Best Antispyware Software 2024

An antivirus with antispyware features can protect you from constant surveillance.
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Best for Malware Protection

5.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Norton 360 Antivirus's website

Norton 360 Antivirus
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Best for Ease of Use

4.8
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Bitdefender's website

Bitdefender
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Best for Premium Security

5.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On McAfee's website

McAfee
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Norton 360, Bitdefender, and McAfee provide some of the best spyware protection. Norton 360 has a range of plans to fit most budgets and offers features like webcam protection and dark web monitoring. Bitdefender, while geared more toward PC use, protects against malware and includes a firewall for even more security. And McAfee is great for those who want to pick the perfect plan for their budget and needs.

We jump deeper into all three of these antivirus programs to show you how they can help keep you safe from spyware infection.

In this article
The best antispyware software
Norton 360: Best for malware protection
Bitdefender: Best for ease of use
McAfee: Best for premium security
Honorable mentions
How to remove spyware from your device
Best antispyware software FAQs
Bottom line: The best antispyware software

The best antispyware software 2024

Spyware is a sneaky form of malware that gathers data from your devices about you or your online habits without your knowledge. One of the best ways to keep your online presence secure is to use an antivirus that protects you from spyware. For this reason, we’ve sorted through a sea of products to give you the top three programs that offer the best antispyware coverage.

The best antispyware software should include features to protect against spyware at a fair price. You want superior coverage against computer viruses, but sometimes it can be difficult knowing if you’re on the right path to protection. We'll show you why these are some of the best antispyware software options on the market today.

Top 3 antispyware software compared

Antivirus
Starting price Starts at $29.99/first yr Starts at $29.99/first yr Starts at $39.99/first yr
Free version
Spyware protection
Firewall
Phishing protection
Ransomware protection
Parental controls
Learn more Get Norton 360
Read Norton 360 Review
Get Bitdefender
Read Bitdefender Review
Get McAfee
Read McAfee Review

Norton 360: Best for malware protection

Enjoy Norton’s 100% Virus Protection Promise
5.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Norton 360 Antivirus's website
Antivirus Software
Norton 360 Antivirus
Save up to 58% your first year
  • 4 plans available, all including antivirus, malware, ransomware, and hacking protection, Cloud backup, and a secure password manager
  • Option to add VPN connection, dark web monitoring, privacy monitoring, and more
  • Available for up to 10 devices depending on plan
  • Multi-tab navigation may be overwhelming at first

Who it’s best for

If you’re looking for the best antivirus software, Norton 360 often makes the list. It works well for users who want additional security features with their antivirus software. You won’t find a shortage of options with Norton 360. Some features we liked were the parental controls, the included virtual private network (VPN), and identity theft protection.

How does Norton 360 guard against spyware? We're glad you asked. When your antivirus works in the background to catch real-time threats, it can prevent hackers from latching onto your device and stalking your online movements. 

For instance, imagine someone standing over you and watching everything you type. That’s precisely what keyloggers do. Norton 360 can prevent keylogging so that you can feel secure while you browse.

Norton has different plans to fit almost any budget and desire. The basic plan starts at $29.99/first yr, but you could select a 360 plan for a comprehensive suite. No matter which option you choose, you’ll get the password manager, smart firewall, and real-time threat protection.

We were happy to see Norton's Smart Firewall feature worked for our Mac. It monitors network traffic to keep unwanted apps and hackers away from your devices.

What we liked

Norton 360 has enlisted the Intrusion Prevention System to analyze home networks, looking for security threats and keeping unauthorized users from accessing your device. The feature works in conjunction with the firewall to detect intruders and malware, keeping your data and online habits more secure.

We’re impressed with Norton 360’s analyzing speed when checking for malware. When using the full scan option, it flew through over 600,000 files in under 10 minutes. (Some antivirus scans can take over an hour!)

The File Cleanup is an added benefit, especially if you need to get rid of some files and folders from days past. (Don’t we all?)

What we didn’t like

Norton 360 is a great antispyware product, but it doesn't have all the features for macOS that it does for Windows. Some of these features could help protect your Mac, so you might want to look into other options if you're using a Mac.

Some Norton 360 features that are currently unavailable for Apple products include:

  • Proactive Exploit Protection: Guards gainst attacks that can happen when new software is released
  • File Cleanup: Device optimization tool for removing old files and folders
  • SafeCam: Helps protect your webcam from hacks

We were disappointed that we couldn’t get these tools for our macOS.

