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Thread: The FREE Antivirus thread

  1. #1
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    The FREE Antivirus thread

    This thread is to help spread knowledge about the various offerings of "free" antivirus programs out there. There are quite a few more besides the commonly known AVG, Avast, Antivir/Avira, and MSE.

    I would like to keep revisiting this thread, updating information as we come across it.

    Now, I mostly turn to free AV products for the freebie jobs I do for friends, family, neighbors. And even though I have tons of NFR licenses for many different "big name" brand products from work...I still use MSE at home. So far it has proven to work well for me....but I'll admit, I do have concern about its sinking ratings over the past year. And I wouldn't be good at my job if I wasn't keeping an eye out for other possible replacement products for this product.

    Also at work, we focus 99% on business clients, but we have a lot of home users rigs come across our bench to get worked on...and we've been putting on MSE.

    I'm aware of the "pay for" products...most of what I work in day to day is with the best of the best of security products, Kaspersky, Eset, BitDefender, Panda, etc. That's a whole separate topic and I don't wish to mix those into this thread which is solely on the "free AV" products.

    Now...one of the biggest concerns for me is simplicity of use, and how easily the end user can keep the product running. By that last point, I mean...basically they don't have to worry about keeping it registered on a yearly basis. Because we all know that home users are horrible about keeping antivirus licenses renewed. I'd rather have a mediocre antivirus product on their rig that is "set it and forget it" for the life of the computer, versus a more effective product that needs to be renewed and/or reactivated on a yearly basis. It is likely the end user will ignore that..so after the first year is up, it expires, it fails to update and protect..and now they're screwed. This right here is the primary purpose that I've liked and used MSE for this type of end user.

    I also do not like to see advertisements...or frequent "nags" to upgrade to the pro/paid for version. Some products are guilty of that...it disqualifies them from anything I'll use.

    A list of products...lets get a long list together, and I will keep editing this list as new products keep coming in.

    360Safe/360 Internet Security/Qihoo360 - Runs triple engines, 360Cloud, Qihoo QVM, and BitDefender. Free for home use only. I installed this on my own laptop yesterday to start testing it, (11/26/13) and so far it's been solid, haven't noticed a performance hit which I did expect from a triple engine. No adware so far.
    http://www.360safe.com/

    AdAware free antivirus - Most of us know Lavasofts AdAware adware/spyware removal program from years ago, they added a combo antivirus product also. Haven't looked at yet.
    http://www.lavasoft.com/products/ad_aware_free.php

    Agnitum Outpost Free -
    http://free.agnitum.com/

    Amiti Antivirus - An open source clone running on Clamwin
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/amitiantivirus/

    Anvi Smart Defender - Reviews said it's not very effective
    http://www.anvisoft.com/smart-defender.html

    AVG - I remember the days when AVG was the free product of choice..back with version 5 or 6....but it really started dropping in effectiveness around version 7 (early XP days?). And I don't like its browser protection bar...seen it cause so many issues. I still see so many computers that have AVG come across our bench from infections.
    http://free.avg.com/us-en/homepage

    AntiVir - Pretty decent detection rates, amusing reference to Star Wars in the name of its scanning engine, but horribly high false positive rages. And the constant nags to upgrade to the Pro version drive end users nuts. Frequent reliability problems with the free update servers....so clients often lag behind in definitions.
    http://www.avira.com/en/avira-free-antivirus

    Avast - I've liked its performance in detection rates. Relatively low false positives. A rather quirky interface. But what kept me from liking it was the fact that, last that I knew (I'll admit it's been a few years) you had to keep an account with them and re-register the product yearly.
    http://www.avast.com/en-us/free-antivirus-download
    They currently offer a "Free for EDU" package (educational facilities....added this link on 04/12/2013 and I don't know how long the special will last)
    http://www.avast.com/en-us/education...piple4i4ifailn

    Baidu - Similar to 360Safe, triple engine....Baidu local scan, Baidu cloud, and AntiVir.
    http://antivirus.baidu.com

    BitDefender - They recently released a new free product that does have real time file protection. Unlike their prior version which did not. Very bland interface, doesn't let you configure much. But quite good performance. You do have to register with them once to get an account and updates...so that alone makes me think it's not a good option for me to use for this type of client needs.
    http://www.bitdefender.com/solutions/free.html

    Commodo - I tried it once...it had frequent problems updating.
    http://antivirus.comodo.com/

    ClamWin - relatively ineffective against more modern web based "threats".
    http://www.clamwin.com/

    CYSEC - Have not tried yet, interesting website. Based in London. Also offer free remote access and network mapping tools.
    http://cysec.com/

