Antivirus software never seems to be taken as seriously as it should be. New viruses and malware are constantly being created, and just one infection can destroy your data, leave your personal information vulnerable or render your machine or device unusable. Robust antivirus software is an absolute must, and adds an extra layer of security when downloading files, transferring data or managing emails.

If your computer comes with pre-installed software like McAfee, you’re likely to have had a bad experience with it, as it can be restrictive or even get in the way of everyday tasks. In many cases it’s actually advisable to get rid of bloated, third-party antivirus software (note, we aren’t talking about something like Windows Defender, which is actually pretty effective in some circumstances). That said, there are some excellent third-party antivirus offerings that work alongside your operating system’s in-built protection, and are worth looking in to.

Paid software or subscriptions will come with comprehensive protection, analytics and updates, however they can be expensive, so we have decided to look at some of this year’s best free pieces of antivirus software so you can keep your machine protected without breaking the bank...

Bitdefender

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The free version of Bitdefender actually includes all of the same antivirus scanning capabilities as the paid version, but it doesn’t contain certain features (such as scheduling) which can be really useful. All of the basics are covered though, and it has a relatively low impact on your machine’s performance while scanning. If you’re looking for a “does what it says on the tin” solution, Bitdefender is your best bet.

Avast

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Avast offers excellent antivirus protection, and is able to detect the vast majority of threats with ease. It’s simple to use, with a nice interface and it even comes with a password manager (a very useful tool when keeping secure passwords). There are some limitations; the browser extension that warns of fake sites, privacy shield and spam filtering options are reserved for the paid version.

Kaspersky

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This well known antivirus offering provides excellent malware and URL blocking, but doesn’t perform great when it comes to phishing attacks (more on phishing here). There also is a lack of direct technical support which is an issue. That said, as a free offering, it’s certainly worth a look!

Avira

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Another strong contender, with scheduling functionality and a host of customisation. Scans can be sluggish though, and can slow down the performance of your machine. This is a good choice for those that like to leave scans running while they’re away or scheduling them for overnight.

Sophos

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Good on phishing and URL blocking, but not so great on malware protection. There is a good remote management feature which allows you to manage scans from different up to three different locations.

Those are some of our picks for stand out free antivirus software options. We have more on how to protect your business from malware here, and are always happy to chat through your malware and virus protection needs. Just get in touch!

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