Can You Really Trust a Free Antivirus Program?


All over the world, at any given moment, thousands of viruses are copying themselves and sending themselves to thousands of other computers. The list of viruses that exists is so large that entire books can be, and have been, written about them. To help you combat this and stay protected, it is vital that you install a proper antivirus program on your computer. Finding one can be done, for instance, by reading trusted and independent antivirus reviews. One of the things that you will see when you do that, however, is that there are a number of free software packages out there. The question is, however, how reliable free versions are.

The Reliability of Free Antivirus Programs

Often a free antivirus program is basically just a trial version that you can access for a certain period of time, usually 30 months. They often also have limited features that introduce you to the program, but don’t allow you to use it in full. In many cases, you only receive the most essential functions, so you are protected, but you are encouraged to quickly and easily upgrade to a full version.

When you use a free version, some spyware and viruses may get ignored, particularly the newer ones as free programs are generally not updated regularly. What is more worrying, however, is that there are some programs that actually are spyware themselves. This is why it is very important that you check the license agreement in full before you agree to it. This is where you will see what else gets installed together with the program. Do also visit the program’s official website rather than using a link that you have found somewhere else. In so doing, you at least make sure that there is accountability if something does go wrong. A very simple phishing trick is to make people believe they are downloading an antivirus program from a trusted supplier through an honest reviewer, when they are actually downloading a virus.

In order to find out how reliable a free antivirus program is, you should look for:

  • How user friendly it is.
  • How effective it is.
  • How often it updates its virus definitions.
  • Whether it offers real time scanning.
  • Whether it is relevant to today’s world.

What you will find out if you start to search for antivirus reviews is that there are five programs that offer free versions that will truly protect you. Those are:

  1. PC Tools Antivirus Free Edition.
  2. Microsoft Security Essentials Beta.
  3. AVG 8.5 Free.
  4. Alwil Avast Antivirus Home.
  5. Avira AntiVir Personal.

If you were to choose any of the five system above, you know you have a system that is reasonably reliable. However, do be aware of the fact that their functionality continues to be limited. Hence, if you truly want protection, which is necessary in the world of the internet today, you should consider upgrading to a fully paid for version.