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Security suites: Choosing the best one for you

Preston Gralla | July 21, 2015
These days, security suites do more than protect you from malware -- they handle phishing, lost mobile devices and a multitude of other tasks.

internet security with lock

The old days of straightforward antivirus software packages are gone -- victim of a changing threat scene in which the dangers are more complex than ever and come from multiple sources.

No longer are viruses and Trojans the only risks. Today you can also be victimized by phishing attacks, spyware, privacy invasions, social media scams and the possibility of losing your mobile device.

To complicate matters even further, most of us commonly use multiple devices, frequently with different operating systems. I'm a perfect case of that: My computing arsenal includes a Windows desktop PC, a MacBook Air, two Windows-based Surface tablets, two iPads, an iPhone and a Google Nexus 7 Android tablet.

What does all that mean for today's security software? It means that yesterday's single security application has expanded to become a full-blown suite protecting against multiple threats on multiple devices. Because of that, it's become more difficult -- and more important -- to choose the right suite. You need to take into account the types of threats you might encounter based on the way you compute, as well as the specific devices you use, so you can match a suite's coverage to your specific needs.

How to choose?
In order to help you decide which security suite is best for your individual needs, we will be regularly reviewing current suites as they are released.

So far, we have reviews of:

In our reviews, we will test all the modules that come with each suite on the devices for which they are designed. We will look at how comprehensive their tools are, their overall design and usefulness, their ease of use and complexity, and the depth of the offerings. However, we are not testing the suites for how accurately they scan and clean malware -- the complexity of malware today demands full-time lab testing for accurate results. (Companies that do that type of testing include Anti-Malware Test Lab, AV-Test and AV-Comparatives).

And make sure to come back regularly, because we will be adding additional reviews as new versions of the suites are released.

A few basics to look for
Before you check out our reviews, you may want to go over these basic rules as to what to look for when shopping for a security suite, depending on what type of device(s) you are using.

Windows protection
Whether it is because Windows systems are more easily targeted, or because they are more often targeted, the Windows-related features of security suites are typically the most comprehensive. Generally, you'll find protection against viruses, Trojans, spyware and other malware. Most suites include real-time scanning as you install or download applications as well as regular, automated scanning of your files, email and the system as a whole.


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