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12 Best Spyware Protection Software

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a desktop computer or a mobile phone user. Spyware finds its way into the most secure systems and plants itself deep into the OS. And, while the market is full of cybersecurity solutions, it can be hard to find a reliable program. There are a lot of free products that can cause more harm than do good. Plus, some of them are known to share personal user data to third parties.

In the worst-case scenario, a spyware removal tool can turn out to be malicious software that steals your logins, passwords, and ID. Emsisoft’s Emergency kit free is a good exception, but it’s quite limited. That’s why our team of experts manually tested 50+ anti-spyware tools best antiviruses on different systems and platforms to find the most capable ones. And in this post, we’ll discuss the best anti-spyware software – twelve in total. 

Join us, and let’s talk about their pros, cons, real-world tests, and overall performance. A quick note: every single product on today’s list is an internet security tool. That means they’ll be able to protect you from spyware and ransomware, phishing, and other types of malware. True, they will cost you more than standalone anti-spyware apps, but all the additional features and services will be worth the price.

PC Matic Antivirus – Get Rid of Malicious Software

PC Matic Features.

We like:
  • Offers a generous lifetime subscription
  • Low system impact thanks to the whitelist-based approach
  • Comes with a long list of tune-up/optimization tools and features
  • No warning pop-ups – they don’t bother the use
We don’t like:
  • Not all tune-up tools are worth the money
  • Tends to flag legit files and apps as malicious

PCMatic is one of the most advanced antivirus programs on the market. First of all, unlike the majority of security products, it doesn’t follow the blacklist approach. Instead, it relies on the whitelist-based method to deal with outside attacks. The user interface is a bit too crowded, but it’s easy to use and to navigate. To run scans and get rid of spyware, you’ll only need a couple of clicks.

The software mostly works in a fully automated mode – runs background checks and downloads updates. And, thanks to the whitelist approach, it has a very low system impact. Now, because of this, it’s a bit hard to evaluate PC Matic’s performance against modern-day attacks. Instead of referring to a database of known threats, it compares suspicious files/apps on your device to a list of “white” – harmless – resources (website, files, and programs).

It blocks or even immediately deletes any code that isn’t included in that database. During our extensive tests, we were impressed by how effective PCMatic was against spyware. It managed to find every single planted sample, and then some. In the most recent AV-Test evaluation, PCMatic detected and removed 100% of the threats in the 0-day attacks test. In the prevalent malware test, it eliminated 99.9% of the samples.

On the downside, it also flagged a long list of legit files and programs, simply because it couldn’t find them in the database. All that users can do is manually add every single file/app they know to be harmless into that database.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a low-impact, user-friendly, and reliable anti-spyware solution, PCMatic might be right up your alley. The whitelist method has proven to be quite effective against spyware and other modern-day threats. This security suite also offers an impressive list of optimization tools. Most of them are pretty much identical to the basic Windows services/tools, but some are quite useful.

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Norton 360 Standard – Your Efficient Security Software

Norton Antivirus Scans Screen.

We like:
  • Strong against all known types of malware
  • Excellent at ID theft protection
  • Generous cloud storage (up to 10GB)
  • Protection for up to ten devices
  • Very strong against spyware, including webcam hijacking
We don’t like:
  • Above-average system impact (especially during scans)
  • A bit on the expensive side

Norton is a top-5 security solution, and it performs strongly against all types of malware. Thanks to the advanced AI learning technology, Norton is always up to date and “knows” how to handle new threats. To check its effectiveness against spyware, our experts ran several tests with planted samples. As a result, the powerful scanner found and eliminated 100% of our samples.

On top of that, it managed to detect malicious code hiding deep inside the system that other security solutions couldn’t find. So, yes, in many ways, the built-in anti-spyware module in Norton is the best of the best. It doesn’t have a huge strain on system resources, works fast, and does its job exceptionally well. With 360 Standard, you’ll also get a top-notch firewall and a reliable password manager.

A secure VPN, DWM (Dark Web Monitoring), and up to 10GB of safe cloud storage are a part of the picture. We highly recommend taking advantage of cloud storage and storing your most sensitive/important data. Norton is available on all four leading platforms, but the Windows OS is the most targeted one. That’s why the Win users will get webcam protection – SafeCam. 

