Even if you’re running Windows 10, you shouldn’t rely on Microsoft’s security tools. Many free third-party apps are more effective at keeping you safe. We’ve (PC Mag) tested 15 no-cost AV services to help you find the right one for protecting your PC.
Free Malware, Spyware, and Adware Protection
As the song says, the best things in life are free. But another popular bit of wisdom tells us that you get what you pay for. Which is right? I can’t offer a universal truth here, but in the antivirus realm, it’s a bit of each. The top free AV software available outperforms all but the best of the premium antivirus, as proven by independent lab tests. There’s some truth to the second saying, too, however. The very best software does cost you something. Still, for many people the free is more than good enough. We’ve evaluated 15 free antivirus utilities so you can pick the free antivirus utility that suits you best.
Quite a few of these products are free only for noncommercial use; if you want to protect your business, you have to pony up for the paid edition. At that point, you should probably consider upgrading to a full security suite. After all, it’s your business’s security on the line.
Your antivirus should definitely have the ability to root out existing malware, but its ongoing task is to prevent ransomware, botnets, Trojans, and other types of nasty programs from getting a foothold. All of the antivirus programs in this collection offer real-time malware protection. Some take the fight upstream, working hard to ensure you never even browse to a malware-hosting site, or get fooled into turning over your credentials to a phishing site.
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