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Your antivirus should certainly have the ability to root out existing malware, but its ongoing task is to prevent ransomware, botnets, Trojans, and other types of nasty programs from getting a foothold. All the free antivirus programs we've selected here offer real-time malware protection. Some take the fight to the browser, working to ensure you never even browse to a malware-hosting site or get fooled into turning over your credentials to a phishing site.
Avast has been supplying antivirus protection for as long as there's been an antivirus industry. With Avast One Essential you get award-winning antivirus protection for free, and much more besides. All four of the independent testing labs we follow include Avast in their reporting, and it aces almost every test. It also takes high scores in our own hands-on testing. Other protective services include a permission-based ransomware protection system, a basic firewall, and a bandwidth-limited VPN.
Many free antivirus utilities work only on the Windows platform. Avast has varying degrees of protection for macOS, Android, and iOS. Its macOS edition earns high scores from the labs, and its ransomware protection, browser trace cleanup, and VPN work just as they do on Windows. On Android you get antivirus, VPN, junk cleanup, and privacy protection, among other features, though anti-theft is noticeably absent. As is common, protection under iOS is limited, but it does include VPN, filtering fraudulent and malicious websites, and extra protection for your photos.
If you spring for the commercial antivirus, you get vastly more features, more features than found in some security suite products. Among these are a basic password management system, a hardened desktop for secure browsing, a Rescue Environment to recover from malware that disables Windows, and a Wi-Fi security analyzer. None of these come for free.
Kaspersky Free is the free anchor for the new Kaspersky line; the not-free Kaspersky Standard, Plus, and Premium all build on the same antivirus engine. Kaspersky's antivirus prowess generally awes the independent testing labs, who routinely assign it perfect or near-perfect ratings. Unfortunately, we can't recommend it anymore. Here's why.
If free antivirus tools are so good, why should anybody pay For one thing, many of these products are free only for noncommercial use. If you want to protect your business, you must pony up for the paid edition. At that point, you should probably consider upgrading to a full security suite. After all, it's your business's security on the line.
Since we use the same samples month after month, the malware-blocking test doesn't measure a product's ability to detect brand-new threats. In a separate test, we attempt to download malware from 100 very new malicious URLs supplied by London-based testing lab MRG-Effitas(Opens in a new window), typically less than a few days old. We note whether the antivirus blocked all access to the URL, wiped out the malicious payload during download, or did nothing.
Any antivirus should eliminate spyware along with other types of malware, but some products include features designed specifically for spyware protection. Features like encryption to protect your sensitive data and webcam control to prevent remote peeping typically show up in commercial products, not free ones. But some free products include features like a simple on-screen keyboard to foil keyloggers.
One easy way to keep your PC protected is to install all security updates, both for Windows and for browsers and other popular applications. Windows 11 makes it easier than ever to stay up to date, but there are plenty of security holes in older Windows versions, in popular apps, and in add-ons. Scanning for vulnerabilities in the form of missing updates is a feature most often found in commercial antivirus products, but it does turn up in some free ones. In the list below you can see which products include these useful features.
Numerous free utilities devoted entirely to ransomware protection have come on the scene in the last few years. Alas, many of those have fallen by the wayside, among them Bitdefender Anti-Ransomware, Cybereason RansomFree, CyberSight RansomStopper, and Heilig Defense RansomOff. In any case, these are useful companion products, but they don't do the job of a full-scale antivirus utility.
There are also numerous free antivirus utilities that work solely to clean up existing malware infestations. You bring out these cleanup-only tools when you have a nasty malware problem. When the malware's gone, they have no further use since they offer no ongoing protection. Our favorite in this category is Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, and it's one you should try if you've got a malware problem. But since they're free, you can keep trying others if the first one doesn't do the job. When the scare is over, you'll need a full-blown antivirus for ongoing protection.
