One of the most important things a computer user can do is make sure their machine has proper security. Connecting to the Internet exposes machines to worms, trojans, spyware and rootkits as well as thousands of viruses. The best way to combat these threats is through the use of antivirus software. The following five programs have been found to work very well and are absolutely free.
Avast has been a popular choice among computer users for many years due to its excellent detection rates and its ability to scan for threats on the Internet, in email, in instant messages and on file-sharing networks. The newest version includes sandboxing, although utilizing this feature may be challenging for the average user. Avast is easy on system resources, which makes it a cut above other antivirus programs.
This program has a simple interface that is easy for users to understand. It also offers automatic removal of viruses and malware, along with instant virus definition updates from the cloud. Panda Cloud also features a behavior blocker, which adds an extra layer of security to the computer. Behavior blocking is the wave of the future for AV software and involves monitoring for harmful changes within the system, including startup settings, file modification, disk formatting and network connections.
Avira is one of the best antivirus scanners around and is especially useful to high-risk Internet users. It offers automatic updating and quick action on threats. Although the free version does not offer live email scanning like other AV software, it will still act quickly if an infected email is opened. It should be noted that the free version of this software is ad-supported.
This program offers an entire Internet security suite for free. Easy to install with good detection rates, Comodo features a strong firewall along with antivirus protection. Scanning is fast and customizable, and automated update features make sure the user’s machine is protected from the latest security threats. Like Avast, Comodo has a simple interface and does not bog down system resources.
Microsoft Security Essentials
MSE comes built-in with Windows systems and is an excellent choice for those who want simplicity and do not want to be bothered with searching for effective protection. The program has a very good rate of detection for both viruses and malware, and it is efficient at removing both. It will update itself automatically and run quietly in the background without bogging the computer down. While the user does not have to register the program, it does require that the copy of Windows be validated. The one drawback is that MSE is not available in all countries.
As long as there is an Internet, there will always be malware and virus threats. Using one or a combination of the programs outlined above can help users avoid being hacked or having their machines compromised. No one should ever use the web without proper security measures in place.