Anti-Malware Software

Best Malware Removal and Protection for 2021

If you’re worried about malware attacks, there are many tools that can help you stay safe. Discover 7 of the best malware removal and protection software that can keep viruses and other threats at bay while allowing your PC to run seamlessly.

Written by Adam Stevenson- Technical Content Editor

 Updated on November 11, 2021

What Is Malware and Why do You Need It?

Malware simply stands for malicious software. Any software that is designed to infiltrate and damage your computer or mobile device without your informed consent can be classified as malware.

There are a lot of reasons why you need malware protection. Anti-malware software is a necessity these days because cyber attacks are becoming more out there. There are so many advanced hacking techniques; malware, viruses, and other threats can easily be installed on your computer without your knowledge. Most of them remain undetected until they do major damage to your computer.

The question is, how do these harmful malicious software infect your computer? Well, it can infect computers and devices in several ways, such as infected emails, fake websites or apps, harmful URLs, and the list goes on.

Below have a look at our quick list of best paid malware removal tools and learn more about how we chose the right tool!

7 Best Malware Removal Tools in 2021 ( Quick Look )

1. Malwarebytes – can detect a large array of cyber threats, including malware and ransomware in real-time.

2. Norton – offers different plans that include different features that will help you fight malware. The software’s antivirus scans are fast and reliable, and you can customize them.

3. TotalAV  – offers real-time malware protection. The software will detect various threats on your device that includes viruses, spyware, phishing, adware, Trojan.

4. Bitdefender  –  it comes with a one-click device optimization option, loaded Internet security tools, gaming and movie modes, microphone and webcam breach protection.

5. AVG  – boasts numerous features that will help you fight any type of malware including viruses, ransomware, or spyware.

6. TrendMicro  - is one of the most efficient antivirus software options. It achieves a 100% protection score against different forms of malware threats such as viruses, Trojan horses, ransomware, or worms thanks to its powerful heuristic scan engine.

7. Avast – includes lots of extras that boost your security like an advanced firewall, browser link checker, silent detection mode, webcam protection, a file shredder tool, and a password manager.

How did We Select the Best Malware Removal Tools?

There were different factors we focused on while trying these malware removal solutions. To run the tests, our team used a Core i5, 6th Gen HP Pavilion Notebook, with 16 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD.

Here is what they looked for:

  • High malware detection rates – most of the software that was tested managed to achieve a detection rate of nearly 100%
  • Compatibility – all the solutions we focused on can adapt to multiple operating systems 
  • System performance – the software we tested quietly ran malware scans in the background without affecting our device’s performance
  • Extra features – we only selected malware solutions with a rich suite of tools (VPN, spam filters, secure payment, password manager, parental control, etc.) All the extras seemed to work properly. 

Below read our full review for our best malware removal tools.

Top 7 Paid Malware Removal and Protection Software for 2021 - Full Review

#1 Malwarebytes - Best for malware removal


Key features

  • Real-time threat detector
  • URL blocking
  • Deals with all malware
  • Deep scanning
  • Adwcleaner 
  • Browser guard 

Malwarebytes can detect a large array of cyber threats, including ransomware in real-time. The software features a useful URL blocking tool that prevents you from accessing suspicious websites. Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy version also includes a VPN that counts on hundreds of servers located in over 30 countries, which allows you to protect your IP address and sensitive data. For large enterprises, EEP (endpoint protection) is available to ensure all the company’s devices are protected against malware.


