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Free antivirus software. Should I use it?


With so many antivirus programs to choose from, is it safe to choose a free option that offers real-time monitoring?

Should I use a free antivirus program?

There is only one true answer to this question: NOPE!

1) Basic Protection

First, with free antivirus software, users usually get a very basic version of protection.

2) No real-time monitoring

It is something important. Some free antivirus software claim they will offer real-time monitoring when you use them. This means that when you scroll on your phone or computer, download things, or check emails, their software runs and scans for malware.

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Computer code on a screen with a skull representing a computer virus/malware attack.
(Stock)

However, free antivirus usually relies on a user manually launch scans on demand, instead of letting users sit back, knowing that if a threat emerges, it will be spotted in real time and prevented from running.

Freeware may sometimes advertise real-time monitoring, but the software probably won’t actually work in “real-time.” Also be aware that some software will give you a test of the full software, then will stop offering premium real-time monitoring.

3) Announcements

With any free program, the businesses behind them usually need to earn some kind of income, so be careful of the advertisements that appear.

4) No customer support

With the free version of antivirus software, there is usually no kind of real-time help from their company. If you have questions, companies will usually direct you to their online forums or FAQ pages.

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Photo of a blue tech panel.

Photo of a blue tech panel.
(FoxNews)

Why do you need real-time monitoring from antivirus software

While free antivirus programs may be able to identify that your computer contains malware once your device has already been touchedreal-time monitoring can detect these problems in advance.

Real-time monitoring can scan everything on your computer while you’re using it. For example, antivirus software can monitor emails coming in and out of your inbox, so you’re alerted to a potential threat BEFORE you click on a malicious email.

HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF AGAINST MALWARE?

Data breach button on computer keyboard

Data breach button on computer keyboard
(Stock)

How to Choose the Best Antivirus Software

We’ve broken down the best antivirus programs for 2022, and the most important factor to look for if you’re hoping for daily protection before it’s too late is finding software with reliable real-time monitoring.

Our top recommendation, a premium TotalAV subscription includes both real-time anti-malware protection as well as advanced AI-based cloud protection, which protects your computers against the very latest zero-day threats.

If malicious behavior is detected on PC, Mac, Android, and iOS devices, TotalAV steps in and stops the process and quarantines the files that are about to cause trouble. This process runs silently in the background, with minimal impact on system resources.

While you can hope to protect your devices 24/7 for free, any software that offers it for free will not fully protect your devices. This puts you at a higher risk of viruses and malware because you think your computer or phone is protected.

It’s worth a small price to pay to protect your personal information, data and all your devices from hackers. Check out my expert opinion on the best antivirus protection by searching for “Best Antivirus” on CyberGuy.com.

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