There's freeware antivirus software and then there's the best free anti virus software. What's the difference? Much of the freeware stuff will do an okay job... but then there is free anti-virus software that will hold its own against even the better performing paid antivirus programs! So, let's just look at the best!.
Well, little known to the general consumer are the Independent Certification and Testing organizations, which put groups of security software through rigorous testing procedures and report on the results. By analyzing these reports, it is clear which products are at the top in detection and removal of malware!
So, here, we'll talk about which freeware antivirus software is consistently at the top of these independent organizations.First off we'll look at,
Not having support isn't going to be a problem for most of us; however, the lower frequency of antivirus updates can lower our protection.
When there are over 4,500 new threats each day, you need to have protection against them as soon as they are identified. Many top, pay antivirus software providers update these new signatures on an hourly basis, whereas freeware antivirus software will be every 24 hours or longer!
The Testing and Certification bodies used are covered in some detail in my article Learn About Independent Security Testing Organizations and The Top Antivirus
In summary, I've used....
Test data is only available for three freeware antivirus software programs. Fortunately, they are well-known brands from top security developers...
The scores from AV-Test were 5.5/4.0/5.0 (out of 6.0)
The software was not tested by AV-Comparatives.
Here's what you get...
ZoneAlarm uses the Kaspersky Antivirus/Anti-Spyware Engine and will explain why it performs so highly, detecting and blocking viruses, spyware, Trojan horses, worms, bots, and rootkits.
The great part is that ZoneAlarm also offer the free AV with a two-way Advanced Firewall, which also monitors programs for suspicious behavior. There is no support and updates are every 24 hours, rather than hourly.
This package offers functionality like a Security Suite and really is a serious contender to the pay-for equivalents.
The scores from AV-Test were 5.0/4.0/5.0, which is good, with a slightly lower Protection than ZoneAlarm.
AV-Comparatives ranked this freeware about average (e.g. for malware removal, a score of 59 versus Kaspersky at the top with 94).
The software blocks viruses and spyware and there is some remote assistance. This is powered by avast's own engine and is usually updated twice per day.
Most of us would expect this to be number 1 of the free antiviruses because it is the most prevalent -- and we all get those emails telling us at the bottom that the email has been scanned by AVG!
However, in all respects, this is not the best free anti virus software...
The scores from AV-Test were 4.5/3.5/4.5 -- lower than both ZoneAlarm and avast!
The scores from AV-Test were about average (but poor for file detection).
Some of its features are...