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10 Best Internet Security Software [2022]: Full Online Protection

Ben Martens Ben Martens
Updated on: May 1, 2022
10 Best Internet Security Software [2022]: Full Online Protection

Short on time? Here’s the best internet security software in 2022:

I tested 67 of the top antivirus products to find the ones with the best internet security protection. But it wasn’t easy. A lot of antivirus programs only offer protection against “viruses”, but viruses are not the only form of malware. That’s why most internet security software now includes an antivirus engine alongside other cybersecurity protections like:

  • Anti-phishing — for blocking dangerous websites from stealing your data.
  • Anti-spyware — for protecting your private data from leaking on the web.
  • Anti-ransomware — for stopping ransomware from locking up your device.
  • Firewall — for monitoring and blocking unwanted and suspicious network traffic.
  • Password manager — for creating and storing strong passwords.
  • VPN (virtual private network) — for browsing the web anonymously.
  • Parental controls — for restricting your children’s access to unsuitable content.

Of course, all cybersecurity packages differ greatly in the quality of protection offered, the usefulness of their extra features, and the overall value they provide.

But after several weeks of testing, comparing, and analyzing, I was able to narrow down my list to the top 10. These are the security packages with the best security, the best features, and the best overall value.

Quick summary of the best internet security software of 2022:

🥇1. Norton 360 Deluxe — Best Internet Security Suite in 2022

🥇1. Norton 360 Deluxe — Best Internet Security Suite in 2022

Norton 360 Deluxe has one of the best antivirus engines on the market — combining known malware databases with artificial intelligence and machine learning, it scored 100% detection rates on all of my tests.

Norton is my favorite choice for complete protection on all operating systems. In addition to having an excellent malware scanner, Norton also includes a wide range of easy-to-use internet security features, such as:

  • Firewall — blocks dangerous incoming and outgoing internet traffic.
  • Password manager — generates and stores complex passwords.
  • PC SafeCam — makes sure no one can access your PC’s webcam.
  • Dark web monitoring — notifies you the moment your private data ends up on the dark web.
  • Cloud backup — lets you store up to 50 GB of data.
  • VPN (unlimited data) — offers secure connections in over 30 countries.

I particularly like Norton’s dark web monitoring, which scans dark web forums, credit reports, and breach databases for data leaks. While many other antiviruses also monitor data breach databases, Norton uses human agents to find information other vendors aren’t able to.

Norton 360 Deluxe is Norton’s best-value package — at only $29.99 / year, it covers 5 devices (across all operating systems) and comes with 50 GB cloud storage. It’s also ranked as the #1 best antivirus with parental controls.

Overall, Norton 360 is a well-rounded internet security suite ideal for both individuals and families with several devices to protect. You don’t have to be an expert to use its additional features, and you can feel at ease knowing your system is completely protected from all online threats.

Bottom Line:

Norton 360 Deluxe is a top-tier internet security suite, offering excellent protection at a great price. Norton’s antivirus engine is one of the most powerful on the market — scoring 100% detection in all of my tests — and it comes with an impressive set of online security features. Since 360 Deluxe includes coverage for up to 5 licenses, it’s a perfect choice for individuals or families looking to protect multiple devices. Plus, there’s a generous 60-day money-back guarantee on all Norton packages.

TRY NORTON 360 DELUXE NOW

Read the full Norton review here >

🥈2. Bitdefender Premium Security — Best for Tech-Savvy Users

🥈2. Bitdefender Premium Security — Best for Tech-Savvy Users

Bitdefender Premium Security is one of the most comprehensive internet security packages out there. It includes extra features like a password manager, webcam and microphone protection, parental controls, a file shredder, and a VPN.

Bitdefender’s anti-malware engine is very advanced — using a sophisticated cloud-based scanner, it scored 100% detection rates in all of my tests without slowing down my computer. I was really impressed with Bitdefender’s lightweight scanning — even top competitors like Norton cause a little slowdown during full system scans.