Premium version
  • 1 device
  • $3.33 per month billed annually 
Malwarebytes for teams
  • 1-9 devices 
  • $49.99 per device/year 
  • Essential cybersecurity 
  • Premium version
  • 5 devices
  • $6.67 per month billed annually 

Premium version

  • 5 devices
  • $6.67 per month billed annually 
Malwarebytes endpoint protection 
  • 10-9 devices 
  • $69.99 per device/year
  • Advanced malware prevention and remediation 
Premium version + Privacy 
  • 5 devices
  • $8.33 per month billed annually
Malwarebytes Endpoint protection 
  • 100+ devices
  • $69.99 per device/year
  • Advanced threat prevention and remediation

Bottom Line

Malwarebytes is currently one of the most acclaimed malware removal tools on the market. It can protect your mobile or PC against virtually any type of malware threat. The real-time deep scanning, browser guard, and suspicious URL blocking tool are some of the main features of this robust antivirus


Read the Full Malwarebytes Review

#2 Norton - Best for multi-platform support


Norton offers different plans that include a wide array of extra features. The software’s antivirus scans are fast and reliable, and you can customize them. The software also features an integrated VPN service, privacy monitoring features, safe web and safe search tools, dark web monitoring, cloud backup, and identity theft protection through its LifeLock feature, among others. 

Key Features 

  • In-built VPN
  • Password manager
  • USB virus scans
  • Parental control 
  • Safe browser 
  • Smartphone optimizer

Overall, Norton’s malware scanner is excellent — the full system scan detected all of my test malware without slowing down my PC, and the real-time protection blocked all of the malware samples I tried downloading. I also like that Norton offers several scanning options, including a quick and custom scan, and I found it very easy to schedule scans.


PlanAnnual subscirption price
  • Norton Antivirus Plus
  • $39.99
  • Norton 360 Premium 1
  • $54.99
  • Norton 360 with LifeLock Select
  • $99.48
  • Norton 360 with Lifelock Ultime Plus
  • 299.88

Renewal Pricing

PlanNumber of DevicesAnnual subscirption price
Antivirus Basic 1$59.99
Security Standard1$84.99
Security Deluxe





Security Premium10$124.99
Security UltraUnlimited$119.99

Bottom Line

Norton is a world-class antivirus that’s compatible with a variety of operating systems and devices. You can safely rely on this antimalware tool while browsing online. It features strong anti-theft capabilities, safe browsing features, in-built VPN, USB virus scanning, parental control, and plenty more.


Read the Full Norton Review 

#3 TotalAV - Best for real-time malware protection


TotalAV offers real-time antivirus protection and is able to work for up to 6 devices if you purchase the Total Security plan. The range of malware this software detects includes viruses, spyware, phishing, adware, Trojan. 

Key Features

  • Real-time antivirus protection
  • Ransomware, adware & spyware protection
  • Optimization tools 
  • Browser cleaner and manager 
  • Ad blocker 
  • Disk cleaner
  • Secure password vault 
  • Free version available 

The software relies on an up-to-date virus database and several scan modes that efficiently detect different forms of malware. The scans may take more time compared to other providers, but they are thorough. TotalAV also features a powerful VPN that uses private servers. Other security features include a password manager, safe site features, junk shredder.  

It includes different add-ons that improve your PC’s performance such as optimization tools, disk cleaner, browser cleaner and manager, cloud scanner, ad blocker, and others. 

TotalAV’s real-time protection engine is fast and secure. It was built by Avira, so you know it is going to be good. With one of the strongest scanning engines, this one is worth a look if you need top-notch malware removal and protection.


PlanNumber of devicesAnnual subscription price
Antivuis pro3$29
Internet Security5$39
Total Security 6$59

Bottom Line

TotalAV can protect multiple devices against any type of malware in real-time. This solid antivirus features several optimization tools that allow your PC to operate smoothly while it scans it for malware. They also offer a robust suite of features, different pricing options, and a good free version.  


 Read the Full TotalAV Review 

#4 Bitdefender - Best for integrated VPN


Bitdefender comes with a lot of built-in options that are both eye-catching and effective in the fight against malware. It comes with a one-click device optimization option, loaded Internet security tools, gaming and movie modes, and microphone and webcam breach protection. The software relies on advanced algorithms that are able to detect and eliminate the latest malware.

