It seems like new cybersecurity threats are constantly appearing these days. That’s why antivirus software is so important. If your computer came with a program, you may think you’re covered, but desktop antivirus protection may not be enough. You also need browser-specific antivirus software to provide additional protection while browsing the internet. If you’re a Google Chrome user, you may be aware that it has a built-in malware scanner and think you’re covered. However, for complete, comprehensive security, you still need a Chrome antivirus software.
We reviewed dozens of Chrome antivirus software programs to identify the best of the best. We looked at security features like malware scanning, threat blocking, and VPNs, as well as cost, compatibility with desktop antivirus programs, and more to narrow down the options. And, of course, we considered reviews from real reviews to make sure that each of our picks is a safe, top-quality option.
Our top pick and the clear winner is AVG Online Security. This Chrome antivirus extension disables trackers that observe what you do online and record your personal data. It also provides safety ratings for websites.
The 5 Top-Rated Chrome Antivirus Software Programs
|Best Chrome Antivirus Software Overall||AVG Online Security||4.8|
|Best Chrome Website Blocker Software||Blur.live||5.0|
|Best Budget Chrome Antivirus Software||uVPN||4.8|
|Best Chrome Ad Blocker Software||Stands Fair AdBlocker||4.8|
|Best Chrome VPN Software||TunnelBear VPN||4.7|
*Ratings are from the Chrome Web Store at the time of publication and can change
Best Chrome Antivirus Software Overall: AVG Online Security
Our top pick and overall favorite Chrome antivirus software is the AVG Online Security extension. It protects you from viruses on several different fronts. First, it identifies phishing websites and blocks them to prevent them from stealing your data. Second, it blocks cookies on other sites to prevent your data from being collected. Third, it provides safety ratings for websites based on reviews from the community of AVG Online Security users, which includes more than 400 million people, and warns you before you open a website with a bad reputation.
You can also easily check a site’s safety rating before you oven open it by just hovering your cursor over the link. Opening the AVG Online Security sidebar also shows you the safety rating of the site you have open, allows you to rate the site’s safety by choosing a thumbs up or thumbs down, and informs you of how many trackers that AVG Online Security is blocking from the site.
The AVG Online Security Chrome extension is free to download and use. It combines well with an AVG desktop antivirus software for even more complete cybersecurity protection. We particularly like AVG Ultimate 2020, which combines an antivirus program, a cleaner, a VPN, and more into one cybersecurity suite.
AVG Online Security Key Features:
- Identifies and blocks phishing websites
- Blocks cookies to prevent data collection
- Provides safety ratings for websites
- Easy-to-use sidebar
- Free to download
- Pairs well with AVG Ultimate 2020
Best Chrome Website Blocker Software: Blur.live
Blur.live blurs ads and suspicious links to make it easy to avoid them.Check Price
Our runner up and favorite Chrome website blocker software is Blur.live. The software’s name tells you what it does. Blur.live automatically blurs search results that lead to untrustworthy sites as well as ads. Ads and links to malware are often deceptive, disguised as part of the website’s layout, or as ads or links to content you may actually want to read, like an interesting article or news story. Blur.live blurs ads and unsafe links to protect you from deceptive and unsafe ads and websites. Since Blur.live blurs all ads, it’s also a great option if you’re frequently tempted by online ads to spend money or if you don’t want to see a particular type of content that can show up in ads.
However, Blur.live also allows you to unblur ads and links by hovering your cursor over them. That way, the extension warns you about potential security risks while still granting you the power to make the ultimate decision about what to do.
Blur.live is free to download and use, but you’ll have to tell it to keep blurring ads and links every seven days unless you opt to subscribe to Blur.live Premium. There are monthly, 6-month, and 12-month subscription options. The 12-month subscription provides the best value overall, while month-to-month subscriptions require the least money at each payment.