Bitdefender also offers multi-layered protection against ransomware. In addition to recognizing and blocking ransomware, it prevents all unauthorized access to personal files and starts securely backing them up if it detects any suspicious behavior.

I also like Bitdefender’s vulnerability assessment tool, which checks your PC for any outdated or vulnerable software and tells you what the best fix is.

The password manager, VPN, and parental controls are very good, too. During my tests, the password manager accurately auto-filled logins and forms, and the VPN provided me with encrypted access to multiple servers around the world (it’s one of the best antivirus-bundled VPNs on the market). The parental controls allowed me to limit device usage, filter content, monitor apps, and even set up location tracking.

Bitdefender is one of the easiest and most intuitive internet security packages out there, and it’s got tons of advanced customization options. If you’re looking for superior protection and want lots of high-performance internet security tools, Bitdefender’s Premium Security won’t disappoint you. Plus, at $69.99 / year, it’s cheaper than many products with similar features, making it one of the top deals on the market.

Bottom Line:

Bitdefender Premium Security is one of the most advanced cybersecurity packages you can get. The cloud-based antivirus scanner is excellent, and the full-suite package includes a ton of top-quality internet security tools — like a password manager, parental controls, and a VPN. Bitdefender is backed up by a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

TRY BITDEFENDER PREMIUM SECURITY NOW

Read the full Bitdefender review here >

🥉3. TotalAV Total Security — Best Internet Security for Beginners

🥉3. TotalAV Total Security — Best Internet Security for Beginners

TotalAV’s Total Security is the most advanced online protection suite from TotalAV — but it’s still simple to understand and very easy to use.

TotalAV has an excellent antivirus engine that detected 100% of the malware in my tests, and it comes with lots of online security tools. These include a safe browsing extension, a secure password vault, anti-phishing protection, an ad blocker, and a VPN (with unlimited data).

TotalAV’s VPN is quite good, performing much better than many standalone VPNs. During my tests, I was able to securely stream content and download torrents using servers from around the world with almost zero slowdown. TotalAV is one of the rare antivirus-bundled VPNs that works with streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+.

I also really like TotalAV’s anti-phishing browser extension, which blocked more phishing sites in my testing than Chrome or Firefox.

TotalAV doesn’t have as many additional features as Norton or Bitdefender, which come with extras such as webcam protection, file shredding, parental controls, and encrypted storage, but if you’re looking for a simple, beginner-friendly security suite that you can install and forget about (on up to 6 devices), TotalAV Total Security is a good choice — and at $49.00 / year, it’s one of the best-value deals around.

Bottom Line:

TotalAV Total Security offers easy-to-use antivirus protection and comes with some pretty good internet security tools. The antivirus engine is fast, lightweight, and highly secure, and the included VPN offers speeds comparable with some of the top names in the VPN industry. TotalAV is truly ‘plug and play’ — you’ll be protected within seconds, and it’ll run quietly in the background without you even noticing. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of TotalAV’s plans.

TRY TOTALAV TOTAL SECURITY NOW

Read the full TotalAV review here >

4. McAfee Total Protection — Best for Wi-Fi Network Protection

4. McAfee Total Protection — Best for Wi-Fi Network Protection

McAfee Total Protection is a well-rounded internet security package — it has everything you need to build and maintain a strong online defense in 2022.

For starters, McAfee’s real-time antivirus engine scored a perfect 100% detection rate against all of my test malware. What’s more, it offers some great extra features, including:

  • Home Network Security — protects Wi-Fi networks from cyber attacks.
  • Safe Web — browsing extension which blocks potentially dangerous websites.
  • VPN (unlimited data) — securely connects to 23 countries.
  • File encryption — secures sensitive files behind 256-bit AES encryption.
  • File shredder — permanently deletes files.

My favorite feature is Home Network Security which gives you full control over all the devices connecting to your Wi-Fi network. It also reinforces your firewall against malware attacks. I like McAfee’s VPN, too, which had almost no impact on my browsing speed, even when I connected to servers in Asia from my home in the USA. However, unlike TotalAV, McAfee’s VPN is unable to access streaming sites like Netflix.

