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The best free antivirus for 2020: Keep your PC safe without spending a dime - PCWorld

The best free antivirus for 2020: Keep your PC safe without spending a dime - PCWorld


The best free antivirus for 2020: Keep your PC safe without spending a dime - PCWorld

Posted: 19 Feb 2020 12:00 AM PST

We spend a lot of time looking at the best paid antivirus suites on this site, but we don't spend a lot of time talking about free antivirus solutions. Part of the reason is that the free versions are based on their paid counterparts.

If you see a paid version you like that offers a free version, you can safely assume the antivirus protection level is similar, save for any specific malware types the free version doesn't cover.

To create this list of the top free AV programs we looked at the top mainstream antivirus suites for Windows 10  and selected the ones that offer a free version, as not all of them do. After that, we looked at how well these suites performed in third-party detection tests. We also made sure they weren't resource hogs, because the last thing you want is a piece of free software slowing down your PC while running in the background.

In the end, our selection came down to these five antivirus suites.

Avast Free Antivirus

avastfree IDG

Avast Premier is a very highly rated antivirus program. With the free version of this suite you can run all the various virus scans. Most of the key Avast protections are also available, such as scanning new files added to your system, watching for malicious behavior from installed programs, a web browsing shield, and an email shield.

Avast Free even allows you to inspect your network and see the devices currently connected to your home router. Plus Avast's password manager is available for free.

What you don't get for free is the phishing protection, the sandbox to separate suspicious files from your system, the Avast firewall, and the ransomware protection.

Avast is surprisingly useful in its free version and is one of the most flexible options around.

How to remove malware or a virus from your Windows 10 PC - Android Central

Posted: 05 Jun 2020 11:10 AM PDT

Most Windows 10 computers come with Windows Defender installed and running in the background. It keeps the vast majority of viruses or malware from ever having a chance to infect your PC. It is possible, however, that a PC might not have been properly updated or may have had inadequate protection installed. Whatever the reason, you still have some options to scan your PC clean up your Windows 10 PC manually.

Products used in this guide

You need antivirus software

To get your PC cleaned up, you'll need to get an antivirus program installed and running and perform a scan. For most people, enabling Windows Defender and running an offline scan will be able to take care of any threats. Still, if you have a particularly stubborn infection, you may need to start your PC in safe mode. For most people, making sure Windows Defender is set up at its default settings with automatic updates will be enough.

How to scan your PC with Windows Defender

Most of the time, Windows Defender will neutralize threats before they ever become a problem. If this is the case, you can see past threat reports in the Windows Security app.

Open Windows Security

  1. Open Windows Settings. The easiest way is to click the start button and then the gear icon. Alternately, you can press the Windows key + i on your keyboard.
  2. Click on Update & Security
  3. From here, you can see if your PC has any updates available under the Windows Update tab. This is also where you will see definition updates for Windows Defender if they are available.
  4. Select Windows Security and then click the button at the top of the page labeled Open Windows Security.
  5. Select Virus & threat protection

If you want to save some time or your start menu isn't working correctly, you can use Windows key + R on your keyboard to open the Run dialog box and type "windowsdefender" and then pressing enter.

From the Virus & protection page, you can see some stats from recent scans, including the latest type of scan and if any threats were found. If there were threats, you can select the Protection history link to see recent activity.

Select your scan type

If your malware or virus issue hasn't already been resolved, a more in-depth scan can be run.

  1. Select Scan options to get started.
  2. Select the radio button (the small circle) next to Windows Defender Offline scan Keep in mind, this option will take around 15 minutes if not more and will require your PC to restart. Be sure to save any work before proceeding.
  3. Click Scan now

The point of an offline scan is that your PC does not need to be fully booted into Windows. If there is a problem with a system file or a file that can't be quarantined or deleted while the system is running, it can do so in offline mode.

You can also run a Full scan, which will check every file on your drives as well. However, this will take quite a long time, depending on the speed of your machine. As before, check the protection history page to see if any threats were uncovered.

Need some more options?

Windows Defender will work great for most people. Still, if you want to add some more features or want to try another program, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is an excellent option with a nice interface and a great track record. There's also a free version with fewer extra features but the same updates. There are a quite a few good options available if you want more than Windows Defender offers.

Real time protection

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus

Up to date definitions and fast scans

Bitdefender has definition updates to keep you safe as soon as possible. Some extras like in-browser warnings are nice to have.

7 reasons to pay for antivirus software and skip the free versions - Windows Central

Posted: 30 Apr 2020 12:00 AM PDT

With bad actors getting ever more sneaky and ingenious, protecting your computer from viruses and malware has never been more important.

But with free antivirus software gaining increasingly impressive feature lists and ever more comprehensive protection being built into operating systems like Windows 10 and MacOS, there's a growing school of thought that paying for an antivirus service is no longer a necessity.

Nevertheless, whether or not you choose to pay for antivirus software will likely come down to how you interact with the online world, and how much you have to lose should your computer become compromised.

Here below we list out seven key advantages of using paid-for antivirus.

