Computer viruses are increasingly sophisticated and pervasive. If you can’t afford to run your computer without some sort of antivirus software installed, check out these five popular options to protect your PC.
Note: For each entry, we reviewed the lowest-cost option available from the company in question. Most companies offer premium packages of varying cost and with varying additional bells and whistles, save for the always-free Microsoft Security Essentials. For the purpose of this comparison, we stuck to the free/entry level options.
Avast! (Windows/Linux, Free)
Microsoft Security Essentials (Windows, Free)
Microsoft Security Essentials is the newest addition to Microsoft’s computer protection software. It replaces the Windows Live OneCare subscription service and Windows Defender by providing more comprehensive coverage than either of the two originally provided. Microsoft Security Essentials is free for all Windows users and provides protection against a variety of threats including viruses, malware, adware and spyware.
Avira (Windows, Free)
ESET NOD32 Antivirus (Windows, $US39.99 per year)
The acronym NOD stands for Nemocnica na Okraji Disk (“Hospital at the end of the disk”), a pun related to the Czechoslovakian medical drama series Nemocnica na okraji mesta (Hospital at the End of the City).
AVG (Windows, Free)
The free offering from AVG is one of the lightest, feature-wise, among the nominations in this Hive Five. That said, if you’re looking for a basic antivirus application that will scan your computer, keep an eye out for spyware, and keep you from visiting malware and virus-laden websites (via their LinkScanner protection), AVG is a solid free offering.
Can’t believe your favourite didn’t make it? Have a strong opinion about antivirus software? Let’s hear it in the comments.