10 Best Anti-Spyware Software — Full Analysis 2024

Updated on: May 22, 2024
Fact Checked by Katarina Glamoslija
Sam Boyd Sam Boyd
Updated on: May 22, 2024

Short on time? Here’s the best anti-spyware software in 2024:

  • 🥇 Norton : Best anti-spyware on the market, combined with a complete antivirus package to keep you safe from every online threat. Comes with anti-phishing protection, a VPN, dark web monitoring, and much more.

Premium antiviruses provide the best spyware protection. What’s more, the best apps will keep you safe from other types of malware, like viruses and ransomware, all while providing additional security and privacy tools to keep you safe online.

However, not every antivirus or anti-spyware tool is effective. Many missed significant spyware samples and other threats throughout my tests. To ensure you choose one that works, I’ve created a list of the 10 best antiviruses that can tackle spyware and other threats in 2024. My top picks also provide a wide range of additional security features, including VPNs, microphone and webcam protections, dark web monitoring, and more.

The clear winner is Norton 360. Aside from detecting 100% of malware in every test — including some of the most obscure spyware — its suite of internet security tools is the best in the industry. It’s also easy to use and includes lots of extras in one simple package.

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Quick summary of the best anti-spyware software in 2024:

  • 🥇1. Norton 360 — Best overall spyware protection in 2024 + comprehensive defense against malware.
  • 🥈2. Bitdefender — Excellent spyware detection and tons of additional features + a lightweight scanner.
  • 🥉3. TotalAV — Good spyware protection with a user interface that’s perfect for total beginners.
  • 4. McAfee — Provides advanced privacy protections alongside a kit of anti-malware tools.
  • 5. Intego — Best spyware protection for Mac users (with an excellent Mac firewall).
  • Plus 6 more high-quality anti-spyware software providers.

Editors' Note: Intego and this site are in the same ownership group.

🥇1. Norton — Best Overall Anti-Spyware Protection in 2024

Approved by our experts
Norton
Approved by our experts
Most readers pick Norton
Malware detection rate
100%
Key Features
AI-based scanner & VPN
Number of devices
Up to 10
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
60 Days
norton.com

Norton 360 offers the best overall protection against spyware and other internet threats in 2024. Its malware scanner uses a unique scanning engine powered by a massive malware database, heuristic analysis, and machine learning to detect every kind of malware threat, including spyware, that most other antiviruses miss.

During my tests, Norton detected and removed 100% of the spyware samples on my PC. And once I turned on Norton’s real-time protection, it stopped me from downloading malware (including spyware) onto a test hard drive.

Norton comes with a ton of extra features, such as:

  • Smart firewall.
  • Privacy protection.
  • VPN (virtual private network).
  • Dark web monitoring.
  • Secure browser.
  • Password manager.
  • Webcam protection (Windows only).
  • Parental controls.
  • And much more…

Norton’s additional security features are the best in the industry (only rivaled by Bitdefender). Its dark web monitoring, which is powered by both automated scanning and human intervention, monitors dark web forums, data breach databases, and other platforms to notify you of a data breach that contains your personal information or private data (including credit card details, passwords, and much more). No other antivirus utilizes human agents in its dark web monitoring. This makes Norton unique. It’s available to customers in 29+ countries who opt for the 360 Deluxe plan.

🥇1. Norton — Best Overall Anti-Spyware Protection in 2024

The VPN is a great privacy tool that can also protect you from spyware. It comes with essential features like a no-logs policy, a kill switch, 256-bit AES encryption, and an ad blocker. A lot of spyware comes from malicious ads and pop-ups. Even just clicking on one can infect your computer, so it’s best to block ads entirely to lower your risk. Beyond that, a VPN will encrypt your traffic and hide your true location, so any spyware tracking you won’t get accurate information. You also get unlimited data, which I love.

I also really like Norton’s webcam protection, which prevents hackers from remotely controlling your webcam and spying on you directly. This adds another layer of security and peace of mind. However, it’s only available for Windows.

Starting at $54.99 / year*, Norton offers a range of plans that all provide excellent value. Its entry-level AntiVirus Plus plan comes with the fewest features, but it has real-time malware protection that guarantees complete protection against all types of threats — including spyware — as well as a firewall, password manager, and 2 GB cloud storage. You can install it on a single device.

Norton’s 360 plans include additional security tools for multiple devices. Norton 360 Deluxe ($49.99 / year*) is the best-value plan. It includes Norton’s advanced security features — a VPN with unlimited data, dark web monitoring, parental controls, and much more — and covers up to 5 devices. Norton offers a 60-day money-back guarantee on all its plans.