Key Features

  • Real-time antivirus protection 
  • Vulnerability assessment 
  • Multi-layer ransomware protection
  • In-built VPN
  • Password manager
  • File shredder 
  • Parental control 
  • Autopilot
  • Battery mode

The software automatically scans your device, in real-time. The robust scanning mechanism is available with Bitdefender’s free plan as well. You can customize the scanning process and choose to run a complete or a quick one. OS and network connection vulnerabilities are also tackled thanks to the software’s vulnerability checker. 

The in-built VPN further contributes to your safety allowing you to remain anonymous while browsing. Other tools that boost your security include anti-tracking, SafePay, and webcam protection features.

Bitdefender beats all other security software in both best protection and lowest impact on performance. 



Number of devices

Subscription price
1 Year plan
  • 1
  • 3
  • 5  
  • 10 
  • $19
  • $29.99
  • $69.99
  • $79.99
2 Years plan
  • 1
  • 3
  • 5
  • 10
  • $48.99
  • $62.99
  • $109.99
  • $129.99
3 Years plan
  • 1
  • 3
  • 5
  • 10
  • $62.99
  • $83.99
  • $149.99
  • $179.99

Bottom Line

Bitdefender offers a variety of useful tools that successfully fight against malware. One of them is the device optimization function that allows your PC to run smoothly during virus scans. The multi-layer ransomware protection, file shredder, incorporated VPN, and password manager are other strong points of this affordable solution. 


Read the full Bitdefender Review 

#5 AVG- Free malware removal and virus scanner

AVG Antivirus

Key Features

  • Passive mode
  • VPN
  • Startup optimizer
  • Smartphone optimizer 
  • Safe browser 
  • Webcam protection 

AVG boasts numerous features that fight against any type of malware including viruses, ransomware, or spyware. A single subscription works for 10 devices and different operating systems. 

The powerful scanning system offers a TuneUp module that brings additional security features which really impressed me while testing the scanning tool. A maintenance mode, anti-spam features, webcam protection, and firewall are also available. 

For enhanced security, AVG also provides additional scan features including links scanner, deep scan, folder & file scan, USB scan, boot-time scan, web shield scan. System behavior analysis features contribute to the software’s efficiency by eliminating suspicious files. 


AVG Free$0.00
AVG Internet Security$3.99/month
AVG Ultimate$6.49/month
AVG AntiTrack  - 1 PC$49.99/month
AVG BreachGuard - PC$39.99/year

Bottom Line

AVG is one of the most affordable anti-malware solutions on the market. This antivirus has a free version, as well as several paid packages. AVG offers multiple robust features such the safe browser, webcam protection, VPN, and passive mode. Overall, we found it efficient and easy to deploy. 


Read the full AVG Review

#6 Trend Micro - Best for robust protection 

Trend Micro

Key Features

  • URL blocking
  • Secure browser
  • Secure payments
  • Spam filters
  • Password manager

Although it provides fewer features than some of its competitors, Trend Micro is one of the most efficient antivirus software options that has a free version. It achieves a 100% protection score against different forms of malware threats such as viruses, Trojan horses, ransomware, or worms thanks to its powerful heuristic scan engine. With Trend Micro, you can carry out a quick scan, full scan, or custom scan.

Some of the useful extras you get with Trend Micro include a Pay Guard feature that protects your sensitive banking data or the URL blocking feature that boosts your privacy and works as an anti-phishing tool. Although extremely efficient, this antivirus might affect your PC's performance.  


PlanNumber of devicesSubscription price

Bottom Line

Trend Micro does a great job at protecting devices against online threats, having a score of 100% against many types of malware. This antivirus deploys a strong heuristic scan engine and several extra features we found extremely useful such as spam filters, suspicious URL blocking, secure payments, and secure browsing.

