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6 Best Internet Security Software on PC, Mac + Phone (2021)

Lucca RF
Last Updated by Lucca RF on October 01, 2021

New threats are released onto the internet every day, and not all of them are viruses or malware. That’s why most antivirus brands now include comprehensive internet security features, like a firewall, VPN, parental controls, password manager, phishing protection, and anti-spyware tools.

To save you time and money, I ran rigorous tests in order to shortlist the top internet security packages across all devices. I was particularly impressed with Norton 360, which successfully detected every strain of malware in tests. Better yet, every plan comes with a VPN, password manager, parental controls, firewall, and cloud storage to maintain an effective defense online threats.

You can even try Norton with its 60-day money-back guarantee at no risk to you. I tested this myself and the money returned to my account in just 5 days.

Try Norton risk-free for 60 days!

Quick Guide: Best All-Round Internet Security Suites in 2021

  1. Norton — #1 internet security suite with comprehensive online protections, including VPN (unlimited data), cloud storage, password manager, parental controls, and more. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. TotalAV — Great antivirus with internet security features like a VPN, data breach tool, and password manager, but no parental controls or cloud storage.
  3. Bitdefender — Excellent malware detection rates with effective parental controls, firewall, password manager, file shredder, ransomware recovery tool, but VPN is lacklustre on all plans except 1.
  4. McAfee — Powerful antivirus with a high-performance VPN, password manager, and more, but less internet security features than Bitdefender and Norton.
  5. BullGuard — Best for gamers with Game Booster feature, firewall, password manager, and identity theft protection, but doesn’t come with a VPN.
  6. Intego — Includes protection from zero-day attacks, but only offers basic scanning and web filtering without advanced features.

The Best Internet Security Software (Tested October 2021)

1. Norton 360 — Best Internet Security Package With Powerful Antivirus Engine

Key Features:

  • Excellent detection rates against known and new malware
  • Includes firewall, VPN, cloud storage, parental controls, password manager, and more
  • Compatible with Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
  • Customer support through email, chat, and phone
  • 60-day money-back guarantee

Norton 360 is the top choice as it offers a comprehensive internet security package at an affordable price. In my tests, Norton scored the best results with a 100% detection rate against real-time malware threats. Additional security is provided by a wide range of high-performing features, including a firewall, VPN, cloud backup, and browser extension against phishing attacks.

I especially like Norton’s firewall as it’s well-configured by default, although it offers plenty of customization for more advanced users. The firewall uses an integrated whitelist of safe programs from the start, but keeps analyzing other programs to detect whether they’re performing safe or suspicious actions. This keeps you safer on a network level without you having to do anything at all.

Screenshot of Norton 360's firewall settings on Windows.
I was glad to see a good default configuration with Norton’s firewall

Norton’s Secure Line VPN is another standout feature due to its unlimited data allowance on every plan. This is rarely offered by competing antivirus brands. You can use Secure Line VPN to encrypt your traffic and hide from your Internet Service Provider and web trackers. You can even replace your IP address to torrent anonymously and access geo-restricted content like foreign Netflix libraries. While I experienced mixed speeds during my tests (high speeds of 98Mbps with my local European servers and 11Mbps from Los Angeles), both are fast enough for HD streaming.

An additional area where Norton offers a more generous deal than competitors is its cloud storage. The Standard plan provides 10GB storage, while the Premium plan offers an enormous 75GB. Norton’s cloud storage is a safeguard against ransomware attacks, as well as a convenient place to backup data. If your device is ever compromised, you won’t have to stress about losing all your important files. You can also save your login credentials with Norton’s password manager. It can even create new passwords and update them for you, which I found quite unique.

Parents will be happy to know that Norton offers parental controls as part of its internet security packages. You can use it to set screen time restrictions, block inappropriate content and apps, filter search engine results, and monitor streaming history.

Norton also comes with an excellent Safe Web browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Edge. Safe Web notifies you if any of the links on the screen or pages you’re visiting are dangerous. This is done partly by the Norton community flagging dangerous sites when they encounter them and Norton’s AI recognizing dangerous signs by itself. In tests, I found Safe Web to be more powerful than the browser’s default protections. It’s a simple way to add additional security to your web browsing — after all, the fewer threats you encounter in the first place, the lower the chance of infection.

Screenshot of Norton Safe Web confirming that a site is safe or dangerous.
Norton Safe Web scored even better than Chrome in browser tests

Don’t take my word for it — you can try Norton 360 for free for 60 days with its money-back guarantee. I checked how well this works by signing up for the 360 Deluxe plan and tested the suite for a few weeks. When I was done, I contacted an agent through the 24/7 live chat and requested a refund. The agent approved the refund within 5 minutes, and I received the money back in 5 days.

Try Norton for free for 60 days!

