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PCMag.com has released its annual list of free antivirus utilities. Keyword: free. For more features, you’ll need to check out PCMag.com’s list of paid antivirus utilities. About the term “antivirus”: Originally developed to detect and remove computer viruses (thus, the name), with the proliferation of other types of malicious software (malware), the term “antivirus software” has expanded to include protection from a wide array of computer threats.
What are the best FREE antivirus utilities?
PCMag.com’s top three free antivirus utilities (Avast Free Antivirus, AVG AntiVirus Free, and Panda Free Antivirus) all include some useful bonus features., according to PCMag.com’s Neil Rubenking. “(For example) Avast includes a password manager and a network security scanner in its toolkit.” Rubenking’s advice: “If you do have a little cash in your budget for security, the best paid antivirus products do tend to offer more and better protection. If not, try a few of these free tools and see which one you like best.”
(Quotes from PCMag.com’s Neil Rubenking) “Avast Free Antivirus 2016 scores high in independent lab tests and in our own tests, especially our antiphishing test. Bonus features like the new password manager and innovative router security scan make it an excellent choice for free antivirus protection.”
“The latest version of AVG AntiVirus Free scores high with independent testing labs, and also fares well in our hands-on tests.”
“While Panda Free Antivirus doesn’t outperform the very best commercial antivirus tools, it’s way better than the rank and file of for-pay solutions. It remains our Editors’ Choice for no-fee antivirus.”
“You’ll hardly know Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition (2014) is present on your system, unless it quashes a problem. Its tiny main window and unobtrusive style are great if you want a strong, silent, and free antivirus solution.”
“ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2016 combines most of Kaspersky’s powerful antivirus protection with a top-notch personal firewall. It’s an excellent choice if you don’t want to install a full security suite.”
“Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Free shields your browsers against exploit attacks, even never-before-seen zero-day attacks. Give this unusual, free security tool a try.”
“The folks at Lavasoft gave Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ 11 a total user-interface makeover and a new antivirus engine partner. The user interface is truly pleasing, a nice change. However, the product lost a little ground in malware blocking.”
“Qihoo 360 Total Security Essential scores very well in our hands-on tests and in tests by independent labs, but only if you change its default configuration to enable all antivirus engines.”
“Comodo Antivirus 8 offers decent antivirus protection and a whole raft of advanced security features. However, those advanced features are probably too complex for the average user. “
10 | FortiClient 5.0
“Although it’s designed to work with a network appliance, FortiClient 5.0 also functions as a standalone antivirus, with parental control and VPN client thrown in. And it’s free!”