Having antivirus software on your computer is a little like having a fire alarm in your home. It annoys you when you have to perform maintenance on it, it terrifies you when it sets off a false alarm, and you’re frustrated by the fact that it’s something you know you have to have, and yet at the same time hope is never called into action.
Unfortunately, cybercrime isn’t becoming any less advanced. Over in the UK, people lose an incredible £190,000 every day to cybercrime. In the US, one in four people have either been a victim of cybercrime directly, or know somebody who has. These aren’t statistics that you want to become part of, and so it’s never been more important to have the right protection in place.
Knowing which piece of software represents the right protection is where a lot of people fall down. When antivirus software is overbearing or intrusive, it slows our computers down, and stops us from doing the things we want to do. Many brand new laptops and desktops come installed with McAfee, but people dislike the program so much that WIkiHow has felt compelled to create a guide on how to safely remove it!
Removing an unwanted program is all well and good, but that might leave you with no protection at all. You don’t want to be surfing the internet in 2019 with no protection, when malware could be hidden in every pop-up advert. It turns every visit to the internet into a gamble with your computer’s safety, and the only gambling we like to do online is when we choose to do it on purpose by visiting an online slots websites like Rose Slots. Online casino games make for a good metaphor – you’ll happily engage with them by making bets of any amount you choose, but you wouldn’t want to provide a casino game with full and unrestricted access to your bank account. That’s what you’re doing with all of your personal data – and maybe even your bank account too – every time you go online without protective software.
Fortunately, there are some great software solutions out there which can guard against malicious programs – and they won’t cost you a penny! Here are our top three for right here, right now.
No, you’re not misreading that, we really are recommending the use of Microsoft’s own in-built antivirus software. It’s taken years – perhaps even generations – for Microsoft to finally come up with an internet security program that provides satisfactory results, but Windows Defender is very robust. It doesn’t take up too much processing power, it looks after itself in terms of updates, and it assesses potential threats in real time.
It was once out of the question to go online with only Microsoft’s feeble protection to look after you, but that isn’t the case anymore. There are a couple of programs out there which do a slightly better job, and we’re about to mention them, but for most eventualities, Windows Defender will do just fine. Best of all, it should be switched on by default! The only cases in which it might not be are ones where your computer came pre-installed with a different program. If you’re not sure, ask Cortana to help you switch it back on. After that, you can relax!
We’re going to split the crowd a little with this recommendation. People either love the free edition of BitDefender, or they absolutely hate it. How you’ll feel about it will likely depend on whether you care about feeling like you’re in control of your antivirus software. The free edition of BitDefender likes to be left to its own devices. By that, we mean that you can’t schedule a scan. It will just prioritize itself, actively scan at all times, and tell you when it finds something. If you trust it, then the idea is you simply install the software and then forget all about it. If it wants your attention, it will let you know.
Despite being constantly on the go, BitDefender is surprisingly light on processor and memory demands. We’ve found that it can be a little eager in terms of the threats it identifies – sometimes it will query the most basic thing you want to do, or identify an innocuous file you’ve just downloaded as a potential threat, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. At least you always know it’s taking its job seriously.
If you visit Kaspersky’s website, they’re very keen on the idea of you paying for their full antivirus package. They don’t want to give away their free version, and they make it difficult for you to find it. We promise you; it is there. We’d link directly to it for your convenience, but they keep moving it! Once you’ve found it, it will prompt you a couple more times just to make absolutely sure you wouldn’t rather pay for it. Once you’ve jumped through the hoops, you’ll be able to download what is, for our money at least, the best free antivirus software available.
Kaspersky is a touch more demanding than the other two programs we’ve looked at when it comes to processor and memory, but that’s because it’s doing a much more thorough job. It’s especially deep on malware, and can spot a suspicious program a mile away, quarantining it before it’s even had the ghost of a chance to execute. Its fast scans are exactly that – fast – and so they provide rapid peace of mind when you’re suspicious about your computer’s behavior, and you want to make doubly sure there’s nothing untoward going on.
Other antivirus software programs are, of course, available. The quality of software changes all the time, and it’s worth reviewing the situation on an annual basis to make sure you still have the best option available. A few short years ago we’d have put AVG at the top of this list, and we’d have laughed at the idea that Microsoft may one day release something which outperforms it. Now, we’re not even sure it would feature if we extended this list to a top five.
None of us want to sleepwalk our way into data or financial loss because we didn’t take computer protection seriously enough, so arm yourself with one of the above software solutions, and browse in peace.