2. TotalAV — Great Malware Scanner With Basic Internet Protection Features

Key Features:

  • Easily detects and blocks malware in real-time and scans
  • Includes a VPN, password manager, data breach tool, and more
  • Compatible with Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
  • 24/7 customer support available
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

TotalAV has a good malware scanner with useful internet security features, such as a VPN, password manager, anti-phishing protection, and an ad blocker. In terms of its virus scanner, TotalAV achieved 100% malware detection rates in scans and identified 99% of real-time threats. This ensures you’re protected from all the latest cyberthreats.

TotalAV doesn’t offer as many internet security features as Norton and McAfee (like encrypted cloud backup or parental controls), but every feature performs very well. TotalAV licenses its VPN from Windscribe, which is a well-known and reliable name in the VPN industry. You’ll get a stripped-down but very competent alternative to Windscribe’s own product. I successfully unblocked streaming services like Netflix US, Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney+. Aside from access to entertainment, I recommend connecting to the VPN at all times to keep your online traffic anonymized. This is particularly useful if you’re a fan of torrenting.

Screenshots of TotalAV's VPN connected to a US server and working with Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max
I was impressed by the number of streaming services that TotalAV can unblock

The password vault is another useful feature. It auto-fills your login details on sites you’ve saved, which is essential for storing many credentials with unique passwords. Password reuse is one of the primary factors behind compromised accounts, so having a quality password manager can be a lifesaver.

I also like TotalAV’s Web Shield browser extension (Chrome only), which notifies you whenever there’s a suspicious link on the page or when you’ve clicked through to a dangerous site. It includes an ad blocker, which is also essential for online safety as it protects you from trackers mining your private data.

You can try TotalAV’s well-rounded security suite for free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee. I’ve tested it myself by signing up for an annual plan and then submitted a refund request by email. Email support wasn’t particularly fast, taking 2 days to reply and requiring a follow-up message. However, I successfully received an approval only 3 hours later once I did.

Try TotalAV for free for 30 days!

3. Bitdefender — Feature-Packed for Strong Defence From All Internet Threats

Key Features:

  • Virus scanner defends against malware in real-time
  • Include password manager, parental controls, ransomware recovery, and more
  • Works on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
  • 24/7 customer support available
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Bitdefender’s offers powerful protection against internet threats. It comes with a ransomware recovery tool, password manager, file shredder, VPN, parental controls, Safe Pay feature, and more.

Central to Bitdefender’s internet security offering are its high malware detection rates. In recent tests, it discovered 100% of malware during scans and 99.7% of the latest threats in real-time. I’m particularly impressed by Bitdefender’s ability to detect phishing attacks — Bitdefender does this by using several AI techniques, including analyzing emails or websites for similarities with existing attacks. With the amount of well-crafted scams on the web, it’s important that your antivirus can stay a step ahead of them.

Bitdefender desktop phishing warning.
Bitdefender will notify you if it detects any suspected phishing attempts

I also liked Bitdefender’s Ransomware Remediation tool. It analyzes your hard drive in real-time to monitor if any of your files are at risk. If it notices a threat, it securely backs up the relevant files, before taking out the ransomware threat and restoring your data. There’s also a decryptor tool in case your hard drive is already compromised. If you’re a parent with young kids or teens, you’ll appreciate the fact that Bitdefender comes with in-built parental controls (so you don’t need to buy separate software!). Other useful features include Bitdefender’s password manager, webcam and microphone protection, and File Shredder and Safe File features.

The only downside is Bitdefender’s VPN as it has a daily data cap. All plans apart from the Premium plan restrict you to only 200MB per day. This isn’t enough for torrenting, streaming, gaming, or other data-intensive activities. For example, 1 hour of Netflix in SD quality uses 1GB of data. Unless you opt for the Premium plan, you’ll only have enough data for a couple of hours of basic browsing.

You can check out Bitdefender for free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee. I confirmed that this works by sending Bitdefender a refund request by email. I was a little disappointed that it took 5 days to get a reply, but they didn’t require any follow-up information and I got the money back 5 days later.

Try Bitdefender for free for 30 days!

4. McAfee — Powerful Antivirus With High-Performance VPN for Encrypting Internet Traffic

Key Features:

  • Excellent malware detection rates in real-time and during scans
  • Comes with a VPN, password manager, file shredder, and more
  • Supports Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
  • 24/7 customer support available
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

McAfee is a top antivirus with perfect malware detection rates and effective tools to maintain a strong online defense. I especially liked the VPN, although the Ransom Guard tool, password manager, parental controls, file shredder and encryptor, My Home Network feature are equally effective.

