Avast vs Norton vs McAfee: What’s The Best?
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Are you looking for the best antivirus software to protect your PC against cybersecurity threats and attacks?
In fact, you need a complete security suite to ensure real-time protection, malware protection, identity theft protection, and protection for sensitive information.
The information security market today encompasses the biggest names like Avast, Norton, and McAfee, in addition to others such as Microsoft Defender, Kaspersky Internet Security, and Kaspersky Lab.
In this article, we will compare these three security tools in-depth. You will be mindful of each of their features, performances, and price plans.
Avast vs Norton vs McAfee Feature Comparison
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What Do I Need to Know About Avast?
Avast antivirus programs ensure cyber resilience by combining human ingenuity with machine learning, artificial intelligence, and insights gleaned from their broad global user base. The company provides six layers of security to its customers. According to Avast, Avast free version, Avast Premium Security, Avast Ultimate, and Avast One blocks more than 1.5 billion cyber-attacks every month.
More importantly, Avast’s leading technology creates a global threat detection network with 11,759 Servers, transmits 56.4 Petabytes of data monthly, provides 302 Gbps peak download speed, analyzes 3.97 trillion URLs per year, and offers 463,000 VPN connections simultaneously. This is the reason 435 million plus users trust Avast antivirus products.
The following sections will take a deep dive to explore Avast’s most critical features and how they help ensure cyber defense, including virus protection, ransomware protection, malware protection, and protection in the face of phishing sites.
Avast Security Products
Avast mainly offers four security products that can install on all your devices, including PCs equipped with Microsoft Windows, Android devices, Mac, and iPhone/iPad. Below is the list of Avast security products:
- Avast Free Antivirus
- Avast Premium Security
- Avast Ultimate
- Avast One
- Avast Mobile Security App (Free)
Avast Privacy Tools
A good antivirus software always protects customers’ data privacy. This is the reason Avast offers five additional privacy tools, including:
- Avast SecureLine VPN
- Avast AntiTrack
- Avast BreachGuard
- Avast Secure Browser
- Avast Online Security & Privacy
Avast Performance Tools
Just computer security and privacy are not enough for peace of mind. Instead, the best security companies also pay heed to system performance. Avast delivers two performance tools in this regard.
- Avast Cleanup Premium
- Avast Driver Updater
Today’s cybersecurity threats and attacks are speedy and sophisticated. They can hide in computer memory and stay unnoticed even for years. We cannot wait for a manual scan and allow malware to remain undetected. Therefore, real-time protection is vital.
Real-time protection prevents viruses and malware from attacking your computer systems. It acts before the occurrence of the attack rather than after the attack. Threat hunting and threat intelligence are the best examples. Avast offers real-time protection through various features, such as Core Shields, Network Inspector, Firewall, Email Guardian, Ransomware Shield, Remote Access Shield, and Real Site.
Avast provides a variety of scans to safeguard your computer in the face of viruses and malware. The following sections delve into more detail.
- Smart Scan – Smart scan is a concise scan that detects out-of-update software, malware, network threats, performance issues, and suspicious browser add-ons.
- Boot-Time Scan – It is a type of scan that runs before the operating system and other services start. The boot-time scan detects hidden malware, viruses, and other threats that can prove to be a big nightmare.
- Explorer Scan – Suppose you open a file explorer and navigate newly downloaded files. You are suspicious about them and want a quick scan for these specific files. You don’t need to open your Avast antivirus app and search and scan specific files. Instead, right-click on the folder or file in your explorer and click on “Scan selected items for viruses.”
- Custom Scan – A custom scan works in accordance with the parameters that a user specifies for the scan.
- Targeted Scan – It will allow a user to scan selected folders.
- Full Virus Scan – It is a very comprehensive scan that incorporates all drives, directories, memory, and even external drive attached to a computer.
Avast Core Shields are very effective in the face of social engineering attacks, viruses, and malware (e.g., spyware, adware, rootkits, keylogger, fileless malware, logic bomb, Trojan horse, worm, etc.). Avast offers four types of Core Shields:
- Mail Shield – Scammers use social engineering attacks to exploit human error. Usually, they use phishing sites or emails to compromise a victim. A phishing email may contain a suspicious link or malicious attachment. Avast Mail Shield detects and blocks phishing emails before they become a big nightmare.