Trend Micro

Read the full Trend Micro Review

#7 Avast - Smart scan and best for safe browsing


Key Features

  • VPN
  • Mobile security
  • Webcam protection
  • Network scanning
  • Firewall
  • Browser link checker
  • File shredder

Based on our tests, the software offers excellent protection against spyware, adware, or trackers. It offers different scanning possibilities such as full scanning, customized scanning, USB scanning, startup, or register scanning. You get to choose when to schedule the scans.

Although Avast is pricier than other antivirus software options, it includes lots of extras that boost your security. For example, the Premium plan also comprises an advanced firewall, browser link checker, silent detection mode, webcam protection, a file shredder tool, and a password manager. You can also purchase different add-ons such as a VPN or clean-up tools separately. The Wi-Fi scanner is another extra that enhances your protection.


PlanNumber of devicesSubscription price
Free Version1$0.00
Premium Security1 and 10 $39.99 and $49.99
Ultimate1 and 10$69.99 and $79.99

Bottom Line

Avast is a reliable weapon against antimalware. It performs great in most tests and offers full protection against spyware, adware, and other threats. There are multiple types of scans you can run with this software, including USB scans. Some useful bonuses include its webcam protection, file shredder, and link checker.


Read the full Avast Review

Compare Best Removal Software Tools

ToolPricing/YearlyFeaturesRansomware ProtectionReal-time ProtectionMalware Scan
Norton$39.99Safe Browser, in-built VPN,
password manager, USB virus scans, parental control
YesYesOn access
TotalAV$29Optimization tools, browser cleaner and manager, ad blocker, disk cleaner, secure password vaultYesYesOn demand
Bitdefender$19.99Vulnerability assessment, in-built VPN, password manager, file shredder, parental control, customizable interfaceYesYesOn demand / Real-time

URL blocking, VPN, endpoint protection, adwcleaner, browser guard

YesYesOn demand

VPN, startup and smartphone optimizer, safe browser, webcam protection, extremely lightweight 

YesYesOn demand / Real-time

Trend Micro


Customizable interface, URL blocking, secure browser, spam filters, password manager

YesYesOn demand / On access
Avast$39.99Smart antivirus scan, VPN, webcam protection, firewall, browser link checker, file shredderYesYesOn demand / Auto-schedule

What are Different Types of  Malware?

Malware is categorized in the following sub-categories:

  • Spyware - It is unwanted software that steals your internet usage data and other sensitive information. System monitors, Trojans, Tracking Cookies, and Adware fall under the category of spyware.
  • Rootkit – This is malicious software that enables unauthorized users to access a computer and restricted software areas. It includes Antivirus disablers, DDoS attack bots, banking credential stealers, and key loggers.
  • Adware - This software installs itself into your device without your consent. Adware is known to serve you unwanted advertisements and monitor your online behavior to collect marketing-related data about you.
  • Ransomware - This is an emerging type of malware that blocks the user from their files or computer and then demands an anonymous online payment to restore access.
  • Botnets - An abbreviation for robot networks, botnets affect a network of computers or devices that can connect wirelessly. The aim is to steal data, send spam, and DDoS attacks while accessing the devices and connections
  • Malvertising - Cybercriminals inject malicious code into legitimate ad networks, thus affecting both small and large websites. These seemingly genuine ads are used to deploy ransomware, crypto mining scripts, and Trojans.
  • Phishing Attacks - This fraudulent use of electronic communication (mostly emails) attempts to gain confidential and sensitive information. There are 6 different types of phishing - deceptive, spear, CEO fraud, vishing, smishing, and pharming.
  • Trojan Malware - One of the longest-reigning malware, Trojans acts like a bona fide application that takes control of a computer. It is ideally designed to disrupt, damage, and steal data from devices or networks.

Every computer user must know how to recognize and protect their information from malware in all of its forms. Good malicious software removal begins with effective anti-malware software.

Read more: Windows malicious software removal

Malware detection

How Does Malware Removal Software Work

Anti-malware software does its job using a few different techniques.

