Looking for a free antivirus.

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maggiee19

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Hello.

I was wondering what free antivirus you guys use. I just tried Total AV, but their free version does absolutely nothing, so I had to uninstall it. What do you guys recommend?

Thanks,
maggiee19
 

cbenoi1

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Microsoft Defender (which comes with Windows 10) and Malwarebytes for the malware / spyware stuff.

-cb
 

pharm

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^ Windows Defender has been more than sufficient for my needs. I haven't installed third party virus software on any of my devices in...close to a decade?
No infections yet.

Microsoft finally enabling sensible Administrator rules and permission prompts all those years ago made a big difference in home PC security.
 
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DMcCunney

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What system are your running on, with what OS and what version?

Speaking personally, I run current Win10 Pro, and don't use third party A/V. Windows built-in Windows Defender is adequate.

I had an epiphany a while back. I had been running Symantec Corporate A/V, under a site license from a former employer. It installed with no problem, ran like a top, and consumed few resources. (The same could not be said of sibling consumer product Norton A/V, which I would not touch with a stick.) My version of Symantec Corporate reached End Of Life, and would no longer get virus signature updates. I would need a new version. I no longer worked for that employer, so it would be on my dime.

I asked myself if I needed to run third-party A/V and concluded I didn't.. The only things Symantec Corporate had caught during the time I ran it had been "false positives". I dropped it and never missed it.

Viruses and malware are infections. Infections have vectors by which they enter a host. Ward the vector and block the infection.

The biggest vector for viruses was malicious email attachments. Way back when it was still invitational beta, I got a Gmail account. It totally changed how I did things. (I had been downloading mail via POP and reading it in MS Outlook.)

My mail resides on Google's servers. I read it in my browser. (I use Firefox, but Chrome, Edge, Opera and other things work.) Gmail provides viewers for most common attachment types, so I can view attachments in my browser. They never reach my PC. (And Gmail spam filters mean that any such message will never hit my Inbox - it will be considered spam and end up in the spam folder, where it will be automatically deleted after 30 days if I don't zap it first.) Gmail labels and filters provide effective ways to sort and classify mail, and my mailstore is a database searchable by standard Google search routines.

A late friend ran "all up" A/V, but he got a lot of stuff from Usenet "binary" groups (like Doctor Who episodes that didn't get shown in the US.) Usenet binary groups are a cesspool, and if I used them, I'd run all up A/V too. I don't, so...

I don't get viruses. I warded the vector.

Malware's vector is the browser. I run Firefox, which is fairly secure out of the box, uses a Google maintained blacklist of malware domains, have a couple of add-ons to assist. (I'll get a warning if I try to access a blacklisted domain.)

I have MalwareBytes free anti-malware scanner. I run it occasionally. It never finds anything. I warded the vector.

I practice Safe Hex. Like any other place, the Internet has bad neighborhoods. I am aware of this, and know where I am, what I'm doing, and what is going on around me when online. I don't go places where infections float around waiting for the unwary.

I download only from known good sites that scan of their end (and most of what I download is open source software or data unlikely to be virus ridden because there is no place to hide the virus and no way to execute it from there.)

I've followed variants of my base practices for decades, and have never had a major problem.

I do have an advantage - I've been an IT professional for decades, stating on IBM mainframes and working across and down, and have been a systems, network, and telecom administrator with responsibility for helping to secure corporate systems, so I have technical knowledge other folks may lack. But this is not really rocket science. Safety and security begin at home, with knowledge of what you are doing. A little knowledge goes a long way toward preventing problems.
______
Dennis
 

maggiee19

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I think I'm going to stick with Windows Defender. You guys are right, it is top notch protection. I see these ads saying I need extra protection, but I think they say that just to make me buy their product. Total AV tried to get me to buy their product by telling me I needed to "upgrade" to get their real-time protection. I have yet to get viruses in my system. Count me as a little fool who fell for a crock. Thanks for everything. I am running Windows 10 64 bit.
 

