Most people worry about their computer’s security. It only makes sense — computers hold plenty of information about their users, and a lot of the time this information can be quite sensitive. Information on a person’s computer can point malicious people to financial information, physical addresses, and more.
As a streamer, security is often paramount. In fact, it can be one of the biggest concerns Twitch streamers might have. After all, who wants to be doxxed, hacked, or swatted? Just take a look at xQc, who still lives in constant fear after getting swatted nonstop. Even after moving, he still got swatted. Granted there are other factors at play behind xQc’s circumstances, beefing up your computer’s security can only help you prevent similar problems. Protecting your privacy, data, and financial information is at the center of computer security.
Why Should You Use an Antivirus in 2022?
These days, an antivirus may seem unnecessary, especially if you’re usually careful about what you click, download, and install. However, even the most tech-savvy can fall victim to one of the many new-age scams and malware schemes. You could end up with malware on your computer for the most unexpected reason. Antivirus software can help you prevent problems like these.
Despite how helpful antivirus software can be, many still avoid installing them because they can sometimes affect a machine’s performance. Streamers in particular may completely nix the idea of installing an antivirus app because of how taxing it can be to a system.
Luckily, there are now options that have a gaming mode, which allows the antiviruses to keep you protected without heavily eating into your computer’s resources.
To help you figure out which ones you might want to try, we’ve put together this list of the best antivirus software for streamers and gamers alike.
The Best Antivirus Software for Gamers and Streamers
ESET Internet Security
ESET is a name that’s relatively familiar in the antivirus space. They’ve been around for quite some time (30 years in fact), and it’s quite nice to see that they are continuing to innovate and adjust with the times.
As a gamer and a streamer, ESET Internet Security might be quite helpful to you — and all without compromising your rig’s resources. You can get this software on multiple platforms, so choose the one for the system you’re using. ESET’s antivirus can help protect you from all sorts of online threats once installed.
If you’re worried about the app being a resource hog, there’s no need to. ESET’s antivirus is lightweight and uses minimal power on top of that. It also has gamer mode to ensure your streaming and gaming session goes off without a hitch.
ESET has three plans available: Essential, Advanced, and Ultimate. Essential is the most affordable plan, while Ultimate is the priciest of the three. If you want to try before you buy a subscription, there is a thirty-day free trial. After that, you can purchase a subscription for a minimum of one year and a maximum of three years.
Norton is another name that’s been in the security business for a very long time. It was first released in February of 1991, making it a company that’s existed to help you secure your computers for over 31 years.
Norton has several plans and offers available for those looking to prevent malicious people from getting access to their computers. They have All-in-One plans, Antivirus plans, and Privacy plans. Norton also has identity protection products to ensure yours is safe no matter what you’re doing online.
The All-in-One plans are excellent for protecting your devices from hackers, keeping your activity online private, and protecting your identity — all in one plan. Their cheapest plan is Norton 360 Deluxe, which offers protection for up to five computers (Windows or Mac), tablets, or smartphones. It also comes with fifty gigs of cloud storage, a VPN for five devices, and basic identity protection. Higher plans include more features, including reimbursement for stolen funds up to a certain amount, and even coverage for experts and lawyers for up to a million dollars.
But what does Norton have to offer streamers and gamers?
Norton 360 for Gamers helps casual or hardcore gamers protect their devices and more. Available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, this version of the antivirus won’t bog down your system and tie up your resources.
It also has a game optimizer called Norton Go. With Norton Go, you won’t feel the antivirus while you’re gaming or streaming. It can help you eliminate FPS slowdowns and lags so your stream won’t suffer. Norton Go also suspends any background processes and delays virus scanning while you’re in the middle of a game.
Norton offers affordable plans that you can pay either monthly or annually. They also provide generous discounts for when you sign up.
BitDefender isn’t quite as long-standing as some of the other companies on this list, having been founded in 2001. However, the fact that it’s somewhat newer than the other software on this list doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not as good — in fact, it ranked seventh around the world for Windows antiviruses in January of 2018.
There’s a reason hundreds of millions around the world choose BitDefender: it simply works. It’s one of the most powerful on the market, thanks to the combination of detection techniques it uses to sniff out any and all malware on your devices.