- Web Shield – Safely browsing the internet has become difficult due to ever-evolving wireless and application attacks. They include Evil Twin, Bluesnarfing, Pharming, URL Hijacking, DNS Poisoning, Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attack, Denial of Service (DoS), Bluejacking, and Rogue Access Point. Fortunately, Avast Web Shield all web attacks, including wireless and application attacks.
- File Shield – The system may have critical files. Either you download them from the internet or via removable media, such as a flash drive. Avast Field Shield can scan all of your vital files and keep them protected against cybersecurity threats and attacks.
- Behavior Shield – Unlike traditional signature-based antivirus software, Avast Behavior Shield detects viruses and malware based on abnormal behavior. For example, Avast will give a warning sign if your applications behave suspiciously.
In the previous section, we have shed light on Avast Web Shield, which prevents web attacks. In addition, Avast offers Network Inspector specially designed to scan your network to identify vulnerabilities and potential strangers piggybacking on your network.
Avast’s Ransomware Shield is an important feature. Cybercriminals can encrypt your essential files and documents and ask you to purchase a decryption key to restore them. In fact, buying a decryption key is a ransom to get your vital digital assets back. Fortunately, Avast Ransomware Shield prevents ransomware attacks and untrusted apps from changing, deleting, or holding your sensitive information. With Ransomware Shield, you can select a folder, and Avast will protect it from any type of threat. You can also block or allow apps using this feature.
Remote Access Shield
Recent years have witnessed the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic across the globe. As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggested the maintenance of social distances. As a result, organizations adopted a remote work strategy to comply with social distances and ensure employees’ health. However, working from home is daunting due to the menace of cyber-attacks. Avast Remote Access Shield stops cyber pests from using your computer’s remote desktop feature against you. In addition, using this feature, you can allow or block people who can access your remote desktop.
Bad guys often attack Domain Name Service (DNS) to target its availability or stability. DNS attacks include DNS Tunneling, DNS Spoofing, NXDOMAIN attack, DNS Flood Attack, and DNS Amplification. Avast premium features include a Real Site that stops hostile actors from hijacking your DNS settings and redirecting you to bogus websites to steal your banking info and passwords.
You should not trust apps that download from the internet. If downloading the app from the internet is inevitable, make sure that they don’t infect your computer and hurt your data privacy. The good news is that Avast Sandbox safely runs apps in an isolated environment to ensure they will not wreak havoc on your PC. McAfee and Norton also facilitate the Sandbox feature.
Avast ensures your privacy by offering several additional features, including Hack Alerts, Password Protection, Webcam Shield, Sensitive Data Shield, and Data Shredder. You can also use Avast SecureLine VPN, Avast AntiTrack Premium, and Avast Secure Browser to ensure more privacy.
Avast provides password management services whereby you can safely log in to websites and save your credentials at a secure place with great peace of mind.
Avast offers four different sections for support – namely “Business Support Page,” “Visit our forums,” “Report a false detection,” and “Privacy request.” Avast also offers a search bar where users can ask about their problems regarding Avast products. Avast provides an extensive knowledge base in this regard.
More importantly, Avast provides a wide variety of blog sections that include Avast blogs, Avast Academy (expert tips and guides about digital security and privacy, Avast Decoded (in-depth technical articles regarding security threats, Avast Forum (discuss with the community), Avast Research Lab (explore more about AI in cybersecurity).
Avast charges $49.99/year with a 49% discount for Avast Premium Security. For Avast Ultimate, a company charges you $79.99/year with a 38% discount. Each price plan supports ten devices.
What Are the Essential Features of Norton?
Norton is an all-in-one protection solution for your digital life. It is one of the leading antivirus providers in the world. Norton ensures online privacy, device security, and identity protection. This is the reason millions of people trust Norton products. In addition, Norton offers a 7-day free trial on all products. The following sections take a deep dive to understand Norton’s features.
Norton All-in-One Plans
- Norton 360 Deluxe
- Norton 360 with LifeLock Select
- Norton 360 with LifeLock Advantage
- Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus
Norton Security Products
- Norton AntiVirus Plus
- Norton 360 Standard
- Norton 360 for Gamers
- Norton Mobile Security for Android
- Norton Mobile Security for iOS
Norton Privacy Products
- Norton Secure VPN
- Norton AntiTrack
- Privacy Monitor Assistant
- LifeLock Identity Protection
Norton Performance Tools
- Norton Computer Tune Up
- Norton Utilities Ultimate
Like Avast, Norton doesn’t provide free antivirus software. Instead, Norton AntiVirus Plus costs $59.99 for the first year. After that, you can avail 66% discount.
