Will free anti-virus protect your computer?

Malware is a category of malicious code that includes viruses, worms, spyware and adware.  If you haven’t been watching the news lately, well Corporation hacking and virus infection computers are out of hand.  Even Mac computers are getting infected much more commonly now. Any device with java or a browser can become hijacked by popup, extension or add-on.  Lately there are lots of offerings for free antivirus programs.  Are these free anti-virus clients going to protect your computer against a virus or malware infection? 

The short answer is no, we do not recommend using free antivirus software, unless you cannot afford a paid antivirus solution. But don't be cheap, you will regret it later. From our years of experience, I’ll say in legal terms “OUR OPINION” because I am not attempting to slander any such brands, we have found that free anti-virus and the ones provided by your ISP or preinstalled are a false since of security.  Most will not give you real-time preventative protection and they don’t perform well as far as catch rates and performance. 

Most computer users have infections and don’t even know it even when their antivirus program says “protected”.  In fact, there are infections that exist that no such anti-virus program can remove and repair the damages they did. These infections require manual removal by proprietary removal programs that are designed for that one particular infection.  Some examples are ransomware and rootkits. Rootkits are viruses that are adept at hiding from antivirus software and are a malware infections defence by infecting a system driver. Many times they can only be removed from outside of Windows, meaning that you have to slave the drive to another computer or use a boot disc to try to clean. If the anti-virus program attempted to remove this infection and failed, your computer probably would no longer boot up.  Then who is to be blamed for wrecking and crashing your computer? Because of this fact, most anti-virus programs choose to ignore a lot of these infections. Many of the computers that we see in daily at our repair shop for virus removal service either have no antivirus, free antivirus, or the big name brands anti-virus that was preinstalled when you purchased your device. 

 There are also a lot of computer users who deal with the slowness and issues because they fear it’s going to cost too much to fix it.  Then when the snow ball effect as we call it happens, it gets worse and worse to the point it’s broken down.   Taking these risks could end with horrible results such as loosing identity or credit card fraud. 

Gone are the days when you would have to go to some kind of unsafe website, a porn website, or an illegal download site to get affected with a virus.  Now the people writing viruses know that to get your computer affected they need to go where everyone else is going.  The new known fact is you're just as likely to get a virus on Facebook or in your e-mail as you are from a porn site.  Most malware is injected in advertising banners and popups. Using a good up-to-date antivirus software is your best defense against a virus.

Now you’re scared to open email and Google recipes right?

A good performing paid antivirus is really the way to go.  With paid antivirus you get real-time protection.  Real-time protection will try to stop the infection before it gets into your computer, with most free antivirus software, if it offers real-time protection it is not very robust.  The problem here is your anti-virus doesn't see the infection until it gets in, and then it is usually too late.  Not all paid antivirus programs are the same.  As I noted above, the preinstalled brand / trial are probably the worst antivirus software programs you can use, even worse than free antivirus in most cases.  The hackers that are writing the viruses know that most computers come with a trial of these big name brands, so they test their virus against these antivirus products first to make sure that their virus will work.

So what’s the solution? Honestly, there is no such bullet proof anti-virus or special one out there that exists.

However, there is hope.  The real only solution is to have us perform routine preventative maintenance at least every 6 months for your computer.  It’s like changing the oil and spark plugs on your car.  These just have to be done!  It is very important to at least keep your Java and Adobe Flash up-to-date. 

Routine tune-up service we offer includes a full in-depth malware removal and full tune-up tasks and tweaking services performed will ensure that you are truly safe and using a fast and productive computer.

We recommend Malwarebytes.  Tech505 is an authorised reseller.

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