It makes sense that hackers might use some sort of advanced antivirus software to protect themselves from the types of viruses they like to unleash.

But is this the case, or do hackers just use the same old software like everybody else?

What Antivirus Do Hackers Use?

A hacker being blocked by antivirus

Hackers use the same antivirus software like everybody else.

There isn’t some futuristic antivirus program that hackers have access to and their potential victims don’t.

If using windows, they probably use Kaspersky, Norton, or AVG.

However, many people who develop malicious software use Linux, and as such, they won’t have or need antivirus software.

On Linux hackers probably use ClamAV and host intrusion detection software, but there isn’t necessarily an antivirus software that hackers are likely to use.

Although hackers might use the same antivirus software as you and I, they are probably way more cautious about which files they should open and which ones they should not be clicking on.

Which Antivirus Is Best To Protect Against Hackers?

According to, who run independent tests to rate and compare the best antivirus software, Avast, AVG, and Avira Internet Security for Windows came in the top 3 places for best anti-virus software in 2021.

Any of these antivirus programs will do a great job at keeping you safe online, but if you’re running Windows 10 or 11 you don’t even need to pay for antivirus software.

Windows has a free antivirus that’s as capable as any other of keeping your computer online and built right into its operating system.

Microsoft Defender is Microsoft’s free antivirus and it does a pretty decent all-around job at protecting your computer.

Years ago, Microsoft Defender was pretty rubbish but they’ve invested a lot into the product recently, and nowadays it works really well.

If you head over to and look up Microsoft Defender, you’ll see that it performs pretty well and can easily hold its own against the big players, like Avast and AVG.

To activate Microsoft Defender, just type Windows security into the search bar on your desktop and open up the windows security app.

From there you’ll be able to follow the steps and get it all set up – just make sure you don’t have any other antivirus running it on your system.

What Else Can I Do To Guard Against Hackers?

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Some type of antivirus is an absolute must to stay safe online but there are many other things you can do to drastically reduce your chances of getting hacked online.

Use Two-Step Verification

You should set up two-step verification on every site you use that will allow you to do it.

With two-factor authentication enabled, a hacker would need access to your personal phone to log in to your account and this makes your account much harder to hack.

Don’t Use The Same Password For All Of Your Accounts

If a hacker uncovers a password to one of your accounts, the first thing they’ll do is try that password on any other accounts of yours that they know of.

When you’re setting up a new account, modern browsers like Chrome will usually suggest a strong password for you to use.

The browser will then offer to save the password so that you can autofill it anytime you’re logging in to that site again.

Keep All Your Software Up To Date

Software updates are often released to patch vulnerabilities that hackers can use as a way into the system.

Install any updates that Windows suggests and keep any third-party software like Adobe or Open Office up to date.

If you can, set software to update automatically, if not, update it as soon as you get the notification to do so.

Don’t Share Too Much Information

Don’t share too much information about your travel plans or daily routine on social media and never give out important information over the phone.

The less information there is about you in the public domain, the less hackers can use as leverage.

No bank or company will phone you up to get sensitive information.

If you’re suspicious about it phone call tell them that you will ring them back but don’t call them back on the number they called you, ring up their head office and ask if there’s a record of the call.

How Do Hackers Write Viruses Without Infecting Their Own Computers?

When developing malware for Windows, many hackers are likely to test the effectiveness of their malware by using a sandboxed virtual machine, rather than their main device.

Using their main device is likely to cause them problems, as well as the people their malware is aimed at.

In fact, if someone is developing malware for Windows, the safest technique would be to do so under Linux, while testing it on an emulated version of Windows.

If the hacker does use Windows, either as the main operating system or in conjunction with another operating system, their interest in computer security and knowledge of the subject means they are more likely to use one of the more customizable anti-malware programs so that they can test how it responds to their malware and attacks.

A user who is not interested in security usually prefers a simple, straightforward approach, and will prefer software that is not very customizable but will simply let them set it up and maximize their computer’s security with minimal amounts of understanding.

Do Hackers Use Multiple Antivirus Programs?

Hackers are unlikely to use multiple antivirus programs for their own protection but they will use multiple programs for testing malware.

Often, people who write viruses will want more than one antivirus program so that they can test their work against it.

They will usually set up multiple virtual Windows machines and install a different antivirus program on each.

This will allow them to test which security programs can detect their software and which can’t.

This may help them determine what their program is weak to, and where it is getting detected, so they can make the program more deadly and harder for antivirus programs to attack.

Hackers may not stick with one antivirus software program for long, either.

Because they are interested in computer security (and how to bypass it), they are more likely to want to test their malware against what is currently viewed as the most secure antivirus software.

This changes with time, and so the hacker will change what they use.

They will also usually be aware of changes in what the most secure software is before the average user becomes aware because they are quite likely to closely follow computer news.

They are also more likely to follow news about other viruses and may try to exploit weaknesses that these have found.

What Other Tools Do Hackers Use?

Some malicious developers will also use other tools to try and ensure that they are a step ahead of antivirus software.

Tools such as virusTotal allow them to quickly check which antivirus programs identify a file as malicious, both for the purposes of keeping their own computers safe and for checking how many of them fail to identify any malicious code they have created.

This is particularly useful for allowing them to check which, if any, of the paid antivirus programs their software can bypass without them having to pay subscriptions to multiple different antivirus software companies.

There is not really any definitive antivirus program that hackers use more than others, and it is also worth noting that the term hackers is very vague.

People who develop malicious software are an extremely diverse group, who operate all over the world and have vastly different skill levels.

They also have entirely different motivations from each other, and will therefore behave in different ways.

A hacker in China would be likely to use different antivirus software from a hacker in the USA or the UK.

Software preferences will vary according to country, skill level, intention, etc.

Final Thoughts

Overall, it isn’t really possible to pick an antivirus program that is predominantly used by hackers.

If you are looking to find a highly secure antivirus software, you should search for the most up-to-date list, which will show you which ones are currently top choices for keeping your computer secure.

Use this to determine what you should use to protect your computer, and make sure you are also utilizing a firewall to help as well.