Bufty

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Another one who only uses Defender (in Windows 10 Home 64bit.)
 

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Bitdefender and Kaspersky provide better protection than Avast or MS Defender.
 

Bufty

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I guess it depends what one feels the need to protect oneself against, but I'm perfectly satisfied with MS Defender.
 

DMcCunney

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I think I'm going to stick with Windows Defender. You guys are right, it is top notch protection. I see these ads saying I need extra protection, but I think they say that just to make me buy their product.
Of course they do. Getting you to buy the product is the purpose of advertising. Half of it uses the carrot - "Look how much better off you'll be if you buy this!", and the other half uses the stick - "Look at all the Bad Things that can happen to you if you don't buy this!"

Total AV tried to get me to buy their product by telling me I needed to "upgrade" to get their real-time protection. I have yet to get viruses in my system. Count me as a little fool who fell for a crock. Thanks for everything. I am running Windows 10 64 bit.
Most such offers rely on ignorance on the part of the buyer. I am grimly amused by a lot of it.

For instance, I swim in the Android pool a fair bit. I see offers of A/V products for Android. Android is a Linux system, and uses a Linux kernel. Viruses do not exist on Linux. (There is a Linux based A/V product called ClamAV, but the folks I know who run it exchange files with Windows systems, and use it to make sure they aren't passing along something nasty they won't see that wouldn't bite them.) But there are billions of Android users, most of who may not be aware it's a Linux system, but who have heard of viruses, so folks saying "Buy our product and protect yourself!" get takeas for stuff users don't need.

Win10 64bit is current. The stipulation I make is that I run the Pro version. Home has limitations on the control I can assert (like just when critical updates get applied.)

But Windows is a lot better than it used to be in terms of security. I apply critical patches when they are released as a matter of course. But I look at some of them, and the ones I've seen lately fix vulnerabilities I don't have, because they require a combination of hardware and software I'm not running to bite. The "low hanging fruit" in vulnerabilities has been picked.

I connect to a WiFi router via CAT5 cable from my desktop, and the router has a hardware firewall enabled by default. It also defaulted to having WPA2/PSK encryption enabled by default, and all I had to do was create a password. This pleased me. When I first got broadband over a decade ago, most WiFi hotspots I could detect were unsecured, and anyone in range could connect through them.

Windows has a built-in software firewall as well, and I left it enabled. I could disable it without losing sleep because I'm behind the router's firewall, but it doesn't conflict with anything, so...

The only lack on the built-in Widows firewall is that it's harder to control outgoing connections, but I know what is on my stem that can connect to the outside world and don't care. (I'm not concerned about nasty stuff on my machine that might try to phone home, because such things never get to my machine in the first place.

I don't lose sleep worrying about security.
______
Dennis
 

DMcCunney

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Bitdefender and Kaspersky provide better protection than Avast or MS Defender.
Protection against what?

Tell me what threats you see that Windows built-in protections don't handle?
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Dennis
 

DMcCunney

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It provides better malware protection.
That you will get how, exactly?

See my comments upthread about warding vectors.

Firefox has a built-in blacklist of domains that serve malware, and throws up a warning if you try to visit one. (I believe Chrome has something similar, and now that MS is moving to using Chrome as the base for Window's browser, I expect it to have something similar.)

My first rule of thumb used to be "Don't use Internet Explorer as your browser", but since MS itself now deprecates IE, I've dropped it.

If you want "belt and suspenders" protection, you can use OpenDNS as your DNS resolver instead of whatever your ISP uses. OpenDNS also maintains a malware blocklist and won't go to those domains by default. Specify it as DNS resolver in your router, and any device on your network gets the benefit. See https://signup.opendns.com/homefree/

Do what makes you comfortable, but I prefer to use CPU cycles doing work rather than guarding against infection.
______
Dennis
 

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