Your PC is that reliable device where you perform your complex work tasks, store your valuable data so it is accessible even without an internet connection, correspond with your business contacts, pay your bills, shop online, or stream TV shows. That’s the device where you share your sensitive information like bank account number, credit or debit card info, social security number, etc. However, your information is at the risk of falling into the wrong hands when you don’t have an anti-virus installed.
Antiviruses are a useful lot, they save you a lot of trouble with hackers e.g. identity and data theft, privacy breaches, that take control and foul up your computer. Your PC can get infected within minutes of connecting to the internet when it has no antivirus program to protect it.
A good antivirus and its protection always comes at a price, which is not always affordable. No worries there! We have scoured a number of antiviruses that can offer you sound protection, and that too for free.
Avast Free Antivirus 19.6
For a free product, the Avast Antivirus program offers surprisingly full-fledged protection, accompanied with scores of other features i.e. browser protection, easy password management, machine-learning virus protection, and a powerful threat-detection network.
Avast scores very well on AV-Test by the Independent IT-Security Institute. The AV-Test institute judges a program based on its Usability, Protection, and Performance, with 6 points allocated to each category and a total of 18 points. Avast managed to score 17.5 points, which vouch for its effectiveness.
This free product is only available for personal use, but you can upgrade it to Avast Internet Security Suite for business purposes. We have to hand it over to Avast for being transparent about its data collection policy and for making the opt-out option available.
Bitdefender Internet Security 23.0
Bitdefender’s free version possesses the same detection engine that is utilized by its commercial version, minus the additional security features and extra layers of malware protection. Bitdefender has a perfect 18 point score in the AV-Test report, which has won it the Top Product badge.
The free version has an appealingly simple interface, with only a full scan button, drag/drop button to scan individual files, and a record of recent activity. It has a low false positive detection rate for legitimate application but requires an account before you can utilize its services.
Kaspersky Internet Security 19.0
Kaspersky also employs similar core malware-fighting technology used in its commercial edition but excludes some of the advanced features available in the paid one. However, the free version does an excellent job on its own in detecting malware.
Kaspersky has a perfect 18-point score, since its engine defended against malware exposures and reference samples successfully during the trials organized by the AV-Test.
With its browser plugin, it detects malicious links in your search results. It automatically updates its database signatures for antivirus in the background. Along with those, this program comes with a Kaspersky Secure Connection VPN, which has the same attributes as the commercial one, but permits limited usage only. Web, file, network and mail scanners are available in Kaspersky, but customization option isn’t available in the free edition.
Avira Free Antivirus
Avira has a clean and compact interface, with the same core technology as its commercial siblings. It lets a user opt in or out for default features of their choice, including optimization tools and a 500MB per month VPN.
Avira has secured splendid points from independent labs, but it doesn’t have a great anti-phishing score and provides browser protection for Chrome and Firefox only. Also, it doesn’t have its own firewall, but allows you to manage Windows Firewall.
Sophos Home Free
Sophos provides enterprise-level protection for your personal devices in its free version. Though unlike other antiviruses, Sophos does not employ services of independent antivirus testing labs, but it’s still a stellar protection choice among free products.
Sophos manages your computer security like your company’s IT department, by installing a local agent on your PC and managing settings via an online console. This type of protection comes in handy when you want to manage security for someone else.
For a seamless experience with your choice of antivirus, it’s essential to employ secure yet high-speed internet connection, which you can easily acquire via windstream internet packages
As for Window’s own built-in antivirus program i.e. the Microsoft Defender, it works pretty well if you keep up with regular software updates. Over the years, Microsoft has made consistent improvements with the Defender and we can now safely say that it’s a viable option to rely onbut we would urge you to be cautious and install an additional safety net. Since malware and malicious hackers keep adapting to new techniques, they can now easily disguise a previously recognized malware, rendering you vulnerable in your complacency.