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Bottom Line:

Norton has the best anti-spyware capabilities out of any software on the market. In addition to 100% malware detection and removal rates, its real-time protection immediately blocked all of the spyware samples I tried launching during testing. Norton also provides additional internet security features like dark web monitoring, privacy monitoring, and webcam protection. US users can gain access to Norton’s LifeLock identity theft protections. There’s a 60-day money-back guarantee on all of Norton’s plans.

Read the full Norton review here >

🥈2. Bitdefender — Excellent Spyware Detection & Tons of Additional Features

Malware detection rate
100%
Key Features
Cloud-based scanner
Number of devices
Up to 10
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
bitdefender.com

Bitdefender’s advanced cloud-based scanner is one of the best on the market — capable of detecting and removing every kind of malware, including spyware. It removed all of the malware samples from my computer, including hidden spyware that was bundled with legitimate programs. It also has a great Android app that’s able to deal with emerging spyware threats, like apps affected by SpinOK.

Bitdefender also includes:

  • Firewall.
  • Anti-phishing protections.
  • Secure browser (Safepay).
  • VPN (limited to 200 MB per day per device on most plans).
  • Webcam and microphone protection.
  • Parental controls.
  • Password manager.
  • System optimizer.
  • And much more…

🥈2. Bitdefender — Excellent Spyware Detection & Tons of Additional Features

I really like Bitdefender’s secure browser, Safepay. It’s a completely isolated, read-only browser window for online transactions — spyware can’t monitor your traffic, gather information through screen capture, or infect the toolbar or search engines. If you regularly visit banking sites or even payment websites like PayPal, Safepay is an excellent tool to keep your private data and login credentials hidden. However, it isn’t great as an all-purpose browser. To be fair, it isn’t meant to be one. Bitdefender recommends its use for sensitive transactions and little else. If you just want to use a single browser for everything (including streaming), Norton’s Safe Web browser extension might be better, as it works best across all websites.

Bitdefender’s VPN is one of the best antivirus-bundled VPNs on the market. Built on Hotspot Shield’s lightweight VPN software, it’s fast, secure, easy to use, and good for streaming. However, on most plans you’re limited to 200 MB per day per device — which is almost nothing. If you need to protect unlimited data, I suggest a standalone VPN like ExpressVPN.

Bitdefender offers a huge range of extra security and privacy features. For example, its phishing, webcam, and microphone protections are all excellent, providing important extra layers of protection against hackers. Its parental control features are also among the best on the market. You’ll be able to monitor your kids and keep them safe online via Bitdefender’s easy-to-use parental control app.

Starting at $17.49 / year, Bitdefender offers a range of plans to suit most needs and budgets. Bitdefender Total Security ($49.99 / year) is the best value, providing all of Bitdefender’s features for up to 5 devices across Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. If you’re only looking for PC protection, you can get Bitdefender’s Antivirus Plus ($29.99 / year), which protects 3 Windows PCs, or Internet Security ($42.49 / year), which adds features like parental controls and a firewall. Bitdefender has a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of its plans.

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Bottom Line:

Bitdefender quickly and effectively detects and removes all types of malware, including spyware. It barely slowed my system down during scans, and it has an excellent range of additional security features — I especially like the secure Safepay browser, which secures all online transactions. Bitdefender has a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of its plans.

Read the full Bitdefender review here >

🥉3. TotalAV — Good Spyware Protection for Beginners

Malware detection rate
99.60%
Key Features
Beginner-friendly apps
Number of devices
Up to 8
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
totalav.com

TotalAV has an easy-to-use antivirus scanner and a decent variety of security features, making it a great option for beginners and less-techy users worried about spyware. It uses a whitelisted version of Avira’s malware scanner, which is one of the best in the market.

In my testing, TotalAV detected 99% of the spyware on my system, including browser extensions like CanisLupusLupus and even rootkit/spyware hybrids like Look2Me. However, this still isn’t quite as good as Norton and Bitdefender, which both detected 100%.

TotalAV also offers:

  • Real-time malware protection.
  • Anti-phishing protection.
  • VPN (with unlimited data).
  • Ad blocker.
  • Password manager.
  • System clean-up tools.
  • Secure browser (with ad blocker).

If you’re not the most tech-savvy person, you’ll appreciate TotalAV’s simple interface. After I downloaded TotalAV, it automatically scheduled a system scan and initiated real-time protection. I was able to access and customize all of TotalAV’s features — including the VPN, system optimization tools, and password manager — with just a few clicks on the desktop app.

