These are some of the best free antivirus software that you can download right now for your computer. Keep in mind that the free antiviruses are not going to have as many features available then paid antiviruses, this is why free antiviruses have a lot of cons.

#1: Kaspersky Free Edition

Lots of customers say that Kaspersky has the best free antivirus program out there. Most of the cons are features found in Kaspersky’s internet security.

  • Near perfect real-time malware protection
  • Consistent malware detection.
  • Good at detecting new malware through its real-time cloud protection.
  • Quick Scans, Full scans, and Selective scan (Quick scans only scan files that are the most  susceptible to get any kind of malware which are fast to complete. Full scans scan all programs and files; selective scan lets you select files and folders to scan).
  • Many great customization option for its protections.
  • Web based scanning to detect malware.
  • Overall has one of the best malware scanners
  • File based scanning (Attempts to match files to known malware).
  • Browser add-on (its called “Kaspersky Protection Plugin”)
  • Behavior based scanning (Looks for patterns to identify a malware attack).
  • Spyware protection (spyware is a software that tries to get information about a person or an organization, usually without their knowledge).
  • Online Kaspersky Security Network (cloud based scanning that scans everything new that looks suspicious on your network and issues updates many times a day to better fight the malware).
  • Great multi-layered ransomware protection (ransomware is malware that prevents you from accessing your data and will ask for money for you get back access; the extra layers of ransomware protection usual ensure more security in the network and/or in your files).
  • Near perfect scores on anti-phishing protection (anti-phishing means stealing sensitive information from individuals unlawfully usually by email).
  • Near perfect zero-day malware protection (Not only is there scanning for “zero day” malware, there is also protection against such malware; Zero-day just means there is a software vulnerability that there is no specific defense of fix for).
  • Web attack prevention (ensures that the user does not land on a dangerous website).
  • Supports windows 7-10.
  • Little performance hit
  • Can change the level of the intensity of the scanning and protection.
  • Ability to schedule a scan.
  • System watcher (monitors and rolls back malware actions).
  • Item scan (Right click a file to scan it for potential malware).
  • USB drive scan (you can choose to scan any flash drive of disk drive).
  • Game mode feature (when turned on, it helps games run smoother).
  • Almost never has a false positive (A false positive reading is when an antivirus thinks something is malware but is actually not malware).
  • Scans are fast, especially full scans.
  • Clean interface that is easy to use.
  • Idle scanning (the software will run an idle scan when the computer is on and you are not using the computer).
  • Searches for rootkits (a rootkit is a software that allows unauthorized users to gain control of your computer).
  • Has a special procedure for malware based programs.
  • Password protection (sets up a password for the antivirus itself).
  • Rescue disk (A rescue disk is a disk that detects and eliminates threats that are effecting the operating system. Kaspersky has a external program called “Kaspersky Rescue Disk”).
  • Few extra features
  • No password manager.
  • No spam protection.
  • Does not Come with a secure browser (hardened browser).
  • No firewall.
  • No parental control.
  • No VPN client software (A VPN is a virtual private network which protects you from most outside forces from viewing data or hacking you) (Kaspersky does offer a service called Kaspersky Secure Connection that gives you a VPN for $5).
  • No direct tech support.
  • No system optimizer (A system optimizer helps in the optimization of your computer).
  • No file encryption feature (An encryption is a code or key that protection files so only certain people can access that file).
  • No file shredder (Removes a file permanently).
  • Not the best at defending against web based malware.
  • No virtual Keyboard (for malware that can read your key logs).
  • No webcam protection.
  • No microphone protection.
  • No exploit protection (exploit means the action of a chunk of data to cause unusually behavior in a software or computer through a bug or a vulnerability which include preventing unwanted apps from being installed).
  • Can’t create custom scans (custom scans typically are scans that you can choose specific locations on your computer to scan).
  • No vulnerability scanner (A vulnerability scan can detect weakness in a computer system and can predict the best solutions; this is available in kaspersky internet security).
  • No anti-theft feature (An anti-theft feature would allow kaspersky to connect to a device such as a phone to know where the device is at all times).
  • Can not detect fileless malware (fileless malware is malware that infects running memory only and does not leave anything on the drives).
  • No privacy protection. (privacy protection protects your data and personal information).
  • No intrusion prevention (blocks unwanted malware activity in real-time by monitoring network traffic).