Blur.live Key Features:
- Blurs ads and links to unsafe sites
- Protects you from deceptive ads and links
- Allows you to unblur ads and links by hovering your cursor over them
- Free to use and download, but requires you to tell it to keep blurring every seven days unless you opt to subscribe to Blur.live Premium
Best Budget Chrome Antivirus Software: uVPN
uVPN protects your online anonymity while also allowing you to access blocked or restricted content.Check Price
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly antivirus solution for Chrome, uVPN is a great option. Now VPNs aren’t technically antivirus programs in the strictest sense in that they don’t scan webpages, downloads, or devices for potential threats. However, they do help protect you from cybersecurity threats like malware, including viruses.
They do so by disguising your IP address so you can browse anonymously. They also hide and encrypt your data so that it can’t be read by anyone who does manage to get ahold of it. This allows you to access banned or geo-blocked sites or content without it being traced back to you. It also helps prevent malware like viruses from reaching your computer in the first place. It does not, however, help identify or eliminate viruses and other types of malware that do end up on your computer.
uVPN is free to download and allows you to safely and quickly browse, stream, and download even restricted or blocked content. It comes with a free one week trial of uVPN Premium, but you can still continue to use uVPN for free after the trial ends, just without access to Premium servers. If you’d like continued access to Premium uVPN servers, you can get a weekly, monthly, or yearly subscription.
uVPN Key Features:
- Disguises your IP address
- Hides and encrypts your data
- Allows you to access restricted content
- Prevents malware from accessing your device
- Free to download and includes a free one week trial of uVPN Premium
Best Chrome Ad Blocker Software: Stands Fair AdBlocker
Stands Fair AdBlocker allows you to block annoying or untrustworthy ads while still supporting the sites that you trust and enjoy.Check Price
Ads can be annoying, but they can also take you to some shady websites or download dangerous malware. Sometimes they’re even deliberately designed to trick you into thinking they’re part of the website’s layout so you click them not realizing that they’re ads. Stands Fair AdBlocker helps you avoid all that by hiding ads, as well as pop-ups, trackers, and malware, in the first place. At the same time, allowing a trusted website to display ads is a great way to support it without having to pay for access. Therefore, Fair AdBlocker also allows you to approve some safe, trusted, and unobtrusive ads on certain safe and trusted sites.
It gives you far more control over your ad blocking experience than most other ad blockers. You can choose what types of ads you want to block and which types you want to whitelist, with categories including autoplay video ads, YouTube ads, expanding ads, overlay ads, interstitial ads, pop-ups, pop-unders, Facebook ads, webmail ads, search ads, and more. You can also whitelist certain websites so that they can display ads while others can’t.
Fair AdBlocker is free to use forever, but they do replace some ads with Stands’ own unobtrusive ads asking for donations. Since they’re offering a free, secure service that helps both you and the sites you love, we think that’s totally fair.
Stands Fair AdBlocker Key Features:
- Blocks not just ads, but also popups, trackers, and malware
- Choose what types of ads you’d like to block
- Choose websites to whitelist
- Allows you to support your favorite websites while also avoiding annoying, obtrusive, or unsafe ads
- Always free to use
Best Chrome VPN Software: TunnelBear VPN
TunnelBear is a great VPN to help you stay safe and anonymous online.Check Price
Finishing up our list of the top 5 Chrome antivirus software programs is TunnelBear VPN. Like our top budget pick, TunnelBear VPN is a VPN service. Also, like uVPN, TunnelBear VPN also has subscription options. TunnelBear Free is free to use and download, but it caps you at 500MB of browsing per month, so it’s really more of a trial program than a free-to-use VPN. TunnelBear Unlimited allows unlimited browsing for up to five devices and grants you priority customer service. The third option, TunnelBear Teams is intended for businesses with two or more users. It also allows unlimited secure browsing for up to five devices per user, plus a dedicated account manager and centralized team management and billing. You can get a one-year Unlimited subscription on Amazon for about $20 or you can go to the TunnelBear website to subscribe to either the Unlimited or Team subscription plans. Through their website, TunnelBear Unlimited starts at $3.33 a month, so we recommend going through Amazon unless you want TunnelBear Team.
