Choosing the best free anti-virus software isn’t easy. There are numerous claims, offers and scare stories that make what’s already a difficult decision, much harder.
Many of the scare stories are real. Hackers want your personal details, credit cards and control of your PC. They’re very happy, to do whatever is required to steal your ID, files and money.
Who do hackers target?
Hackers look for the easiest targets. PCs running old software, with poor or outdated protection are far easier to steal from than devices that are locked down with the best anti-virus software.
How to choose the best security software
Does it work, is the most important factor in choosing the right security software. The primary measurement being, does it stop the bad stuff happening? Secondly, it must not give false alerts for legitimate websites, software etc. Beyond primary protection, usability, additional features and of course price, are also factors.
Security software is hard to test
There are only two or three labs, globally, that test anti-virus software well. Verum works with SE Labs for the best protection information available. SE Labs is a world-leading, independent, security testing company. They use an array of sophisticated real-world tests to benchmark and compare security software performance. Verum uses these results as the foundation for the verdicts and recommendations built to keep you safe.
Best Free Antivirus Software – Microsoft Defender
Microsoft Defender has come of age! For a long time, standard Windows security was considered something of a joke – it offered little or no protection when compared to other free or paid-for antivirus software. However, over the last couple of years, this has changed. The latest test results show that Microsoft Defender not only performs better than other free packages (Avast, Avira & AVG), it also scores higher than numerous paid-for versions. Based on twelve months of real-world testing, Microsoft Defender is the best free anti-virus software.
Windows Defender achieved a near-perfect score for protection
SE Labs tests dozens of antivirus packages, subjecting them to hundreds of real-world attacks. Windows Defender achieved a near-perfect score for protection. Plus, it returned zero false-positives – meaning that it didn’t block any legitimate software or code.
Microsoft Defender is built-in to Windows 10, has a simple interface, won’t slow your PC and while it lacks some of the features available with paid-for security software it offers excellent protection.
Microsoft Defender is the best free anti-virus software for 2020. If you are running Windows 10, make sure Microsoft Defender is turned on, keep everything backed-up and all software up to date – you’re good to go!
Best Antivirus Software – Norton 360 Deluxe
Over the last 12 months, Norton 360 outperformed all other security software. If you want the very best security for your tech, choose Norton 360. Historically, there was a view that this Symantec software would slow your PC, but this opinion is now a decade out of date. Test data from SE Labs shows that Norton achieved a perfect score in identifying legitimate software and most importantly, zero compromises on detecting and dealing with the bad stuff.
Perfect results with a host of additional features
Norton 360 Deluxe has the standard virus, malware, spyware and ransomware protection along with a host of additional features. These include a password manager, cloud back-up, parental controls, webcam safety and a standout secure VPN.
What’s a VPN & why do I need one?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) lets you connect to another network over the internet, securely. This can shield your activity on public wifi and give you access to region-restricted websites. For example, it can be used to access iPlayer from outside the UK.
Norton 360 may be the best free anti-virus software, but it’s expensive! Yes, you can buy Norton 360 Deluxe for £20 covering you for five devices. But, after year one the price ramps up to around £80 a year. To get the £20 deal you need to sign up to continual renewal. This means that you submit your credit card details and don’t have to worry about re-subscribing. The alternative is to sign-up for the year and then cancel, ahead of the renewal date. You will need to re-purchase a new licence annually. Clearly this is a hassle, but it will save £60 a year.
If you want the best antivirus software and like the idea of a VPN plus the other additional features, choose the Verum Best Buy – Norton 360 Deluxe.
Norton 360 Deluxe 2020 | Verdict price £20 | Check the latest price on Amazon
Do I really need anti-virus software?
Whatever devices you use, it’s a must to keep your software up to date and while you may be careful which sites you visit, links you click etc., be under no illusion, the scammers will work hard and try anything to trick you and your family.
Phones, tablets, PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, wifi routers, smart devices etc., all require protection and above all else, it’s essential to keep operating systems, firmware and software up to date.
Currently, anti-virus software is a must on a Windows PC and sensible on Macs and Android phones/tablets. Chromebooks and Apple phones/tablets work differently. Assuming you keep your software updated, they have additional layers of protection.
The best security software + VPN
Norton 360 Deluxe 2020 | Verdict price £20 |
See price on Amazon
Why spend more?
Microsoft Defender is the best free anti-virus software – it works well and is zero hassle. That said, if you want the very best protection, choose Norton 360. Along with the excellent security, there’s the VPN. If you want to surf the web anonymously and do things like watch iPlayer from abroad, then choose Norton 360 Deluxe.