🥉3. TotalAV — Good Spyware Protection for Beginners

I also really like TotalAV’s VPN, which comes with unlimited data. It maintains good speeds, works with every major streaming site, and supports torrenting. If you don’t want to download a separate VPN and just want something that performs well and is easy to use, TotalAV offers the best antivirus-VPN bundle available.

Other great tools include Total Browser and an array of optimization tools. The browser clean-up tool is especially useful, as it makes deleting tracking cookies much easier — a huge boost that limits the effect spyware can have on your privacy. Available as a separate download, Total Browser is a secure browser that comes with great privacy protections and an ad blocker, both of which can help you avoid spyware and minimize its effects.

All TotalAV packages include anti-spyware protection. TotalAV Antivirus Pro is a good basic package, providing malware scanning and system tune-up for up to 4 devices for $19.00 / year, while TotalAV Internet Security adds a VPN and covers up to 6 devices for $39.00 / year. TotalAV Total Security adds an ad blocker, a password manager, and coverage for up to 8 devices for $49.00 / year. TotalAV also offers a free plan that includes on-demand scanning and phishing protection for 1 Windows device. The paid plans are all covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Bottom Line:

TotalAV has good anti-spyware protection and a solid range of additional features inside an easy-to-use interface. Users looking to protect their systems from spyware and malware without dealing with a confusing user interface will love TotalAV’s mix of simplicity and quality. All of TotalAV’s plans are available with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full TotalAV review here >

4. McAfee — Advanced Anti-Spyware That’s Great for Families

Malware detection rate
100%
Key Features
Great web protection
Number of devices
Unlimited
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
mcafee.com

McAfee offers excellent spyware detection and removal rates, as well as a variety of useful internet security tools on an unlimited number of devices. Its scanner detected 100% of my malware samples, including various types of spyware. However, the scanner slowed down my computer significantly while it was running. I could still browse the internet and perform simple tasks, but streaming was impossible. Competitors like Norton and Bitdefender achieve 100% detection without impacting performance.

McAfee’s huge range of internet security features includes:

  • Firewall.
  • Wi-Fi network protection (Android and iOS only).
  • Anti-phishing and web protection.
  • Unlimited-data VPN (for auto-renewal subscribers).
  • Parental controls.
  • Password manager.
  • Identity theft protection (in certain countries).
  • And much more…

I like McAfee’s VPN, which is fast, secure, and has thousands of servers worldwide with unlimited data protection. While it’s not as powerful as standalone VPNs like ExpressVPN, it’s a good option if you’re looking for a convenient way to boost your anti-spyware protection even more.

4. McAfee — Advanced Anti-Spyware That’s Great for Families

McAfee is one of the best antiviruses for families, with the option of unlimited device coverage and excellent parental controls. It’s also easy to use, with preset filters for web and app usage, customizable settings, and accurate location tracking for your kids’ devices. I tested the location tracking with a friend’s iPhone and confirmed the accuracy myself.

McAfee Total Protection offers several plans to choose from. Its Plus plan ($89.99 / year) covers just 5 devices, and isn’t the best deal when compared to similar plans from the likes of Norton. The Premium plan ($39.99 / year) is a better deal, covering unlimited devices (select countries only) and including monitoring of 40+ data broker sites for your PII. The Advanced plan includes everything offered on Premium, plus identity theft monitoring and protection, while the Ultimate plan adds ID theft and ransomware coverage as well as extensive credit score monitoring and Credit Lock. All McAfee plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

McAfee offers really good anti-spyware protection, a ton of excellent internet security tools, and great value. However, it’s a shame the malware scanner impacts device performance so much, but it makes up for this with the sheer number of tools available.

Read the full McAfee review here >

5. Intego — Excellent Spyware Protection for Mac

Malware detection rate
100%
Key Features
Mac system cleaner
Number of devices
Up to 5
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
intego.com
Editors' Note: Intego and this site are in the same ownership group.

Intego is the best antivirus suite for Mac computers, ideal for eliminating spyware. It was able to identify and remove spyware, including new threats aimed at Mac users like RustBucket. Unlike most antiviruses — even Norton and Bitdefender — which primarily focus on Windows devices, Intego is designed exclusively for Macs. Its features are all a significant improvement on Apple’s built-in versions and other Mac-focused antiviruses, such as MacKeeper.

Intego’s security features include:

  • Malware scanner.
  • Real-time protection.
  • Firewall.
  • Parental controls.
  • System optimizer.
  • Data backup tool.

Intego’s anti-spyware detection is great. In my tests, Intego successfully analyzed and removed every spyware sample I’d installed on my Mac, including ThiefQuest and SearchAwesome — two notorious Mac-focused spyware threats. Intego also successfully detected all my other malware samples, including trojans, ransomware, adware, and cryptojackers.