In exchange for having to get a subscription, TunnelBear VPN grants you much faster internet speeds than uVPN. TunnelBear also puts itself through an annual security audit to identify and correct any vulnerabilities to keep users as safe as possible. This is an addition to regular independent audits by third party companies. TunnelBear then publishes the results of their audits to make sure users understand how protected their data is. TunnelBear also allows you to review and delete your account data on their website so you can even control what data TunnelBear itself has access to.
TunnelBear is easy to set up and has a simple on/off switch to you can turn the VPN on when you want it and off when you don’t.
TunnelBear VPN Key Features:
- Free trial and two paid subscription options
- Subscriptions come with unlimited data for up to five devices
- High-speed browsing
- High security and transparency
- Easy to get started
- Simple on/off switch
Who Should Buy Chrome Antivirus Software
Anyone who uses Chrome should also use antivirus software to help protect themselves. People often use the internet for more sensitive information than they realize because our devices have become such a vital part of our lives. Sure, there’s online banking, but do you file your taxes, pay bills, check your credit, or shop online? Those are additional avenues for those with bad intentions to access your financial information. Perhaps you use an online interface to check your medical records and communicate with your doctors. Maybe you access proprietary work information online or use a cloud platform to store sensitive or important documents. Your online calendar can show someone when you’ll be away from home, letting them know exactly when an ideal time to break in would be. Even scarier, an online sitter booking service can show them when you’ll be away but your children won’t be. Even your social media passwords can be used to give people the opportunity to try to scam your family members and friends.
Even if you use your computer for absolutely no sensitive information, people can track and sell your location, browsing history, and more. They can also hack into your computer to use it for their own illegal or unethical activity, which can then be traced back to you. Some people just think it’s fun or humorous to spread viruses that ruin people’s devices so they lose anything saved to it and have to buy a new one.
Now, someone coming to your actual home is very unlikely. Most hackers are going to be far away from you in the real world anyway, and far more interested in your information and money than they are in hurting you or getting your non-virtual belongings. Still, you don’t want your private information sold or your identity stolen. An antivirus program helps protect you from all of that. One on your browser provides the first line of defense against shady websites and downloads to keep you and your information safe.
If you’re a huge fan of Google Chrome, then you may also like a Chromebook, especially for a child. For that, you’ll want to check out The Best Google Chromebooks For Kids.
Important Features to Consider
Chrome antivirus software should do several things well. Here’s what to consider when selecting an antivirus program for Chrome:
- Malware scanning. Malware scanning is probably the most basic service provided by antivirus programs. Most Chrome specific software isn’t designed to scan your actual PC since it’s generally intended to be used alongside a desktop program, but they do scan downloads like email attachments and apps. They will also typically scan any storage related to the browser specifically.
- Threat blocking. Some programs attempt to avoid threats entirely by blocking suspicious webpages and hiding shady ads and links. This may be offered in addition to malware scanning or as an alternative. If it’s an alternative, you may want to double up by using an additional program that provides malware scanning as well, though this may be provided by your desktop antivirus program.
- VPN. A VPN is, on its own, not technically an antivirus, but it’s still an excellent way to help protect yourself from viruses, other types of malware, and security threats in general. They disguise the IP address of your device so it appears that you’re using the internet from a location other than where you’re really using it, often in another country entirely.
- Whitelisting. Sometimes antivirus programs identify websites or downloads as unsafe when we know they’re from trusted sources. In the event that this happens, are you able to tell the program that the website or source is trustworthy so that you can proceed?
- Compatibility with a desktop program. If the company also makes a desktop antivirus software, it’s often best to use your Chrome antivirus software with that since they’re generally intended to complement one another. The Chrome antivirus may even be intended to use with a particular antivirus program if the company makes more than one. If the company doesn’t also make a desktop program, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use one, though. Desktop programs still provide vital additional virus protection and most desktop antivirus programs and Chrome antivirus programs are perfectly able to work alongside one another. Occasionally, however, you may encounter programs that conflict with one another.
- Cost. Chrome antivirus software is available at just about every price point. Some are free, but you generally get better protection from paid services. However, some protection is still better than none if you are operating on a very tight budget.