1. A broader range of features

The strongest argument there is for paying for your protection. Threats from online fraudsters and hackers these days go far beyond the realm of just viruses and malware. Unlike most freeware antivirus software, paid-for solutions tend to offer a full suite of tools and features in one bundle, giving a far broader range of protection at your disposal. These add-ons often include the following:

Best online learning tools for kids: ABCmouse, Reading IQ, & more

  • Anti-phishing: While modern web browsers now feature some degree of anti-phishing, paid packages often offer their own, usually superior protection against such attacks, alerting you to dangerous websites and messages intended to steal your data.
  • VPN: Especially handy for those working away from home, virtual private network (VPN) features reroute your web traffic, offering a layer of protection when using public wi-fi and can simulate the country you are in, allowing you to access services that are otherwise blocked in your host nation.
  • Anti-ransomware: A growing area of online fraud and extortion, premium solutions offer baked in features that stop ransomware viruses locking up your data. This often works by the user selecting folders on their hard drive that cannot be accessed by unauthorized programs.
  • Added online banking security: Many premium AV services automatically activate and increase your browser security when you visit online banking websites.
  • Password managers: Offering greater security for your online accounts, the feature allows you to automatically log in to sites and services with your details stored in a securely encrypted password locker.

2. Ease of use

While there are numerous separate, dedicated programs that do all of the jobs listed above, and in some cases more effectively, having them all bundled together in one program can nevertheless make managing your security a far more convenient way of keeping on top of threats.

3. On-call support

Free antivirus software rarely includes technical or telephone support, which is generally standard with paid-for options. If you run into a problem while using a free solution, you're often at the mercy of FAQ pages or user forums to solve any issue you're having. In a situation where you're the victim of a ransomware attack, a delay in getting a resolution could be disastrous. Bitdefender, Norton, and Kaspersky all offer comprehensive support options including phone lines and live chat.

4. Better cover for businesses

It's one thing making sure the personal laptop you use for Netflix and chill is secure, but if you're using your machine for business, you'll likely have different threats and security needs. If you're running a small organization with a number of computers being used and client details being stored, you'll then have to account for varying levels of technical aptitude and safe browsing and downloading habits among staff, making a more comprehensive protection system even more vital.

5. Protection for all the family

The internet, unfortunately, isn't somewhere that kids can safely explore on their own. To that end, antivirus programs usually have some sort of parental control functionality baked into the software. Paid for antivirus will usually supply you with a license to run the software on several machines – unlike free alternatives – meaning you can protect your entire household's computers with just one payment.

6. Email protection

Email still remains one of the most likely avenues for fraudsters to compromise your data via viruses and trojans.

One accidental click on a seemingly innocuous-looking image or links in a message could result in your computer becoming infected. Premium antiviruses will automatically scan incoming messages and attachments, warning you about suspicious files and potential threats.

7. More efficient

Antivirus software used to have a well-earned reputation for being resource-hungry software. Often causing your machine to grind to a halt when scanning your system, it sometimes felt like the software was as big a hindrance as having an actual virus on your computer. Premium solutions these days thankfully now have a much smaller impact on your system, running in the background with minimal draw on your computer's performance and are usually much more efficient than their free alternatives.

Five of the best premium Antivirus solutions

There are several great free options out there, but as we've stated above you probably want to look into purchasing one. Here are some of the best paid antivirus options that exist right now.

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2020

  • Works on: Windows and Mac
  • Price: $29.99 (first year for ten devices)

This feature-packed offering regularly turns up tops in antivirus user rankings and has a number of unique protection measures. These include a vulnerability scanner that can alert you to missing security updates and patches, Safepay banking protection, and an anti-webcam hijacking feature.

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2020

The best protection at the best price

This antivirus monitors your computer in real-time to stop malicious files before they have a chance to start downloading.

Kaspersky Total Security

  • Works on: Windows, Mac, Mobile
  • Price: $49.99 (first year for five devices)

Kaspersky's flagship product offers an intelligent firewall, password manager, parental controls, and automated local backups. Unlike some rivals, it also it covers Mac computers and mobile devices as well as Windows PCs.

Kaspersky Antivirus

Protection without slowdown

Kaspersky features excellent malware protection without using a lot of system resources or causing slowdown on your computer.

Norton 360 with LifeLock Select

  • Works on: Windows, Mac, Mobile
  • Price: $99.99 (first year for five devices)

One of the more pricier options, Norton's premium option's main selling point is its LifeLock identity Alert system, which warns users in the US if their Social Security Number, name, address, or date of birth have been used in applications for credit or services.

Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security

  • Works on: Windows, Mac, Mobile
  • Price: $30 for first year, one device

Now boasting protection for Macs and mobile devices, Trend's premium solution delivers fast full scans and regularly commended malware protection, however it doesn't offer VPN protection.

Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security

Perfect score for malware protection

Trend Micro is one of the few program tests that earned a perfect protection score. It includes tools that protect financial and personal information.

Avast Premium

  • Works on: Windows, Mac, Mobile
  • Price: $69.99 (first year for ten devices)

Avast are the makers of one the most popular free antivirus solutions, but their top tier paid for offering goes several steps further. The Avast Ultimate bundle includes a VPN, effective Ransomware Shield, thorough anti-phishing protection, a secure browser, password manager, file shredder, as well as a Wi-Fi Inspector that checks for vulnerabilities on your network.

The best antivirus 2020 | Paid and free antivirus tested - TechRadar

Posted: 05 Jun 2020 12:00 AM PDT

Having a quality antivirus installed on your PC or laptop remains a necessity - particularly in light of world events. We're no closer now to vanquishing the cyber criminals and hackers that plague the internet than we were a decade ago and the pandemic has only seen the rate of cyber attacks rise further.

That means that it's clearly more important than ever to ensure that your gadgets are afforded the protection of the best antivirus out there, whether that's free antivirus or paid - without wishing to scaremonger, it's far too risky to leave your laptop, phone and other tech without virus protection in 2020. 

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