Protecting over 200 million PCs, Macs, & Mobiles – more than any other antivirus


September 26th, 2011

Could Free Antivirus be the best?

Is free antivirus really the best? Can you depend on it? Is free antivirus better than…? These are typical rhetorical questions from someone who is trying to SELL computer protection to you. Since we are providing Free Antivirus, we of course know the answer ;) Rhetorical or not, let’s try to answer it.

First of all, it is a fact that there is no computer security that will give you 100% protection against all malware ALL the time. If someone tells you otherwise, he is not telling you the truth or he is in an ‘election year’. Independent tests from respected independent organizations show clearly that antivirus solutions typically run detection rates that are very close to 100% BUT not 100%. Typically, the best products will have a 98.xx% to 99.xx% detection rate. Now, there are well over 30 000 new unique viruses appearing EVERY DAY and that means that missing just 0.1% equals to letting through 30 pieces of malware. Of course, you would be extremely unlucky if you managed to get all 30,000 viruses attacking your machine in one day. I’d call that a very bad Monday ;) Therefore, even the 99% protection level will keep you protected most of the time.

With these basics covered, let’s see how it is with the protection. During last 2 years, avast! Free Antivirus has scored in tests of AV Comparatives and Virus Bulletin 98.4%, 99.3%, 98.9%, 96.2% and 97.7%.

How did the paid-for versions fare during the same period?
Kaspersky:                    97.0%, 98.3%, 97.06%, 96.9%, 98.4%
Norton/Symantec:         95.5%, 98.7%, 97.9%, 91.0%
ESET:                           97.5%, 98.6%, 96.9%, 98.3%, 97.1%
McAfee:                       96.8%, 99.4%, 94.9%, 95.5%, 94.0%

So the answer is clear: free antivirus will give you a similar level of protection to that offered by paid-for products. To make the comparison easier, we have prepared a simple page with the test results from last two years for all main security brands. It covers detection and 7 other important criteria such as the rate of False Positives, Scanning Speed and Required Computer resources.
Have a look and a good start to your week!

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  • Jarred

    I agree as I have used all of the above anti-viral programs and I have to say I prefer avast if not for the fact that it is free then for the fact that it is so user friendly and the pirate talk language helps :)

  • Glen Towler

    I agree been using Avast for many years and have tried other AV’s haven’t found any better than Avast I do have other anti Malware software I really can’t remember the last virus I had on this PC. I know people at work so called experts who had some serious ones

  • http://pc-techie.blogspot.com Vinesh Shah

    If its avast! Free Anti-Virus, then it ought to be the Best… :D

  • http://www.hotkool.co.cc Harikrishna Pai

    I think there is absolutely no difference between free and paid versions for the AntiVirus and AntiSpyware protection. The difference is that the paid versions give some extra features like online banking security, Firewall, Antispam etc. If you are looking for a basic protection aganist viruses, then free version will serve your job as much as the paid one. So unless you are very much on to online shopping stuff, you can get the same protection with the free version. Be free!!

    Reference: I have worked with McAfee antivirus, and I know how antivirus companies try to sell their products. :)

  • Tech

    Milos, what to say about http://chart.av-comparatives.org/chart2.php ?
    By the way, the http://www.avast.com/best-antivirus page is a very very and easy comparison one. Congratulations.

  • Sajel Saxena

    Its all about the objective that should be solved, I have used full version of Avast Internet Security, Quickheal (30-days trial), Mcafee (Trial), AVG, Kaspersky (Full Version), Norton and a few else of which I dont remember the name. Today I am user of Avast! antivirus, and what I concluded from my experience is that all the anti virus are good, but the factors that can be used to compare, consist of
    1.Upgrades of Virus Database and its upgrades (Avast & Quickheal lead in this way),
    2. User Inter Face (Leaded by almost all the anti-virus programs)
    3. Compromise with system RAM and Flexiblity in compution (Offered by Avast, Mcafee and Quickheal slow down the system a bit whereas avast do the same for the lease time, as compared to others; Norton sucks here, it sometimes act as it itself is a virus, making system unusable at this point)
    4. Stablity (the stability according to me is in the order: Quickheal>AVG>Avast>Mcafee>Others)
    But since the AVG lacks in the virus database files (Or say the creaters of database files works really slow), so Avast is beter in this respect but Quickheal is beter at this point.

    If we take an over look considering these points, The avast and Quickheal both are good, but again Quickheal slow downs the computing that I never prefer to suffer, So up to the date, The best is Avast………
    Also, the Quickheal has a unique feature of DNA scanning, that i Would like to see in avast , soon…
    By this feature, it could detect the virus that were not identified yet, By looking at the way a program effects the system registries and so on…

    Write to me at sajelsaxena@gmx.com , sajelsaxena@in.com , sajelsaxena@live.co.uk for any arguement of further information and discussion, I would like to serve ya!!!

  • Milos Korenko

    @Tech
    It is a good test going in the right direction. My only but major comment is the sample set on which the test is performed. It is way too small. Each month the testing is performed on only 600 infected websites. But we see over 200 000 infected websites each month. For the test to be representative the sample set would have to be at least several-thousands strong. For example the standard On-Demand detection test performed by AV Comparatives is based on samples set of 400 000 viruses.

  • http://viperdezigns.com Steven P.

    Avast has won in my experience, every time. Almost every other AV system I’ve tried has usually done more harm than good. Avast has never locked my computer(s) on boot-up, always keeps itself up to date, is extremely user friendly… (even with new versions being released, the learning curve was very simple), and most of all — FREE. Honestly can’t go wrong.

    I haven’t looked at the specs of late, but I’m not sure the free version covers the whole spyware / malware completely. In the event you are unable to support Avast! by purchasing their full version (I always recommend supporting the products you believe in, it’ll keep them in business and the other companies out of business) — I’d recommend a Avast! + SuperAntiSpyware. These 2 combined plus “smart browsing” (ex; don’t click random download links) equal one heck of a protected machine.

  • rohit kumar

    yes yes yes.if antivirus is avast we can confidently say that avast is best free anti virus

  • rohit kumar

    great avast,their workers and engineers r great.god blesss to all stafff of avast for thier gigantic work……………………….

  • yanto chiang

    Harikrishna Pai :
    I think there is absolutely no difference between free and paid versions for the AntiVirus and AntiSpyware protection. The difference is that the paid versions give some extra features like online banking security, Firewall, Antispam etc. If you are looking for a basic protection aganist viruses, then free version will serve your job as much as the paid one. So unless you are very much on to online shopping stuff, you can get the same protection with the free version. Be free!!
    Reference: I have worked with McAfee antivirus, and I know how antivirus companies try to sell their products.

    Hi Hari,

    Good to know you also used from McAfee, which country that you take care of?

    Yes, every one which always claim their AV have the good one. But, what does i like from AVAST Software honestly is this company is free to gain information and advice from their users. Otherwise, this company always improved themselves in term of quality of the product and know how to place their position in the market.

    McAfee also have a good brand market as well, as i ever sold McAfee Appliances as well to our customer in here. McAfee have a good performance for Intrushield (IPS Appliances solution) and Secure Content Management Appliances.

    But again, if the comparison made by the fact information it would be more realistic and tested by other 3rd party.

    cheers,
    Yanto Chiang