Behavior Monitoring

Through behavior monitoring, antivirus software scans the files that become available in a system in order to detect suspicious behaviors such as settings changes, deleted files, remote connections to other PCs. If the antivirus detects such suspicious behavior that can be caused by viruses or data theft attempts, it will automatically trigger a warning by flagging the respective files. 


Sandboxing is also a technique an anti-malware software uses to isolate files that seem suspicious. The anti-malware program will hold the suspicious file in the sandbox to further analyze it. If there are any threats, the file will instantly be removed. 

Sandboxing is a great way to prevent malware infection. Your anti-malware program will immediately separate malicious software from your legitimate applications to prevent it from damaging your computer.

Malware Removal

This is the most obvious technique that anti-malware systems use. The malware will be identified, the anti-malware software removes it to prevent it from executing and infecting the computer. If the same type of file reaches the computer, it will automatically be eliminated. An anti-malware will prevent it from installing.

This all may sound like a lot of work but it takes place within seconds. In an instant, malware will be removed from your computer and you can know that your computer is safe.

Main Anti-Malware Software Types

When removing malware from your computer it's important to know how the different types of malware spread. This is vital to containing and removing them.

When purchasing anti-malware software, make sure you get a trustworthy software type that will remove any threats from your device.

Malware Scanner

Malware scanners are an essential tool for defending your device against computer viruses. 

Every time a file enters your device, the malware scanner will scan the file for any possible threats. The scanner will analyze the file and collect the file code. Every malicious file contains a unique code or signature that is used to identify it.

When choosing a malware scanner, you want your scanner to:

  • Detect a wide range of existing malicious programs that may be on your device.
  • The scanner should be able to detect when new modifications of known computer viruses, worms, and Trojan viruses are made.
  • Detect malicious software that may be located in packaged files on your computer. 

When choosing a malware scanner, you need to make sure that the scanner is well-rated. You can't afford to buy a malware scanner that will let malicious threats slip through and steal your data.

Read more about our recommended malware scanner software.

Malware Remover

Malicious files contain certain signatures that can be stored so that they can be identified when trying to infiltrate your device at a later stage. 

As soon as the malware scanner picks up malicious files on your device, it will send the code to the database that contains the virus signatures.

The code is then compared to the other codes listed in this database. If it matches any of the codes or signatures, the software returns with a verdict that the file is malicious. If a file is identified as a threat, the anti-malware deletes it immediately.

You want to use a malware remover that is updated with the latest information on different malware that might exist. Make sure the malware remover that you choose is well-rated.

Want to try free malware removal tools? Find the best tools here!

Spyware Remover

Spyware can sometimes be hard to recognize. The word, "spyware", says it all, it should be hard to find. But the great thing is, some clues can help you identify whether or not your device has been infected by spyware. 

You may have a spyware issue if your computer shows these symptoms:

  • Your device is slower than usual or crashes for no reason. 
  • Your device is running out of hard drive space. 
  • You get pop-ups when you are online or offline.

As soon as you think your device may be infected with spyware, you can run a scan with your anti-spyware removal tool to make sure it has cleaned up everything it can. 

When choosing anti-spyware removal software, make sure that it can continuously monitor your computer in the background to make sure spyware can’t modify or monitor your information.

Read more about our recommended spyware remover software.

AdWare Remover

Adware is unwanted software that is designed to spam you with advertisements, most often within your web browser. Adware disguises itself as legitimate or piggybacks on another program to trick you into installing it onto your device.

If you suspect that adware may have compromised your device, there are a few steps you can take to remove the infection; 

  • Regularly make sure that your files are backed-up. 
  • Try to remove the adware through the pertinent utility on your operating system (i.e., Add/Remove on the Windows platform). 
  • Run a scan and, if any nasties are hiding away in your machine, it’ll bag, tag, and dump them for you. 

As soon as you think you may be infected, you should change your password on your PC, email, social media accounts, and your online billing centers. 

Before purchasing an adware remover, make sure it is well-rated.

Read more about our recommended adware removal software.

