Free Anti Virus Software (Guest Post)

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Free Anti Virus Software

Free Anti Virus software 06/2014

Free Anti Virus software

If you haven’t been using any anti virus software, shame on you! There are plenty of good, FREE products out there that will keep you relatively safe while browsing the Internet, but as always be aware of where you go. What is Anti Virus software and why do you need it? Let go back a ways. Just like the human body can get infected with a virus and get ‘sick’, the same is possible with your PC. The Internet bad guys write code that rides into your life inside of bad web pages or fake email generated from a friend’s infected machine. The purpose of these could be anywhere from a “script kiddie’s” first virus test to one that attempts to hold your machine for ransom until you pay some money to an offshore Internet account. (By the way, 99.9% of the time, once you pay the money, NOTHING happens! Your system remains crippled.) Most of these electronic pathogens attempt to shut down your AV product and let other nasty things come in to play. Once infected, it’s sometimes very difficult to get your machine back to health. Preventative maintenance is definitely the way to go here!

When you received your new computer, more than likely it was bundled with a bunch of stuff: stuff you didn’t really want or need, and the three month trials ended before you knew it. Be warned. Just because there is an AV product installed and running doesn’t mean it’s being effective at keeping your system safe. It needs regular updates because believe it or not, these virus writers are continually writing newer and keener stuff. Also, an expired AV product can also severely slow your system down if run too long after it’s good until date. Get something current. Get safe. Just like you shouldn’t eat expired food, don’t run expired AV software.

Just because a cute sounding email comes from a friend’s email doesn’t necessarily mean your friend sent you some cute email with fuzzy teddy bears in an attachment. It’s called social engineering. The bad guys do things like that to entice you to open these files which will in turn infect your computer. If something seems out of place, an email to such said friend will get you the answer to “Hey man, did you send me this cute email with cute fuzzy teddy bears?” Just opening the email usually can do no harm. It’s when you attempt to open the cute fuzzy teddy bear attachment. Your opening of that attachment is giving the virus permission to launch it’s payload. If the AV product has an email scanner, it should have blocked the attachment from even reaching your in box. (and would be darned proud to tell you so!) If it doesn’t have an email scanner, the real time scanner will light up the screen once you select that attachment to open. Either way it should get ‘quarantined’ by your AV product. Analogous to the medical definition, the AV product tucks the files away to a place that cannot harm your computer because it knows it’s not good for you to play with.

See the below list of some free Anti Virus products available to you (overall score in parentheses):

360 Internet Security software (3/5)
When you click the above link, scroll down the page then click on the product that matches your platform (PC, Mac, smartphone, etc.)

Avast! 2014 (4/5)
When the page opens, click on the blue button (go to download) then choose the version on the left, “Essential”

AVG AntiVirus Free 2014 software (3/5)
When you click the above link, click on the green button with the down arrow in it then choose the free option on the left (free download), not the trial version

Avira AntiVirus Free software (4/5)
When you click the above link, click on the green button (free download) to download the free version

BitDefender Free AntiVirus software (5/5)
When you click the above link, click on the green button (free download) to download the free version

Fortinet FortiClient AntiVirus/VPN solution (4/5)
When you click the above link, click on the button for your OS to download the free version

Panda Cloud AntiVirus (3/5)
When you click the above link, click on the green button (Click here to download Panda Cloud Antivirus) to download the free version

The above list was compiled from the best free options available during testing by an independent lab sponsored by PC at,2817,2388652,00.asp (April 23, 2014). I only included those rated 3/5 stars and greater.

Now, here’s something that isn’t apparent to some: too much is no good in this instance. Running more than one real time (full time) anti virus scanner will slow down your computer! Each hard drive write is being scanned by the real time scanner. Having two running will double the amount each piece of written data will be processed. Also each scanner is looking into the RAM all the time, they may knock heads and possibly create havoc with your computer experience. Blue screens and crashes could be the result. Find one product that you feel works for you and remove any others that scan real time. Since they are free you have the ability to load each one down, run it for a while and then remove it and install the next. Try them all if it’s your whim. After all, they are free!

Have fun out there.


About the author: Bob is a 17 year veteran in technical support for a metropolitan NYC hospital system. His responsibilities there include LAN, WAN and wireless communications, server as well as telephone support. In his professional career, he started out working with PC assembly and sales in the 80s when a 20 megabyte hard drive was the size of a lunchbox and cost as much as a present day laptop. 😉 He has programmed in MS BASIC, Visual BASIC, PERL, HTML and CSS.

(This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy here. Photo: elementa1.)

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