They used to be quite expensive products, but times change and today you can count on decent protection for your computer without paying anything. Here we update our list of the best free antivirus for PC , choose one and take care of your computer at zero cost.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free
Malwarebytes offers some of the best and most comprehensive virus removal programs available, making it a first-time source for tech agencies and support groups alike.
The only caveat with the free version of Malwarebytes is that it’s more of a remediation tool than an active protection shield. The scan tool will find and remove whatever is necessary, once your machine is infected, it will do it right, but it doesn’t prevent the infection from happening. For that, you need the premium version or another of the tools on this list. However, as a second layer of defense, Malwarebytes’ free version is very good.
In addition, the software has a free extension (Browser Guard) for Chrome, Edge and Firefox, which offers web protections such as blocking third-party ads, web pages that have malware and online fraud.
Avast Free Antivirus
In terms of basic protection, Avast is one of the best antivirus available. It received the maximum score in the AV Test protection test. The latest free Avast antivirus suite is downright impressive. In addition to the usual protection against viruses and malware, it includes anti- rootkit and anti- spyware capabilities.
The software comes with a host of customizable options that you can toggle on installation, including protecting your Android devices through Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus. Avast version 2021 goes above and beyond when it comes to making you feel confident using the program. On installation, a very clear breakdown shows exactly how Avast uses your private information.
The company fights potential malware attacks by initiating scans before an unknown file is opened, preventing it from opening if it detects any red flags. The software is good for protecting your PC while online as it blocks malicious URLs and stops automated downloads. It also includes a Do Not Disturb mode that completely silences alerts and pop-ups while you’re watching a movie or enjoying your favorite video game.
That said, it was recently reported that Avast also collects its customers’ web browsing data (including Google searches, LinkedIn page views, and XXX sites) and sells that information through its parent company Jumpshot.
In a 2019 report, Avast does not deny that it collects and sells user data, but according to Cnet , it does not collect “personally identifiable information, including name, email address, or contact information” and provides users the ability to not to share that data.
With the free program you will miss out on some features exclusive to the premium package, including automatic scans and updates. Those who want such upgrades will need to opt for a subscription plan, which is about $40 for a Windows PC or Mac for the first year, and $70 per year after that. Still, the free version will keep you well protected.
Avast also offers another new security suite: Avast One. There are three versions of it: Avast One Essential (the free one) and the premium versions (Avast One Individual and Avast One Family). Avast One Individual offers more protection and performance features than the free software, and it’s free too. Features include a firewall , a VPN, and tools to speed up your PC.
AVG Antivirus Free
AVG has two big advantages. First, it has an impressively wide range: the software will not only scan for viruses and malware , but will also help block suspicious links, prevent rogue downloads, and the use of potentially infected attachments. That makes the app a better option for a family or older users on a budget.
The second benefit is its affinity with Google platforms: it has one of the best downloads on Android, and it works well on Chrome too. In addition to its antivirus features, the Android version of the software also has a phone tracker, which allows you to track the location of your phone, remotely lock it, enable an alarm to go off, and even wipe your mobile device so your information doesn’t expose it to identity thieves or someone you don’t want to see your personal data.
ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus
ZoneAlarm provides firewall and antivirus scanning, but goes a step further by tackling two growing security issues: identity theft and data loss. Theft is prevented by daily credit monitoring tools and a “credit education specialist” to help you resolve any alerts or issues.
ZoneAlarm also offers its own cloud backup service to back up your data and encrypt it for online protection. If you still do not have a service that helps you protect your identity and data, this could be the option you need.
If you choose to download this free software you have to know three things: you will receive the beta version, the free license to use it lasts about a year, and most importantly, if you try to uninstall it afterwards you may have problems doing so since some features such as its extension browsers are not necessarily removed during the installation process and can be difficult to disable.
Kaspersky Security Cloud
Kaspersky Security Cloud is simply a version of its security software that syncs via the cloud across all your devices so you can manage everything from mobile phones to desktop computers at once.
The cloud also makes it easier to keep all your security software up to date and send alerts to your device so you always know what’s going on. Although it’s a bit tricky to find, Kaspersky offers a free version of the antivirus. However, it is very limited. You will have protection against malware and antivirus threats including ransomware and Trojans.
You will also have (restricted) access to features like a VPN or password storage for up to 15 passwords in an “online safe vault”.
Avira Free Antivirus
Avira’s optimized free antivirus is one of the best options for getting exactly the security features you want without unnecessary extras or annoying software installation. Download options are available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, and the Mac/iOS compatibility is particularly good, making it a solid choice for Apple users.
The free version of Avira comes with virus scanning and blocking, infected file repair, real-time updates, potentially unwanted application shield, ad blocker and tracking blocker. You can even use Avira to scan external storage devices like an external hard drive.
The Pro version costs $45 per year and comes with email protection (Windows only), additional protection against ransomware, and online shopping and banking.
How do you know which is the ideal free antivirus for you?
It all depends on your security needs. Some free antiviruses only focus on detecting or removing malware , but others may offer more protection in the form of anti-phishing and ad-blocking features. If you frequently surf the web or download email attachments, you may want to consider antivirus options that offer web and email protection. If you want to monitor and protect all your devices (mobile and PC) with the same program, you should choose antivirus software that is available on all platforms used by your devices.