Comparing Malwarebytes and Norton: Unveiling the Superior Antivirus Solution

A PC monitor displays a comparison of Malwarebytes and Norton pricing side by side.

Antivirus software acts as a safety net — a shield that may not be frequently needed, but its absence could lead to catastrophic consequences. Balancing the cost of premium plans against the enhanced security they offer can be a challenging task.

Fortunately, Malwarebytes and Norton present affordable options suitable for any budget. Let’s analyze the pricing, plans, and features to determine the superior antivirus software for your Windows or Mac system.

Levels and costs

An overview of Malwarebytes and Norton antivirus software prices in May 2024.
An overview of Malwarebytes and Norton antivirus software prices in May 2024.

Malwarebytes and Norton follow distinct pricing structures for long-term subscriptions. Norton offers a more attractive initial price, but its renewal costs are higher compared to Malwarebytes.

For the most economical antivirus packages, Malwarebytes Basic Security is priced at $45 per year, while Norton’s Antivirus Plus starts at $30 but escalates to $60 in the subsequent year. Norton includes a password manager and 2GB of cloud storage in all antivirus plans, providing added value for users interested in these features.

Both products are featured in our compilation of the best antivirus offers.

Within the midrange segment, Malwarebytes Premium Plus is priced at $60, incorporating a VPN for enhanced privacy. A three-device plan is available for $80 annually. On the other hand, Norton 360 Standard offers a VPN and supports three devices at an initial year price of $40, which increases to $95 in the following year.

Malwarebytes’ premium plan, priced at $120 per year, includes $2 million in identity theft insurance, along with monitoring of social media and the dark web.

Correspondingly, Norton 360 Select is priced at $100 initially, rising to $180 in the subsequent year, offering $1 million in insurance coverage and monitoring online platforms for potential data breaches. Additionally, Norton provides $25,000 in protection against stolen funds, 250GB of cloud backups, and protection for up to 10 devices at this price point.

Attributes

Antivirus software shields users from cyber threats, but there are other crucial cybersecurity aspects to consider. Effective malware prevention, privacy safeguards to prevent online tracking, and more are essential. Let’s explore how Malwarebytes and Norton safeguard your data and online activities.

Malware defense

Norton achieved an outstanding malware protection score according to AV-Test.
Norton achieved an outstanding malware protection score according to AV-Test.

According to AV-Test, an independent security research institute, both Malwarebytes and Norton offer commendable malware protection. However, Norton outperforms Malwarebytes in this aspect, securing a flawless 6 out of 6 rating compared to Malwarebytes’ 5.5 out of 6.

Norton boasts a longstanding track record of impeccable malware detection and prevention spanning nine years. As one of the most reliable antivirus solutions, Norton sets a high standard in this domain.

Fraud and tracking prevention

Configuring Malwarebytes VPN to a UK server does not deceive the BBC into streaming Doctor Who.
Configuring Malwarebytes VPN to a UK server does not deceive the BBC into streaming Doctor Who.

Both Malwarebytes and Norton offer plans that safeguard user privacy by alerting them to phishing attempts and blocking trackers from accessing their location information.

While Malwarebytes’ basic plan includes phishing protection, opting for Premium Plus provides access to a VPN for concealing your location. Norton incorporates scam protection across all its plans, with 360 Standard featuring a VPN. Notably, streaming services can detect privacy-focused VPNs, limiting access to location-restricted content.

Client assistance and user-friendliness

Norton's live chat exhibited reasonable response times and offered valuable assistance.
Norton’s live chat exhibited reasonable response times and offered valuable assistance.

Upon subscribing to Malwarebytes or Norton, users gain access to round-the-clock support from live agents to address any issues they encounter. Personal testing revealed prompt and beneficial customer service from both providers.

While feature-rich software enhances protection, it can complicate the setup process, as seen with Norton. Conversely, simplicity can be advantageous. Malwarebytes prioritizes essential protection aspects while omitting some of the additional features present in Norton’s offerings.

Individuals proficient in technology may find Norton’s complexity manageable. However, average users might overlook certain features.

Free editions

For those seeking a no-cost solution, Malwarebytes offers an antivirus scanner capable of eliminating infections on Windows PCs and Macs. Norton Power Eraser provides similar malware removal functionality, albeit exclusively for Windows systems.

Preventing malware exposure and safeguarding personal data beforehand is preferable to addressing issues post-infection. Several other effective free solutions are available. If subscription plans are not preferred, refer to our guide outlining the best free antivirus software options.

Safeguarding Privacy and Data

Both Malwarebytes and Norton deliver robust privacy and data protection. The key lies in selecting the plan that aligns best with your requirements. Malwarebytes’ single-device plans offer superior value unless the additional features bundled with Norton are necessary. This might sway you towards Malwarebytes, which is a viable choice. However, Norton provides enhanced protection and a comprehensive feature set that can prove invaluable.

The price hike in the second year and Norton’s privacy policy, which involves sharing user data with third-party advertisers, are not ideal. While spam has not been a prevalent issue in personal experience, this practice may raise concerns for some users.

It’s worth noting that alternative antivirus solutions exist beyond Malwarebytes and Norton. Bitdefender emerges as a standout option, surpassing competitors in various aspects. Refer to my detailed comparisons of Bitdefender against Malwarebytes and Norton for further insights.

Robert White

Robert is a dedicated tech journalist who thrives on uncovering the human stories behind technological advancements.

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