The function of antivirus and antimalware is usually carried out by security software, whose main task is to ensure that the computer is not affected by malicious programs. As even the least knowledgeable user knows, there are many versions of this software available both for purchase and free, so that gives rise to the question: which to choose?
Antivirus and antimalware: free or purchasable?
There is still a lot of confusion surrounding the characteristics possessed by the free versions of antivirus or antimalware compared to purchasable versions. Here are some guidelines to help clarify the main differences between the two typologies;
- A free antivirus is only free because it contains advertising from other companies. Most users will have received advice relating to other software to install during the installation process of the antivirus itself;
- A purchasable antivirus includes additional functionalities, such as anti-phishing filter, proprietary firewall, anti-spam filter and others, which are useful to ensure total protection for your computer;
- Generally speaking, purchasable software has less impact on the PC’s performance, although the various technical factors involved should be taken into account;
- If required, purchasable antivirus software usually includes technical support and customer assistance services.
- The most important feature which differentiates free from purchasable software however, is without doubt the speed with which virus and malware databases are updated.
This last point is often the determining factor in the decision regarding which of the two options to choose. Having said that, one might assume that free antivirus and antimalware are not worthy of mention, but in fact this is not the case.
There are several examples of free software which can compete with purchasable versions on almost the same level, and offer a decent level of protection for the average person who uses the PC for pleasure or routine tasks.
How to choose antivirus and antimalware
The choice of one option over another is mainly determined by how the person involved intends to use their computer. Purchasing an antivirus is never a bad thing of course, but there are plenty of users who could easily get the maximum benefit out of free versions, thereby saving dozens of Euros.
For the average user who does not use his PC for online shopping, home banking or for storing important data on his device, it is therefore better to start with a free antivirus or anti-malware, test how the computer behaves for some time and monitor the situation regarding infections by malicious software.
If, after a few months the PC still works as it should and has not become infected, then you can continue with a free version: you can always think of buying a premium antivirus at a later time, if you need a higher level of security for potentially sensitive data.
Those who regularly shop online and therefore often expose their sensitive data to web threats should immediately choose a paid solution (especially for the protection offered against spam mails or phishing).
Those who often make purchases online and therefore often expose their sensitive data to the risks of the web, should opt for a purchasable solution immediately (as it offers protection against spam emails or phishing).
Finally, it is important to remember that a PC’s first level of defence comes from the level of knowledge of the person using it. That does not mean to say that they must be an IT expert, but some basic training on the risks of the net, and how to recognise and avoid them, can make any antivirus almost superfluous.
Translated by Joanne Beckwith