- How the company makes money. On a related note, if a program is free and the company offers no premium upgrades or paid programs, you may need to be wary. They may just profit off of showing ads, which is annoying but generally not dangerous (especially if you pair the program with an ad blocker. On the other hand, they just might be making money by selling your information, which negates a large portion of the point of using an antivirus program in the first place. There are exceptions, however, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is a non-profit organization.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need antivirus for Google Chrome?
Every internet user should have an antivirus program for their web browser, and Google Chrome is no exception. Chrome does have its own built-in malware scanner, but it only looks for malware that relates to Chrome and violates Google’s unwanted software policy. It also only works for Windows. For more comprehensive protection, you need additional antivirus protection.
Even if you never use any sensitive information online and are extremely careful about what websites you visit and where you download from, things can still happen. Think of it like insurance: it’s much better to have it and never have to use it than to not have it and end up in a situation that makes you wish you did.
How do I install antivirus on Chrome?
The exact installation method can vary from program to program but most Chrome antivirus programs can be easily downloaded from the Chrome Web Store. Simply open the page for the program (or extension, as Chrome calls them) that you wish to download in Chrome and select the button to the right of the title labeled “Add to Chrome.” That will open a confirmation window that explains the permissions that the extension requires. If you’re okay with those permissions, select “Add extension.” Then it will be added automatically to Chrome. It may open a new tab for you to log in, provide an activation key, or configure the extension.
For each of the programs on this list, we’ve provided a link to the corresponding page in the Chrome Web Store to make installation easier.
Can Google Chrome get a virus?
Just like pretty much any program, Google Chrome can become corrupted with a virus. That only scratches the surface of the potential issues, though. Virtually all viruses get onto computers via the internet and Google Chrome isn’t impervious to that. It’s therefore essential to have a Chrome antivirus program to act as the first line of defense for your computer.
What is the best antivirus for Google Chrome?
There are tons of great antivirus options available for Google Chrome. Which one’s best depends on your browsing habits, needs, preferences, budget, and more. Our top pick, AVG Online Security, is a great option for most people and most purposes because it has comprehensive protection and works alongside a desktop antivirus software. However, any of the Chrome antivirus programs on this list are great options worthy of consideration.
Other Chrome Antivirus Software We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other Chrome antivirus software programs. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best Chrome antivirus software programs list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your Chrome browser. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
- Chrome Ad Blocker Software
- Chrome VPN Software
- Desktop Antivirus Software Complement for Chrome
- Other Chrome Antivirus Software
Chrome Ad Blocker Software
Adaware Ad Block is a free ad blocker from Adaware, a company known for its excellent antivirus software.
- Improves browsing speed
- Blocks banner ads, video ads, pop-ups, and data trackers
- Allows you to whitelist your favorite YouTube channels
AdBlock’s popularity speaks to its excellence: it’s one of the top ad blockers in the Chrome Web Store as well as one of the most popular Chrome extensions of any kind.
- Various features that allow you to customize your experience and support your favorite sites and content creators
- You can backup and sync your whitelists and ad blocking rules for access across different devices
- Blocks, pop-ups, trackers, ads, banners, and even video ads
AdGuard blocks not just ads and trackers, but also malware and those annoying social media widgets that encourage you to like a page or share content.
- Removes social media widgets
- Blocks ads, trackers, malware, pop-ups, suspicious domains, and more
- Get more comprehensive protection for multiple devices by purchasing an AdGuard license
Cost: Free for basic protection, AdGuard licenses starting at $2.49 per month
Ghostery is free to use, but you can get additional protection and privacy with a Ghostery Plus or Ghostery Premium subscription.
- Custom display and dashboard
- Blocks trackers and ads
- Additional features with a paid subscription
Cost: Free for basic protection, paid subscriptions starting at $3.99 per month
Chrome VPN Software
Hotspot Shield was rated the fastest VPN by experts at Speedtest and AV test, so you can browse and stream without delays.
