Best Free Antivirus Programs Of 2017

As this eventful year, which has seen its share of malware – especially ransomware – attacks, comes to an end, we decided it's time for reviewing the various free antivirus programs that survived these attacks successfully and can protect your PC(s) in 2018. Putting together such a list is never easy. Therefore, we took certain important factors into account (listed under 'Why We Chose What We Chose' ) based on which we made our decision.

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Why We Chose What We Chose

Following factors were taken into consideration before deciding the top 5 antivirus programs of this year.

  1. User Interface: Just like any other software, an easy user interface is critical for antivirus packages as well. Because no matter how sophisticated the technology employed, if an antivirus package does not have an easily understandable user interface, all will be lost, as the users won't be able to take the necessary actions.
  2. Speed (Detection Rates): Yes, speed matters. Especially considering the rate at which the modern-day malware is evolving. Antivirus packages have to act quickly in stopping malware in its tracks before it does the damage.
  3. Accuracy: Throwing up a lot of false positives will only make users lose faith in antivirus packages. Therefore accuracy is critical and was taken into consideration.
  4. Success Rate Against Evolving Malware: Most of the successful malware are new ones (zero-day malware) which cannot be predicted that easily. So success rate against evolving malware was our final consideration.
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Top 5 Antivirus Programs Of 2017 
  1. Comodo Free Antivirus: We had no issues giving this antivirus the No.1 spot. Because  it easily beat others hands down. Comodo Free Antivirus appeals to both tech-savvy and 'just being cautious' PC users. It has  enough rich features to make users go, 'is this really available for free?' Above all, it has the potential to successfully combat the ever-evolving modern-day malware.

    Features That Create The Difference:

    • Default-Deny Approach: making use of this technology (which is unique to Comodo), this antivirus package ensures all kinds of security threats are denied entry by default – until they are proven harmless. A pretty useful feature.
    • Containment and HIPS: equipped with containment, this antivirus package can successfully 'contain' new malware, run it in a separate environment without affecting user PC(s). And HIPS (Host Intrusion Prevention System) does a great job in performing comprehensive scans of PC(s) and detecting any suspicious activity.
    • Protection Against Fileless Malware: fileless malware can be hard to detect as it can successfully operate without leaving behind any traces. Comodo antivirus helps you successfully detect such fileless malware as well.
    • Ability To Handle Zero-Day Malware: majority of the security havoc is caused by unknown malware (or zero-day malware) which hasn't been previously detected and therefore is hard to predict. Comodo antivirus has enough features which ensure zero-day malware is dealt with properly. This is what truly sets this antivirus apart from the others in the IT security industry.
  2. Avast Free Antivirus: Avast follows next. Because it's been around for a long time. And because – just like Comodo antivirus – it can detect previously unknown viruses (using its heuristics engine) and other malware. Being the most installed antivirus product, no free antivirus program list would be complete without Avast Free Antivirus receiving a mention.

    Features That Create The Difference:

    • Heuristic Engine: to detect previously unknown security threats.
    • Home Network Security Feature: which can scan your network to find infections and vulnerabilities, such as identifying routers that are using default passwords and checking if your network is accessible from the Internet or not.
    • Real-Time Protection: for files, email, web surfing, P2P transfers etc. 
    • Regular Updates: which ensure evolving malware is dealt with properly. 
  3. Bitdefender Antivirus: this antivirus package finds a place in our list because it serves as the perfect example of the fact that antivirus packages need to be simple enough to be used by users to the fullest extent (our topmost consideration). Bitdefender is incredibly easy to install and configure, and it uses up very little system resources.

    Features That Create The Difference:

    • Simplicity: extremely easy to use. Reminds us that antivirus software need not be unnecessarily complicated.
    • Easy On Your PC(s): uses PC resources minimally, therefore does not affect PC performance.
    • Stays Up-to-Date: in order to handle the latest security threats.
    • Compatibility: is compatible with most of the Windows Operating Systems. Such as Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP etc.
  4. Avira Free Antivirus: this is a fully functional antimalware tool which can successfully combat against the whole lot of security threats - viruses, trojans, worms, spyware, adware, and various other kinds of malware — making it one of the best free antivirus programs in the market.

    Features That Create The Difference:

    • Comprehensive Protection: against diverse range of security threats like viruses, trojans, worms, spyware, adware, etc.
    • Advanced Heuristic Tools: which ensure modern-day malware is tackled efficiently. 
    • Stays Up-to-Date: in order to handle the latest security threats.
    • Compatibility: is compatible with most of the Windows Operating Systems. Such as Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, etc.
  5. AVG Free Antivirus: another competitive free antivirus package on the market. Therefore deserves a mention on this list. Because, well, it's free and it's pretty effective against malware.

    Features That Create The Difference:

    • Easy to Install: can be completed within minutes and does not require any technical expertise.
    • Easy On PC(s): doesn't take up much space, therefore enhances PC performance.
    • Stays Up-to-Date: in order to handle the latest security threats.
    • Compatibility: is compatible with Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP and Mac as well.