Cybercriminals are known to hack cameras and spy on users: this module will keep them at bay. Now, if you own more than one device and want to protect your kids, consider upgrading to 360 Deluxe. With it, you’ll get parental controls and protection for up to five devices.

Bottom Line

Norton is a safe bet against spyware and ransomware, phishing, and other types of attacks. The cloud storage, dark web monitoring, and webcam protection are even more reason to consider it over the competition. Norton will be a good choice if you’re the owner of a Mac computer or a mobile device. For Windows, however, it’s an absolute must-have.

Too bad the prices are a bit steep, and the system impact during scans is above average.

Download Norton

TotalAV Antivirus – One of the Most Effective Spyware Removal Tools

TotalAV Antivirus quarantine.

We like:
  • An impressive performance against spyware and adware
  • Compatible with older hardware and software
  • Remote-access firewall
  • A low-budget purchase
  • Optimization tools include
We don’t like:
  • The free edition is very limited
  • Lacks third-party lab tests

TotalAV is a relatively new player on the market, but, over the last couple of years, TotalAV has greatly improved. First of all, it’s now on par with the leaders in terms of the feature set. Secondly, it’s effective against all types of malware, including viruses, Trojans, ransomware, spyware adware, and keylogging. Even if you purchase the cheapest (entry-level) plan, you’ll still get all-around protection against all known threats.

We’re talking about spyware detection/removal, anti-phishing protection, and an adware blocker. On top of that, you can expect to get a set of tune-up tools. For OS optimization and a browser performance boost, they are quite alright. The remote access firewall, in turn, will make sure to block all network-based attacks. In the anti-malware tests, TotalAV lags behind the top-5 solutions, but it is very effective against spyware.

And it’s 100% compatible with outdated software and hardware. Thanks to the modest system requirements, it can run on Windows XP (both 32- and 64-bit versions). Last but not least, this is one of the most affordable anti-malware products on the market. However, keep in mind that this is only true for the introductory price, as the renewal rates are well above average.

Bottom Line

TotalAV used to be in the shadow of the leaders, but these days, it’s a highly reliable security program. It comes packed with optimization tools, a powerful firewall, and an anti-phishing module. As for the cons, the renewal prices are unreasonably high, and the free edition is as basic as they come. Still, users looking for all-around protection should put TotalAV on their lists of worthy picks.

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Webroot Antivirus – Great Spyware Removal

Webroot Secure Anywhere Interface.

We like:
  • Fast, thorough, low-impact scans
  • Comes with a generous list of extras
  • Excels at malicious URL protection
  • Reasonably-priced; affordable long-term plan
We don’t like:
  • Lacks consistency in lab tests
  • Not the most user-friendly interface

In 2020, Webroot is a top-3 antivirus product in the US, and the fan base is only getting bigger. In contrast to the more traditional solutions, this is a cloud-based program. It means most of the calculations are done on the company’s powerful cloud computer. That ensures a very low system impact, fast, thorough, highly effective scans, and compatibility with older systems.

While the program isn’t very easy to use, it compensates that by a long list of extras and affordable prices. Is it reliable antivirus software, though, can it be trusted against spyware? Webroot is one of the best choices for malicious URL blocking. Our experts ran several tests, and it demonstrated excellent performance every single time. It’s also very strong against spyware, thanks to the advanced ID protection module.

It keeps keyloggers, targeted hacker attacks, and, of course, spyware, at bay. Sadly, in the ransomware tests, Webroot wasn’t at all impressive. Furthermore, we were a bit alarmed by the inconsistency in third-party lab tests. On the bright side, this security tool can work in combination with a traditional antivirus like Bitdefender or Norton, thanks to the cloud-based approach.

Bottom Line

Webroot isn’t a perfect internet security solution, but it is highly effective against spyware (keyloggers in particular). Plus, it features a decent list of extras and doesn’t slow down the operating system. Finally, Webroot is fully compatible with Win, Mac, Android, and iOS. Add attractive prices (especially on long-term subscriptions), and you’ll get a safe bet.

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McAfee Total Protection.

We like:
  • Protection for an unlimited number of connections
  • A good choice for ID theft protection
  • User-friendly, intuitive, and easy to navigate
  • Includes a virus removal guarantee
  • Includes an unlimited VPN and a safe browser
We don’t like:
  • Not particularly cheap
  • Above-average system impact

McAfee has always been a top-five security solution, and the team keeps perfecting it. Some of its standout features include protection for an unlimited number of devices and a user-friendly, intuitive UI. On top of that, it comes with a virus removal guarantee, which isn’t always the case with some products. Add an unlimited VPN, and a capable, safe browser, and you’ll get a bargain.

