kaspersky's 2014 suite still stood out with exceptional protection and an intuitive, Windows 8-friendly interface. We also loved its ability to run with minimal impact on system performance and no interruption of our workflow due to false positives.

 

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