- Disguises your IP address and blocks trackers
- Unblocks geo-locked content
- Malware and phishing protection available with a Hotspot Shield Premium subscription
Cost: Free for basic VPN access, $7.99 per month for Hotspot Shield Premium
iNinja is a free and easy to use VPN with no ads and no subscription available, so you’ll never feel pressured to subscribe.
- Always free
- No data limits
- Disguises your IP address and blocks trackers
PureVPN doesn’t log your online activities so it hides them not just from others, but also from itself.
- No log certified
- 7-day free trial
- High speeds and unlimited data
Cost: Requires a PureVPN subscription, starting at $77.88 per year
Surfshark doesn’t just hide your IP and data, it also provides free malware and geo-blocking.
- Unblock censored and geo-blocked content
- Blocks ads, malware, trackers, and more
- Doesn’t log your data or activity
Cost: Requires a Surfshark subscription, starting at $47.76 for two years
Touch VPN is another always free, unlimited bandwidth VPN option.
- Always free
- No data limits
- Disguises your IP address and blocks trackers
Desktop Antivirus Software Complement for Chrome
Adaware Web Protection comes with all paid Adaware antivirus programs and provides all kinds of features to keep you and your family safe while online.
- Parental controls and web filter options
- Blocks online threats
- Alerts you to potential phishing websites
Cost: Requires a paid Adaware antivirus program, starting at $36 per PC per year
Avast Online Security checks every website you visit to help you avoid unsafe sites.
- Blocks trackers and malware
- Checks websites’ reputations to ensure that your data is safe
- For more comprehensive protection, pair with an Avast antivirus program like Avast Premium Security or Avast Ultimate Suite
For advanced virus and malware protection, pair Emsisoft Browser Security with an Emsisoft desktop antivirus program.
- Lightweight and fast
- Blocks malware distributing and phishing websites
- For more comprehensive protection, pair with an Emsisoft desktop antivirus program
Malwarebytes is another company known for their excellent desktop antivirus software programs.
- Blocks ads to protect you and help pages load faster
- Blocks malware and trackers
- For more comprehensive protection, pair with a Malwarebytes desktop antivirus program
McAfee Endpoint Security Web Control is just one awesome benefit that comes with McAfee Endpoint Security.
- Allows you to block specific sites or categories of sites
- View safety ratings of websites
- Allows you to monitor your browsing activity and Web Control’s activity
Cost: Requires a McAfee Endpoint Security subscription, which starts at $35.99 per user per year
Microsoft Defender Browser Protection is a great compliment to the Microsoft Defender Antivirus that comes with Windows.
- Protects you from phishing websites and emails
- Warns you if you click a link to a malicious website
- Easy to turn on and off
The Norton Safe Search extension allows you to make Norton Safe Search your default search provider for safer searching in Google Chrome.
- Sets Norton Safe Search as your default search provider
- Marks unsafe websites and provides you with website safety ratings in search results
- For more comprehensive protection, pair with Norton AntiVirus Plus
Other Chrome Antivirus Software
Click&Clean makes it easy to remove malware, trackers, personal data, and more from your PC and web browser.
- Helps clear up disk space
- Removes malware and browsing data
- Speeds up web browsing
HTTPS Everywhere is made by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting privacy and civil liberties online.
- Enables HTTPS site security on thousands of additional websites
- Provides additional protection from surveillance, account hijacking, and certain types of censorship
- Still in beta, so it may have some performance issues
JustBlock Security is a complete protection suite that provides 20 security features in just one browser extension.
- Blocks ads, malware, browser notifications, pop-ups, corrupted websites, cookies, and more
- Protects personal, browsing, and account data
- Premium plans provide additional protection and use on multiple computers
Cost: Free for basic protection, premium plans start at $4.95 per month
WOT Web of Trust helps you avoid dangerous websites by check websites’ reputations and alerting you who’s safe and who’s not.
- Displays reputation icons next to websites in search results, email, social media, and more
- Allows you to set up a warning when you try to navigate to a website with a bad reputation
- Allows for manual or real-time protection modes