In 2017 around 77% of successful hacks against American businesses used exploits, social engineering and other fileless techniques which can bypass antivirus software.
That being said it’s still important to have antivirus software because hackers and criminals develop millions of new viruses and malware every month.
Today on Mostly Tech we’re going to check out the top 3 best free antivirus software according to antivirus testing by AV-Comparatives and AV-Test over the last 18 months.
In these tests they basically expose many antivirus engines to thousands of different viruses and malware, and record how many they are able to detect as well as false positives.
The #1 best free antivirus program according to recent tests is Panda Free Antivirus. It scored perfect detection rates in multiple tests over the last 18 months with very few false positives.
With Panda Free Antivirus you will have active antivirus protection. This basically means that Panda automatically scans files that you’re using or downloading, for viruses and malware. It also monitors active programs for suspicious behavior.
Panda can additionally detect and remove other potentially unwanted programs such as spyware and adware.
Running on-demand scans of your entire system or specific folders or harddrives is also possible. These scans can be scheduled as well.
There’s also a ‘Game/Multimedia Mode’, which when turned on will block annoying notifications while you’re playing games or watching movies. However you can disable most pop-ups and notifications by turning off ‘Panda news’ and ‘relevant security news’ in the General tab of the settings.
Panda is only available for Windows PCs and Android mobile devices. While Panda does not consume too many computer resources, there are more lightweight and simple antiviruses
Next up we have Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition. The Bitdefender antivirus engine is very good and has had similar virus detection rates as Panda in recent tests.
However the free version of Bitdefender is a very simple and minimalist antivirus program. Like Panda it has a robust active antivirus protection system that scans active processes and files that you’re using and downloading.
But in terms of on-demand scanning, it only has a system scan button, which will scan your entire computer, although you can also drag and drop files or folders for scanning. However you can’t do a quick scan or anything more specific than a system wide scan. Scheduling full system scans is also not possible.
Bitdefender does have some pop-ups but these can be turned off in the account settings by disabling ‘notifications for special offers’. Also you do have to sign up for a free account with Bitdefender to use their free antivirus software.
Bitdefender does seem to be a bit more lightweight than Panda Free Antivirus. They have free antivirus programs for Windows PCs and Android mobile devices. There is a paid version of Bitdefender for Mac users. But if you’re looking for a free antivirus for your Mac, then check out the next program on the list.
Finally we have Avast Free Antivirus. Avast has also acquired AVG Antivirus by the way. So Avast and AVG are pretty much the same thing nowadays, just different branding.
Avast scored very well in most of the antivirus tests, but it did not have perfect detection rates in any test unlike Bitdefender and Panda.
However Avast has a lot of free features and they also have a free antivirus for Mac computers, as well as Windows PCs and Android devices.
Similar to Bitdefender and Panda, Avast has active protection that scans files that you’re accessing and monitors active programs for suspicious behavior.
Other Avast features include ‘Web Shield’ which blocks web based attacks and unsafe downloads, ‘Mail Shield’ which blocks infected email attachments if you use an email client and WiFi Protector, which can scan your local network for vulnerable computers and devices.
Avast does however have more pop-ups and also consumes a bit more computer resources than Bitdefender or Panda.