However, McAfee’s VPN stands out because it’s powerful in its own right. In comparison, many competitors simply tack on the VPN and don’t invest in its quality. During tests, the VPN reached average speeds of 125Mbps between servers in the US, UK, Australia, and Germany. I downloaded a 34GB torrent file in just 43 minutes with a 115Mbps average download speed — quite an impressive time. I also successfully unblocked Netflix US, UK, and Germany with McAfee’s VPN, even though several review sites claimed it wasn’t possible. I watched multiple episode of the show Modern Family in high quality and without buffering.

Screenshot of McAfee VPN connected to a German server while downloading a 35GB torrent file.
I was impressed by McAfee Safe Connect’s speeds — especially useful while torrenting

I also liked McAfee’s Ransom Guard tool, which was exclusively developed to protect you against ransomware. Ransom Guard scans your device for programs attempting to make unauthorized changes to files or folders. It does this by analyzing existing ransomware threats to predict what future ones may look like. If anything malicious is detected, you’re immediately notified and can take action.

If your household owns a large number of devices, McAfee’s My Home Network feature gives you a quick overview of all devices connected to your local network, making it easy to detect if there are any intruders on your network or if any devices look suspicious. When I tested this feature, I was happy to see that it even detects any security flaws in smart devices (like open ports in smart light bulbs).

Other standout features are file encryption and the file shredder. The former allows you to secure sensitive data so it can’t be deciphered without a password, while you can use the latter to completely erase a file in a way that no one can recover it. Both of these protect you from intruders or malware that are after personal data.

If you’d like to test the features for yourself, you can try McAfee for free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee. When I tested this myself, I was disappointed that the only support option was contacting McAfee support by phone. Fortunately, the wait times were fast at just 5 minutes, and the phone call was over in under 10 minutes. While the service was good, I’d prefer if McAfee offered a live chat or ticket-based system.

Try McAfee for free for 30 days!

5. BullGuard — Best Internet Security Protections for Online Gamers

Key Features:

  • Powerful scanner detects all types of of malware in scans and real-time
  • Bonus features including Game Booster, ID Protection, and a separate VPN
  • Apps available for Windows, Mac, and Android
  • 24/7 customer support
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

BullGuard offers excellent malware security but especially for gamers, with its performance-optimizing Game Booster feature. Purely in terms of malware protection, BullGuard detected 100% of threats in both real-time tests and scans. Notably, it did the same in ransomware and phishing tests, offering you all-round protection against malware, data loss, scams, and more.

Instead of simply preventing notifications from appearing while gaming, BullGuard’s Game Booster switches active processes between CPU cores to free up as many resources as possible for your game. Testing has shown that Game Booster can actually result in better gaming performance than on a system without any antivirus installed! My own experience mirrored this with noticeable frame rate improvements.

Screenshot of Bullguard's Game Booster tool.
I was impressed by the gaming performance gains with BullGuard’s Game Booster switched on

I always look for an antivirus with a firewall as it’s a core part of overall internet security — and BullGuard has a very effective version. You can set rules to allow or block programs from accessing the internet, monitor all incoming or outgoing traffic, and see all devices currently connected to your network. I found the default firewall settings were good enough for everyday users, although there’s plenty of customization options if you so choose.

BullGuard’s ID protection is another notable feature. Top antivirus brands (like Norton) are only available for the US market, but BullGuard offers identity theft protection for the US, Canada, the UK, and 12 other EU countries. All you need to do is enter your credit card numbers, bank information, identity documents, and login credentials, and they’ll be safely stored and monitored. If any of this data appears in a breach or elsewhere on the internet, BullGuard will inform you so you can take immediate action.

The biggest disappointment is that BullGuard only provides a VPN as a separate purchase. Fortunately, there are some free VPNs you can use for a basic level of internet security — it’ll just take you some more time to download a separate program.

You can try BullGuard for free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee to confirm my tests results for yourself. I confirmed this by signing up for BullGuard and then submitted an email refund request a few weeks later. 9 hours later, I received the confirmation, and I had the money back 5 days later.

Try BullGuard for free for 30 days!

6. Intego — Prevention Engine Catches the Latest Malware Strains on PC and Mac

Key Features:

  • Easily quarantines malware and prevents zero-day exploits
  • Bonus features like a Web Shield and whitelister
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac, with a VirusBarrier app to scan on iOS
  • 24/7 customer support available
  • 30-day money-back guarantee and 7-day free trial

Intego’s Prevention Engine protects you from threats that can’t be caught with typical malware definitions, giving you advanced security for macOS and PC. This system is turned on by default, and caught all the latest strains of malware (also known as zero-day attacks) I simulated during my tests.

For extra safety within your web browser, Intego includes a Web Shield that automatically blocks malicious URLs and files. While it did cause a few safe websites (like Amazon) to malfunction, it worked perfectly when I clicked a phishing link on my testing PC. Instead of opening the link, I just got an error message — Intego Web Shield successfully blocked it.