Norton 360 specs

Price range $29.99–$99.48/first yr
Free version No
Firewall Yes
Spyware protection Yes
Phishing protection Yes
Ransomware protection Yes
Webcam protection Yes
Network protection Yes
Parental controls Yes
Extras Password manager, cloud backup, dark web monitoring
Learn more Get Norton 360
 Read Norton 360 Review

Bitdefender: Best for ease of use

4.8
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Bitdefender's website
Bitdefender
  • Antivirus software offering reliable security
  • Simple yet powerful interface tools
  • Perfect protection score in third-party tests
  • Premium features incur additional subscription fees

Who it’s best for

Bitdefender is a solid antivirus program geared mostly toward Windows PCs and Android users who want reliable protection. That’s not to say that Apple fans cannot use this security software, but you might not get the benefit you want from it, since not all the features will be available. That’s not unusual with antivirus products, though.

If you want a balance between options and price, Bitdefender Total Security strikes a happy medium. You’ll get protection for up to five to 10 devices, including macOS and iOS for $49.99/first yr. That security includes safeguarding against malware, adware, and spyware. 

Bitdefender also blocks third-party data tracking, which means it stops unauthorized access to your webcam and microphone.

Our initial Bitdefender scan took about 37 minutes to complete. This makes sense for a more thorough first scan, but Bitdefender didn't give us an time estimate ahead of time.

What we liked

One of the best things about using Bitdefender antivirus is that it's easy to navigate. The interface is intuitive, and you won’t need an IT background to get it up and running quickly. 

We also liked how the scans made no difference in device performance. Sometimes running antivirus scans can be resource intensive, making the device lag and become slow to respond. That didn’t happen when testing Bitdefender. We gave it the maximum push, too, keeping numerous browser tabs open while scanning.

We also noticed several phishing attempts that were blocked during testing. That's a testament to how well the software performs, and we felt protected while online.

What we didn’t like

Since we tested Bitdefender on a MacBook, we saw all the features we couldn’t use. We had no access to scheduled scans, the firewall, the file shredder, and other features we would have liked to have had at our disposal with an antivirus program. We advise that you review the feature comparisons carefully to see exactly what is included for your preferred operating system.

We also didn’t like how Bitdefender is divided into the Bitdefender Central browser hub and the actual antivirus application. When you need to set up parental controls, the process becomes somewhat painful because you must be logged into both Bitdefender Central and the browser hub.

Bitdefender specs

Price range $14.99–$49.99/first yr
Free version Yes
Firewall Yes
Spyware protection Yes
Phishing protection Yes
Ransomware protection Yes
Webcam protection Yes
Network protection Yes
Parental controls Yes
Extras File shredder, VPN, vulnerability assessment
Learn more Get Bitdefender
Read Bitdefender Review

McAfee: Best for premium security

Online Protection With VPN Access and Identity Monitoring
5.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On McAfee's website
All-In-One
McAfee
Save $90 on a 2-year plan
  • Inclusive antivirus, scam, and web protection with the added privacy of a VPN, identity monitoring, and secure password manager
  • Get a real-time Protection Score that measures your online safety and offers guidance to improve security
  • Added peace of mind with 24/7 expert online support and McAfee’s Virus Protection Pledge
  • Multiple pop-ups for text notifications can be annoying

Who it’s best for

If you want exceptional security protection combined with extra features, McAfee may be best for you. The software has several different pricing options, so you can customize your selection based on what you need. McAfee is a security lover's dream, offering a suite that includes a firewall, phishing protection, and parental controls.

When you want excellent security protection, McAfee hits the mark with things like ransomware protection and real-time protection that is always on for a safer online experience. The ransomware feature is set to auto-update, so you get updated security against the most recent attacks.

The McAfee autoupdate page for ransomware protection.

What we liked

We were pleased with the speed of the malware scans. During testing, we also noticed no performance issues while we worked online. 

The WebAdvisor feature helps sort through websites and block them by rating and category, keeping frequent internet browsing much safer.

The real-time scanning runs in the background, which keeps your devices more secure from cyberattacks. Real-time scanning is on by default, and it scans files and apps the moment you access them. If anything suspicious is found, the scanner blocks it from spreading malicious software through the machine.

We think the addition of a password manager is also valuable. It helps keep online credentials secure, and it’s a feature you don’t find with all antivirus solutions.