McAfee also comes with identity theft protection. This service includes credit monitoring, SSN tracing, and identity restoration insurance up to $1 million. It’s available in 11 countries across North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.

The one thing I don’t like about McAfee is its password manager. Total Protection only includes a limited version of True Key — not only is True Key not very good, you don’t even get the full version. If you’re looking for an internet security suite with a really good password manager, take a look at our top 5 antiviruses with a password manager.

That said, with plans starting at $49.99 / year, McAfee is cheap enough that even if you buy a separate password manager, it’s one of the best value packages out there.

Bottom Line:

McAfee Total Protection is an excellent antivirus package that is particularly great at securing Wi-Fi networks. It comes with additional tools like a VPN, file encryption, a file shredder, and even identity theft protection in some countries. The Premium plan is one of the best value family antiviruses on the market, covering 10 devices for a low price. All McAfee plans are protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

TRY MCAFEE TOTAL PROTECTION NOW

Read the full McAfee review here >

5. Avira Prime — Fast Virus Scans & Secure Browsing

5. Avira Prime — Fast Virus Scans & Secure Browsing

Avira Prime has one of the best antivirus engines around — it runs entirely in the cloud, so it’s fast, lightweight, and doesn’t cause lags or slowdown.

During my tests, Avira’s antivirus engine identified all of the malware samples I placed on my computer, and the real-time protection feature blocked all of the malware files I tried running.

Avira also has an excellent Safe Shopping browser extension which identified and blocked more phishing sites in my tests than most competitors. The extension also blocks browser tracking, preventing companies from tracking your online activity and delivering ads based on your browsing habits. Another cool thing about this extension is that it helps you find the best deals online.

Avira comes with an excellent VPN as well — it’s secure, fast, and very easy to use. I was able to browse the web, stream video, and download files with minimal or no speed loss, which is pretty great for a bundled VPN.

However, one area where Avira could do better is parental controls. The Prime package doesn’t include parental controls, though Avira does offer free parental controls named Family Protection Suite for Windows, which you can download separately. Compared to Norton and Bitdefender, however, its offering is pretty limited.

Priced at $59.99 / year, Avira Prime is the company’s best internet security suite, and it covers up to 5 devices across all operating systems (the mobile apps also come with really good anti-theft protection and a network scanner).

Bottom Line:

Avira has a lightweight cloud-based antivirus engine with perfect detection rates and excellent web protection. I’m particularly impressed with Avira’s Safe Shopping browser extension which prevents phishing attacks, blocks browser tracking and ads, and finds the best shopping deals. Avira Prime also has a VPN, a password manager, a game booster, system tune-up, and more. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee on all Avira purchases.

TRY AVIRA PRIME NOW

Read the full Avira review here >

6. Panda Dome Complete — Intuitive User Interface with Lots of Additional Security Protections

6. Panda Dome Complete — Intuitive User Interface with Lots of Additional Security Protections

Panda Dome Complete has a good malware scanner, an easy-to-use interface, and more additional features than most competitors. Panda uses artificial intelligence to protect devices from all types of malware — in my tests, Panda found 95% of my malware samples. However, it missed some adware and spyware files that competitors like Norton were able to detect.

Panda’s most unique feature is the Rescue Kit, which lets you save your PC via a USB stick if it gets infected by a virus or malware. This is really useful, as it means you can boot your PC to scan and disinfect it in situations where it might otherwise be impossible to start.

I also like Panda’s user-friendly password manager and file encrypter and shredder, which locks and permanently deletes sensitive files.

However, not all of Panda’s extras are that good. For instance, the web protection needs some serious improvement (only 50% detection rate in my tests). This is very poor compared to top brands like Bitdefender and McAfee. Also, the virtual keyboard, which is supposed to protect from keyloggers, should be a lot bigger.

I didn’t find the parental controls very useful because they’re just too basic. If you’re looking for strong parental controls, I recommend Norton.