Unfortunately, BitDefender doesn’t offer a gaming mode or booster with its software. Although this may seem like a turn-off for many, the fact is it’s really not as taxing on a system, thanks to its cloud-based engine. And yes, because it does the malware scanning through the cloud-based engine, BitDefender won’t slow your computer down (even when you run full system scans!).
Streamers in particular would probably enjoy a couple of BitDefender’s features: webcam and microphone protections. BitDefender will also automatically pause notifications and virus scanning while you’re gaming so it won’t interrupt your immersion.
BitDefender also happens to be one of the most affordable options on this list. Its basic plan provides you plenty of protection, but you can upgrade to one of the higher plans for the bundled VPN. If you don’t like what you’ve experienced from this antivirus, you should know that it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Founded in 1997, Kaspersky is a company that’s been around for quite a while. They have some affordable plans that can help you make sure you are protected.
An initial look at Kaspersky will tell you that it has everything you might need as a gamer or a streamer. It comes with a great malware scanner (standard for premium antivirus software), various internet protections, and of course — an automatic game mode. Tests with Kaspersky determine that it’s quite effective in detecting malware, spyware, and ransomware.
Kaspersky’s game mode automatically activates when in fullscreen. It suspends scanning and any notifications, so as to not interrupt your in-game immersion. Although Kaspersky’s game mode works great, it’s not quite as robust as Norton’s.
The antivirus software from this company gives you features like:
- A password manager
- A 300 MB-per day VPN
- Clean-up tools for your PC
- Protection when you’re online banking and shopping
Kaspersky allows you to choose between a few plans. One will protect only your Windows PC, while the higher-tier plan (Kaspersky Internet Security) will provide all of your devices with protection. The highest plan, Kaspersky Total Security, contains all features from previous plans plus parental controls and more. If you’re not happy, Kaspersky also offers a thirty-day money-back guarantee.
Founded in 2006, Avira is another one of the newer companies on this list. However, its actual antivirus software has been in development since 1986. Avira cares about its users’ security and privacy, even going as far as declaring that they do not sell your data nor share it with third parties.
There are quite a few things that makes Avira attractive to gamers and streamers. First and foremost it comes with a free plan. That alone is pretty enticing since after all, you can’t beat free! The only problem with the free plan is the fact that its game booster isn’t included. However, like BitDefender, Avira’s antivirus is cloud-based and much less taxing on your gaming rig.
If you want to spring for the premium plan, it would benefit you to know that Avira’s game booster is quite robust and effective. Avira’s game booster closes background apps but doesn’t stop there. It also optimizes your network settings to ensure the best experience possible. However, its game booster isn’t as effective as Norton’s, which allows for next to no lags or framerate drops despite increasing game settings.
Even if you don’t pay for the premium plan, Avira’s free plan is great enough on its own. It comes with plenty of customization options, malware and ransomware protection, and tons of other features such as:
- A browser extension to help you browse and shop safely
- Tools to help you tune-up your system
- A VPN (with a monthly limit of 500 MB)
- A password manager
Not many free antivirus plans offer these types of features.
The premium plan offers everything included in the free plan, with the exception of the VPN being unlimited access. It also includes all the gaming-related features such as the game booster, online account and password breach monitoring, and multi-device coverage.
If you’re looking for an affordable option that doesn’t compromise on protection, Malwarebytes is an excellent choice. It provides everything you need — malware protection, web protections, and it even has a VPN (optional) all for an affordable price.
Of course, the tradeoff is it doesn’t quite have as many features as the other antivirus programs on this list. It doesn’t provide a firewall, parental controls, or a gaming mode. Don’t count it out just yet — Malwarebytes’ resource consumption is relatively tame, allowing even gamers and streamers to use it without completely disrupting stream quality. At the very least, this antivirus does recognize when you’re using your computer in full-screen, at which point it delays virus scanning and suspends notifications until you’re done.
Malwarebytes is just about as effective as the other apps on this list, although it may be a few percent less effective than something like BitDefender or Norton.
If you are unsatisfied with your experience with this antivirus, Malwarebytes offers a 60-day money-back guarantee with each of its plans.
When you’re a streamer, your security is paramount. However, it’s not just your safety that counts — your peace of mind does, too. Feeling safe and secure while you are live can play a lot into your mindset as you continue your journey on Twitch (or any other platform). Having an antivirus you can rely on can help. Choose one of the antivirus software options on this list to help you protect yourself!
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