Avast One Essential takes the place once held by Avast Free Antivirus as Editors' Choice for free antivirus utility. It appears in lab reports from all four labs we follow with almost universally perfect scores, and it includes many suite-level features. If you do have a little cash in your budget for security, the best paid antivirus software does offer more and better protection. If not, try a few of these free tools and see which one you like best.
Avast was developed in Prague and has over 435 million users worldwide. As of April 2020, it was the second-largest antivirus software company in the world. Avast is dedicated to creating a safe and private world through the products it offers. Furthermore, it receives a constant stream of data from its users through a cloud-based machine-learning engine, helping the software stay up to date.
Avast offers a free version and three paid options. The free version may entice customers to upgrade to the paid version if they are happy with the services. Unlike other antivirus software products, Avast offers distinct packages for Windows and Mac operating systems.
The most recent Real-World Protection Test report from AV-Comparatives is from February 2020 to May 2020. This test finds out how effective antivirus software is at protecting the computer against a malware threat while accessing the internet. TotalAV received a 98.5 percent protection score, with Avast scoring 99.7 percent.
In 2021, PC Magazine gave Avast Free Antivirus software an overall score of 4 out of 5 and gave AVG, which was purchased by Avast in 2016, a score of 4, plus "AVG AntiVirus Free offers precisely the same virus protection engine as Avast Free Antivirus, but it lacks the impressive collection of additional features you get with Avast." In tests conducted by the AV-TEST Institute in August 2021, Avast and AVG received six out of six points for protection and usability, and six out of six points for performance. A review in Tom's Guide says that the free Avast antivirus product has "good protection against malware" and takes up little space on the system. The review says that Avast has a competitive set of features for a free antivirus product, but the scans are sometimes not very fast.
Bitdefender Antivirus Free is a free antivirus software especially designed to protect your Windows PC. Quick to install and light on computer resources, it is good for gaming, image and video editing, and resource-intensive applications.
avast! Free Antivirus is the latest update to the popular free version of the Avast suite of AntiVirus products.Avast Anti-Virus is the perfect antivirus solution for those that surf the web and send emails. It's optimized for Internet Explorer 9 [and IE8] with Scriptshield. The team has added new advanced capabilities not normally seen in anti-virus software and exceeds expectations for a free solution and infact for professional paid solutions.Avast can scan directly from the command line prompt, includes both Antivirus and Anti-spyware, includes a Boot-time scanner and can also scan files in real-time.Another standard feature is auto-sandbox which the program will automatically send malicious and/or suspicious files.This newest version sports a brand new interface and was rated by AV-Comparatives.org as a 5.0 for speed, faster than the other top 20 antivirus programs tested, hands down!Features of Avast Free AntivirusAnti-spam: Blocks unwanted emails. Browser Cleanup: Removes unwanted toolbars, add-ons and extensions. CyberCapture: Automatically sends suspicious files for analysis in the cloud and pushes a cure to all Avast users if it's a threat. Data Shredder: Permanently deletes sensitive files to prevent recovery. Do Not Track: Blocks online tracking. Game Mode: Suspends unnecessary notifications during games and movies. Home Network Security: Scans your network for vulnerabilities. Password Manager: Stores and encrypts passwords for easy access when needed. Real-time protection: Detects and blocks viruses, malware, ransomware, spyware and phishing. Rescue Disk: Creates an emergency USB drive to boot and clean your PC. SafeZone Browser: Provides a secure and isolated environment for online shopping and banking. Sandbox: Test suspicious files in an isolated environment before running them on your PC. SecureDNS: Protects against malicious websites. Smart Scan: Quickly identifies weak spots and performance issues. Wi-Fi Inspector: Automatically detects weaknesses in your home Wi-Fi and strangers piggybacking on your network. Compatibility and LicenseAvast Free Antivirus is a freeware, but ad-supported application available on Windows from antivirus. You may encounter different types of ads or offers when running and installing this program. Though ads might be present, download and installation of this PC software is free and 23.2.6053 is the latest version last time we checked. 59ce067264