5. Intego — Excellent Spyware Protection for Mac

The NetBarrier firewall is another excellent layer of protection. It builds on your Mac’s native firewall and automatically detects what kind of internet network you’ve joined — for example, your home or work network, or a public Wi-Fi network. It then adjusts its settings to provide the most appropriate protection for that network type.

Intego offers a range of plans, starting at $19.99 / year. The Mac Internet Security X9 plan offers real-time antivirus protection, anti-phishing protection, anti-spyware tools, and a firewall. The Mac Premium Bundle X9 ($34.99 / year) adds Intego’s excellent parental controls, system optimizer, and file backup. A range of other packages are also available, which include different combinations of Intego’s various features, and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee on all Intego plans.

Bottom Line:

Intego is my favorite Mac anti-spyware and anti-malware protection in 2024. It has comprehensive spyware protection and some excellent extra features, like a great firewall, parental controls, clean-up features, and more. Intego offers a 30-day risk-free money-back guarantee on all its plans.

Read the full Intego review here >

Editors' Note: Intego and this site are in the same ownership group.

6. Malwarebytes — Minimalistic Antivirus With Good Spyware Protection

Malware detection rate
95%
Key Features
Secure browser extension
Number of devices
Up to 20
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
60 Days
malwarebytes.com

Malwarebytes is a simple, minimalistic antivirus program that is able to detect all types of spyware. In my tests, Malwarebytes detected and removed every spyware sample I installed, including the WebDiscover Browser, a fake spyware browser that secretly collects your data and displays annoying pop-ups. However, Malwarebytes’s scanner only detected around 95% of malware types I tested overall — which isn’t bad, but it’s nowhere near as good as top competitors like Norton or Bitdefender.

Malwarebytes also provides:

  • Real-time protection.
  • Web protection.
  • VPN (unlimited data).
  • Browser Guard (a browser extension that blocks ads and malicious sites).

6. Malwarebytes — Minimalistic Antivirus With Good Spyware Protection

The VPN is only available on the most expensive plan — Malwarebytes Plus — and while it’s not bad, it doesn’t consistently work with streaming sites, so if you specifically want a VPN, you’re better off going with the likes of Norton, which comes bundled with an excellent VPN, or opting for a standalone VPN. Malwarebytes’s VPN does support torrenting though, which is great.

The lack of useful (and, in some cases, essential) features really lets Malwarebytes down. For example, it doesn’t have a firewall, a password manager, parental controls, or system clean-up tools that you can use to optimize your system after dealing with spyware. Most of these come as standard on the best antivirus packages. So, while Malwarebytes offers a good, basic antivirus solution, there are many better alternatives on this list.

That said, if you’re looking at Identity Theft Protection, Malwarebytes offers it — but as a distinct package starting at $99.99 / year. It’s a higher investment, but it’s effective at dealing with the worst possible consequence of spyware: identity theft. It includes the antivirus and VPN too.

Malwarebytes offers 2 standard antivirus plans. Malwarebytes Standard (from $59.99 / year) includes the anti-malware scanner with real-time protection, web protections, and Browser Guard, while Malwarebytes Plus ($79.99 / year) adds the unlimited-data VPN. There is also a free plan available, but it only scans your device for existing infections — there’s no ongoing or real-time protection. Malwarebytes offers a 60-day money-back guarantee on all its paid plans.

Bottom Line:

Malwarebytes offers excellent spyware detection and removal, but it lacks a lot of the cybersecurity protections I want to see in a top-quality antivirus. It may be too basic for some users, but if you’re just looking for a lightweight, affordable antivirus with excellent anti-spyware capabilities, Malwarebytes isn’t a bad choice. All plans come with a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full Malwarebytes review here >

7. Avira — Best Free Spyware Protection

Malware detection rate
100%
Key Features
Device optimization tools
Number of devices
Up to 5
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
60 Days
avira.com

Avira is one of the better free antiviruses on the market — it provides excellent spyware protection and includes some pretty good additional features, too.

Avira’s antivirus also comes with a potentially unwanted application (PUA) Shield — this feature is specifically designed to detect and remove spyware apps that come bundled with legitimate software. A colleague recently downloaded several adware and spyware programs, so I tried to download the same files from the original source, but Avira flagged all of the spyware .exe files that came bundled with my download.

7. Avira — Best Free Spyware Protection

The Free Security package also offers a couple of extras, including excellent internet privacy browser extensions, a secure password manager, and a free VPN (limited to 500 MB/month) — this is a very limited amount of data, but few antiviruses offer free VPNs, and other top antiviruses like Norton don’t offer any free plans at all.