Norton Free Tools
Norton offers two FREE tools, which are:
- Norton Power Eraser
- Norton Password Manager
Like Avast, Norton also provides real-time protection for your personal devices. Norton delivers multilayered security with advanced features. Norton’s real-time protection ensures that your financial information is secured when you use it online. Norton provides Auto-Protect and SONAR protection advanced features for real-time protection. When Auto-Protect is turned on, it runs in the background and scans for viruses and malware. SONAR protection works parallelly with Auto-Protect to proactively pursue cyber threats, just like threat hunting. Auto-Protect also features Download Intelligence that protects you from unsafe files you download from the internet using your internet browser.
Identity Theft Protection
Protecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and financial information is essential to avoid compliance issues, such as that of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Norton offers a LifeLock Identity Alert System that alerts a user when his name, address, date of birth, or social security number is used in any application. Unfortunately, Avast doesn’t provide a unique feature like LifeLock Identity Alert System.
Norton offers a Parental Control feature that allows users to monitor and restrict access to content online. Parental Control is mainly used for children to browse the internet safely. Avast doesn’t feature this security control.
Password is the weakest point that threat actors capitalize on to compromise a victim. Therefore, it is essential to create a strong password and save it in a safe place. Norton Password Manager allows a user to create, store, and manage passwords, financial information, and other secrets online – securely and safely. Avast also provides password management services.
500GB Cloud Backup
Norton offers a 500GB cloud backup for a Norton 360 LifeLock Ultimate Plus package. Norton offers different sizes of cloud backup for different packages. Below are details:
- Norton 360 LifeLock Advantage: 250GB
- Norton 360 LifeLock Select: 100GB
- Norton 360 Deluxe: 50GB
- Norton 360 Standard: 2GB
Unfortunately, Avast doesn’t feature cloud backup storage.
School Time is an educational feature that ensures that your children’s remote learning environment is secure and they focus only on studying during the live session. Unfortunately, Avast doesn’t offer the School Time feature.
Dark Web Monitoring
Norton Dark Web Monitoring feature searches the dark web and lets you know if your sensitive information is found on the dark web. In addition, Avast provides a free Hack Check tool for the same purpose. McAfee also provides this feature.
Million Dollar Protection Package
Norton facilitates reimbursement for stolen funds and coverage for personal expenses, each with limits of up to $1 million and $1 million coverage for an attorney and other legal experts if required. In addition, the legal team helps the customer to restore his identity. Avast doesn’t provide this feature. However, McAfee’s Identity Theft Coverage is similar to Norton’s Million Dollar Protection Package.
Identity Lock is an important feature that proactively prevents unauthorized account openings by locking a user’s credit file. Unfortunately, Avast doesn’t offer an Identity Lock feature. However, McAfee provides a similar feature – namely, Identity Freeze.
On-demand Spyware and Virus Removal
If you don’t know how to deal with spyware and viruses on your computer, Norton’s agents can help you to get peace of mind. However, the company charges $99.99 per incident for this remote service.
Norton offers price plans for six different bundles. The following list delves into more detail.
- Norton AntiVirus Plus: $19.99 a first year with a 66% discount
- Norton 360 Standard: $39.99 first year with 52% discount
- Norton 360 Deluxe: $49.99 first year with 52% discount
- Norton 360 Select: $99.48 first year with 33% discount
- Norton 360 with LifeLock Advantage: $191.88 first year with a 23% discount
- Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus: $299.88 a first year with a 14% discount
Figure 6: Norton Prices
If we compare Avast and Norton’s prices, Norton is a bit cheaper than Avast. Norton’s Standard and Deluxe packages cost 39.99/year and 49.99/year, respectively. However, Avast Premium Security and Avast Ultimate charge $49.99 and $79.99, respectively.
Unlike Avast, Norton provides a 24/7 live chat with a virtual assistant that answers every query regarding Norton products and services.
Like Avast, Norton also provides a search bar with an extensive knowledge base and community and blog sections.
What Do I Need to Know About McAfee?
