Hello! This post is very helpful for those who don’t like to spend money on anything, even something as important as a security utility for your computer or mobile. I will refer antivirus as AV. So let’s start off.
There are three types of security utilities available in the market commercially:
- Internet security + AV
- Security suite
The first is made available by select companies free of cost, albeit with limitations. The second and third have a varied price tag, depending on various companies.
So, which is free and yet best? None. You will need to see a comprehensive result of AVs. The best resource, arguably, is the security analysis website http://www.av-test.org.
*UPDATE* Also, a good resource is AV Comparatives (www.av-comparatives.org).
The best and free *UPDATED*
Avira, avast! and AVG are often heard of in the market and face a tough competition amongst each other. The better competitors are BitDefender and Comodo.
Comodo is the best here. And it nearly protects you from 100% of zero-day threats. (See its meaning in Top-end Security Suites.) (It is available as Comodo Internet Security 7.)
BitDefender is unconfirmed since its free version is neither tested by AV labs nor claimed by the company that it has the same engine, or even if it provides the same level of protection as its paid counterpart. (It is available as BitDefender Free Antivirus.)
Avira is one of the best yet complained of reporting a lot of false positives.
AVG is surprisingly a comprehensive free AV that comes with a toolbar to detect infected websites. This is a feature found in mid-end internet security AVs and top-end security suites only. But a better alternative, Web Of Trust (WOT) (see below) is available as browser add-on. But its virus definitions are just not enough to stop USB flash drive attacks.
avast! was a bit weaker AV than Avira earlier but has improved in the years by leaps and bounds. It reports genuine viruses only, though it does not come with a toolbar like that of AVG.
So avast! is a better than both but needs to have a toolbar like AVG to prevent users from opening malicious websites that install dangerous worms and ransomware.
I need to explain you what ransomware is. It locks your entire hard drive data and asks for money within some hours, else your data is tossed away into the void. So install avast!, along with some other tools:
- Cleanup (stevengould.org)
- Trend Micro Sysclean Package (trendmicro.com)
- Spybot Search and Destroy (safer-networking.org)
- Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (malwarebytes.org)
- Kaspersky TDSSKiller (http://usa.kaspersky.com/downloads/TDSSKiller)
- Gmer rootkit scanner (gmer.org)
- Web Of Trust add-on (www.mywot.com)
- Comodo Internet Security web browser (http://www.comodo.com/home/browsers-toolbars/browser.php)
Note: Go through their user manuals and/or documentations to know their each and every functioning.
Mid-end Internet Security AVs
Here, Kaspersky Internet Security is one of the cheapest but unarguably the best AV. It hardly bogs down a PC, contrary to some reviewers and commenters. Bitdefender Internet Security is optimised yet bit more expensive. Choice is yours.
Top-end Security Suites
Here, it is a triangular contest between Bitdefender Security Suite, Kaspersky PURE 3.0 and Norton 360. Kaspersky is the best in warding off zero-day threats and other viruses, which its first priority should be. Bitdefender, on the other hand, is bit weaker on zero-day threats but has some tune-up utilities embedded in it, though Kaspersky and Norton both have such kind of utilities in them. Norton 360 is placed at third position due to lack of virus definitions and incapability of tackling zero-day threats.
It is my duty to tell you what zero-day threats are. They are dangerous threats for which not many ways have been found by security labs to tackle, and hence provide an easy path to destroy your data, and system files. Kaspersky leads here.
Kaspersky Mobile Security is nice here. But there is less need for paid ones here. Free is good enough in this space.
Antiy AVL is the best. Kaspersky is at number two. Avira is very slightly weaker than avast!, which is at number 3. Choice is yours.
Put any questions as comments. See ya later.