Panda Dome offers several different plans. These range from a free plan with basic antivirus protection and a limited VPN to the Panda Dome Premium plan, which comes with a VPN with no limitations and costs $66.99 / year. However, I recommend most users get the best-value Panda Dome Complete plan ($42.99 / year), as I don’t think Panda’s VPN is worth the upgrade.

Bottom Line:

Panda Dome Complete offers good malware protection and is one of the most feature-rich internet security suites on the market. It detected most malware, and I was impressed with its intuitive interface and unique features like the Rescue Kit. However, Panda’s web protection is pretty bad, the unlimited VPN is only available with the most expensive package, and the parental controls are too basic. If you’re interested, you can try Panda risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

TRY PANDA DOME COMPLETE NOW

Read the full Panda review here >

7. Kaspersky Total Security — Best for Online Shoppers

7. Kaspersky Total Security — Best for Online Shoppers

Kaspersky Total Security has a good antivirus scanner (100% detection rate) and plenty of extra internet security features. These include a VPN, parental controls, a password manager, webcam protections, and a secure browser for online financial management.

During my tests, Kaspersky’s Safe Money feature detected when I was making purchases and it automatically opened a new browser that analyzed sites for security risk, blocked pop-ups and trackers, and gave me an onscreen keyboard to deter keylogging hackers.

I also like Kaspersky’s parental controls. They include helpful features like setting up safe searches on YouTube, managing your child’s screen time and activity on social networks, and blocking adult content.

Kaspersky’s password manager and VPN are also really good — although the VPN is limited to just 300 MB per day. Other top brands like Norton and Bitdefender offer unlimited VPNs.

At $59.95 / year, Kaspersky’s Total Security plan includes protection for up to 10 devices, which is pretty affordable for a full-featured internet security suite.

Bottom Line:

Kaspersky’s Total Security has excellent malware detection and some pretty cool features for securing online finances. Kaspersky also has comprehensive parental controls, a good password manager, and a solid VPN — although the VPN is limited to 300 MB per day. While Kaspersky offers good protection, I think all of its plans are a little bit too expensive when compared to competitors with a similar number of features. All Kaspersky purchases come with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

TRY KASPERSKY TOTAL SECURITY NOW

Read the full Kaspersky review here >

8. Malwarebytes Premium — Simple Security with a Good Antivirus Engine

8. Malwarebytes Premium — Simple Security with a Good Antivirus Engine

Malwarebytes Premium is an easy-to-use internet security suite for users looking for malware and web protection… and not much else.

Malwarebytes’s antivirus engine uses artificial intelligence to block malware in real-time — during my tests, Malwarebytes detected all of my malware samples. However, I was pretty annoyed that it flagged more false positives than any of the other antiviruses on this list.

Malwarebytes also comes with a browser extension that prevents phishing attacks, blocks sites with malware (including cryptojackers), and removes ads. It claims that this extension speeds up web browsing, but I didn’t notice that my browsing was any faster than usual.

Malwarebytes Premium lacks most of the features found in premium competitors like Norton, McAfee, and Bitdefender. However, it’s a simple and affordable internet security suite which covers 1–5 devices across all operating systems for just $39.99 / year. Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy adds a really good VPN with over 400 servers in 30+ countries for $99.99 / year.

Bottom Line:

Malwarebytes is a highly effective anti-malware program, but it lacks most of the additional features I want to see in an internet security suite. Malwarebytes Premium has a good antivirus engine and decent web protection, and Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy adds a good VPN. The company offers a generous 60-day money-back guarantee on both plans.

TRY MALWAREBYTES PREMIUM NOW

Read the full Malwarebytes review here >

9. Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 — Best Internet Security Software for Mac

9. Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 — Best Internet Security Software for Mac

Intego’s Premium Bundle X9 is the best Mac internet security suite out there. Most of the products on this list are primarily intended for Windows (although they all work well on Mac), so I decided to include one that focuses on protecting Macs.

Intego’s excellent real-time malware protection helped earn its place as our #1 antivirus for Mac in 2022. In my tests, it blocked all of the Mac-specific malware samples I threw at it — including newer spyware samples that macOS antiviruses from competitors like Panda missed.

