In today’s world having anti-virus software is not optional. A good anti-virus software will perform real-time and on-demand virus (See my another post: Top 10 worst computer viruses) checks on your system, and warn you if it detects a virus. The program should also provide a way for you to update its virus definitions, or signatures; so that your virus protection will be current (new viruses are discovered all the time). It is important that you keep your virus definitions as current as possible.
Antivirus software provides an essential layer of protection from a multitude of virus, trojan, worm, spyware, adware, dialer, keylogger and rootkit infections. Traditionally antivirus softwares just detected virus and spyware removers just detected spyware but nowadays the boundaries between antivirus and spyware removers are unclear. Most current antivirus have at least reasonably good detection rates of all forms of malware.
Pay for antivirus softwares from the biggies Symantec/Norton or Mcafee and it’ll cost roughly £50 per year. Yet you can also take advantage of a variety of decent free softwares, I looked at several free antivirus softwares which are vital in protecting your computer from virus threats and other types of malware.
1. Avira AntiVir Personal – FREE Antivirus
Avira AntiVir Personal is a comprehensive, easy to use antivirus software, designed to offer reliable free of charge virus protection to home-users, for personal use only, and is not for business or commercial use. Available for Windows or UNIX.
// The best free antivirus program, outstanding detection of malware, light on resources
// Quite a few false positives, occasional update problems, advertisements with each update, no e-mail scanning
– Read more about Avira AntiVir Personal
– Free Download Avira Antivir Personal From Download.com
2. Avast! Home Edition
// Good for silent security, full real-time capabilities, fairly light on resources
// Detection rates lower than AntiVir, many false positives, confusing interface
– Read more about Avast! Home Edition
– Free Download Avast! Home Edition
3. AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition
// Good for silent security, least amount of false positives, e-mail scanning capabilities
// Detection rates lower than AntiVir, limited antirootkit, heavy on resources, installs toolbar by default, advertisements
– Read more about AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition
– Free Download AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition From Download.com
These three free antivirus softwares are excellent free antivirus programs that provides a real alternative to the major commerical antivirus software.
You can increase your protection if you run on demand scans with another antivirus. On demand scans can be run regularly to check for virus, trojan, worm, spyware, adware, keylogger, rootkit and other malware that may have been missed by your main antivirus scanner. If you have a good preventive security strategy in place, however, the extra protection an on demand antivius scanner offers is minimal.
You can also use one of the free antivirus programs mentioned above as an on-demand antivirus scanner. One advantage is that you can set scheduled scans if you wish.