As cyber attackers become increasingly sophisticated, the antivirus kits we use need to keep up. The proliferation of Trojans, worms, keyloggers, adware and spyware might make us that paying for a good antivirus product is the best way to do it, but not all of us can afford a premium service.
Luckily enough, we at CBR have found some free solutions just as good as their off-the-shelf cousins.
Avast! Free Antivirus
Thankfully not pirate-themed, Avast is a fantastic solution that offers simple installation and an easy to use interface, meaning there's no need to spend hours familiarising yourself with how it operates.
A quick scan identifies any existing threats on your computer but it does so much more, offering a range of features including web, email, IM, P2P and network protection. Its script malware protection can prevent some browser exploits, which other free antivirus software doesn't do.
Panda Cloud Antivirus
This tool offers real time virus protection, and is another that boasts a simple interface, as well as automated features including automatic updates and malware removal.
It delivers updates from a cloud platform and so also uses this as a method to update PC's blacklists with new dodgy websites.
However, it is a free version of a paid-for service, so does miss some useful capabilities that the Pro version has, like protection on public Wi-Fi and measures to prevent malware infecting USB drives.
This one has been in the business a while, but it offers much better threat detection rates than previous versions. More of a solid, reliable solution than a snazzy new thing, AVG does protect the average user very well online.
It has an antivirus engine, an email scanner, identity theft protection, and LinkScanner Surf-Shield to keep you safe while you surf the web.
This one has got excellent detection rates but there are some significant caveats.
It doesn't offer web or email-scanning capabilities, which is a bit rubbish, as those are only offered in the paid-for version. However, it's no bystander and will still leap in to save the day if you do open an infected email - it just likes to make that dramatic late entrance.
Microsoft Security Essentials
This former head boy of free antivirus has been getting bad grades recently, because of its falling detection rates. It leaves you pretty much in peace while it operates quietly in the background, but tis slow scanning speeds can be a pain. The major downside is you need an actual version of Windows in order to install it.