There’s a lot of nasty stuff online. Viruses that wreak havoc on your files, spyware that steals your personal info, violent videos that upset the kids, clickbait websites that make you waste your time playing quizzes for hours…
That's why almost all broadband providers offer you some security software when you sign up. But which one will give you the best deal on security? Let's take a look at what they all offer.
You can also get BT Virus Protect. It's £4 a month, but your first month is free if you've got Broadband, Unlimited Broadband, or BT Superfast Fibre Broadband. This is a more robust security software run by McAfee, and includes virus protection, personal firewalls, spyware protection, and health and performance tools for your PC, Mac, smartphone, or tablet. You can install it on two devices if you have Unlimited Broadband or Infinity 1, or up to 15 with Infinity 2.
All Sky's (www.sky.com) broadband packages come with Sky Broadband Shield. This'll give you network-level protection by blocking sites known to contain malware and phishing, and lets you set up parental controls so the kids can't access stuff you don't want them to. So that's a start, but what about comprehensive security for your devices?
Well, you'll also get a free trial of McAfee Security Centre. This is where you'll find virus control, Wi-Fi protection, anti-phishing, and so on. It can be installed on up to three computers at once, but alas, it's only a 12-month trial. After that, it's £3 a month. And you can only put it on three PCs - not much good if you've got a big household, or want to protect your Mac, smartphone, or tablet.
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Web Safe blocks websites at a network level, so they can't be accessed by any device connected to your router. It blocks sites that may contain phishing and malware, and allows you to set up parental controls.
F-Secure SAFE, meanwhile, is security software that you can install on up to five devices - including PCs, Macs, smartphones, and tablets. It'll give you virus protection, identity protection, firewalls, phishing email blocker, and its parental controls are more focused. You'll get a 12-month free trial that you can install on up to five devices, and once the year's over, you can keep your protection going for a heavily discounted price.
For a bit more security, you can add the SuperSafe Boost for £2 a month to put it on up to eight devices (including smartphones and tablets). This'll give you security software from F-Secure that gives you virus protection, identity protection, more parental controls, and even an anti-theft feature to help you find your phone or tablet if it gets lost.
For virus protection, firewall, anti-spyware, and health and performance software, you'll want Plusnet Protect. It's completely free with the Unlimited and Unlimited Fibre Extra packages, though with Unlimited Fibre it's £2 a month. It's created by McAfee and can be installed on up to eight computers, smartphones, or tablets.
Well, if you look at cost, the answer to our question here is obvious: Virgin Media and Sky are the only providers that gives you free virus protection, on any broadband package - even if it's limited to a 12-month trial.
As for the best security… Experts and businesses generally give F-Secure slightly more positive reviews than McAfee, though both are very effective. Norton Security, however, is considered even better at virus protection than either of them.
So, we'll give the crown to Virgin Media here, for its inclusion of free F-Secure software - but for the most secure connection possible, you may want to splash out on Norton.