Avira also has a range of paid plans, the best of which is Avira Prime ($59.99 / year). It comes with unlimited data on the VPN, advanced system tune-up tools, dark web monitoring, excellent mobile apps, and more. All Avira’s plans are covered with a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

Avira offers great free spyware protection, and it also comes with a couple of decent internet privacy protections — including a built-in PUA Shield that detects spyware and adware. Avira’s premium plan, Avira Prime, provides multi-device coverage and an unlimited data VPN. Avira offers a 60-day money-back guarantee on all its annual subscription plans.

Read the full Avira review here >

8. MacKeeper — Simple, Fast Spyware Removal (Mac Only)

Malware detection rate
99%
Key Features
ID theft protection
Number of devices
Up to 3
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
mackeeper.com

MacKeeper is one of the few antivirus suites designed exclusively for macOS — and it comes with good malware protection that is able to quickly remove spyware and other threats. When I tested MacKeeper, the malware scanner took just 50 minutes to scan every file on my Mac. It removed most spyware samples I’d installed, including Search Marquis, a browser hijacker and spyware that collects your data and sells it to third parties.

However, Mackeeper is missing anti-phishing protection and a firewall, which I consider pretty essential security features these days — Norton has both of these features, and Intego, my favorite Mac-focused antivirus, comes with an excellent firewall.

MacKeeper does include:

  • VPN (unlimited data).
  • System cleanup tools.
  • Ad blocker.
  • Adware removal.
  • Data breach monitoring.

8. MacKeeper — Simple, Fast Spyware Removal (Mac Only)

MacKeeper’s Adware Cleaner tool is great for removing Mac-specific adware hidden on your device. It’s easy to use, only took 5 minutes to scan my test laptop, and identified a number of adware threats hidden on it. There’s a lot of overlap between adware and spyware, and this tool works for both types of malware.

The VPN is also an excellent addition. It works great with Macs and offers excellent security — including industry standards like military-grade encryption, DNS leak protection, and much more. It also has unlimited data on its paid plan. It’s really rare to get an antivirus-VPN bundle with no limits, without paying a premium. Only TotalAV and McAfee offer similar value in their VPN.

MacKeeper has just one premium plan, starting at $10.95 / month. The price changes depending on the number of devices you want to cover (1 or 3), and whether you pay monthly or annually. MacKeeper offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on its annual plans.

Bottom Line:

MacKeeper is a decent antivirus suite for Mac with good spyware protection. It also includes a good VPN, solid identity theft protection, and system tune-up tools. However, it’s missing some other essential features, like anti-phishing protection, that come as standard with competitors like Norton. MacKeeper only offers one premium plan, and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full MacKeeper review here >

9. Kaspersky — Good Anti-Spyware With Excellent Parental Controls

Malware detection rate
100%
Key Features
Great parental controls
Number of devices
Up to 20
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
kaspersky.com

Kaspersky’s lightweight scanner detected 100% of malware samples in my tests — including numerous forms of spyware. The scanner’s also fast, taking just 45 minutes to conduct a full scan of my computer. That puts Kaspersky up with the best antiviruses on the market, such as Norton and Bitdefender.

Kaspersky also offers:

  • Real-time protection.
  • Web and anti-phishing protection.
  • Secure web browser.
  • Rescue Disk.
  • VPN.
  • Parental controls.
  • Password manager.

Rescue Disk is a great tool if your computer is already compromised with spyware or another form of malware. You download a separate app onto a USB or CD/DVD, which you connect or insert into the computer. The next time you turn on your computer, Rescue Disk will launch at startup and clean out any malware. Not many antiviruses offer something like Rescue Disk — Panda has a similar tool, but Kaspersky is a much better antivirus overall.

9. Kaspersky — Good Anti-Spyware With Excellent Parental Controls

Kaspersky’s parental controls are among the best on the market. You can use the app filter to stop your kids from downloading spyware apps onto their phones, while the content filters can stop them from accessing the kinds of sketchy ‘free download’ sites that deliver the same type of malware. It also comes with standard features like tracking, monitoring, and report generation.

Kaspersky has 3 plans, starting at $34.99 / year. The best value plan for most users is Kaspersky Plus, which costs $47.99 / year and provides all the security basics, plus an unlimited-data VPN, system cleanup tools, a password manager, a data leak checker, and more, for up to 10 devices. The most advanced plan, Kaspersky Premium, costs $67.49 / year and adds an identity protection wallet, remote access detection, and parental controls — but note that the parental controls are only included for the first year, after which you’ll need to pay for them separately. Overall, you can get better deals from top competitors like Norton. All of Kaspersky’s plans are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

Kaspersky offers excellent anti-spyware tools with plenty of easy-to-use features. It’s got one of the best parental control apps on the market, making it a great option for families. And the Rescue Disk tool is handy if your computer is already infected with malware. Kaspersky offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all its plans.