What we didn’t like

In honesty, there's not a lot to dislike here. We faced a bit of a challenge accessing the identity theft features, but that problem was easily resolved by contacting McAfee support. We were using a MacBook, and once we switched web browsers, the features worked without any further issues.

However, we’re a little unsatisfied with McAfee’s renewal prices. The basic plan is offered at $39.99/first yr. That's the introductory pricing, and after that, the subscription costs $89.99 for one device. That’s quite a jump.

McAfee specs

Price range $39.99–$219.99/yr
Free version No
Firewall Yes
Spyware protection Yes
Phishing protection Yes
Ransomware protection Yes
Webcam protection No
Network protection Yes
Parental controls Yes
Extras Performance optimization tools, VPN
Learn more Get McAfee
Read McAfee Review

Honorable mentions

Although we’ve scoured the research and performed testing ourselves, we know these three antivirus products may not be your cup of tea. We have a couple of software programs that might be more what you’re looking for, and just because they didn’t make the top cut doesn't mean they aren’t sound investments. Let’s look at two honorable mentions you should know about.

  • Avast: Avast has received a AAA rating from SE Labs for online protection. With the competitive pricing and a 60-day free trial, this software is worth keeping in mind for spyware protection.

    Get Avast | Read Our Avast Review

  • TotalAV: TotalAV offers an affordable antivirus that’s easy to use and secure. You get plenty of features with an intuitive interface that gets you on the right track fast.

    Get TotalAV | Read Our TotalAV Review

How to remove spyware from your device

Now that you've selected an antispyware program, you can remove it from your device. Here are some step-by-step instructions on how to remove spyware:

  1. Download an antivirus program of your choice.
  2. Once installed, find the scan options. 
  3. Depending on your scan options, run a spyware-specific scan or a smart scan.
  4. Once any threats are detected, your antivirus will take care of removing them from the device.

You can also do a full system reset to ensure your device is completely scrubbed of cyberthreats. If you go for this route, be sure to backup any data you don't want to lose.

Best antispyware software FAQs


+

What is antispyware software?

Antispyware software protects you against unwanted programs that track your online behaviors. These antivirus programs help keep malware off your device and your data safe.


+

What’s the difference between antispyware and antivirus?

Antivirus programs are used to scan your device for all kinds of malware and computer viruses. Antispyware is designed to detect and remove unwanted spyware programs from your device, similar to anti-malware software that deletes and prevents malware like adware, Trojans, and some spyware.


+

What is a good free antispyware?

If you want to try a free antispyware product, you could download Bitdefender’s free antivirus. It won’t have all the features you get with the paid plans, but it does provide some protection.


+

Do smart devices need antispyware software?

It’s a wise decision to use antispyware software for your smart devices, as you probably spend a great deal of time using them for internet searches. If you get an antivirus suite that covers multiple devices, it often includes all your smart devices too.

Bottom line: The best antispyware software

We’ve chosen these products as the best antispyware software on the market today. Whether you’re looking for a bargain or want an entire antivirus suite, you have options that will take your security game to the next level. Hackers aren’t giving up, and you shouldn’t either. Your data is one of your most valuable commodities, so you can’t play around with internet safety and internet security.

Norton 360, Bitdefender, and McAfee are all top-tier antispyware programs that will help keep your device and online movements secure. If these don’t work for you, Avast and TotalAV are close runners-up and deserve to be included in this list, too. Depending on your preferences, we think you’ll be happy with any of these antispyware products.

3 best antispyware products 2024

Starting price Best for Learn more
Starts at $29.99/first yr Best for malware protection Get Norton 360
Read Norton 360 Review
Starts at $29.99/first yr Best for ease of use Get Bitdefender
Read Bitdefender Review
Starts at $39.99/first yr Best for premium security Get McAfee
Read McAfee Review


Enjoy Norton’s 100% Virus Protection Promise
5.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Norton 360 Antivirus's website
Antivirus Software
Norton 360 Antivirus
Save up to 58% your first year
  • 4 plans available, all including antivirus, malware, ransomware, and hacking protection, Cloud backup, and a secure password manager
  • Option to add VPN connection, dark web monitoring, privacy monitoring, and more
  • Available for up to 10 devices depending on plan
  • Multi-tab navigation may be overwhelming at first
Author Details
Patti Croft is a seasoned writer who specializes in all things technology. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science and carries a wealth of hands-on experience thanks to her background as a technical analyst and security specialist.