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McAfee AntiVirus Plus…

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If you’ve been paying attention to PCMag, you know that you must install antivirus protection on all your PCs. But that’s not all. You also need security (antivirus at least) on your Macs, and on your mobile devices. Fortunately, one license for McAfee AntiVirus Plus lets you install McAfee security software on every Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS device in your household. Windows users get such a wealth of features that the Windows edition could reasonably qualify as a security suite, as do Android users. Features are sparser on macOS and iOS, but iOS users get more than many companies offer. It’s an excellent value, and it did very well in some of our hands-on tests, too.

The fly in the ointment is poor handling of real-world ransomware on Windows. Several samples got past all layers of McAfee protection, including the dedicated Ransom Guard. We considered dropping the product’s score and removing its Editors’ Choice designation. However, McAfee earned that title, not by its amazing test scores, but rather by its comprehensive protection. You’d be hard-pressed to find another antivirus with unlimited cross-platform licenses, and its Windows edition beats out many security suites with its wealth of features. McAfee remains in the winners’ circle, at least for now.

You pay $59.99 per year for unlimited McAfee licenses. That’s rare. Most competing companies offer one-, three-, five-, or 10-license subscriptions. For example, nearly the same subscription price gets you 10 Sophos licenses, three Kaspersky Anti-Virus licenses, and just one Norton license. Roughly $40 per month gets you a one-device license for many antivirus products, among them Bitdefender, Webroot, and Trend Micro. Price-wise, McAfee has the competition beat.

You may see descriptions on the McAfee website or on product boxes that mention 10 licenses. Don’t worry; you really do get unlimited licenses. My McAfee contacts tell me that when lining up against other products in a store, “unlimited” confuses potential customers, so they display the number 10 instead.

For those odd ducks who really, truly want to protect just one PC, McAfee makes a one-license, Windows-only version available at that typical price of $39.99 per year. Given that another $20 gets you unlimited licenses, it doesn’t seem an attractive offer, but my McAfee contacts say they get enough sales to keep offering this limited edition.

I should point out that with a free antivirus you effectively have an unlimited license. Kaspersky Security Cloud Free is an especially interesting example because, like McAfee, it offers cross-platform support. You can install it on all your Windows, Android, or iOS devices (but not Macs). On Windows, it includes a subset of the bonus features found in the full-blown Kaspersky Security Cloud.

Getting Started

To install McAfee on a Windows computer, you first go online and activate your license key. If you set up automatic renewal during the process, you get a Virus Protection Pledge from McAfee. That means if any malware gets past the antivirus, McAfee experts promise to remotely remediate the problem, a service that normally costs $89.95. In the unlikely event that they can’t clear out the malware, the company refunds your purchase price. Symantec Norton AntiVirus Plus

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