Read the full Kaspersky review here >

10. SUPERAntiSpyware — Best for Additional Spyware Protection

10. SUPERAntiSpyware — Best for Additional Spyware Protection

SUPERAntiSpyware is an effective anti-spyware program for Windows PCs with some additional anti-malware tools. Even though it’s advertised as an anti-spyware tool, SUPERAntiSpyware also offers decent protections against other types of malware, including adware, trojans, rootkits, and ransomware.

SUPERAntiSpyware can’t compete with Norton or Bitdefender in terms of virus detection, but it detected most of the spyware that had found its way onto my computer, including malicious browser extensions. I like that the main scan also removes trackers. The browser extension did a good job of blocking phishing sites and even comes with basic content filtering, but I was annoyed to find that it automatically changed my default search engine. SUPERAntiSpyware also lacks extras like a VPN, firewall, or support for platforms other than Windows.

10. SUPERAntiSpyware — Best for Additional Spyware Protection

That said, it does come with:

  • AI-powered detection engine.
  • Real-time threat blocking.
  • Automatic updates.
  • Scheduled scanning.
  • Email notifications.
  • Web protections.
  • Browser cleanup.

I like how SUPERAntiSpyware offers both a free and a paid version. The free version only performs on-demand scanning. The paid version, SUPERAntiSpyware Pro X Edition, costs $39.95 / year and continuously monitors your device for spyware infections with its AI-powered engine. It also includes multiple scan options, real-time threat blocking, automatic updates, and email notifications. The Pro X Edition plan is available on a free 14-day trial, and it also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

SUPERAntiSpyware is an excellent anti-spyware tool that also offers good protection against adware and spyware. You can’t expect it to do everything your antivirus software can do — but if you’re looking for an anti-spyware program to complement your existing antivirus software, SUPERAntiSpyware is a pretty good option.

Bonus. SpywareBlaster — Best for Additional Browsing Protection

Bonus. SpywareBlaster — Best for Additional Browsing ProtectionSpywareBlaster is a good spyware prevention tool for Windows browsers that specializes in blocking spyware installation by restricting ActiveX-based malware. ActiveX is a set of technologies that provide interactive website content, mainly on Windows devices. ActiveX controls can be useful — they allow you to play media and fill in forms on websites. But hackers can also use them to gain access to your system and then install keylogging software, steal your private files, and access your webcam.

Bonus. SpywareBlaster — Best for Additional Browsing Protection

SpywareBlaster offers both free and paid versions. SpywareBlaster Free protects against spyware and other PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) being installed on your browsers and blocks tracking cookies. The paid version, SpywareBlaster AutoUpdate, which starts at $14.95 / year, adds technical support and multi-user coverage. Basically, it’s a way to support the developers, but you don’t get much out of it. There’s also an enterprise product, SpywareBlaster Network Edition.

That said, SpywareBlaster doesn’t scan your computer like an antivirus software — it only prevents spyware installation. It’s an affordable option for users looking to tighten up their browser security, but it should only be used together with a good antivirus program like Norton or Bitdefender. It’s also worth pointing out that the program hasn’t been updated since 2020 and that spyware deployed through ActiveX isn’t very prevalent these days.

Bottom Line:

SpywareBlaster blocks spyware aiming to hijack your computer via ActiveX website content. However, it’s not a replacement for antivirus software — or even for other dedicated anti-spyware applications. You’ll need additional antivirus software like Norton to protect you from other types of malware.

Quick Comparison Table

Product Starting Price Free Version Removes Spyware Infections Anti-Malware Scanning Blocks Phishing Sites Money-Back Guarantee
1.🥇Norton $54.99 / year* 60 days
2.🥈Bitdefender $17.49 / year 30 days
3.🥉TotalAV $19.00 / year 30 days
4. McAfee $39.99 / year 30 days
5. Intego for Mac $19.99 / year 30 days
6. Malwarebytes $59.99 / year 60 days
7. Avira $26.99 / year 60 days
8. MacKeeper $10.95 / month 30 days
9. Kaspersky $34.99 / year 30 days
10. SUPERAntiSpyware $39.95 / year 30 days
Bonus. SpywareBlaster $14.95 / year none

Editors' Note: Intego and this site are in the same ownership group.

