Is it essential to have an antivirus? And even more, is it advisable to use a free antivirus ? To answer these questions, it is necessary to clarify several concepts.
A virus (also called malware ) is a malicious program whose goal is to infect the code of other programs , files or systems to damage, steal or hijack information, or make copies of itself and spread to other computers.
How to prevent the spread of viruses?
Social engineering is one of the mechanisms used by attackers to spread their threats. In most cases, user interaction is required for you to run a file, open a document, or download something to your computer, and from there, the infection begins.
But there are also techniques that do not require the user to interact with the threat for it to be installed. For example, when an iframe of a vulnerable web is injected. This makes it really essential to have an antivirus that offers various functionalities – tailored to current threats – such as firewalls, anti-spam and anti-phishing filters or memory scanning, among others. All this makes the protection of the system much better and, although it does not make us impregnable, it does allow the user to surf the net with much more peace of mind.
Can we rely on a free antivirus?
When we talk about antivirus – and taking into account the consequences that malware can have on our PC -, it is worth investing in quality products . But the really important thing is to have at least one installed, paid or not. In addition, many leading companies in the sector offer free versions of their antivirus that, although they tend to have fewer features than their older brothers, are really effective, like the five that we detail below.
Best free antivirus
Avast Free Antivirus
One of the best free antivirus packages out there today. Unlike its competitors, Avast does not hide its free version: on the main page there is a button that gives access to the free version .
- What does Avast free antivirus offer?
Fairly solid protection against unknown threats. According to the latest report from AV-TEST (an independent organization that evaluates and rates the effectiveness of antiviruses based on certain criteria), Avast was able to detect 100 percent of daily attacks. It also has a password manager.
- What is missing from Avast antivirus free version?
The free version does not have a privacy shield, a spam filter, or a tool that alerts you to deceptive websites. Although if you want to have these features, you just have to subscribe to one of the premium versions.
The interface is easy and intuitive. Of course, if you give your consent, Avast can share some of your information (never personal data).
Avira Free Security Suite
A good free package that has nothing to envy to paid antiviruses.
- What does Avira offer?
Ransomware protection, password manager and file scanner that slow down your computer. It is also complemented by cloud protection, which means that unknown files are automatically analyzed to detect possible threats.
It has – also free of charge – an additional service that you can optionally download. It is a blocker of suspicious web pages and an extra that protects your privacy. In addition to the updates, which will be downloaded automatically.
- What is missing from Avira antivirus?
Panda Free Antivirus
At first glance, it seems that the free version of Panda doesn’t have much to offer, however, nothing is further from the truth. It is the best option for those looking for more than basic protection.
- What does Panda antivirus offer?
Protection against ransomware, real-time scanner (although it is very slow), a monitor that allows you to follow the process of the actions that the antivirus is carrying out and see if your computer is safe or not, and protection against the execution of any USB.
Also, like most free versions, Panda Free blocks any dubious actions that are performed on your computer, and does not continue until it has obtained the necessary information from the cloud.
- What is missing from the free Panda antivirus?
You will have to know how to hide your passwords well (it does not have a password manager) and purchase parental controls separately.
AVG Antivirus Free
The free version of AVG should also be on this list as it offers enough to stop viruses and malware on your computer.
- What does AVG antivirus offer?
Basic protection. According to the AV-TEST, AVG was able to detect 100 percent of the threats. In addition, the performance of the software also received good marks. AVG stays up and running without you even realizing it, alerting you to unsafe links and blocking email attachments that contain malware.
- What is missing from this antivirus?
Infrequent updates. It cannot be used for disk drive scanning.
Bitdefender Antivirus Free
Bitdefender is easy to use, light in weight and offers effective protection for both PC and laptop. An excellent choice that has earned a well-deserved reputation in the industry.
- What does Bitdefender offer?
The free version offers a highly recommended basic service. The paid one, although quite expensive, has been recognized as the best product by AV-TEST.
The interface is simple and works in the background, using practically the same search engine as its older brothers. It is free of annoying advertising, as can be found in other free antiviruses.
- What is missing from free Bitdefender antivirus?
There is no quarantine and false positives detected are permanently deleted, with no option to restore them.