McAfee is also a perfect and comprehensive security product. The all-in-one protection provides personalized security wherever you connect. In addition, McAfee provides personal info removal, removing personal info from sites that collect and sell your data. The product helps you to cancel and replace stolen credit cards, prevent access to new or stolen accounts, help repair identity and credit, and monitor personal information with $1M identity theft coverage.
McAfee is currently protecting more than 600 million devices and counting. According to McAfee, the company is blocking 42.4 million cyber threats daily. Let us discover more detail about this product.
McAfee All-in-One Protection
- McAfee Advanced Protection
- McAfee Total Protection
McAfee Device Protection (Security Products)
- McAfee Antivirus
- McAfee Mobile Security
- McAfee Virtual Private Network (VPN)
- McAfee Gamer Security
- McAfee Security Scan Plus
- McAfee Anti-Spam
McAfee Performance Tools
- McAfee PC Optimizer
McAfee Free Tools
- McAfee Web Protection
- McAfee Free Antivirus Trial
- McAfee Device Security Scan
- McAfee Techmaster Concierge
- McAfee Virus Removal
McAfee Virus Removal service is like that of Norton Spyware and Virus Removal. Get your computer repaired remotely with McAfee’s security experts. The company charges $89.95 for this service.
Real-Time Scanning or Real-Time Protection is a common feature of Avast, Norton, and McAfee. For example, McAfee provides you with 24/7 threat protection, and Real-Time Scanning checks files for viruses each time a user accesses them.
McAfee safeguards your identity by protectively protecting your sensitive data and personal info from identity theft. Moreover, McAfee’s Identity Theft Coverage is also fantastic that helps you restore your identity, which has been lost. If you become a victim, you are covered up with up to $1M for stolen funds reimbursement, travel expenses, and attorney fees. This feature also protects your lost wallet by helping you cancel and replace your stolen IDs, debit cards, etc.
Dark Web Monitoring
Like Avast and Norton, McAfee also monitors the dark web. McAfee’s Identity Monitoring Service is used in this regard. This feature checks whether the dark web has your personal info, including banking details, credit card numbers, emails, government IDs, etc.
McAfee’s Security Freeze is identical to Norton’s Identity Lock. However, this service doesn’t allow hackers to open new bank accounts, credit accounts, and utility accounts in the user’s name. In addition, companies cannot look at your credit profile, which disrupts the application process for credit cards, loans, and so on.
Parental Control is also common for Avast, Norton, and McAfee. Keep your family safe by controlling access to the internet.
Password Manager is also a prevalent feature among all of these security products. For example, McAfee’s Password manager is a free service that helps you create and store strong passwords for critical online accounts.
McAfee’s Web Protection is an easy to use browser extension – namely WebAdvisor. Web Protection keeps you protected against risky websites, such as phishing sites, scams, malicious plug-ins, ads, or other online threats. In addition, it ensures a secure browser.
McAfee provides outstanding customer support with 24/7 live chat like Norton. Contrarily, Avast doesn’t offer a 24/7 live chat.
McAfee provides you with an answer to each of your questions regarding McAfee products. The search bar also offers a vast knowledge base. In addition, McAfee’s Protection Score allows you to check your system’s current security. The perfect score shows that your security is robust.
McAfee offers four price plans: Basic, Plus, Premium, and Advanced. Below are details:
- McAfee Basic: $29.99
- McAfee Plus: $39.99
- McAfee Premium: $49.99
- McAfee Advanced: $89.99
Norton’s Standard and Deluxe packages cost 39.99/year and 49.99/year, respectively. However, Avast Premium Security and Avast Ultimate charge $49.99/year and $79.99/year, respectively. Contrarily, McAfee’s Basic and Premium packages cost $29.99/year and $49.99/year, respectively. However, McAfee’s Advanced price plan starts at $89.99/year.
So Which is Best? Avast vs Norton vs McAfee?
In this article, we made a detailed comparison of Avast, Norton, and McAfee security suites. All of these provide the best security, privacy, and system performance. Therefore, it is hard to declare a clear winner. Nevertheless, after reading this article, we can observe that Norton superseded Avast and McAfee.
Norton’s Advantage and Ultimate Plus are slightly expensive, but they have powerful features. In a nutshell, Norton is a clear WINNER and better choice as it ensures excellent virus and malware detection rate, outstanding system performance, user-friendly user interface, smart firewall, and interactive security features.
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