Free Antivirus software – Is it any good?
This is a question many people ask, and there is no simple answer. We always put it in simple terms.
Only use free antivirus software if you are only using the internet for an hour or two each day. Most free antivirus software programs are stripped-down versions of paid-for software from the same company. You wouldn’t leave home just locking your door and leaving all the windows open, so why would you just protect one part of your computer, tablet or laptop?
That said, there will always be those that just don’t want to pay for anything, and those that do. In the past, free antivirus was a good call but nowadays with online banking, shopping, phishing websites and social media we all need extra protection that only paid-for antivirus, internet and mobile security suites offer. Free antivirus products only protect against previously known threats – a good starting point, but one that might be trouble if you are a constant internet user. An even bigger problem arises when you incorporate higher risk sites such as music sharing sites, adult websites, and online gambling sites even Facebook can be a risk.
There are generally four levels of antivirus protection from most internet and mobile security vendors: Free, paid antivirus, internet security suites and “premium” suites. As you move up from Free to Premium suites you have more added features such as firewall, parental controls, antispyware, and rootkit and identity theft protection. Another useful feature of many paid for antivirus programs are the PC Cleanup tools, which not only clean up your system, but can help it to run more smoothly too.
Paid antivirus software improves protection not only with known threats, as used in free antivirus, but it also protects against unknown threats by using what they call heuristic approach to internet security which basically provides advanced methods of detection and protection. Although free antivirus software is far better than nothing, you need to appreciate the fact that the information in most free antivirus products comes from a database of information that isn’t a top priority to update. Basically with more threats including viruses to deal with, the extra features gained in a paid-for package will give you more protection and peace of mind.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch
With less features than the paid-for antivirus, internet and mobile security suites, the hidden price you will pay in some of the free antivirus packages is the installation of adware. Free programs often incorporate advertising to cover their costs. Adware may come in the form of pop-up adverts, search or social networking browser toolbars, all of which can be an annoyance and seriously slow down your computer.
Purchased antivirus, internet and mobile security packages offer far superior levels of protection, help and assistance and features including free online data storage, password managers, virtual keyboards and can be configured if need be.
At the end of the day, it is up to you, the user what you think is the best solution. If you are unsure, we suggest downloading a trial version of one of the packages to test and see how you get on with it. If you don’t like that package, it is easy to download another package to try. Do remember to uninstall the other antivirus package first.