Intego’s other features include:

  • Firewall.
  • Anti-phishing protection.
  • Device optimization tool.
  • Parental controls.
  • File backup.

All of Intego’s additional features are significantly better than Apple’s built-in Mac protections. I was especially impressed by Intego’s NetBarrier firewall, which automatically adjusts settings based on network traffic. I also really like the phishing detection feature, which blocked more suspicious sites in my tests than Safari or Chrome.

Priced at $24.99 / year, Intego Mac Internet Security X9 has a firewall, anti-phishing, and malware protection. But if you’re looking for additional parental controls, an awesome file backup feature, and support across multiple devices, then Intego’s Premium Bundle X9 ($39.99 / year) is a better choice.

Bottom Line:

Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 improves macOS’s internet security tools in every way — excellent malware scanning, good anti-phishing protections, and a smart firewall. I really like the parental controls and file backup which both offer a ton of customization options that macOS doesn’t include. All of Intego’s plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

TRY INTEGO MAC PREMIUM BUNDLE X9 NOW

Read the full Intego review here >

10. BullGuard Premium Protection — Good Internet Security for Gamers

10. BullGuard Premium Protection — Good Internet Security for Gamers

BullGuard Premium Protection uses machine learning to detect the latest and most advanced online threats. It’s another excellent antivirus package with perfect detection rates against my test malware.

While BullGuard isn’t as feature-rich as competitors like Norton and Bitdefender, its packages include some pretty helpful tools. My favorite is the Game Booster, which increased my frame rate and load times while gaming, making BullGuard one of the best antiviruses for gamers in 2022.

BullGuard includes extras like parental controls, a firewall, anti-phishing protection, identity theft protections, and cloud backup. Its identity theft protections use Experian’s international network to provide live credit/dark web monitoring in countries across North America and Europe.

While I like most of BullGuard’s tools, I think its parental controls need some improvement. If you’re looking for a good internet security suite to keep your kids safe online and encourage healthy digital habits, Norton is a much better choice.

The biggest downside to BullGuard is that it doesn’t include some features I consider important for complete internet security, like a password manager and a VPN. (BullGuard’s VPN can be purchased separately at checkout). But considering that BullGuard’s Game Booster and identity theft protection tools are so good, BullGuard Premium Protection ($40.00 / year) is still a great deal.

Bottom Line:

BullGuard Premium Protection is a good internet security suite with a good Game Booster for PC gamers. In addition to optimizing and improving gameplay, BullGuard has helpful cybersecurity protections, like a firewall, anti-phishing protection, and identity theft protection. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of BullGuard’s plans.

TRY BULLGUARD PREMIUM PROTECTION NOW

Read the full BullGuard review here >

Comparison of the Best Internet Security Software in 2022

Antivirus Starting Price Firewall VPN Free Version Money-Back Guarantee
1.🥇Norton 360 Deluxe $29.99 / year Yes Unlimited data No 60 days
2.🥈Bitdefender Premium Security $69.99 / year Yes Unlimited data Yes (Mac only) 30 days
3.🥉 TotalAV Total Security $49.00 / year Yes Unlimited data Yes 30 days
4. McAfee Total Protection $51.33 / year Yes Unlimited data (with automatic subscription renewals) No 30 days
5. Avira Prime $59.99 / year Yes Unlimited data Yes 30 days
6. Panda Dome Complete $42.99 / year Yes Unlimited data

(with Panda Dome Premium)

Yes 30 days
7. Kaspersky Total Security $59.95 / year Yes 200 MB/day Yes 30 days
8. Malwarebytes Premium $39.99 / year Yes Unlimited data (with Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy) Yes 60 days
9. Intego Mac Bundle Premium X9 $39.99 / year Yes No No 30 days
10. BullGuard Premium Protection $40.00 / year Yes No (available as a separate purchase) No 30 days