Bitdefender free edition is said to be one of the best free antivirus programs out there with solid protection.

  • Great real-time cloud based malware protection.
  • Near perfect zero-day malware protection (Zero-day malware is malware that is very new and matching signatures to them would not work in a detection).
  • Spyware protection (spyware is a software that tries to get information about a person or an organization, usually without their knowledge).
  • Ransomware protection (ransomware is malware that restricts users of accessing their own data and demands payment for access).
  • Web based protection (protections your browser from going on malicious websites and protects your computer from online malware).
  • Full scan(Full scans scan all programs and files.).
  • Behavior based scanning (Looks for patterns to identify a malware attack).
  • Cloud based scanning (If bitdefender finds a new threat it sends the file to a cloud server for analysis; its great for detecting unknown threats).
  • Full scans (Full scans scan all programs and files).
  • Full scans are fast.
  • Great phishing protection (anti-phishing means stealing sensitive information from individuals unlawfully usually by email).
  • little performance impact
  • Supports windows 7-10.
  • Item scan (Right click a file to scan it for potential malware).
  • Has a scan box (a scan box is a feature where you can drag and drop an item in to be scanned such as a folder or a file).
  • Records history of actions that include scanning, protecting, and updates.
  • Basic and easy interface.
  • Has a browser add on called “traffic light”.
  • Exploit protection (exploit means the action of a chunk of data to cause unusually behavior in a software or computer through a bug or a vulnerability which include preventing unwanted apps from being installed).
  • Can detect fileless malware (fileless malware is malware that infects running memory only and does not leave anything on the drives).
  • Virus shield feature (scans data, files, and web pages in real time).
  • Auto scan feature (automatically scans in areas that are at a higher risk of infection).
  • Searches for rootkits (a rootkit is a software that allows unauthorized users to gain control of your computer).
  • Anti-fraud protection (warns you if they think a website will scam you, and it also protects your financial information).
  • Intrusion prevention (blocks unwanted malware activity in real-time by monitoring network traffic; it is a seperate software called “Home Scanner“).
  • Rescue drive (restarts computer for restoration to remove viruses that require a full windows startup; bitdefender recommends a software called “Stickifier” to use with a tool called “Bitdefender Rescue CD”).
  • Few features
  • No spam protection.
  • Does not Come with a secure browser (hardened browser).
  • No passward manager.
  • No quick scans (Quick scans only scan files that are the most  susceptible to get any kind of malware which are fast to complete. Most people think the full scan is fast enough).
  • No vulnerability scanner (A vulnerability scan can detect weakness in a computer system and can predict the best solutions).
  • Can’t schedule a scan.
  • No game mode.
  • Seems to get multiple false positives during scanning (A false positive reading is when an antivirus thinks something is malware but is actually not malware).
  • No firewall.
  • No parental control.
  • No VPN feature (A VPN is a virtual private network which protects you from most outside forces from viewing data or hacking you).
  • No online or phone tech support.
  • No system optimizer (A system optimizer helps in the optimization of your computer).
  • No file encryption feature (An encryption is a code or key that protection files so only certain people can access that file).
  • No file shredder (Removes a file permanently).
  • No virtual Keyboard (for malware that can read your key logs).
  • No webcam protection.
  • No microphone protection.
  • No vulnerability scanner (A vulnerability scan can detect weakness in a computer system and can predict the best solutions).
  • Slow initial scan (first scan).
  • No customization options.
  • Asks to remove all other antivirus software and reboot before installing bitdefender free edition.
  • Does not have an anti-theft feature (An anti-theft feature would allow bitdefender to connect to a device such as a phone to know where the device is at all times).
  • Ransomware protection is not multi-layered (ransomware is malware that prevents you from accessing your data and will ask for money for you get back access; the extra layers of ransomware protection usual ensure more security in the network and/or in your files).
  • No privacy protection. (privacy protection protects your data and personal information).
  • Can’t create custom scans (custom scans typically are scans that you can choose specific locations on your computer to scan).

