Four main features of the best free antivirus software

To be clear up front, you cannot expect even the best free antivirus software to have the same sort of capabilities as paid-for antivirus software and so, in general, if your computer and/or mobile device is core to your life, then it’s highly recommended to invest in paid-for protection. That said, if you’re on a really tight budget, then the best free antivirus software is certainly better than the default protection offered by the main operating systems (Windows Defender, XProtect and Play Protect), which in itself is still better than nothing. With that in mind, here are four of the main features of the best free antivirus software.

Best Free Antivirus Software

It comes from a brand you can trust

The importance of this cannot be overstated. These days the popularity of free antivirus software has led to the creation of a significant quantity of malware pretending to be free antivirus software. This type of malware tends to be a specific form of computer virus known as a trojan, which essentially tricks the user into taking an action which activates the malicious software. A typical scenario would be for a user to be told that they needed to scan their computer or that they had a virus which needed to be treated and, in either case, be requested to click somewhere. That click then sets off the virus and the user winds up dealing with the exact situation they were trying to avoid. Basically, if you are going to use free antivirus software, make sure that you only download it directly from providers who are known to be trustworthy, like Comodo.

The ability to run without disrupting your computer or mobile device

All security trades convenience for protection, however each individual has to decide for themselves how much of a trade they’re willing to make in any given situation. For example, many people will accept that their computer or mobile device will need to be put "on the bench" from time to time so that an antivirus product can perform a deep-level scan. They are, however, less likely to be thrilled if their antivirus product continually slows down their computer or mobile device to the point where every key-press or screen-tap results in a lengthy wait before the computer or mobile device eventually does what the user wants it to do. Free antivirus software varies widely in its performance standards. Some of it will have next to no impact on the performance of your computer or mobile device while others can make them painful to use. Comodo is a safe choice here.

Robust protection against all malware

When it comes to technology, details can matter a lot. Viruses are one specific form of malware (their defining feature is that they self-replicate). These days there are lots of other nasties which can make their way into your computer or mobile device, so any form of effective protection has to guard against all of them, rather than “just” viruses. This means that the virus definitions need to be regularly updated and ideally you want them to be updated automatically without any intervention on your part.

For the sake of clarity, updates to the virus definitions are different to updates to the main product itself. The virus-definition database is essentially a list of known viruses and how they can be identified. Product updates relate to the functionality and security of the product as a whole. Basically they are two separate sets of updates.

A user-friendly interface

There are two key points to understand about free antivirus software. The first is that reputable companies generally want to make some revenue from it, so they often use it to show adverts. This not only brings in a bit of money, it also adds a little bit of inconvenience to the user which can gently nudge them to upgrade to the paid version. Frankly, adverts will almost certainly be a fact of life if you’re using a free antivirus product, however, even when antivirus software is free it should still be recognizably antivirus software rather than adware. In other words, the level of functionality should outweigh the level of advertising rather than vice versa.

The second is that there should be nothing which might confuse (read trick) you into accidentally agreeing to pay for an upgrade. Again, you should take it as read that companies will point out the extra features you can unlock by paying for an upgrade, but they should not use underhanded tactics to try to part you from your cash.

Comodo free antivirus scores on all the four points mentioned in this article and you can download it now from the Comodo website.