Trojan Remover

A Trojan is a type of malicious code or software that can take control of your device. Trojans are designed to damage, disrupt, steal, or inflict some other harmful action on your data or network.

You may think that you are downloading a legitimate application or file, but in reality, it may be a Trojan, acting as a bona fide application to trick you. Trojans want to deceive you into loading malware onto your device. 

As soon as it has access to your device, it can perform the action it was designed to do. Cybercriminals will usually place these Trojans on unofficial and pirate app markets for people to download. Never download apps from pirate app markets as you may be infecting your device.

It is always a good idea to use a Trojan remover that can detect and remove any Trojans on your device. Make sure the Trojan remover you are looking at has great reviews by other users.

Read more about our recommended Trojan removal software.

Software protection

Additional Ways To Protect Yourself From Malware

Antivirus is one kind of security for your computer, but there are many other possibilities.

Ransomware Protection

If your regular antivirus misses a brand-new Trojan and thereby lets some crook steal your credit card number, that's bad. But you can get a new card, and an antivirus update (or a remote remediation session with tech support) should wipe out the Trojan. But if the antivirus misses a ransomware attack, that's it. Your files are hosed, and removing the ransomware won't help. Because of that, we recommend a second line of protection against ransomware.

You may find that your antivirus or security suite has some degree of ransomware-specific protection built-in. Some products simply ban unauthorized programs from making changes to files in certain protected folders.


A firewall fends off hack attacks from outside and prevents programs from abusing your network connection. Firewalls also protect your computer from malware threats. It monitors the internet and network traffic to and from your computer and blocks suspicious connections. You can adjust the firewall protection as needed to allow necessary network traffic to pass through unimpeded.

Password management tools

Password management helps you attain the goal of using a strong, unique password for every website. Most security companies offer a higher-level suite that adds many more security-related features. We call these feature-packed products mega-suites, to distinguish them from the basic, entry-level suites.


VPNs protect us against network and Wi-Fi bullies. If you are connected to an unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot, another user or the sneaky owner of the hotspot could sift through your data stream. 

By installing a VPN program on your device, your data will be protected in transit. You will also be able to mask your IP address, so it will be hard to identify your device. 

A lot of security companies are beginning to include a VPN component into their antivirus and ant-malware solutions. Full access to a VPN may require an additional subscription.

Bottom Line

Will you ever want to damage your computer with your own hands on your own will? If not, then get anti-malware software as soon as possible so you can use your computer without the constant fear of falling prey to a virus attack.

We've identified a variety of products that will help keep malware far, far away from your computer. We made a point of including a variety of program types, from many different security companies.


1. What is the difference between anti-malware and antivirus software?

Antivirus and anti-malware were both created to detect and protect against malicious software. While the term antivirus denotes that it only protects against computer viruses, its features often protect against the many common forms of malware today. Antimalware goes one step further and focuses on broader, more advanced, software threats. Read more: Malware Remover vs Antivirus.

2.  Do I need malware removal software if I already have an antivirus?

Not necessarily. A lot of antivirus programs contain features that can help you get rid of the malware. The fact is, anti-malware programs will protect your device on a more in-depth level so you can be sure that your device is safer. It all depends on your needs.

3. Can I use multiple malware protection programs on my device?

The short answer is yes you can, but it is not recommended. These programs shouldn’t run at the same time. For effective malware protection, against computer viruses, worms, Trojan viruses, and more, the software has to be able to penetrate to a suitable level within the computer.

4. Do I need anti-malware software on my mobile phone?

It depends, with a well-managed smartphone, basic anti-malware protections aren’t going to come into play very often. Yes, smartphones can be infected, it will only happen through web browsing. The most dangerous types of malware are linked to infected applications. If you download your apps from a play store, you won't necessarily have to stress about malware.

5. Which anti-malware software is the best for business?

There are various types of anti-malware solutions out there. You must do your research before purchasing a solution for your business. You can check out our review page to see our thoughts on things.