Avast free edition is notable for its amount of features for being a free software. 

  • Real-time malware protection.
  • Good against new threats.
  • Lots of features
  • File based protection (Attempts to match files to known malware; including file signatures).
  • Zero-day malware protection (Zero-day malware is malware that is very new and matching signatures to them would not work in a detection).
  • Behavior based protection (Monitors activity of computer).
  • Cloud based protection (Anything suspicious gets sent to a cloud for analysis; if the an item is identified as malware its information will be sent to avast and its 400 million users).
  • Web based protection (protections your browser from going on malicious websites and protects your computer from online malware; Avast’s online security browser plugin does most of the web based protection).
  • Spyware protection (spyware is a software that tries to get information about a person or an organization, usually without their knowledge).
  • Ransomware protection (ransomware is malware that restricts users of accessing their own data and demands payment for access).
  • Great phishing protection (anti-phishing means stealing sensitive information from individuals unlawfully usually by email).
  • Mail protection (checks mail for malware).
  • Quick Scans, full scans, target scan, custom scan, boot-time scan, and smart scan (Quick scans only scan files that are the most susceptible to get any kind of malware which are fast to complete. Full scans scan all programs and files. Target scans lets you select specific files and folders. Custom scan lets you scan almost anything on your computer at any intensity, it is very customizable. Boot-time scan will scan your computer before windows starts up. Smart scan will scan the more vulnerable part of your computer).
  • Ability to schedule a scan.
  • Supports windows 7-10.
  • There is a rescue disk (a rescue disk allows the software to disinfect a computer that is completely infects with malware).
  • USB drive scan (you can choose to scan any flash drive of disk drive).
  • Game mode feature (when turned on, it helps games run smoother).
  • Rarely has a false positive (A false positive reading is when an antivirus thinks something is malware but is actually not malware).
  • Does have an anti-theft feature with “Avast Mobile Security” (The anti-theft feature allows avast to connect to your phone to know where the device is at all times).
  • Can detect fileless malware (fileless malware is malware that infects running memory only and does not leave anything on the drives).
  • Many customizable options.
  • Instant Messaging protection (maintain security while using instant messaging).
  • Software updater (keeps all applications up-to-date).
  • Network monitoring scan (scans for network issues).
  • Background scanning (Will run an scan in the background).
  • Searches for rootkits (a rootkit is a software that allows unauthorized users to gain control of your computer).
  • Anti-fraud protection (warns you if they think a website will scam you).
  • Good against new threats.
  • Not the best malware protection.
  • Ads within the program
  • May attempt to download other software’s.
  • Not the best at handling zero-day malware (Zero-day malware is malware that is very new and matching signatures to them would not work in a detection).
  • Big performance hit
  • No intrusion prevention (blocks unwanted malware activity in real-time).
  • Complicated interface.
  • If you use “Avast Secure Browser” your search history might be sent to a third party.
  • Ransomware protection is not multi-layered (ransomware is malware that prevents you from accessing your data and will ask for money for you get back access; the extra layers of ransomware protection usual ensure more security in the network andor in your files).
  • No privacy protection. (privacy protection protects your data and personal information; avast has a feature for privacy protection on the paid version that is called “Sensitive Data Shield“).

 

Windows Defender is an antivirus that is usually good enough for most people; many people use it for detecting and destroying most traditional computer viruses. Some pros listed below are what comes with windows or what you can download from the Microsoft website since Windows Defender is a Microsoft product.

