Posted By: dstp | Published: 04-26-2020
The internet is an amazing resource that has completely changed the way we do just about everything today. It offers a wealth of information, entertainment and connects us in a multitude of ways.
Unfortunately there are bad actors that are intent on using this wonderful resource to enrich themselves and as a result we need be vigilant with a view to protecting ourselves.
I have documented my experience with installing and removing the 5 top Free Antivirus software packages from well know companies. Perhaps my comments and pros and cons listing will prove useful to you
Here is how one company responded to that question
First of all, recommendations that are based on personal experience and that come from friends and business associates are incredibly powerful. We sincerely appreciate them.
Secondly, our large user base constantly gives us feedback to improve our software in order to better meet customer needs and expectations. In short, you have some great ideas.
Finally, we believe deeply in helping people and making the world a better place. Call it Good karma, but it's also good for sustainable business. Besides, we have friends and family too.
Product : Windows Defender
Company : Founded April 4, 1975
Requires Registration : No
Download Size : None
Disk Space : 300 - 400 Mb
Memory Used : 100 Megabytes
Included Modules : Windows Defender Antivirus, Windows Firewall, Parental Controls, SmartScreen2
Pros: Build by the Company that builds Windows | Updates Regulary | Does not introduce instabilities
Cons : Can't think of any!
Comments: In order to do what they do, Antivirus makers need to sink their hooks deep into the Operating System. Using these hooks creates the potential for system instability and as revealed from time to time actually introduce vulnerabilities. Windows Defender, being built by Microsoft translates to better stability.
Product : Panda Security Free
Company : Founded 1990 headquartered in Spain
Requires Registration : Yes to activate after installation.
Download Size : 192 Megabytes
Advertisements : Opera Web Browser offer on installation. Opens to webpage after installation to offer 50% discount on upgrades.
Disk Space : 138 Megabytes
Memory Used : 38 Megabytes
Included Modules : Antivirus | Process Monitor | USB Protection.
Pros : Minimum impact on systems performance. | Includes a resue kit which enables you to create a USB Drive to boot an infected system to disinfect it.
Comments: Among the five listed in this post, Panda is my favorite. Why? It is one of the least invasive of the group. No in your face advertising. It does provide a security news feed but only when you open the Panda Dome A.K.A. control panel.
Product : Sophos Free Antivirus
Company : Founded 30 years ago, Headquartered in Abingdon, United Kingdom
Requires Registration : Yes
Download Size : Premium Features for 30 days.
Advertisements : 290 Megabytes
Disk Space : 267 Megabytes
Memory Used : 300 Mb at startup
Included Modules : Real Time Antivirus | Web Protection | AI Threat Detection | Parental Website Filtering | Remote Management.
Pros : For a free option it had many modules
Cons : Sophos failed to uninstall with the following error message "Uninstallation failed. The MSI terminated unexpectedly." I had to Wipe the system and reload a fresh image of Windows 10 Pro. perhaps an isolated case?
Comments: Sophos installs a 30 day Pro version before reverting to Free version. You can opt-out of the full version from the management console. Configuration is done via Web Remote Management. Installation permitted on up to 3 Computers.
Product : Avira Free Antivirus
Company : Founded 1986, Headquartered in Lake Constance in Germany
Requires Registration :YES
Download Size : 229 Megabytes
Advertisements : YES
Disk Space : 608 Megabytes
Memory Used : 600 Megabytes on freshly booted system.
Included Modules : Real Time protection | System Scanner |Firewall | 500 Mb of Avira VPN Privacy settings allow you to configure hundreds of settings including disabling Microsoft's Telemetry settings.
Pros : As laptops are more likely to be used outside the safe confines of your home network, security experts advise the use of a VPN when connecting to public Wifi. Avira's 500Mb of free VPN is a definite Plus
Cons : Avira added the following 2 extensions to my Chrome Browser (without asking). These were Password Manager and Avira Safe Shopping. These extension have access to to all your browsing data and I quote "Can read and change data on sites" That raises a red flag.
Comments: I recall some 8 or so years ago when Avira offered a free version that was lightweight, installed quickly and did not cause system slowdowns. It is true that attack vectors have increased significantly since then and requires more modules to protect against them. But changing data on sites you visit seems self serving and has the potential for abuse.
Product : Bitdefender Free
Company : Founded 2001 Headquartered in Romania
Requires Registration : Yes
Download Size : 10 Mb stub then 418 Mb
Advertisements : No
Disk Space : 2.26 GB
Memory Used : 300 Mb
Included Modules : File System Protection
Pros : Simple local interface.
Cons : Bitdefender Agent left behind after the uninstall
Comments: While Bitdefender gets good reviews, being old school as I am, this software package is resource intensive. 2.2 GB of Disk space and 300Mb of Memory fresh after boot. If your system is low on disk space, look at Panda or stick to Windows Defender is using Windows 10.