In previous posts, I’ve repeatedly driven the point that having up-to-date antivirus protection on your machine is a must. Some of you might not want to shell out $70-120 for antivirus services. While the paid services are generally much higher end and better quality than free antivirus programs, even free antivirus is better than no antivirus. Consequently, below is a ranked list based off of my experience on what I think are the 10 best free antivirus programs going into 2018.
While not containing as many features as some of their other antivirus programs, BitDefender’s Free Edition is quick and easy to install while light on it’s resource usage. The Romanian company has a very solid reputation for it’s cyber security work, and is one of the leading brands in the antivirus market. Also check out the 30 day free-trial of their Internet Security.
Avast is another well reputed name in the antivirus game. It’s easy to install, and hassle free. Unlike most other free anti-virus programs, this one is not a trial, remains free and doesn’t pressure you into buying a service or other guilt trips. However, there are a couple of PUP’s that ride on it’s installation, so ensure that you uncheck those boxes while installing. Avast does have a paid service that has more features, such as ransomware protection and sandboxing, that you can try on a 30 day trial for free.
Another highly reputable brand, Avira has been around almost as long as the PC. Since 1986, Avira has been one of the most popular and established brands on the market. The free version of the Avira security platform is great against zero-day attacks and malware, and includes a couple of add-ons that are also free. Their paid product is probably the best on the market for external devices and gaming based threats.
AVG’s Free Antivirus platform is easy to use and designed with user interfacing in mind. Great against theft protection, as well as email attacks, AVG is a solid product. It’s probably the best suite available for those who use their machines for massive multiplayer online gaming since it does a great job of limiting it’s interference in that realm. Be wary of the PUP’s at installation though, AVG has a lot of riders trying to get installed on your machine in that regard.
Panda Free Antivirus is great for those who have machines with few resources to spare. It keeps a low profile in it’s resource absorption, and has a great live-time protection rate. However, it’s reputation gets knocked some for it’s relatively high rate of false-positives compared to other antivirus programs, and it will constantly badger you with popups for it’s full paid service.
Kaspersky is popular with families managing multiple accounts because of it’s strong suite of features including parental control, spam filtering, online protection and firewall security. It also has features that protect you while using online apps, especially ones that are for shopping, or require use of your microphone or camera. Kaspersky also does a great job of managing and blocking popups while not badgering you to upgrade to their paid service. The downside is that the installation only works for 30 days, at which point, you must either upgrade to their paid service antivirus suite, or uninstall and reinstall the free suite.
7.) Comodo Antivirus
Comodo’s free antivirus suite is great for it’s sandboxing, scanning protection, and easy to use interface. The suite is chalk full of features, and the design is smooth and clean. It also is frequently and automatically updated. However, it’s an extremely hands-on and strict program. Comodo will scan and sweep every single program and online interaction for a threat, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it will slow down your processing some.
Sophos is great for web scanning and is quite functional with the traditional protection against viruses. It doesn’t badger you to upgrade or buy more products, and it provides a commercial enterprise level security for your home machine. That being said, in order to install it you still have to register and create an account, which means you’ll be on their email list. Furthermore, their website has quite an amateurish feel to it in my personal opinion.
ZoneAlarm is best known for it’s strong and effective firewall. Basically, with this option, you are downloading this because you need a great firewall. They designed and built the firewall from scratch, whereas their antivirus protection is licensed and repackaged from Kaspersky. Ensure that you are vigilant during the installation process because it’s chalk full with riding PUPs.
10.) 360 Total Security
If you do not have any anti-virus protection, I urge you to choose one of these programs, and install it on your machine ASAP. None of them are going to be as great a product as one that you have to pay for, but using any of these options is better than not having any antivirus protection installed on your machine.