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Contact Us. But our top picks for antivirus software actively work to block the mass encryption of user files—which is the hallmark of ransomware—and that should be the current standard to achieve a high mark. In testing, I found that attempting a manual scan resulted in an error: This workaround did work for me.

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Total Protection includes native browser plug-ins. The browser plug-in works as one would hope: Any attempt to load a page with malware on it was blocked. An included firewall is quite friendly at its top level, with just a switch to turn it on and off, but it also includes two levels of deeper complexity.

First, within the Firewall settings, you can define Wi-Fi networks to which you connect as trusted or untrusted, which changes firewall rules automatically.

Other aspects and features

The software package recognizes when you connect to new networks, too, and prompts you to classify the your level of trust of that network. Click Manage Rules, and you can create quite sophisticated instructions for blocking or allowing networking traffic from ports and addresses—features usually found only in standalone firewall software. A surprisingly sophisticated firewall appears at first glance to be simple, but a few clicks gets you into networking details.

Total Protection also includes a subscription to True Key, which is password management software created by Intel and now developed by McAfee. Rather, you have to download it from your account page at McAfee after activating Total Protection, and use an activation code that you paste into the product separately after installing it. The True Key browser plug-in works well. It offers to remember passwords as you enter them, and has an attractively designed, easy-to-use interface for managing and adding passwords.

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For instance, I tried to use its automatic method to capture and store my Amazon login, and it failed. With other sites, like Dropbox, it worked as expected. Intel now owns the McAfee company. After reading a couple of extremely vulgar complaints about the software, McAfee turns to UrbanDictionary for a definition of "McAfee. A barely passable virus-scanning program that updates at the worst possible times. Tends to render your computer completely useless whenever it starts an update which it doesn't ask to start and you can't cancel or pause ," the software millionaire, clad in a silk dressing gown, reads aloud.

Any decent anti-virus product will take up system resources analyzing new files and scanning the machine for malware.

Protection that wins awards

Protecting a PC or a Mac from sophisticated malware takes a lot of effort, and such software has to always be running. Our sister site TopTenReviews. Market share is a bit more difficult to gauge, because providers of free anti-virus software such as AVG, Avast and Avira, not to mention Microsoft itself, tend to lead the pack. Paid software is more likely to have anti-phishing filters for email clients, and anti-malware filters for Web browsers, both important features now that most malware tends to come through such software.

What you don't want to do is have two anti-virus programs running at once.