While helping several clients with their PC issues I decided it was time to update myself as to the best free anti-virus products available. (Free is always a good seller!)
Prevention = Primary Protection
Let me preface the use of Anti-malware programs as being a secondary form of protection. The primary protection should be the users own behavior. If you routinely open files and emails without regard to where it comes from and visit websites that are questionable or of obviously low moral and ethical quality, you are almost surely infected infected whether you know it or not. (Most modern Trojans, viruses etc. don’t want you to know they are on your system)
Think about it this way. Most all of us have been inoculated against serious diseases from childhood. Even so, we realize that we must take precautions against diseases that have not been discovered or have no effective inoculation. We don’t engage in activity and we don’t visit people or places that we know to be diseased at least not without taking some type of preventive measure(s). While the risk is more prevalent in Biology, the same philosophy can be applied to computer infections. Don’t engage in risky behavior. Have a stopgap in place.
The Best of the Free
In years past I remember finding through research that the best contestants were AVG, Avast and Avira’s Antivir. The notable change in the field recently is the addition of Microsoft Security Essentials and the falling of AVG. MSE is especially good for non techy users because of the ease of use that Microsoft has opted for. It makes sense that they just want to make sure their OS runs smoothly. I had previously been recommending and using Avast and it remains among the top 3 today. Most of the researchers I studied contend that Avira Antivir is the best because of the detection rate but that has it’s drawbacks as well.
For the best review of the the dozens that I’ve read, read this concise article on TechsupportAlert.com.
Other articles that I found very useful are:
Online Scanning Tools
Those of you who want to scan your PC without installing a full program or as a backup scan, check out my article Trusted Online Scanning Tools.
P.S. Just in case you are wondering what I’m using, I have decided to again go with Avast.