Free antiviruses for PC and their reliability

Protecting your computer from external threats is one of the priority tasks of any user, therefore, after installing the operating system, many rush to install antivirus software. If you don’t want to overpay for additional protection, then you can use the help of free antivirus software for your PC. In most cases, they are great for consumer computers.

Free antiviruses: how do they exist?
Many users will ask a logical question – antivirus is complex software, the work of which is provided by a staff of different specialists. So how can it exist without any profit for its creators? Monetizing such products is done in two main ways.

The first is inline ads. In many free antiviruses, you will find a wide variety of advertising banners immediately after launching. Viewing these offers will be your payment for using the antivirus. Developers, in turn, receive royalties from advertisers. This approach can be so aggressive that some free antivirus programs can install their own browser add-ons that will insert ad content.

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The second is the provision of full functionality for an additional fee. The basic version usually has minimal features, for example, exclusively scanning PC files. For an additional fee, developers can offer phishing protection, password wizards, and other advanced features. At the same time, the subscription to all this is usually provided only for a certain period, which forces it to be regularly renewed.

Free antivirus software is not always distinguished by data confidentiality.

This means that the software is able to track your movements across the web and collect statistics for advertisers. Some products are also not well-optimized, which can put a heavy load on the processor, hard drive, or RAM of your computer.

AVG AntiVirus Free
Operating systems: Windows , MacOS

It should be noted here that AVG AntiVirus Free is a free version of a paid product called AVG Internet Security. The latter is one of the best antiviruses, so the free version of AVG proves itself worthy. According to recent tests, AVG AntiVirus Free detected 99.7% of viruses in the standard test.

In addition to standard malware scanning, the free version also includes the following features:

file protection – scanning when opening documents and when connecting removable media.
warning about suspicious behavior of various programs;
web protection – blocking attacks and potentially dangerous downloads;
email protection with scanning of all attachments in emails and searching for threats;
protection against ransomware with multiple modes of operation.
The basic version offers almost comprehensive functionality, which is enough to effectively protect your home PC. Also, the software practically does not load the system and performs deep scanning in 40-60 minutes (scanning up to 800 thousand files).

AVG AntiVirus Free has no ads, so some of the features are paid. Among them: improved Firewall , password manager, blocking of third-party remote connections, protection of confidential data, payments and webcams from surveillance. These features are unlocked by the Premium plan for $ 1.99 per month. A trial period of 60 days is available.

AVG AntiVirus Free has become one of the best free solutions if it weren’t for the 2020 scandal . The parent company of this antivirus, Avast, was caught selling users’ personal data. It is likely that AVG Free is still aggressively collecting statistics on all user activities.

The analogue of this antivirus is Avast Free . AVG is a subsidiary of Avast, so from the point of view of the effectiveness of computer protection, these free antiviruses have an absolutely identical set of tools. Like AVG, Avast has a free full version available for a period of 30 days.

Avira Free Security
Operating systems: Windows

Avira, similar to its competitors, also offers a completely free antivirus download. The last major tests of this version date back to 2020. In them, Avira Free Security shows an average threat detection rate of 89-91%, which is a relatively small result. Although, many will find useful compensation in an impressive toolbox.

The anti-virus has an intuitive interface, and all settings are conveniently distributed between three main sections:

Security. From this section, you can run a virus scan all over your PC, see which files have been quarantined – a special isolated folder for viruses. In the same block, you can change the firewall profiles – what they are and why you need them.
Privacy. The section includes setting up blocking of tracking and advertising in browsers (for Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera), password manager, privacy settings with restriction of data transfer from Microsoft services. There is a built-in VPN, but with a traffic limit of 500 MB per month.
Performance. There are power consumption control points (relevant for laptops), a driver update module (allows you to check the relevance of a driver) and a means of finding duplicate files on a PC. The latter will be useful if you need to free up additional disk space.
The free version does not include features such as email protection, protection against viruses while surfing the Internet, and ransomware. Missing web protection won’t warn you if you go to potentially dangerous sites.

The antivirus regularly offers to switch to one of the paid versions, the cost of which varies from 4.95 to 6.95 euros per month, depending on the set of functions. There is a trial version with all functionality for 60 days.

Avira Free Security offers many useful features, including VPN, but it loses to other free solutions in terms of protection against Internet threats. The application also loads the system quite heavily – the antivirus can consume up to 600 MB of RAM.

The complete product called Comodo Internet Security offers one of the highest levels of reliability. The free version of Comodo Free Antivirus is not inferior in this indicator, and also offers a lot of useful and even exclusive features.

Comodo has several types of scans. There is no protection for email or phishing sites, but instead the software offers different functionality.

First, the antivirus allows you to run applications in a sandbox. This is a specially isolated area. The launched user program is placed in a container – a file into which the application is packed with all the dependencies necessary for its operation: code, launch environment, system tools, libraries and settings.

Since the application only runs inside the container, it is unable to use or damage system files outside of the container, which ensures the safety of the operating system and antivirus components. In parallel, you can create a fully virtual desktop with keylogger protection that can secretly read the keys you press.

Secondly, Comodo Free has HIPS, an Intrusion Prevention System. This is a proactive system- it does not search for already infected files, but prevents them from being infected. You can set rules for each individual application: what actions it can perform and what not. HIPS is not only capable of efficiently detecting intrusions, but also learns by observing user actions.

For example, if some messenger or other software tries to launch an unidentified program through itself, HIPS will prevent this and notify the user.

In Comodo Free Antivirus, you’ll also find an event log, an emergency cleanup disk creation (a bootable OS with recovery tools is created), and even an internal task manager. In terms of its functionality, this antivirus bypasses almost all other free solutions. At the same time, the software does not load the system and consumes on average up to 100 MB of RAM.

However, there are also a number of downsides. First, a proprietary browser is installed along with the antivirus, and it is impossible to cancel its installation. Secondly, Comodo Free Antivirus is more suitable for advanced users, since its configuration has a lot of nuances, especially if you want to use HIPS.

The upgrade to the full version costs $ 30 and includes spyware scanning, secure online shopping, firewall and more.

360 Total Security
Operating systems: Windows , MacOS

Unlike its competitors, this antivirus offers interesting features. 360 Total Security can use three virus scan engines at once, each with its own database – QVM II AI, QEX and the proprietary KunPeng from the antivirus developers. Users can run full, quick, or spot checks.

Internet protection involves checking for the danger of downloaded files, blocking suspicious sites and protecting against viruses that try to get your banking information during online shopping. It also provides an analysis of connected drives and an analysis of the state of the registry.

360 Total Security offers a sandbox mode similar to Comodo, which is an isolated environment in which you can run suspicious programs and evaluate their security.