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McAfee® Antivirus

McAfee® Total Protection is antivirus purpose-built to detect and destroy threats like viruses, malware, ransomware, spyware and others.

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Up to 3 Devices / 1-Year Subscription.

* Price shown is for first year. See offer details below.

Staying secure goes far beyond antivirus

 

Today’s savvy connected consumer lives in an on-demand world and understands that staying secure goes far beyond antivirus. Cybercriminals lurk not only in the darkest corners of the internet, but also in your neighborhood coffee shop. But as these malicious players evolve, so do we. From leading antivirus capabilities, to online web protection & on-the-go personal VPN, we’ll give you the tools to stand tall in the face of these would-be cybercriminals so you can live your digital life to the fullest.

With that, we invite you to get informed, and then get McAfee. We’re with you.

Protecting your data

The ubiquity of mobile phones has created a unique opportunity for cybercriminals. Through malicious (though seemingly harmless) apps, these criminals can access both financial and personal information without us realizing it. Just a handful of malicious apps masquerading as legitimate apps can do serious damage in a hurry. Protecting your mobile device with antivirus software can help you steer clear of these threats and keep both your money and personal data safer.

Learn more about McAfee Mobile Protection for Android
Learn more about McAfee Mobile Protection for iOS

 

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Free vs paid antivirus

Usually free antivirus software offers baseline malware protection that may not be sufficient to combat the ever-evolving threat landscape, particularly when it comes to the wide variety of zero-day threats and/or digital threats that go beyond just antivirus. Rest assured that with our free 30-day trial you’ll get all the features of our flagship McAfee® Total Protection suite, including antivirus, web protection, password manager, file encryption and more. Take advantage of our free trial and gain greater peace of mind every time you use your devices.

Learn more about – McAfee antivirus free trial
Learn more about – McAfee premium antivirus

Additional tools: Virus Removal Service

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Avoiding fake antivirus software

 

Fake antivirus software is one of the most persistent threats on the internet today. Masquerading as legitimate antivirus software, fake antivirus software is in fact a malicious program that extorts money from you to “fix” your computer. And often, this new “antivirus” program disables legitimate security software that you already have, exposing you to real threats.

These rogue programs try to hook you while you’re browsing the web by displaying a popup window that warns you that your computer may be infected, and that you need to download (fake) security software to fix the problem. This type of software is often referred to as “scareware” since the pop-ups use messages like “You have a virus,” as a way to get you to click.

Most of us are eager to get rid of any potential problems as quickly as possible, which in turn has made the bad guys who make fake antivirus software so successful. Once you agree to the purchase, the cybercriminals end up with your credit card details and other personal information, and you get nothing but malware in return.

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Knowing when a site is spoofed

Scammers trying to phish your personal information have extremely sophisticated tools that help disguise malicious websites to look nearly identical to their legitimate shopping, banking or even government counterparts, complete with stolen company logos and site designs. The aim is to trick you into entering your credit card details or banking login info into the fake site. To avoid falling for this, go directly to the source by typing the address of a website directly into the address bar of your browser instead of following a link from an email or internet search. If you receive any suspicious links in your email, checking the domain (or .com that it was sent from) is usually a good way to tell if the source is legitimate or not. With McAfee® WebAdvisor, you can sidestep malicious sites with clear warnings of risky websites, links and file downloads.

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How to know if you’ve been hacked

Depending on the type of infection, your device may exhibit varying behavior. For example:

  1. Filled screen – a screen that’s become filled with a matrix of numbers or skull-and-crossbones accompanied by ransom instructions are consistent with being infected by ransomware. 
  2. Spikes in Data Usage - if your data usage is increasing but you're not sure why, malware may be to blame. This could mean that a program is running in the background, likely stealing your information and transmitting it back to cybercriminals.  
  3. Browser pop-ups – while pop-up ads for the most part aren't harmful (just annoying), if you’re seeing these ads when your browser is closed, you could be dealing with malware.  
  4. Overheating – phones and computers are high-performance devices, but if your device unexpectedly gets hot and you’re not doing anything intensive or charging the device, it’s possible that malware could be stealing performance from that device and using those resources for cryptomining or other nefarious acts. 
  5. Faster Battery Drain – similar to overheating, if your battery life becomes unexpectedly short, it could be because malware is running in the background and draining your power.  

In all these cases, there’s a strong possibility you’ve been hacked. The sad truth is that hackers now have a multitude of ways to get into your devices, without ever touching them.

With access to your computer, hackers could retrieve your passwords and open the door to your accounts. For example, an intruder could sign in to your accounts as you, spam your contacts with phishing attacks, add new mobile lines or even request credit cards. That’s why it’s important to be able to recognize when your PC or phone has been hacked, especially since some of the signs can be subtle.

The good news is that many of these attacks can be avoided with a strong security software that’s purpose-built for that device to detect and remove these threats before they can attack, whether it’s a Windows PCMaciOS device or Android device.