McAfee is a cross-platform program, and it’s fully compatible with Win, Mac, Android, and iOS. In third-party lab tests, it always makes it into the list of the most reliable solutions. McAfee is equally impressive against malware, ransomware, and phishing. The same is true for spyware protection. The safe web browser, along with the Virtual Private Network, serves as an additional layer of defense against spyware attacks. 

The browser will protect you when you’re shopping or banking online. The VPN will turn you into a digital shadow. The list of extras also includes a password manager, data encryption, and Wi-Fi security. The ID theft pack consists of dark web monitoring and SSN (Social Security Number) monitoring. With Total Protection, you’ll get a decent set of optimization tools that can improve the OS’s overall performance, free up the hard drive, and boost startup times.

Bottom Line

Spyware is known to target a user’s ID: it steals your credentials and gets access to bank accounts or worse. Thanks to McAfee’s long list of ID protection modules and services, it is very effective against this threat. It can remove spyware, neutralize it with the VPN and the safe browser, and even monitor the dark web. McAfee isn’t a very cheap product, and it has a high system impact, but those are minor cons.

Download McAfee

Bitdefender Total Security

Bitdefender Internet Security 2020.

We like:
  • Leading online banking/shopping protection
  • One of the best password managers on the market
  • A top-5 antivirus in terms of anti-malware protection
  • Strong against modern-day ransomware attacks
  • Offers generous free trials
We don’t like:
  • A bit expensive (but well worth the price)
  • The basic package only protects the Windows user

Along with McAfee and Norton, Bitdefender is a premium-level anti-malware solution. It is a bit expensive compared to some rivals, but well worth the price. Another quick note: while the entry-level package is quite feature-packed, it’s only compatible with the Win OS. Apart from that, Bitdefender is a sure pick against spyware. Our experts are calling it the best choice for online shopping and banking protection.

When you access your bank account or pay for something online, you’re particularly vulnerable to outside attacks. There a specific type of spyware called the “Banking Trojan” that targets user financial information. Thankfully, SafePay – the company’s secure browser – eliminates the chances of you getting infected. The Microphone Monitor, in turn, will block suspicious apps from “eavesdropping” on your private conversations.

Bitdefender’s antivirus core is incredibly powerful and rarely lets any type of malware slip through. It’s equally strong against phishing, malicious URLs, and, of course, spyware. The multi-layered anti-ransomware module, along with the brick-strong password manager, makes it an even more attractive purchase for regular users.

Bottom Line

As the name suggests, Bitdefender Total Security provides all-around antivirus protection. It easily detects and eliminates potentially unwanted programs and known threats. If you prefer to do most of your shopping and banking online, this security suite will be a good investment for your money. Sadly, SafePay – the secure browser – is a Win-exclusive feature and isn’t available on Mac or any mobile platforms.

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Vipre Antivirus

Vipre Scheduled scans.

We like:
  • Highly affordable; offers excellent value
  • Ease installation, low system impact
  • Offers free virus removal services
  • Strong anti-spam and anti-tracking protection
  • Webcam/microphone blocker
We don’t like:
  • Ransomware protection leaves a lot to be desired
  • Customer support is average at best

Vipre might not be the most famous spyware removal tool, but it can, most certainly, be trusted. In third-party lab tests, it provides solid protection against all types of malware. Plus, it includes a long list of extra security features for added protection. All of that is available at an affordable price. Easy installation, low impact, and helpful customer support are a part of the deal as well.

With this antivirus, you’ll get advanced active protection, cloud-enabled security, and application patching. That means your apps will always be up to date. The anti-spam module (blocks suspicious email addresses and attachments) is on par with the leaders. In turn, the anti-tracking tool protects against information phishing and ID theft profiling, which is a huge part of modern-day spyware.

Vipre also comes with a built-in webcam and mic blocker. It prevents any unauthorized access to your webcam and microphone, eliminating the chance of hackers watching you and listening to you. Another standout feature is PPP (Personal Profile Protection). It’s like an extra layer of ID theft protection that scans the dark web, among other things. Ransomware protection isn’t at all impressive, though, and customer support could be better.