  • Great real-time cloud based malware and virus protection.
  • Great at scanning and protecting against newer threats.
  • Cloud based protection and analysis (Stores data and sends information to a cloud to better handle malware).
  • File based protection (Attempts to match files to known malware; including file signatures).
  • Good web based protection (protections your browser from going on malicious websites and protects your computer from online malware; Windows defender has a feature called “Smart Screen” which is a cloud based anti-phishing and anti-malware feature that blocks harmful websites).
  • Spyware protection (spyware is a software that tries to get information about a person or an organization, usually without their knowledge).
  • Great phishing protection (anti-phishing means stealing sensitive information from individuals unlawfully usually by email).
  • Great ransomware protection (ransomware is malware that restricts users of accessing their own data and demands payment for access).
  • Zero-day malware protection (Zero-day malware is malware that is very new and matching signatures to them would not work in a detection).
  • Behavior based protection and scanning (Scans files and programs based on behavior and signature).
  • File encryption feature (An encryption is a code or key that protection files so only certain people can access that file; Windows has its own file encryption feature that is not connected to windows defender).
  • Exploit protection (exploit means the action of a chunk of data to cause unusually behavior in a software or computer through a bug or a vulnerability which include preventing unwanted apps from being installed).
  • Privacy protection. (privacy protection protects your data and personal information; Windows has its own data protection).
  • Quick Scans, Full scans, Custom Scans, and Offline scans (Quick scans only scan files that are the most  susceptible to get any kind of malware which are fast to complete. Full scans scan all programs and files. Custom scans give you the option on what to scan. The offline scan is meant for persistent malware).
  • Already installed
  • little performance impact
  • Great against new threats.
  • Item scan (Right click a file to scan it for potential malware).
  • USB drive scan (Will scan the USB drive automatically, you can also choose to scan any USB of disk drive).
  • Game mode feature (Helps games run smoother).
  • Clean and easy interface.
  • Has a firewall (one way).
  • Has parental control.
  • Webcam protection (notifies you if an application is trying to use your webcam).
  • Microphone protection (notifies you if an application is trying to use your microphone).
  • Can detect fileless malware (fileless malware is malware that infects running memory only and does not leave anything on the drives).
  • Windows does have an anti-theft feature called “Find My Device” (The anti-theft feature allows windows to connect to your phone to know where the device is at all times).
  • Rescue disk (a rescue disk allows the software to disinfect a computer that is completely infects with malware; windows has its own rescue disk function).
  • Perfect scores against popular malware.
  • Intrusion prevention (Monitors network traffic and blocks unwanted malware activity in real-time).
  • Mail protection (checks mail for malware).
  • Windows has a program called “Disk Cleanup” to remove unnecessary files.
  • Background scanning (Will run an scan in the background).
  • Searches for rootkits (a rootkit is a software that allows unauthorized users to gain control of your computer).
  • Trojan protection (Trojans are malware that is disguised as lawful software’s).
  • Over the years windows defender has improved a lot.
  • Detection is sometimes inconsistent (allow or block the same file)
  • Few extra features
  • Slow scan speed
  • Can’t schedule a scan.
  • Seems to get multiple false positives during scanning (A false positive reading is when an antivirus thinks something is malware but is actually not malware).
  • No password manager.
  • No spam protection.
  • No browser add-ons.
  • No VPN feature (A VPN is a virtual private network which protects you from most outside forces from viewing data or hacking you).
  • Bad tech support
  • No system optimizer (A system optimizer helps in the optimization of your computer).
  • No file shredder (Removes a file permanently).
  • No virtual Keyboard (for malware that can read your key logs).
  • No vulnerability scanner (A vulnerability scan can detect weakness in a computer system and can predict the best solutions).
  • Does not have a two-way firewall (a two-way firewall has an outbound firewall and an inbound firewall, this give you control of connections that are inbound and outbound).
  • Not many customization options.
  • Ransomware protection is not multi-layered (ransomware is malware that prevents you from accessing your data and will ask for money for you get back access; the extra layers of ransomware protection usual ensure more security in the network andor in your files).
  • No special file storage feature (prevents unauthorized changes to important files).
  • Does not update often.
  • No password protection (sets up a password to access or delete settings and applications).

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