How to Choose the Best Internet Security Suite for Your Needs in 2022

  • Malware protection. A good internet security suite should protect against known and emerging threats in real time — viruses, trojans, spyware, ransomware, and anything in between. All of my top choices proved that they could effectively protect against malware when I put them to the test.
  • Internet security features. Internet security suites include a lot of extra features, but not all of them are genuinely useful. I thoroughly tested each feature to figure out whether or not it worked as promised and added value. All the brands on my list have at least one or two useful extras, and top performers like Norton and Bitdefender have heaps.
  • Ease of use. The best internet security suites are easy to download, open, and get started. It should also be simple to troubleshoot and customize each feature. In my tests, I gave bonus points to brands with helpful in-app instructions and exceptional customer support.
  • Value. When choosing an internet security suite, you should look at how much the plans cost, how many devices they cover, and whether they offer free trials or a money-back guarantee. For example, McAfee’s Family plan covers 10 devices for a low price, and Norton and Malwarebytes offer generous 60-day money-back guarantees. In my tests, I also took into account how many extra features were on offer and how much the standalone products included in a package cost.

Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut

  • AVG/Avast. Both AVG and Avast have been accused of selling users’ personal data to businesses, so we no longer recommend these antiviruses to our readers.
  • Comodo. Comodo offers a variety of advanced settings for experienced users. But during my tests, Comodo missed some malware files that the brands on this list all detected. Plus, Comodo significantly slowed my computer down.
  • ESET. ESET is a lightweight internet security suite with pretty good malware protection. However, ESET is not as good at detecting internet-based malware like ransomware as the other programs on this list. It’s also pretty expensive, especially if you own multiple devices.

Why is internet security important?

Internet security is important because of the huge amount of valuable data most of us keep online, and the increasing number of hackers targeting unprotected online accounts.

Hackers are using increasingly sophisticated malware and social engineering tactics to get access to financial information, online logins, and browsing data.

Without proper internet security protection, you could fall victim to one of these hacks. Your financial details could be leaked, your social media accounts could be compromised, and ultimately you could become a victim of identity theft and fraud.

What’s the difference between “antivirus” and “internet security”?

Antivirus software protects against computer-based malware like viruses and trojans. Internet security software protects against network-based malware like spyware and ransomware.

That said, today, many internet security suites (like all on this list) offer both an antivirus engine and internet security protection in the same product.

Many antivirus/internet security packages have:

  • Phishing, spyware, and ransomware protection
  • Secure browser extension
  • Identity theft insurance
  • VPN
  • Firewall
  • Dark web monitoring
  • Password manager
  • Encrypted cloud storage
  • …and a lot more

My favorite internet security suite of 2022 is Norton 360 Deluxe. It’s got 100% malware protection, a fast VPN, 50 GB of cloud storage, a highly secure firewall, and excellent parental controls.

Are there any free internet security programs?

Free internet security software usually has severely limited functionality, major product flaws, or notifications that prevent you from using your device normally. Alternatively, it might have a secret agenda, like stealing your data.

That said, not all free security software is bad. In fact, I think there are some good free antiviruses for Windows, Android, iOS and Mac, but none are as good as the brands on this list.

It’s always better to spend a couple bucks a month on a premium internet security suite like Norton 360 than it is to deal with the hassles and limitations of a free antivirus.

Are Google Chrome’s internet security protections any good?

Chrome doesn’t have a lot of online protections. It’s missing a VPN, identity theft protection, advanced phishing detection, and encrypted password storage.

Internet security protections from Google (and Apple and Microsoft) have come a long way. However, none of them are even close to those offered by major cybersecurity brands like Norton and Bitdefender.

Most antivirus software in 2022 offers far better protection than anything found in Google Chrome.

Read more about the best antivirus software of 2022 here >

About the Author

Ben Martens
Ben Martens
Senior Editor
Updated on: May 1, 2022

About the Author

Ben Martens is a cybersecurity journalist with a background in internet ethics, malware testing, and public policy. He resides in Oregon, and when he's not advocating for the rights of internet users, he's walking with his dog and inventing stories with his daughter.