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Free Anti-Virus Software

 

Free Anti-Virus Software

There are three equal recommendations in this category. First there is AVG Antivirus 7 Free Edition. This product [1] has been continuously refined since it was first released in 1991 and the recently released V7.5 makes further improvements to an already solid product. Additionally, it's relatively small, light on resources, has regular automatic updates and handles email scanning. There is a free and a pro version, the only difference being that the free version has a few non-critical features disabled and has no direct technical support.

Equally effective is the free Avast! scanner [2] though its funky media player style interface is not to everyone's taste. Avast! also required periodic re-registration while AVG does not. However Avast! does not seem to suffer the signature file update problems that plague some AVG users.

My third choice is the AOL Anti Virus Shield [3]. This is a cut down version of the top rated Kaspersky AV and is being made available for free to all uses not just AOL members.

On first sight it seems like an unbeatable deal but it's not quite what it seems. This really is a "lite" version. It lacks the important html and heuristics modules present in the full Kaspersky product so the protection afforded against hostile web sites is actually inferior to AVG and Avast!. Gone, too, is the ability to create rescue disks and to fully manage the quarantine area. The configuration options are also more limited.

That said, AOL Anti Virus Shield still offers more powerful malware detection than AVG and Avast! . It does however need to be augmented by other products to improve protection again hostile sites and zero-day threats. Possible candidates would be a sandbox for surfing (see section 4) and an anti-spyware product with strong real time protection (see section 3).

Both AVG and Avast! are excellent free products that will meet the needs of most users. However neither offers the best malware detection available. That title belongs to commercial products like NOD32, F-Secure, the full version of Kaspersky AV and others. They are however capable packages and offers the financially challenged a real alternative to the major anti-virus suites.

However if you use these free products in conjunction with a free on-demand scanner, you can achieve a level of detection approaching that of the best commercial products. Further improvement is possible by creating a layered defense using additional free security products such as AVG Anti-Spyware (formerly Ewido).

On-demand scans should be run regularly, at least weekly, to check for viruses and other malware that may have been missed by your main scanner.

If you don't use AOL AVS as your main AV product then this should be your the top choice as an on-demand scanner as its detection is outstanding. You should though, disable the AOL AVS real time monitor otherwise you may run into conflicts with the monitor on your primary AV product.

Another top recommendation for an on-demand scanner is AntiVir Personal Edition Classic [4]. It offers significantly better detection rates than either AVG or Avast! but the lack of email scanning precludes recommendation as a primary scanner. However as an on-demand scanner, it's first rate. If you use it in this role, make sure you disable its resident virus guard during installation to prevent it interfering with your main AV scanner. Even so , it's quite an intrusive product -you will certainly be well aware of its presence. Note that the recently released V7 unfortunately introduces a time limited license though apparently this will be renewable.

Yet another good option for on-demand scanning is the free version of the commercial AV product BitDefender [5]. It's a first class product with outstanding detection rates but as the free version lacks an email scanner and a resident virus guard, it's only really suited for use as an on-demand scanner rather than your main AV product. There are some other limitations as well. First it has an annoying habit of detecting malware products that have been quarantined by other security products and you can't exclude these areas from subsequent scans. Secondly, it is only available on a one year non-renewable license.

 

 

[1] http://free.grisoft.com/freeweb.php/doc/2/ (16.0MB)
[2] http://www.avast.com/eng/avast_4_home.html   (8.8MB)
[3] http://www.activevirusshield.com/antivirus/freeav/index.adp? (13.9MB)
[4] http://www.free-av.com  (8.7MB)
[5] http://www.bitdefender.com/PRODUCT-14-en--BitDefender-8-Free-Edition.html (13.2MB)

 

Comments   

 
0 #1 Shayna 2017-04-14 10:47
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