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“Personal” Protection

Adopting a more complete security solution goes beyond strictly PC antivirus. Protecting the expansive aspects of your digital life covers a wide spectrum of devices – including your PCs, Macs, iOS devices and Android devices – all of which are key pillars supporting your connected lifestyle. Strong security software that provides the right level of protection for each device is a great start to ensuring your busy life is protected, and more importantly, uninterrupted.

But life doesn’t start and end with devices alone. Having personal protection also involves your identity and privacy, particularly when it comes to the services you trust with your personal information and your data going to and from the internet. Adopting a VPN solution, regularly deleting cookies and adopting an identity monitoring service can all help to stay on top of your identity and privacy that extends beyond your devices. While you can control your security and best practices, unfortunately, you don’t have much control over what happens to your data on the internet, nor can you control when companies that you entrust your data to may get breached and leak personal info onto marketplaces like those in the Dark Web.

Learn more about how McAfee Total Protection provides personal protection

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About computer viruses
 

A computer virus is code that when executed is designed to enter a computer and replicate itself. Viruses that are designed to harm a computer are classified as a type of “malware”. The nefarious aims of different types of malware are wide-ranging, including but not limited to:
 

  1. Ransomware that encrypts sensitive files, photos and documents and your computer, requiring you to make a payment (often via Bitcoin) to receive a password to decrypt and unlock these files. 
  2. Trojan horses that enable a hacker to completely take over your computer and execute programs as if they were actually using your keyboard and mouse 
  3. Spyware that “mines” personal information from your computer, selling it off to the highest bidder 
  4. Adware that generates unintended pop-ups from shady advertisers 

 

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Scan using McAfee antivirus

McAfee antivirus offers a variety of ways to scan for threats. Real-time scanning, when turned on, scans files whenever they are accessed, which helps to protect your computer while you are using it, while keeping resource consumption to a minimum. On-demand scanning provides flexibility to scan comprehensively or selectively. You can access these scans within the product itself (via Quick Scan or Full Scan) or by right clicking on a file/folder to scan specific items.

Steps to get started

Real-Time (On-Access) Scanning - Files are scanned whenever they are accessed

  1. Double-click and open your McAfee antivirus software 
  2. Click on the PC Security tab 
  3. Click Real-Time Scanning (it should be on by default) 
  4. Click Turn Off or Turn On to change the setting 

On-Demand Scanning - Start a scan of your drives and folders instantly

  1. Double-click and open your McAfee antivirus software
  2. Click the Scan for viruses button
  3. Click either Run a quick scan or Run a full scan, depending on your preference

Scheduled Scanning - Configure On-Demand scans to run at a particular time, or on a regular basis

  1. Double-click and open your McAfee antivirus software 
  2. Click on the PC Security tab 
  3. Click Scheduled scans 
  4. Choose when and how often you want the regular scan to occur 
  5. Click Apply once you’ve setup your desired scan schedule 
  6. The scan will run at the scheduled time(s) 
 

Our Virus Protection Pledge

When you purchase a qualifying McAfee antivirus suite and opt-in for automatic renewal, you will gain access to our Virus Protection Pledge. With this, you have our 100% Guarantee that if a supported device gets a virus, a McAfee expert will remove it, and if we can’t, we will offer a refund on your purchase price. From the moment you subscribe, you can rest easy knowing that we’re here to help keep your devices virus-free with our multi-layered protection. Additional terms apply.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Internet security consists of a range of security tactics for protecting activities and transactions conducted online over the internet. These tactics are meant to safeguard users from threats such as hacking into computer systems, email addresses or websites, malicious software that can infect and inherently damage systems and identity theft by hackers who steal personal data such as bank account information and credit card numbers. Internet security is a specific aspect of broader concepts such as cybersecurity and computer security, being focused on the specific threats and vulnerabilities of online access and use of the internet.

In today's digital landscape, many of our daily activities rely on the internet. Various forms of communication, entertainment, financial services and work-related tasks are accomplished online. This means that tons of data and sensitive information are constantly being shared over the internet and by extension, the cloud. The internet is mostly private and secure, but it can also be an insecure channel for exchanging information. With a high risk of intrusion by hackers and cybercriminals, internet security is a top priority for individuals and businesses alike.

Malware is a term for any type of malicious software, regardless of how it works, its intent or how it’s distributed. A virus is a specific type of malware that self-replicates by inserting its code into other programs. 

Fileless malware is a type of malicious software that uses legitimate programs to infect a computer. It does not rely on files and leaves no footprint, making it challenging to detect and remove. Modern adversaries know the strategies organizations use to try to block their attacks, and they’re crafting increasingly sophisticated, targeted malware to evade defenses. It’s a race against time, as the most effective hacking techniques are usually the newest ones. Fileless malware has been effective in evading all but the most sophisticated security solutions.

Ransomware is a type of malware that infects a device in order to encrypt its data, locking it so that it can only be freed if the owner of the device pays the cybercriminal a ransom, typically demanded in Bitcoin. It can prevent you from using your computer or mobile device, opening your files or running certain applications. Or, it could lock down personal data like photos, documents and videos, holding them hostage until you pay up.

