With the evolution of the internet, the number of online threats has also continuously risen. They are always at the peak. So, it is natural to have this question in mind that is free antivirus enough protection for your system in the shadow of such threats?
Well, let us find out the answer to this question.
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What does the paid version offer more?
This is very important to know. If someone is buying the paid version of antivirus, why are they doing so?
The free version of antivirus provides your system with a basic level of security. That is, it would perform the scan, look for the threats and quarantine or remove them if required. That’s it. On the other hand, if you pay for an antivirus, the antivirus provider would be liable to provide you a complete security solution. Your system’s security would be taken more seriously.
Premium version definitely has something better to offer otherwise there wouldn’t be people looking for free activation keys or illegal cracks of antivirus software like Bitdefender.
You would be getting extra features that would safeguard your device against more than just a virus threat. Since fighting malware programs is only one of the things they do, these paid programs are often termed as ‘Internet Security Solutions’ rather than just ‘antivirus’ or ‘anti-malware.’ These are the most common added features that a paid antivirus program provides:
- Real-time Protection: While in the free version, you have to scan manually for the threats on your system, the paid version provides you with real-time protection feature.
- Scheduled Scanning: Again, there is no option of schedule scanning in the free variant, but with the premium program, you can plan your scan according to your preference.
- Better Firewall: Better firewall means better protection against unauthorized access from a network.
- Family Protection: Blocking unauthorized sites for children, monitor the online activity, and many more family protection features are present in the paid version of the antivirus program.
- Password Managers: Many paid security solutions provide their subscribers with an online password manager to safeguard their essential passwords in a locker.
- Data Encryption: Paid version provide you with data encryption to keep your data safe from online hackers.
- Online Identity Protection: The premium version of antivirus provides you with identity protection while you are browsing the internet. They make it difficult for cybercriminals to get their hand on to your personal info like IP addresses, saved passwords, and more.
- More Device Coverage: The free version provides you service on a single device only, whereas most security programs provide multiple device security.
- Network Intrusion Prevention: The premium paid versions of antivirus programs provide extra protection against the network intruders.
Is Free Antivirus Bad?
It would be harsh to call free antivirus as bad or weak, just because they are FREE. For a home user or a non-regular user, there are plenty of free options available that would be more than enough.
The good antivirus provider does not decline the scanning and detecting abilities in their free versions.
If you are a Windows user, then you need not look for anything else because Windows Defender can be an ultimate solution for you. The latest version of Windows Defender is more advanced and robust as compared to its previous versions. Previously it was considered as a baseline by the testing agencies like AV-comparatives.org and AV-test.org. That may get Microsoft’s ego hurt, and they started working more on making Defender better.
And that worked wonders. In its latest Jan-Feb 2019 antivirus group test report, AV-test ranked Windows Defender as the top security solution. Defender caught every piece of malware the agency threw at it, including every “zero-day” sample that reproduced real-world testing, with zero false positives.
Apart from Windows Defender, there are more free security solutions that you can try:
Who Should Pay for Antivirus?
Now, this is a good question if free antivirus is providing sufficient security than why one should pay for antivirus?
The answer is simple. As mentioned in the previous sections, the paid version of antivirus comes with a lot of advanced features that are unavailable in the free versions.
The paid version is basically for the people who are mostly exposed to the internet. The work of these people is totally dependent on the internet, so they need some extra layer of security like data encryption, real-time scanning, firewall, scheduled scanning, and others.
The paid version would also save them from the advanced level of malware attacks like a ransomware attack. Ransomware would encrypt your data, and then cybercriminals who are responsible for it would ask the victim to pay for getting a decrypting tool or key.
Also, one of the significant problems with free versions is that they are not regularly updated. So, if a new malware is detected and that does not come under the defined database of the free antivirus, it would not be able to detect it, and your system would be infected.
Moreover, when it comes to your system protection or identity security, free version security may not be good enough. For that, you need more accuracy and quick response-ability in your anti-malware or antivirus program. Some free antivirus may even block some essential files that should not be blocked. They also slow down the system performance by their continuous prompts.
Ultimately, it is up to you – the user. What are your needs, and most importantly, what is your budget?
If everything fits with you and you think extra features are worth for your devices, then do not hesitate to buy a complete security plan. But before buying any program, do your own research too because many free programs also provide some extra features. Maybe the feature that you require is covered in the free variant.
If you ask me, I would recommend you to get a basic paid plan, because today no one is away from the internet world, and also you may not be attentive every time while browsing the internet. So, it is better to transfer your security worries to the expert.