A whitelister makes it really easy to exempt programs or URLs from antivirus protection that you expect will show up as false positives. I tested it by adding Amazon.com to the exceptions list, since I couldn’t get the website to load while the Web Shield was turned on. The whitelist worked perfectly, letting me log into my Amazon account without seeing error messages saying Web Shield would have to be deactivated.

These bonus features don’t mean a thing if an antivirus doesn’t have solid basic protection. I ran a full system scan for conventional malware, and Intego detected and quarantined all the offending files on my remote system. I was really pleased with the success rate, as the scan didn’t miss any malware or find false positives during the test.

If you’re like me, you prefer to try software before you spend any money. That’s why I appreciate that you can try Intego for yourself without risk with the 7-day free trial or 30-day money-back guarantee. If you don’t like it, you can just get a refund on your purchase even if you’ve already used the free trial.

Try Intego for free for 30 days

Comparison Table: 2021’s Best Internet Security Software

Malware Scanner Firewall Ransomware Protection VPN Money-Back Guarantee
1. Norton 60 days
2. TotalAV 30 days
3. Bitdefender 30 days
4. McAfee 30 days
5. BullGuard Add-on 30 days
6. Intego Add-on 30 days

Top Brands That Didn’t Meet the Criteria

1. Avast and AVG

Avast is a popular antivirus but it’s caught selling private user data with permission — including visits to adult websites and Google searches. Even though Avast defended itself by claiming all data was anonymized, there are multiple ways to tie this data back to specific users. As such, I can’t recommend either Avast or its subsidiary AVG due to this breach in ethics and trust.

2. Microsoft Defender

Microsoft Defender provides a basic layer of protection for Windows 10 devices, but it doesn’t come with any advanced internet security features. This includes a VPN, password manager, and advanced ransomware and phishing protection.

3. Vipre

Although Vipre offers some powerful malware protection on PC, I was disappointed that its best features were only available in the Ultimate Security bundle. It’s also very limited on macOS and mobile, preventing it from making it onto this list.

How I Rated the Top Internet Security Packages for 2021

The top antivirus come with a lot of added features that may not protect your data while browsing the internet. That’s why I tested and rated each of the antiviruses on this list for this criteria:

  • Powerful malware scanner — With each antivirus I tested and first ranked each one based on how well they could protect against viruses. Internet security is always needed, but you should always look for the highest rate of virus protection from an antivirus.
  • Internet security features — Your antivirus has to be kept up-to-date with all of the most recent and complex online threats. This includes viruses and all other types of malware, including phishing, ransomware, and more. Only perfect or near-perfect detection rates are acceptable here.
  • Apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS — Internet security doesn’t just apply to 1 device — your antivirus should support both your desktop and mobile devices for protection from a range of threats.
  • Value for money — Do the overall protection and additional features add up to a package worth paying for? The more expensive a package is, the more it has to offer.
  • Easy to use — Even if you’re a complete beginner, using your antivirus should be intuitive and simple. I noted how well-laid-out menus are and if the more complex options are well-explained.

Download the best internet security package in 2021

FAQ: Antivirus With Internet Security

Why do you need internet security features?

Every day, around 350,000 new pieces of malware are released onto the internet. Combined with hackers who probe devices for weakness, and phishing attacks designed to scam your hard-earned money, it’s crucial to protect yours. Any one of these could be the threat that exposes your personal information to the wrong people — so it’s important to find an antivirus with strong internet security features.

Why should I use an antivirus with security features?

An antivirus with added security features protects you against a wide range of cyberthreats with increased reliability. For instance, a regular antivirus that doesn’t focus some of its resources specifically on ransomware protection is far more likely to succumb to the latest ransomware threats. You may also want a VPN but not want to buy a separate subscription — several of my choices have powerful integrated VPNs. Essentially, these antivirus suites with added security features offer broad-ranging protection while providing an extremely cost-effective choice over separate software purchases.

Can I download an internet security program for free?

Yes, there are some quality free internet security programs — though they have some shortcomings compared to their paid alternatives. Bitdefender is a great antivirus with a free version. It focuses on using its advanced malware engine to protect against real-time malware threats as well as scanning for those already on your device. However, Bitdefender’s free version is missing the advanced ransomware protection of its paid plans, as well as its webcam and microphone monitor, safe banking, password manager, and much more.


Summary — Best Internet Security Suites in 2021

Top Choice
Norton
$32.99 / month Save 45%
Bitdefender
$19.99 / month Save 44%
McAfee
$49.99 / month Save 41%
Bullguard
$23.99 / month Save 40%
TotalAV
$19.00 / month Save 68%
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Lucca RF
Written By Lucca RF
Lucca is a tech writer with a focus on cyber security, cryptocurrency, and logistics. He has been researching government overreach via digital surveillance for several years now, and his interest in VPNs and online safety goes hand-in-hand with this.