Free antivirus that is no longer free

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Ferdian Alfianto

Ferdian Alfianto

Ferdian Alfianto is an Internet enthusiast, Mac Lover; likes using Wordpress, experimenting with Linux (especially Debian and Ubuntu), tinkering with pfSense routers, happy experimenting with LEMP (Linux, Nginx, MariaDB, PHP) and Redis. You can contact me here.

The old saying goes "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch"Is a fitting phrase for" free "antivirus software. Yes, free antivirus is now a myth. The developers free antivirus now embeds adware, spyware, toolbars, and other junk to make money fast.

At one other point, free antivirus is now just an advertising funnel, to get users to upgrade to the paid version. Free antivirus developers are now making dollars through advertising, tracking, and junkware.

How Actually Free Antivirus Can Be A Money Search Engine?

Here's a quick summary of how antivirus companies are trying to make money:

  • Change Your Default Search Engine : Free antivirus developers are trying to turn the browser's search engine into one of their own choices. They then make money when we click on ads on these search results pages. Sometimes this might be branded something like "safe search," but it's really just using the search engine that makes them money.
  • Changing Site : Free antivirus developers also want to change our site, driving traffic to websites that make money advertising to them.
  • Ask Toolbars and Rebranded Ask Toolbars : Many free antiviruses want to install a toolbar Ask which is actually useless for us. Some of these developers use renamed versions of Ask Toolbar with their own name on it, but it's still a toolbar Ask.
Ask Toolbar
  • Junkware : Free antivirus developers add additional programs (or some sort of "offer") to their installer which are automatically installed by default. They are paid by the programmers if they can install programs on our system, the more installed the more dollars they make.
  • Tracking : Antivirus companies track habits browsing and other personal details about us. Some antivirus developers may sell this data to make even more money.
An example of a junkware installation

Comodo Free

Comodo tries to change its web browser search engine to Yahoo! and GeekBuddy's paid technical support software bundle. Includes other Comodo product bundles that we may not want, for example changing your DNS server settings to Comodo servers and installing "Chromodo, ”A Chromium-based browser made by Comodo.

Comodo antivirus free
Comodo Free

Ad-Aware Free

Lavasoft ad-Aware forces us to activate the feature "Web Protection"Which will" secure our online searches "by setting SecureSearch as your browser's home page and default search engine. Despite the name, this isn't really a security feature. The mode only switches web browsers to use a search engine named SecureSearch, even though this search engine uses Yahoo! - which means using Bing search engine technology.

If you prefer to use the Bing search engine, it is better to visit the Bing web page directly. You'll have a better experience than using the Lavasoft search engine which simply replaces Bing costumes with their own name, SafeSearch.

ad-aware free antivirus
Ad-Aware Free

Avira Free Antivirus

Avira recommends that we install "Avira SafeSearch Plus." This is simply a rebranding version of the Ask Toolbar, as Ad-Aware did. 

ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall

ZoneAlarm also wants us to activate the feature "ZoneAlarm SearchAs the browser's start page and default search engine, which simultaneously installs the ZoneAlarm toolbar. Again this is just a version of the Ask Toolbar with a different name.

Panda Free Antivirus

Panda tries to install tool safeguarding their own browser and changing the browser's search engine to Yahoo, and the browser's home page to “MyStart,” which is powered by Yahoo. Even though the mode is the same as the previous free antivirus, we have to give our own credit to Panda, because they are at least not trying to cheat by offering search engines or browser start pages to Yahoo.

avast! Free

Avast! Developer also try installing additional software we may not want. Previously, I have seen Dropbox offered in the avast! Installer, and now avast! Tries to install the Google Toolbar when I try to install it.

Google Toolbar and Dropbox are the quality apps we might want, so avast! looks better compared to previous free antivirus. 

AVG Free

Of the previous free antivirus lineups, AVG has an annoying suite of utilities, such as the AVG Security Toolbar, AVG Rewards, AVG Web TuneUp, and SecureSearch. Even AVG has to provide specific instructions for uninstalling this.

BitDefender Antivirus Free Edition

BitDefender offers a free antivirus, it doesn't attempt to install junkware or toolbars on the computer. BitDefender is still sticking with the strategy of making dollars by trying to get us to upgrade to the paid version.

MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Free

MalwareBytes doesn't attempt to install additional applications on your computer, but the free version doesn't offer real-time protection. Instead, MalwareBytes offers a useful free tool for manual scanning - they even detect and clean a lot of adware installed by other programs - and would encourage us to upgrade to the more full-featured paid version.

This free MalwareBytes can be very useful in combination with other antiviruses, such as the free Microsoft Windows Defender or the Microsoft Security Essentials solution, this is because MalwareBytes Free is not a standalone free antivirus that we can rely on, because it does not have real-time scanning.

So, What Free Antivirus Is Good?

I personally prefer to use the free antivirus feature of Microsoft Windows Defender (Windows 8, 8.1 and 10) or Microsoft Security Essentials (Windows 7), but we have to buy a Windows OS license to get these features.

If you don't really like free antivirus from Microsoft, maybe the free version of BitDefender could be a wise choice, because it doesn't flush our computers with junk applications that we don't need.

If you need a protection solution more than just an antivirus and don't mind opening your wallet, then Kaspersky products are one of the best choices.


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