How to Pick the Best Antivirus

I don’t know about you, but I can still remember the antiviruses that were being built 20 years ago. They were nothing but a collection of signatures, checksums that were unique for each particular virus. Whenever you wanted to check a suspicious file for viruses, the antivirus verified if one of the predefined sequence of bytes was found inside the suspicious file body. As you can guess, new viruses were never detected until their checksums made it into the antivirus database.

Modern antiviruses have the ability of monitoring the programs’ behavior, stopping them in their tracks whenever they try to do anything nasty. But to do this, they need to employ real-time protection, a feature that may lack in some of the free antiviruses that can be downloaded from the Internet.

There are several organizations like AV Comparatives, which test the major antivirus applications every few months, ranking them according to their efficiency. These companies measure the antiviruses’ ability of detecting the viruses from their database, new viruses, measure system load, privacy protection features, user interface friendliness, and so on.


The first decision has to do with how much money you are willing to pay for an antivirus. If you want to go the free route, your options will be somewhat limited, of course. All the antivirus makers want to make money off their products, after all, so they will cripple the free versions of their applications.

This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find a good quality, free antivirus. Sure, the free versions will nag you every now and then, displaying special offers that encourage you to upgrade to their paid versions, but most of them won’t bother you too often. It’s a small price to pay in exchange for peace of mind.

Windows Defender (formerly known as Microsoft Security Essentials), Avast Free Antivirus, Comodo Internet Security, AVIRA Free Antivirus and Panda Free Antivirus are some of the best free options out there. No matter what free antivirus you choose, be sure to stay away from suspicious sites, which claim to offer free antiviruses, but hit you with malware applications instead.


It is wise to invest some money into a high-quality, paid antivirus application, of course. You will gain peace of mind and keep your computer safe for a few dollars per month, after all. If this is the case, head over to one or more antivirus comparison sites, and then choose one of the top three winners.

Choosing a good antivirus is just the beginning. It is just as important to keep your operating system, applications and antivirus up to date. Don’t forget to install a malware scanner as well. Even a 100% free application can do a great job, helping you get rid of those nasty cookies, worms, and other bad files that might be overlooked by your antivirus.



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