Antivirus is an absolutely crucial piece of software that needs to be running on your laptop, phone and any other vulnerable device you might have.
Modern security apps, as you probably already know, provide a barrier against viruses and all sorts of other threats to your data, including ransomware. The last thing you need is for all your documents to be encrypted and not be able to open them.
Cybercriminals have moved on, though, and know that you – the person – is the easier target. You’re much more likely to fall for a fake website and give them your login details when you log in without realising it’s not the genuine article.
Worse, you might hand over your payment details. It’s easily done with the convincing emails and text messages that are becoming ever more common.
But the good news is that the best antivirus protects you from this stuff too: it’ll warn you of dangerous links in text messages and emails, or suspicious results in web searches.
Lastly, the best packages come with extras such as a password manager, a VPN and might also alert you if your personal information is ever leaked online so you can change passwords and other security info.
You might be thinking about getting free antivirus, and that’s certainly an option. Just bear in mind that it tends to be more basic and probably won’t offer all the protections mentioned above.
For example, you won’t find free antivirus with a usable VPN service attached, and free apps tend to nag you into upgrading to get all the features. However, their malware protection is just as good.
Below we’ve rounded up what we consider to be the best antivirus choices for students, but you can also read our reviews of antivirus software if you want more detail on a particular product.
It’s worth pointing out that there are barely any discounts available specifically for students. McAfee is the only company that offers one: it’s an extra $5 off your first year via Student Beans.
Best antivirus deals for students
Avast One Essential
With an easy-to-use interface, the fact it’s available for Android, iPhone, Windows and macOS and that it includes a generous number of features, Avast One Essential is the top choice for any student.
Obviously there’s antivirus, but you also get 5GB per week to use the VPN service, protection from email scams, and a scanner for any compromised passwords so you can change them.
AVG Free Antivirus
AVG’s free antivirus is it’s most basic offering and – naturally – just like with others here, you can get better protection if you upgrade to the paid-for Premium version.
But the free tier includes phishing protection (in a web browser) as well as from ransomware and viruses.
You can install it on Windows, macOS, Android and iPhones and iPads.
McAfee Total Protection – 2 Years, 5 Devices
Was: £159.99 / $159.99
Now: £69.99 / $69.99 (£90 / $90 off)
McAfee’s current deals allow you to get a discounted subscription for either one or two years, and for five or 10 devices.You can pick which deal you want on the website, but we’ve listed the price for the two-year, five-device deal. You can use the software on laptops, phones, Macs and any other supported device. It you were to go for the 10-device deal and use all the licenses, you’ll be paying just £3.99 / $3.99 per device for each year of this two-year deal.Usually, only the first year is discounted and there’s no option to get that price for two years.
Norton 360 Deluxe – 1 Year, 5 Devices
Was: £84.99 / $104.99
Now: £29.99 / $49.99 (£55 / $55 off)
Norton is one of our top antivirus picks, so it’s good news that you can get the first 12 months for only £29.99/$49.99 which saves you £55 / $55.Do note that the renewal price is £84.99/$104.99 per year after that.Alternatively, you could take out a two-year subscription (you’ll find this option on the same page) and get two years for £89.99/$89.99 (£44.99/$44.99 a year) which sounds like a worse deal, but don’t forget you’re getting a discount on both years, not just the first, so it is cheaper overall.Read our review: Norton 360 Deluxe review
Avira Free Security
With Avira’s free suite you’re getting antivirus, a basic VPN service with a 500MB per month limit.
It also has a few extras such as strong password generator and a battery saver and speed-up tools for Windows. But it’s also available for Macs, iPhones and Android.
There’s quite a lot of nagging to upgrade, but it won’t cost you a penny.