Bottom Line

ID theft is a huge problem in 2020, and without proper protection, you’ll easily fall victim to it. But, with Vipre, your ID, webcam, microphone, and personal data will be under a capable “wing.” It performed flawlessly in our tests and proved to be effective against spam, trackers, adware, and spyware.

Download Vipre

Trend Micro Maximum Security

TrendMicro for Mac, interface.

We like:
  • Leading anti-malware protection
  • Impressive (multi-layered) ransomware protection
  • Comes with a long list of extra security features
  • Advanced AI learning (proactive protection)
  • Safeguards online payments
We don’t like:
  • Doesn’t have a proper firewall
  • Above-average system impact

Top-notch anti-malware protection, a multi-layered anti-ransomware module, and advanced AI learning – that’s what Trend Micro is all about. In contrast to free spyware removal tools, it’s an internet security suite. That means it has several tools, services, and modules at its disposal for maximum efficiency. The program blocks all potentially unwanted files, folders, apps, and pieces of code from causing the system harm.

Trend Micro’s online payment protection also deserves our praise. The Pay Guard checks the legitimacy of banking websites that can steal personal data. The anti-fraud module guards against phishing emails and attachments, keeping your rights reserved. Maximum Security can safeguard your kids from unwanted content, optimize performance with the tune-up tools, and manage all of your passwords.

The cloud-based AI technology proved to be highly effective against emerging threats in our tests. It keeps up with all the latest hacker tools and tricks while also defending against known malware. Strangely enough, Trend Micro doesn’t have a proper firewall to protect against network-based attacks.

Bottom Line

With Maximum Security, you can rest assured that all spyware attacks will be successfully blocked. The Pay Guard, along with the anti-fraud module, is very effective at safeguarding a desktop or a mobile device. The AI learning tech makes it an even more attractive purchase for reliable protection for users in the market.

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BullGuard Premium Protection

BullGuard Scanning Interface.

We like:
  • Vulnerable Wi-Fi network protection
  • User-oriented customer support
  • Includes a secure browser
  • Decent ID theft protection
  • Generous free trials
We don’t like:
  • Higher-than-average system impact
  • A bit slow and hard to navigate

BullGuard is one of those “triple threat” kinds of antivirus products. Along with the anti-malware engine, it also features advanced ID theft protection and a strong firewall. The anti-malware core defends you against all known threats, while the firewall blocks network attacks. The anti-ID theft module does exactly that: keeps your logins, passwords, accounts, and personal data safe.

The virus detection and elimination technique make BullGuard one of the most reliable security solutions on the market. It was praised by AV-Test, AV-Comparatives, and other leading third-party lab testers. The BullGuard engine removes unwanted programs and protects user phone numbers, email addresses, credit cards, and driver’s licenses. Another important feature is the Advanced Machine Learning module.

It was specifically designed to battle brand-new threats that aren’t included in any database. Add a secure browser for safe shopping and banking, a game booster for flawless gaming, and a vulnerability scanner, and you’ll see why this software is so popular. The bad news is – the UI is slower than most and harder to navigate. Furthermore, it harms performance during full scans, especially on older systems and hardware.

Bottom Line

Phishing, ransomware, network-based attacks, keyloggers – BullGuard safeguards you from all those threats. It is one of the best products if you put ID theft protection first. The generous 30-day trials, powerful vulnerability scanner, and secure browser are also a part of the deal, along with cloud backup and parental controls.

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ESET Smart Security

ESET Threats Found.

We like:
  • Vulnerable Wi-Fi network protection
  • User-oriented customer support
  • Includes a secure browser
  • Decent ID theft protection
  • Generous free trials
We don’t like:
  • Higher-than-average system impact
  • A bit slow and hard to navigate

This security suite has everything it takes to eliminate spyware. We’re talking about a safe browser, a thorough network scan, and advanced webcam protection. It doesn’t provide ID monitoring, though, but that’s not a bit problem. The built-in ad-blocker is very effective and will protect you from all those noisy and potentially harmful ad pop-ups. We tested how the module that blocked webcam hijacking works and was pleased by its efficiency.

On the downside, there’s no ESET free, and while the list of features is decent, it’s still not on par with the leaders. We have also to mention that the number of false positives is a bit higher than the industry average. The user-friendly interface makes it very easy to access the scans, though. You’ve got a choice between quick, full, and custom scans and can check the system for any potential infections.

