What is Antivirus?
An antivirus software (popularly referred to as ‘antivirus’) is a program or a set of programs that detect, block and remove software viruses in particular and all malware in general (viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, adware etc).
Having an antivirus software installed on a computer is of vital importance. This is because any system today would get infected with malware within minutes of connecting it to the internet. Since thousands of new malware are created daily, it becomes important that antivirus programs are updated regularly as well.
A typical antivirus software provides the following basic functionalities
- Scans files/directories for suspicious or malicious files/programs.
- Scans any specific file or a flash drive/CD on request.
- Detects and removes malicious codes after notifying the user and obtaining permission to clean the infected file.
- Updates user on the health of the system/device.
Bitdefender Total Security Multi-Device 2018 – 2 Years 5 Devices
- Number of Users: 5 Devices
- License: 2 Years
- Complete Data Protection
- Active Threat Control
- Sensitive Anti-fraud
- Password Manager
In a world packed with free security software, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2018’s annual fee may look expensive, but there’s plenty of bang for your buck.
Bitdefender’s engine is one of the most accurate and reliable around, for instance, loved by all the big independent testers.
Web filtering blocks access to malicious sites, a secure browser keeps your online financial transactions safe, and there’s a password manager which auto-completes credit card details in web forms.
An excellent anti-phishing module alerts you to malicious links in your search engine results, and blocks access to dangerous sites.
Comodo Internet Security 2018
Comodo antivirus tops the list among the best free antivirus programs for 2017. Most notable among its features are the Auto-Sandboxing Technology, the Default Deny Protection, Cloud Based Behavior Analysis, Cloud-Based Whitelisting, One-Click Virus Scanning etc.
This cloud-based antivirus program identifies suspicious files, ensures instant malware removal, does quick and instant Cloud based scanning, instantly updates on the new and up-to-date virus definitions, has a user-friendly interface and provides automatic scanning of files as and when they are downloaded from the internet.
Avast Internet Security 2018
Avast Free Antivirus provides excellent malware blocking functionality. Its CyberCapture feature prevents new files from launching. Avast also provides good protection from phishing emails and phishing attacks. An impressive component of the antivirus program is the Wi-Fi Inspector, which checks Wi-Fi networks for security issues.
That it has a simple password manager is an added advantage of Avast Free Antivirus. Avast also has functionalities like the Software Updater, which scans a computer and reports any out-of-date software it finds, the Online Security, which installs in browsers and marks up safe and unsafe websites in search results, the SiteCorrect feature which catches typos and helps users reach the websites they intend to reach etc.
ESET NOD32 Antivirus 2018 Edition
If you judge an antivirus on the length of its feature list, ESET NOD32 Antivirus 2018 Edition might be a disappointment. There’s no firewall, password manager, file shredder, vulnerability scanner or any of the bundled extras you’ll often find elsewhere.
This doesn’t mean the package is short on power, it’s just more focused on the antivirus fundamentals. ESET NOD32 Antivirus 2018 Edition comes with real-time malware protection, an anti-ransomware layer, exploit protection, URL filtering to block malicious websites, and modules to prevent attacks using PowerShell and malicious scripts.
ESET NOD32 Antivirus 2018 Edition isn’t aimed at beginners. The interface is clumsy sometimes, some features are very advanced, and even the Help isn’t always exactly helpful.
Experienced users will appreciate ESET’s power and configurability, though. Above-average protection does a good job of keeping you safe, and a lightweight design ensures the package won’t slow you down.
One of the new features in the 2018 Edition is the UEFI Scanner which protects you from threats that attack your PC before Windows has even started.
ESET Internet Security builds on NOD 32 and triples the number of devices covered plus offers firewall, botnet protection, webcam protection, antispam and more.
Alternatively, you can purchase the ESET Smart Security Premium edition for not much more. It adds all of the above as well as password management and secure data.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2018
Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2018 is a stripped-back security package which focuses on the core security essentials: web filtering blocks dangerous URLs, an accurate antivirus engine detects and removes threats, smart monitoring technologies track and reverse malicious actions, and that’s about it.
The program is easy to use, too. A well-designed interface has just the right number of buttons and options – not too basic, but not complicated or intimidating, either – and there are plenty of on-screen instructions to explain how everything works. Even a beginner will be at home right away.
If you just need accurate, reliable and consistent malware protection, Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2018 will serve you well.
Malwarebytes Internet Security 2018 Edition
Malwarebytes Free Anti-Ransomware program detects and quarantines ransomware based strictly on behavior. The program is popular as it’s lightweight and easy to install and use. The drawback, however, is that even before Malwarebytes detects a ransomware, it may manage to encrypt a few files.
Panda Internet Security 2018 Edition
Panda Free Antivirus has a very improved anti-phishing protection functionality, but when it comes to scanning and blocking malware, it delivers just average performance. The other notable features are USB Protection, Process Monitor, and Rescue Kit.
AVG Internet Security 2018 Edition
AVG Antivirus Free, which exists as an independent entity even after being acquired by Avast, has a new, excellent user interface. It also has a management and launching utility called AVG Zen which provides an overview of AVG security on all the devices that a user has.
AVG provides very good malware protection and has features like the AVG Web TuneUp plug-in (which installs in browsers and offers security benefits), Shred using AVG (which helps overwrite a file’s data before deleting it and thus foils attempts to recover the deleted file’s data) etc. AVG does not deliver a satisfactory performance when it comes to blocking phishing attacks.
What’s the difference between free and paid-for antivirus?
By releasing a free version of their software, developers gain access to more devices from which they can collect data from and therefore improve their knowledge and security platforms. It also might tempt more users to upgrade. Therefore it’s not in their interest to reduce the amount of protection provided by the free version.
However paying for a premium service means you get more features, such as spam filters, parental controls, system scans and advanced firewalls. This makes them more suitable for power users, those who want a bit of extra security and anyone who wants their system to run as smoothly as possible.
It also means you avoid annoying pop-ups that try and tempt you to upgrade to the full version.