Purchasing Antivirus Software vs. Free Downloadable Version

By: Robert Siciliano | August 20, 2014 (Edited July 7, 2017)

computer software

Free downloadable antivirus (AV) software is pretty enticing, but that universal rule of "You get what you pay for" applies here as well-as in, "You get what you don't pay for."

That's because with free versions, you get only rudimentary AV protection: No antispyware, antiphishing, or a firewall. The detection system identifies only the known viruses based on already-established definitions of viruses. This means that the protection does not extend beyond the user's last virus definition update.

You'll notice that in the free AV software program, there are links for buying "premium" or "complete" protection systems-essentially an admission by the vendor that the free version is inadequate.

What do you need, then?
Small-business owners should purchase the complete package, which includes tech support. The complete package is also ideal for parents because it guards against phishing attacks. The complete offering provides features that business owners and parents will appreciate.

Though you can always add other free software onto your free downloadable version in an attempt to have everything covered, this approach isn't as simple as it sounds.

For instance, if there's a warning of a potential security threat, you won't find it easy to determine which of your several products is issuing it. The warning could be from one free software needing to be reset. Or, it could be another program blocking software that the user wants to access online. And then there's "conflicts." Some security programs bump heads with others and cause problems.

Nevertheless, should you still want to get a free download, don't be hasty about it. Some pop-up ads for free AV software, and even those found in Google searches, are actually malicious. This is also called "scareware."

The recommendation from is to purchase cloud-based, real-time protection, as this type of system proactively seeks out new cyber threats, protecting you from emerging threats. Researchers will pinpoint, investigate, formulate and deploy countermeasures in real time.

Another recommendation is that users have anti-phishing protection, an inbound and outbound firewall, and a website safety advisor that detects suspicious websites.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to bestcompany.com discussing  identity theft prevention. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE [email protected] -to 411247. Disclosures.


Top of Page keyboard_arrow_right

author image

Written by Robert Siciliano

Follow Robert Siciliano on Google+

Compare the top ranked companies

Find the right company for you.