What Antivirus Should I use on my Home Computer?

Written by Dom Kirby

Former MSP Owner, CyberSec Practitioner, Modern Work Pro, Evangelist, Husband & Father

January 10, 2022

As the “tech expert in the family,” I get this question a lot. I figured that I may as well answer it for whoever in my audience would listen. In this article, I’ll share my thoughts on what endpoint protect you should be running at home.

First off, it’s worth noting that the intended audience here is the general consumer, not the technical expert. Yes, I run an enterprise grade EPP on my personal devices, but that doesn’t work for everyone. Also, I’m only going to be tackling Windows machines here.

First choice for most… Defender

Yeah, I said it. The version of Defender that comes in the box with Windows 10/11 is going to cover a huge chunk of the standard consumer base for Windows. Why?

  • It’s come a very long way. We’re long past Windows XP! Defender is a top ranking antivirus and EPP solution, and for good reason. Microsoft has more cybersecurity intelligence that just about anyone, and they put it to work.

  • It’s easy. It’s just there. I turn on my shiny new computer from Best Buy, and Defender is up and running. It updates regularly without intervention, it just does it’s thing.

  • Many consumers aren’t running into the same threats as SMB/Enterprise. It’s just a fact, the average consumer needs to worry about phishing and Nigerian princes moreso than sophisticated endpoint attacks.

Defender is the typical advice I give to family. Turn on Windows, set it up, make sure Windows Security Center is green, and pay attention to what you’re clicking.

My Third-Party Choice: Bitdefender

I’m personally a fan of Bitdefender’s consumer line. They’ve done a pretty good job making a comprehensive tool that the somewhat knowledgeable consumer can use. If you’re someone such as a solorepeneur or the next crypto gazillionaire and you’ve got your whole life running on the computer, I’d definitely want you to take a step above Defender, and run Bitdefender in tandem with Defender. If I have a family member or friend that I ‘worry more about’ than I would an average consumer, I send them the way of Bitdefender.

It’s also worth nothing that Bitdefender’s BOX product is interesting, but I haven’t been able to test that one. However the concept of the device and its goal seem very altruistic. With all the IoT garbage on home networks nowadays, it’s becoming too complicated to property protect even small home LANs.

That’s it, that’s the post. I wrote it for two reasons:

  1. I want to hear your thoughts if you’re in the same circles as me

  2. I can officially send everyone who asks me for the same advice to this article 🙂

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