Testing Methodology: Comparison & Ranking Criteria

To determine which tools are best at tackling spyware, I used our thorough methodology. Basically, I used my own computers and virtual machines to check each antivirus, exploring each feature and ultimately testing them against real spyware. I also went through the various customer service experiences firsthand and considered things like ease of use, convenience, speed, and the overall value proposition. Here are the specific criteria I used while ranking these antiviruses:

  • I tested detection rates for spyware and other types of malware. I tested each antivirus multiple times against different malware packets, each including hundreds of different malicious files. I made sure that each malware packet included lots of spyware and took note if any got through. Only products that were able to identify the vast majority of spyware made it onto this list. I took into account each antivirus’s scanner as well as its real-time protections.Testing Methodology: Comparison & Ranking Criteria
  • I verified the antivirus software’s usability. Many antivirus programs can be plagued by clunky interfaces that are not user-friendly. However, I rigorously tested both the desktop and mobile versions to ensure they were straightforward to install and operate, emphasizing ease of use and accessibility.
  • I considered the inclusion of extra features. The majority of antivirus companies include supplementary features in their premium packages. However, many times, these add-ons serve more as decorative frills that can slow down your computer and degrade performance, all while bumping up the cost. I meticulously evaluated the utility and efficiency of each feature provided with the products mentioned here to ensure their real-world applicability and effectiveness. Bitdefender stands out for its extensive assortment of beneficial features, whereas TotalAV is notable for its outstanding optimization tools.Testing Methodology: Comparison & Ranking Criteria
  • I assessed each product’s overall value. Investing in antivirus software can be significant. I took into account all relevant aspects, including web and browsing security, the number of devices protected, and the availability of a free trial or money-back guarantee. Each of the top antivirus solutions reviewed offers substantial value, ensuring users get comprehensive protection and features worth their investment.
  • I counted the number of false positives. Though it isn’t reasonable to expect an antivirus to never identify harmless files as spyware, too many false positives can be a problem. They aren’t only annoying; they can also lead one to distrust the program, potentially resulting in genuine threats getting through. I only endorse products that don’t suffer from an overabundance of false positives.

What Is Spyware & How Does It Affect Your Device?

Spyware is a form of malware that’s main function is to “spy” on the user. It works sneakily, often without the user’s knowledge, collecting information and monitoring activities conducted on their device. It can be anything from mildly intrusive to severely malicious.

The less dangerous forms of spyware are mostly used for advertising — collecting user data to offer targeted ads. While this may appear benign, it still constitutes a breach of privacy and should be removed using an antivirus. The more malevolent forms of spyware are designed to steal sensitive information such as passwords and financial credentials. Some even let cybercriminals take control of a victim’s device, letting them inject additional malware into it.

Spyware affects devices in multiple ways. Firstly, it degrades system performance by consuming significant system resources. Secondly, it can result in increased data usage on a victim’s device. Thirdly, it exposes users to potential fraud, identity theft, and loss of personal and financial assets.

There are different types of spyware, which can include:

  • Keyloggers: Capture every keystroke a user makes, allowing attackers to obtain passwords, chat logs, and other typed information.
  • Screenloggers: Capture screenshots of the user’s activity. This can be particularly dangerous when users view sensitive documents or enter credentials.
  • Adware: While some may argue that not all adware is spyware, malicious adware can track browsing habits and display intrusive ads based on user activity.
  • Browser hijackers: Alter the user’s browser settings, redirecting them to unwanted websites or replacing their default search engine. This can lead the user to phishing sites or other malicious web pages.
  • Trojan horses: Trojans are a type of malware that disguises itself as a safe file or program. Once a trojan has infected your computer, it can have any number of negative effects, including spying on you, stealing your data, and installing additional malware.
  • Info stealers: These harvest specific types of data from the infected system, such as financial information or login credentials.
  • Tracking cookies: These are not always malicious, but they do monitor users’ browsing habits and can create a profile based on their activities.

In short, spyware represents a multi-faceted cybersecurity threat. Being vigilant and proactive, and using security solutions like Norton and Bitdefender while also practicing safe browsing habits is essential in defending against it.

Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut

  • Comodo. Comodo is a free antivirus that comes with decent spyware protections, but it only detected 93% of the malware samples in my tests and allowed me to visit websites that had spyware samples on them.
  • Avast. Avast is an excellent antivirus with 100% malware detection rates, but it’s let down by a pretty average VPN, and it lacks a password manager and identity theft protections.
  • AVG. AVG provides top-quality protection against spyware, but it forces you to download multiple apps to access every feature, and its ransomware simulation results were disappointing.
  • Panda Dome. Panda is a decent antivirus with an excellent malware scanner and other great features. However, its web protection tools detected less than 50% of the phishing sites in my tests. This is way too low for me to recommend it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is anti-spyware software?

