You don’t have to keep paying every year to stay protected from viruses, hacking, and other security threats. There are numerous antivirus and Internet security programs out there that are completely free. Here are a few to consider:
avast! Antivirus: Includes virus, spyware, and rootkit protection. Monitors network and Internet traffic to catch infections before they hit the computer. The auto sandboxing feature automatically runs unknown files in a virtual environment so no damage can be made. Plus, a boot-time scanner can run before Windows loads to remove stubborn infections. Avast! also includes site blocking, email alerts, and password protection.
Comodo Internet Security: Includes virus, spyware, rootkit, bot, and firewall protection. The Defense+ feature shields system files and the auto/manual sandboxing runs untrusted files in an isolated environment. To keep your websurfing safe, auto website filtering blocks known dangerous sites. Comodo also includes advanced customizable polices, configuration management, and password protection. Unlike most other free antivirus programs, this is available for businesses in addition to consumers.
AVG Antivirus Free Edition: Includes virus, spyware, and rootkit protection. The link scanner displays safety info about links before you click, while the desktop gadget and browser toolbar offer shortcuts and status info.
Most free security software lacks some of the features found in the commercial products, such as spam filtering and a firewall to stop intrusions. But spam filtering is usually offered by email providers and/or the email client software. For the firewall you can use the free Windows Firewall utility, which is included and active by default with all new copies of Windows.
Remember, educating yourself and being careful is just as important as running security software. Here are a few tips:
- Don’t open any attachments from strangers or even your friends if it looks suspicious.
- Don’t use links from emails; visit their websites directly.
- Verity any virus alerts you receive are coming from your installed utility and not a fake program.
- Remember to keep Windows and your security software updated.