    Digital Defender - Haven't looked at it yet.
    http://www.digital-defender.com/

    DrWeb CuritIt - Haven't looked at it yet.
    http://www.freedrweb.com/?lng=en

    Fortinet Forticlient Lite - Haven't looked at it in a while.....was a full security suite only, meaning software firewall too.
    http://www.forticlient.com/lite.html

    Immunet - Haven't looked at it yet.
    http://www.immunet.com/main/index.html

    Kingsoft - Haven't looked at yet but feature set looks good
    http://www.kingsoftsecurity.com/

    MSE - Came out on the market doing fairly well in reviews, has been sliding in ratings lately, but it really is a "set and forget" product. No registration required, no renewals, no nags, simple interface. It also is unique among the other offerings as being the only "free antivirus" that is licensed to be used in a busines....currently of up to 10x computers. Desktops only, no server operating systems.
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/w...tials-download

    NANO antivirus - no info
    http://www.nanoav.ru/index.php?optio...mid=74&lang=en

    Panda Cloud Free - Panda has been doing very well in detection of new/rising threats. A cloud based product, as the name illustrates. Just installed on my laptop, no registration required (good). During install there are 3x checkbox options for "me-too ware"...it wants to put in the Panda Security Toolbar in Internet Exploader and Firefox, based on Blekko search, and it was to set Blekko for the default search engine. As well as set the home page to MyStart. You can opt out of all 3 of those. For the management console, a decent set of features, including file and directory exclusion options.
    http://www.cloudantivirus.com/en/#!/...virus-download

    PCTools - Haven't looked at it yet.
    http://www.pctools.com/free-antivirus/index/d/2

    Returnil -
    http://www.returnilvirtualsystem.com...il-system-safe

    RisingFree - Haven't looked at it yet.
    http://www.freerav.com/
    Appears to have a version which they say is compatible with Server 2003 and Server 2008...
    http://www.rising-global.com/Downloa...Antivirus.html

    Roboscan - Reviews show as mediocre
    http://www.roboscan.com/

    UnThreat - Haven't looked at it yet.
    http://www.unthreat.com/free-antivirus

    ZenOK - Haven't looked at it yet.
    http://www.zenok.com/en/free-antivirus/

    Zillya Antivirus -
    http://zillya.com/node/20

    ZoneAlarm - Haven't looked at it yet.
    http://www.zonealarm.com/security/en...s-firewall.htm
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  2. #2
    R.I.P. Nov 2015 RaisinCain's Avatar
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    Aren't best user practices and common sense first and foremost when dealing with viruses and malware? That being said I would first off recommend a paid subscription product. Comodo is high on my list for free av/security software. Awesome list though. TY for taking the time to put it together!

  3. #3
    Certified SG Addict CableDude's Avatar
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    Yosc, ftw!

  4. #4
    resident plumber Mark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CableDude View Post
    Yosc, ftw!
    yes i agree

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    SG Enthusiast Easto's Avatar
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    I'd also like to see something about the "pay for" services offered too. I've been following your posts regarding MSE and you've got me thinking about switching to something new. I'd be willing to pay as long as I thought it was worth it.

    Thanks for the great work above.

  6. #6
    Certified SG Addict CableDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Easto View Post
    Thanks for the great work above.

  7. #7
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Easto View Post
    I'd also like to see something about the "pay for" services offered too. I've been following your posts regarding MSE and you've got me thinking about switching to something new. I'd be willing to pay as long as I thought it was worth it..
    That would be a very long post. I've worked with the majority of brands in the US market, when it comes to "paid AV"....my 3 favorite products are (and not in any order of preference..so I'll just name them alphabetically)
    *Bitdefender
    *Eset
    *Kaspersky

    Yet even with the best pro products, malware can slip by. I've seen current threats blow right past the best of the best. That's why I'm a firm believer in "layering" your security.
    *Start with "Safe DNS services"....set your router or your networks domain controllers DNS services to forward to OpenDNS or Nortons ConnectSafe DNS servers...not your ISPs, not Googles, not roots....but safe DNS services.
    *Maintain your Microsoft updates
    *Maintain your web player updates (Java, Adobe Flash, Shockwave, PDF Reader, Quicktime viewers, etc)
    *Use an AdBlocker...as these days lots of malware comes in through poisoned advertising banners on legit websites. Either a local adblocker like AdBlock Plus extension installed in Chrome, or through a UTM appliance at the edge like Untangle which supports blocking ads right at the gateway.
    *Surf with a more secure browser. Right now....Google Chrome is king here, plus Chrome has its own built in sandbox for itself. It's so much harder to infect your computer if you surf with Chrome, versus Firefox or Internet Exploader.