Anti-spyware software is designed to detect, remove, and protect against spyware threats. Advanced anti-spyware software, such as Norton 360, provides real-time protection to prevent spyware from infecting your device by constantly scanning files and programs before they’re downloaded. It also protects against other types of known malware, including rootkits, ransomware, trojans, and cryptojackers.

Are anti-spyware and antivirus software the same thing?

Anti-spyware and antivirus software are not the same thing, but the best antivirus providers offer anti-spyware and anti-malware protection as standard. However, most standalone anti-spyware tools only offer protection against spyware and adware — nothing else. This is why I always recommend buying a complete antivirus package that includes spyware protections.

In my tests, premium antiviruses like Norton offered the highest detection rates for both spyware and other types of malware. They cost more than standalone anti-spyware tools, but they also offer internet security tools like anti-phishing protection, VPNs, password managers, dark web monitoring, and mobile device protection. So, in the end, you’ll save money because you won’t need to buy all those tools separately.

Is Kaspersky safe to use as anti-spyware?

Absolutely! While the German and US governments have warned against using Kaspersky because of potential ties to the Russian government, there is no evidence to support this, so I’m happy to recommend it as a safe and reliable option for anti-spyware protection. It identified 100% of malware samples in my tests, which included several forms of spyware, and it also offers real-time protection, comprehensive anti-phishing protection, and a dedicated secure web browser for enhanced online safety.

However, while Kaspersky is safe to use as an anti-spyware solution, I do think Norton is slightly better. I prefer its wide range of dark web monitoring tools, which can alert you to information leaks caused by spyware.

Do I need anti-spyware software for smart home devices?

You don’t need traditional anti-spyware software for smart home devices, which can include voice assistants, smart lighting, and more. However, one of the primary risks with these devices is their potential exploitation as entry points into your home network. Therefore, there are some precautions you should take if you have smart home devices in your house.

For example, you should keep the smart home device’s firmware up-to-date, since manufacturers often patch security gaps. You should also use a good password manager to create and store a strong password if the device allows for password protection. Furthermore, a powerful antivirus equipped with a good firewall can monitor and block suspicious inbound and outbound traffic, providing an added layer of protection for your smart devices.

In essence, while smart home devices may not necessitate the need for traditional anti-spyware software, a holistic approach to security — emphasizing strong passwords and vigilant network monitoring — is definitely needed if you have smart home devices in your household.

What’s the best anti-spyware software for webcams?

Norton and Bitdefender are both excellent anti-spyware programs with dedicated webcam protection features. If you have either one of these installed, you’ll receive immediate alerts when an application or website attempts to access your webcam. You’re then given the option to allow or disallow the access, which is excellent for preventing unsolicited access. Beyond this, both antiviruses provide comprehensive security against a multitude of cyber threats, enhancing the overall protection of your device.

How does anti-spyware software work?

Anti-spyware software scans any files on your device for spyware, and then removes any it finds. The best anti-spyware scanners, like those offered by Norton and Bitdefender, also detect every other type of malware, using a combination of heuristics, machine learning, and massive cloud databases.

Good anti-spyware tools can also perform real-time threat detection, analyzing files before they’re downloaded onto your device and blocking their download to prevent a spyware infection from occurring.

Additionally, full-suite antivirus/anti-spyware software can:

  • Block access to your camera or microphone.
  • Protect your web browser and block phishing tools.
  • Scan the dark web for data leaks and hacks containing your data.
  • Hide your files.
  • Hide your IP address (using a VPN).
  • Encrypt your keystrokes.

How do I install anti-spyware software?

Installing anti-spyware software is pretty easy. Just follow these steps:

  • Pick an anti-spyware (or complete antivirus) program. My #1 anti-spyware choice is Norton 360 — it’s a feature-rich and easy-to-use antivirus that provides total spyware protection.
  • Download the antivirus or anti-spyware app. Whichever software you decide on, follow one of our links to get the best deals available. Some offer free plans or free trials, and most of them offer money-back guarantees.
  • Click Install & run the installer. All the best anti-spyware apps come with an installer that will guide you through the process. Simply accept the end user license agreement (EULA), accept the program destination, and you will have a high-quality anti-spyware solution running in no time.

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About the Author
Sam Boyd
Sam Boyd
Chief Editor
Updated on: May 22, 2024

About the Author

Sam Boyd is a Chief Editor at SafetyDetectives. He has years of experience writing, reviewing, editing, and optimizing blog articles, and he has researched and tested hundreds of cybersecurity products since joining the SafetyDetectives team. When he isn’t exploring the latest cybersecurity products, he enjoys chilling out with video games, watching sports, and exploring new parts of the world with his family.