Scareware is a trick to scare us into thinking that our computers or smartphones have become infected with malware to get us to purchase a fake application. The programs and unethical advertising practices hackers use to frighten users into purchasing rogue applications are called scareware.

In a typical scareware scam, you might see an alarming popup message while browsing the Web that says “Warning: Your computer is infected!” or “You have a virus!” You would typically see these messages if you accidentally clicked on a dangerous banner ad or link or visited a compromised website. The cybercriminals are hoping that you click on the link in the popup message to “run a free scan” and then purchase their phony antivirus software to get rid of the nonexistent problems.

Browser hijacking is when your Internet browser (eg. Chrome, FireFox, Internet Explorer) settings are modified. Your default home or search page might get changed or you might get a lot of advertisements popping up on your computer. This is done through malicious software (malware) called hijackware. A browser hijacker is usually installed as a part of freeware, but it can also be installed on your computer if you click on an attachment in an  email, visit an infected site (also known as a drive-by download) or download something from a file-sharing site.

Once your browser has been hijacked, the cybercriminal can do a lot of damage. The program can change your home page to a malicious website, crash your browser or install spyware. Browser hijackers impede your ability to surf the web as you please.

A Trojan horse (or Trojan) is one of the most common and dangerous types of threats that can infect your computer or mobile device. Trojans are usually disguised as benign or useful software that you download from the Internet, but they actually carry malicious code designed to do harm—thus their name.

There are a variety of types of Trojans, many of which can launch sophisticated and clever attacks. some types to be aware of are Password-stealing Trojans, Remote access Trojans, Destructive Trojans, and Antivirus killers. 

A Trojan can have one or multiple destructive uses—that is what makes them so dangerous. It’s also important to realize that unlike viruses, Trojans are not self-replicating and are only spread by users who mistakenly download them, usually from an email attachment or by visiting an infected site.

The word pharming is actually a mash-up of the words phishing and farming. Phishing is when a hacker uses an email, text or social media post asking for your personal and financial information. On the other hand, pharming doesn’t require a lure. Instead of fishing for users, the hacker just sets up a fake website, similar to farming a little plot of land, and users willingly and unknowingly come to them and give them information.

How does it work? Most hackers use a method called DNS cache poisoning. A DNS, or domain name system, is an Internet naming service that translates meaningful website names you enter in (like twitter.com) into strings of numbers for your computer to read (like 173.58.9.14). The computer then takes you to the website you want to go to. In a pharming attack, the hacker poisons the DNS cache by changing the string of numbers for different websites to ones for the hacker’s fake website(s). This means that even if you type in the correct web address, you will be redirected to the fake website.

Now, you go to the site and thinking that it is a legitimate site, you enter your credit card information or passwords. Now, the hacker has that information and you are at risk for identity theft and financial loss.

A keylogger (short for keystroke logger) is software that tracks or logs the keys struck on your keyboard, typically in a covert manner so that you don’t know that your actions are being monitored. This is usually done with malicious intent to collect your account information, credit card numbers, user names, passwords and other private data.

Typosquatting, also known as URL hijacking, is a form of cybersquatting (sitting on sites under someone else’s brand or copyright) that targets Internet users who incorrectly type a website address into their web browser (e.g., “Gooogle.com” instead of “Google.com”). When users make such a typographical error, they may be led to an alternative website owned by a hacker that is usually designed for malicious purposes.

A botnet is a collection of connected devices, or “bots” (short for robots), that are infected and controlled by malware. These devices could include your PC, webcam or any number of connected appliances in your home. The cybercriminals who distribute malware to create botnets are generally looking to use the combined computing power of all the infected devices to launch much larger attacks.

By now, you’ve probably heard of cryptocurrency, but you may not know exactly what it is. To put it simply, cryptocurrencies are virtual currencies that have actual monetary value in today’s world. They are limited entries of transactions into a single database, or public ledger, that can’t be changed without fulfilling certain conditions. These transactions are verified and added to the public ledger through cryptocurrency mining. Cryptocurrency miners try to make money by compiling these transactions into blocks and solving complicated mathematical problems to compete with other miners for the cryptocurrency. While this process of mining for cryptocurrencies can be lucrative, it requires large amounts of computing power.

Unfortunately, the need for massive amounts of hardware has provoked cybercriminals to participate in cryptojacking, a method of using malware to exploit victims’ computers to mine for cryptocurrencies. Cybercrooks spread cryptojacking malware through sketchy mobile apps, flawed software, and malware-infected ads. They can even cryptojack your device during a browsing session while you’re perusing a website that appears completely harmless. Once a user’s device becomes infected, the malware drains the device’s CPU, causing the user’s computer fan to be loud while the malware mines for cryptocurrencies in the background. Unfortunately, symptoms of cryptojacking are usually pretty subtle, with poor device performance being one of the few signs of its presence.