We like Smart Security’s data encryption service too. You can protect the most sensitive files/apps from ransomware and other types of attacks. Home network protection, a password manager, and 24/7 support are things you can expect to get with this package. It doesn’t support the iOS platform but is fully compatible with Linux, Android, macOS, and Windows.

Bottom Line

As one of the oldest anti-malware solutions, ESET knows exactly how to handle spyware. It safeguards online payment/banking, protects the network, and runs fast thorough scans. Sadly, it doesn’t offer a free edition, but it does provide one of the best free trials. They last for 30 full days should be more than enough to test the product and decide whether you want to commit or not.

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Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes Premium threat scans.

We like:
  • A leading anti-spyware program
  • Strong against zero-day threats
  • Solid against phishing, exploits, and ransomware
  • Fast, thorough, low-impact scans
We don’t like:
  • Doesn’t include a VPN or a firewall
  • Not very impressive against malware

Did you know that Malwarebytes initially was an anti-spyware tool specifically designed to block this one particular type of malware? That’s true, and to this day, it’s a premium-class anti-spyware solution. Along with that, it is now also a capable security suite that protects against a much wider range of threats. Malwarebytes uses the behavioral-based approach to detect and eliminate malicious code.

Whenever it finds files or apps that are acting suspiciously, it immediately takes action. By “suspicious,” we mean programs trying to access system files or log user activity. Yes, this program is great at protecting personal information. You’ll be surprised (and disappointed) to learn that Malwarebytes doesn’t include a VPN or a dedicated firewall. And, it’s average-at-best against malware.

That’s well-compensated by the affordable prices and the user-friendly interface. It is crucial: Malwarebytes can’t run system scans until you download and install it (like the Emsisoft Emergency tool, for example). But, it most certainly can run alongside more traditional antivirus software, serving as an extra layer of security.

Bottom Line

True, Malwarebytes isn’t the most feature-packed antivirus on the planet. And, its anti-malware lab test results leave a lot to be desired. If spyware is your #1 concern, then you should consider picking this program over the competition. It is strong against zero-day threats, easy to use, and highly effective against most threats.

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Avira Prime

Avira Antivirus - Anti Spyware App.

We like:
  • Leading anti-keylogger protection
  • Includes a safe browser and an ad blocker
  • Innovative PUA Shield for added security
  • Lightweight; minimal system impact
  • Blocks unwanted calls and malicious URLs on phones
We don’t like:
  • The free version is crowded with pop-up ads
  • The download-setup process can take a long time

Last but not least, let’s take a look at what Avira has to offer. Prime, the most expensive package, is a full-fledged internet security suite. It blocks keyloggers, ads, and includes a very safe browser for online shopping and banking. On Smartphones, it blocks malicious URLs (phishing) and unwanted calls. Plus, it has a lightweight, low-impact, and user-friendly interface.

Avira anti-keylogger is one of the most effective modules on the market. When you’re busy logging in or typing a message, keyloggers copy your keystrokes. That allows them to steal personal information or get access to bank accounts. That’s why it’s so important to be protected against this type of spyware. The PUA Shield also deserves your attention. It detects suspicious/dangerous software that looks legit.

The free version is overwhelmed by ads, but it’s quite feature-packed. So, it could be a good starting point if you’re on a tight budget. Installation can take a long time to complete, which isn’t the case with most rivaling products. Other than that, Avira Prime is a worthy investment.

Bottom Line

Avira is lightweight, easy to use, and provides superb protection against keyloggers. The safe browser, ad blocker, and PUA Shield only add to its reliability and dependability.

Download Avira

Spyware Protection FAQ

Verdict

Free Spyware removal tools

And that concludes our list of the best spyware protection software! We discussed twelve programs in detail, pointing out their strong sides and weak sides. Spyware is one of the most dangerous types of malware. It invades your privacy, steals personal data (photos, videos, text), and logins/passwords. The good news is – if you pick one of the products from today’s list, you’ll be well-protected against spyware.

As we mentioned in the beginning, don’t trust tools that come with the “free” tag, as they can’t be fully relied on. Most of them simply aren’t on par with the paid alternatives, while others are nothing but malicious code masked as anti-spyware programs. So, only purchase software that comes recommended, don’t rely on free spyware protection, and stay safe!

User Reviews

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  • AvatarMoira says:

    Avira antispyware app has a good user interface. Nice functions too. I love the app.

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