    *For my business clients...I'm a firm believer in a UTM appliance at the edge. Plain old NAT routers are old technology, not secure enough for a business network. UTM appliances are needed, every single one of my primary clients now have one as their gateway.

    Back to the "pay for AV" versus "Free AV" thing....IMO, if you follow my first couple of "best practices" above...one of the better free AV's is fine for you. I have "NFR" licensing for tons of top pro AV products...so I could use any of those for my home computers, but I stick with MSE and now and then try a few other ones.
    *The big reason we use "pay for" AV products for our clients..first of all, licensing. Most free products are only legal for personal use, not commercial. And the couple that are legal for commercial..such as MSE, only for smaller businesses <10 computers such as with MSE...and only desktop Windows, no servers.
    *Another reason...management. We use managed antivirus..one central console to deploy/update/configure/monitor the entire network.
    *Yeah of course we make money reselling product...but that's not really a point, its pocket change compared to our consulting fees.
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    With all the gloom and doom Microsoft is spouting about the end is near for Windows XP, do you know if MSE running on Windows XP will continue to get updates after the official no more support date?

  9. #9
    R.I.P. Nov 2015 RaisinCain's Avatar
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    Nope. Microsoft has even recommended not using it as a stand alone solution.

    http://www.howtogeek.com/173291/good...rty-antivirus/

    I have been using Bitdefender Free currently and find that it performs VERY well.

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    That is odd. I first learned about MSE here on Speedguide, when I had been using Avira. And also, Microsoft rolled MSE (now Windows Defender) as a built-in part of Windows 8. Why would they abandon it?

  11. #11
    Elite Member TonyT's Avatar
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    You will still be able to use and update MSE on XP:
    http://curah.microsoft.com/52707/mic...p-to-july-2015
    No one has any right to force data on you
    and command you to believe it or else.
    If it is not true for you, it isn't true.

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  12. #12
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qui-Gon John View Post
    That is odd. I first learned about MSE here on Speedguide, when I had been using Avira. And also, Microsoft rolled MSE (now Windows Defender) as a built-in part of Windows 8. Why would they abandon it?
    They didn't really "abandon" it...but they have lowered their research/upkeep with it. MSE came out of the gateways a few years ago as a good product, performing very very well several times in a row at AV-Comparatives.org's "dynamic tests" (which is their real world current malware web based tests). They started putting less effort into it last year..as far as updates and detection rates. I can only suspect that they feel they're encroaching on anti-trust laws and don't want to bother dealing with complaints and lawsuits from the major antivirus vendors. (or maybe some of the bigger antivirus companies lobbied them or offered big cash donations to lower its quality). Who knows.
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    I know your supposed to only have one AV, but has anyone had a problem with both MSE and free bitdefender on same machine?

  14. #14
    R.I.P. Nov 2015 RaisinCain's Avatar
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    I have seen where both are installed and have not had a problem but, why run 2 AV programs? MSE is a piece of crap. I would just run BitDefender (and Malwarebytes Free) as a stand alone solution.

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    I was going to try the Bitdefender did not want to uninstall the MSE till sure I wanted to stay with Bit (every time I installed MSE always seems to be months behind on updates takes long time to update) but Bit asked if I wanted current removed went ahead and uninstalled MSE. Already have Malewarebytes free installed, I guess there is no way to manually check for update with Bitdefender just auto.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RaisinCain View Post
    I have been using Bitdefender Free currently and find that it performs VERY well.
    Does BitDefender Free give you any nags to get the paid version?

  17. #17
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Yeah stay away from running 2 or more AV programs at the same time...their real time file protection systems will step on each others toes. MalwareBytes is not an antivirus program, so we can exclude discussing that as far as the question of running 2 or more AV programs at the same time.

    Yes you can get a system to appear to run "OK with two or more AV programs at the same time...but it's a fact that they will impact the reliability of the detection ability of each other...so why risk it? Not to mention a greater system slowdown, and an occasional application hang or system hang.

    BitDefender looks for defintion updates every 15 minutes and program updates hourly...no need to worry about manual update.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qui-Gon John View Post
    Does BitDefender Free give you any nags to get the paid version?
    From their site -- We know you don't like it when intrusive commercials disrupt your user experience. That's why Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition only displays discreet, rare messages, with stuff you really need to know.--

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    I definitely like the Bitdefender, will stick with it when/if I go to 7.

  20. #20
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    Bitdefender last update was 4/2, 1:09PM, version 1.0.21.1099 did repair (just in case) stayed the same, has been updating several times a day. Is this current or do I have a problem?/ EDIT: Finally updated today at 7:08PM.
    Last edited by mspl; 04-03-14 at 06:27 PM.

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