A virus protection software is essential in providing security for your computer against viruses, trojans and spyware. Without this security, your computer will be at risk of being infected by files containing viruses or hacked by evil-minded people. Although total security is not guaranteed, a reliable antivirus software can keep your computer protected from most direct attacks.
A lot of people pay for their antivirus software. However, you can enjoy the same protection for free using these top 10 free virus protection software:
UnThreat Antivirus is a virus protection software which requires at least 512 MB of memory and 100 MB of disk space available to install.
Pros: Protects your computer in real time. It scans your email for spam mails and phishing scams, and stops them before they can cause harm or damage.
Cons: Because it is free, UnThreat Free Basic Antivirus has no built-in firewall protection and other features its premium version has.
Windows Defender is Microsoft’s own virus protection software. It is normally already installed on Windows 8 computers, replacing Microsoft Essentials. Since this is a new antivirus program for Windows, it still has a big room for improvement.
Pros: Has a quick scan feature, scans your computer for threats quickly.
Cons: Weak in detecting zero-day threats. In a test conducted by AV-test.org in January 2013, it only detected 82 percent of threats against the industry standard of 95 percent.
The Avira Free Antivirus is an award-winning free virus protection software. It received the Advanced+ distinction given by AV Comparatives, an Austrian-based antivirus test lab.
Pros: Easy to use and can give your computer real-time protection. It can block online snoops, adware programs, and other threats. It also serves as a website safety advisor by clearing search results’ safety ratings.
Cons : Configuration needed on your computer after installation and some settings may not be clear for novice users.
Named as the Best Security Software for the home user category from January to February 2013, the Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is worth a try. The minimum system requirement to install this software is 512 MB of memory or RAM and 700 MB of available disk space.
Pros: Easy to set up and configure. It scans your computer at boot time to ensure virus protection as early as system startup. Also offers strong protection against phishing.
Cons: One major issue about this free antivirus software is that it will not tell you what files have been detected as threats and what threats have been deleted.
The Comodo version 6.3 is an easy-to-install antivirus software. It promises to detect threats that other antivirus programs assume to be safe.
Pros: Effective in detecting unknown threats. Its technology assume that all unknown files are threats.
Cons: It has a file size of more than 200 MB and is a bit heavy for computers with only 512 MB of RAM.
Another reliable free virus protection software is the cloud-based Kingsoft Antivirus. It can work as a stand-alone or along other antivirus software.
Pros: Keeps an eye on malware and other threats while downloading files, chatting, opening links, and doing other online activities.
Cons: Scan speed is a bit slow compared to other free antivirus programs such as Avast or Avira.
Avast is one of the most-installed free virus protection software. It can protect your files, instant messages, emails, and your entire computer system from threats on the Internet.
Pros: Has a heuristic engine which detects viruses and malware that are previously unknown.
Cons: It may block valid programs. Its protection against phishing is also weak.
In the January and February virus test by AV-Test.org, AVG Antivirus detected 99 percent of all threats. Ninety-nine percent is also the industry standard for virus protection software, including free and premium versions.
Pros: Fully functional virus protection software that scans links, emails, and other files that may harm your system. It contains some features that are only available in premium antivirus versions such as scheduled scanning option and updating.
Cons: Difficult to install on infested computer system. It also requires manual cleanup of many threats.
2. Zone Alarm
Another free virus protection software that scored high in the AV-Test.org is Zone Alarm Antivirus. This program can detect 99 to 100 percent of known threats from the Internet.
Pros: Integrates antivirus and firewall protection in one virus protection software.
Cons: Based on the same test by AV-test.org, it can only detect up to 93 percent of zero-day threats, which is lower than the industry standard of 95 percent.
1. Panda Cloud
Panda Cloud is a lightweight cloud-based virus protection software. It can detect malware, virus, Trojans and other known threats. In the January to February test by AV-test.org, it was able to detect 100 percent of known threats.
Pros: Because it is cloud-based, it will not significantly slow down your system even while scanning.
Cons: Without the Internet, this virus protection software is not as effective as others. It is also weak in protecting you from phishing.
All the virus protection software included in this list can be installed on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 machines.
Are you using another free virus protection software that is not included in this list? Feel free to add it in your comments.