Pensar Blog

Is free antivirus effective?

Written by Mark Williams | 8 April 2016

Free antivirus: the best of both worlds right? Full protection; zero cost.

Not quite; free antivirus programs are missing vital aspects of protection you need.

  • Incomplete protection. None of the popular free antivirus programs offer complete protection. If there is a premium model available, aspects of that premium service will be missing in the free version to ensure you have a reason to upgrade.
  • Limited support. Most major antivirus providers don’t offer free over-the-phone support for their free app customers, and instead only offer online FAQs and forums.
  • Slow updates. For antivrus businesses, the priority is always their paying customers. Whenever a new threat is detected, they will always patch their paid software first.
  • Freeware. Because they are running at a loss by providing free software, some antivirus businesses are reportedly bundling adware and other hidden programs with your download to make money on your usage.
  • Glaring vulnerabilities. Free antivirus software often performs well when tested by review sites, but internet criminals aren't out to test your antivirus, they’re out to beat it. Using an antivirus with any holes in it leaves you vulnerable.

Free antivirus: the bare minimum

If your computer doesn't host any information you are too concerned about losing, and if you’re on a tight budget, free programs can deliver limited protection when used alongside cautious online behaviour. But, even if you don’t care about your data, remember that malwares that bypass your free software could also track your card transactions and online bank logins.

At the end of the day there’s a reason free antivirus is free. Businesses want you to upgrade to their premium model, so they won’t give you the full product for nothing.

Free antivirus programs are the bare minimum of protection. If you have no protection, download one of these recommended free apps. But, know that they won’t deliver the level of protection any discerning consumer needs, and they certainly won’t serve to protect your business.

Plus, we doubt you’ll be thrilled by the constant pop-ups most free antivirus software use to ask you to upgrade to the full version.

Pensar’s verdict

Personal PCs: Only at your own risk.

Work PCs: Never – full stop.

At Pensar, we use, recommend and supply the ESET product range as part of our business continuity service. It's a great solution, and although it may not be free, it offers premium protection at an affordable price for both home and business.