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The internet is ever-present in our lives and is becoming increasingly necessary for all of us. We’re given immediate access to information from all over the world, we can connect our household devices and we can automate software to improve our lives.
There’s a downside to the growth of the internet. Hackers, phishing scams, ransomware and viruses are becoming more sophisticated and frequent. In fact, there’s a hacker attack every 39 seconds.
Antivirus and internet security tools help encrypt information and guard your data so it’s protected from hackers. It can detect malware and security breaches and work to remove the issue from your computers and devices.
We’ve put together the best free internet security options that are available today to help you secure your devices and stay protected.
The best free internet security software you can get today
There are many free antivirus programs available for you to download. Though a paid option may offer more enhanced security features, these free options are highly reviewed, known to offer strong protection and are some of the best free antivirus and internet security tools available:
Kaspersky Security Cloud Free is available for all Windows devices, Androids, iPhones and iPads. Kaspersky promises to guard against viruses, secure your passwords and encrypt your data through a virtual private network (VPN). Kaspersky also provides real-time analysis of any threats.
Kaspersky’s software is designed to receive automatic updates, so it won’t slow you down even while it’s updating. It’s known for fast speeds of one to two hours for a full computer scan. With Kaspersky Security Cloud, you’re also protected from unsafe websites and data breaches in any of your online accounts.
Kaspersky Security Cloud Free offers a highly reviewed, standard level of internet protection. Most customers rate Kaspersky between four and five stars out of five, and they appreciate Kaspersky’s tech support that’s available online or over the phone.
Avast Free Antivirus is available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. With Avast, you can count on protection from viruses, malware, spyware, ransomware, phishing and more. Avast’s software uses the cloud to help deliver security fixes and virus cures to all Avast users, so it’s proactive in keeping your data safe.
While you’re surfing the web, Avast will run in the background to analyze your applications, browser settings, extensions, and even your home WiFi. It offers automatic alerts to let you know if it’s detected a security hole or intrusion. Avast is known to have scan speeds around 30 minutes to an hour for a full scan, which is faster than most other programs.
Avast also offers a password manager, but it has some limited capabilities and may not be as helpful as a paid option. Furthermore, the free plan offers more limited tech support than paid customers. Instead of 24/7 support, you’ll have more limited hours to reach out on the phone or online. From the customer standpoint, Avast receives high ratings for its efficiency.
AVG AntiVirus Free is available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. This free version is known for being most similar to its paid option compared to other software. You’ll receive high-level computer, web and email protection. After you download AVG, the software will run continuous scans in the background to protect from new files and apps. You can launch a full computer scan, but it’s known to be a bit slower than most other software.
One excellent feature of AVG is that it offers a performance scanner which looks into anything on your computer that might be slowing it down, even if it isn’t a virus or malware. With the AVG free version, you won’t receive protection from hackers, ransomware or payment and privacy breaches.
Customers rate AVG AntiVirus Free well for its standard offerings. However, many customers don’t like AVG’s tech support. You won’t have access to phone or email support, though the company offers a large database of FAQ and support articles.
Sophos Home Free is available for both Windows and Mac. With the free version, you’ll receive real-time protection from viruses, artificial intelligence (AI) threat detection, web protection and remote management. A unique feature that Sophos offers is also its parental website filtering.
When you download Sophos Free, you do get a 30-day trial of Sophos Home Premium features. This includes real-time threat prevention and ransomware security. You’ll also receive banking, privacy and identity protection as well as some advanced scanning features. These premium features will expire after 30 days if you choose not to upgrade. Sophos does not offer any type of password management or firewall.
Customers rate Sophos highly for its standard protection as well as its advanced phishing protection. Sophos can detect a majority of phishing sites that might seem safe to the average person. One downside of Sophos Home Free is that tech support is not available – only an online database of FAQ and support articles.
Microsoft Windows Defender is the free tool that’s available for all Windows computers with the latest version specifically for users with Windows 10. You’ll receive real-time protection against viruses, malware and spyware across nearly all your computer activities. Windows Defender also works in the background to scan your system and files for any threats.
Microsoft Defender has browser protection, but only for its Microsoft Edge browser. Additional features include parental controls, firewall protection against hackers and even a Find my Device tracker.Microsoft Defender does not offer a password manager, and it offers weak phishing protection. You can schedule scans, but they’re known to be slower than the industry standard. Customers give Windows Defender an average of three to four stars out of five for its built-in basic protection. However, customers felt it usually takes a while to reach a support technician, and the best option is utilizing FAQs and forums.
Internet Security tips and tricks
Update your software
Keeping your software updated helps close loopholes for hackers. On a regular basis, companies roll out updates to help fix any security patches and stay one step ahead of viruses and hackers.
Use strong passwords
The best free antivirus and internet security can only do so much, so your passwords are usually your first line of defense. A strong password will mix together a variety of letters by case, numbers and punctuation. If your software doesn’t have a password manager, considering using one (like LastPass or 1Password) to automate random and strong passwords.
Use multi-factor authentication
Take advantage of online accounts offering multi- or two-factor authentication to provide an extra layer of protection when logging into an account. This requires you to confirm your identity via SMS text or through an app.
Avoid phishing scams
Phishing scams have evolved so they’re less obvious and far more sophisticated than they used to be. Many hackers can accurately replicate company emails or even send you a seemingly normal SMS text with a link. Do your research to understand the latest phishing scams and what you should look for to avoid them.
Avoid public WiFi
Public WiFi is usually less secure than your home WiFi. Hackers can easily access these networks and find a way into your computer. A VPN can help with that.
Backup your data
No matter what you do to protect yourself, you may still be prone to a virus or hacking. One of the worst types of malware is ransomware, which holds your data hostage until you pay to get it back. The best thing you can do is to regularly back up all your data so you can avoid this situation.
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