Top free security suites

Seth Rosenblatt Seth Rosenblatt, Senior associate editor April 29, 2010

You don't need to pay for your PC's security, and there are currently six excellent free security programs on CNET Download.com that are rated 4 stars or higher. These include the three most popular programs on the site: AVG, Avira AntiVir, and Avast, as well as ThreatFire from PC Tools. There are also two cloud-based security solutions in the group, Microsoft Security Essentials, which replaced the company's OneCare paid suite, and Panda Cloud AntiVirus.


None of them will replace smart browsing habits. For example, Google announced earlier this week that fake antivirus scams account for 15 percent of all malware. So if you get a pop-up trying to get you to download another antivirus program, ignore it. One of these six security will be more than enough to protect most users, although there's nothing wrong with paying for a security program if you feel you'll get better protection.

Product Name Avast Free Antivirus 2014 AVG AntiVirus Free 2014 Avira Free Antivirus Microsoft Security Essentials Panda Free Antivirus ThreatFire AntiVirus Free Edition
Date Added June 30, 2014 August 19, 2014 March 12, 2014 July 25, 2013 August 13, 2014 October 11, 2011
Editor's Rating
Average User Rating
Review Date October 14, 2013 September 03, 2013 January 21, 2014 December 22, 2010 August 13, 2014 September 11, 2012
Summary The free edition of Avast Antivirus comes with a full set of monitoring tools to track the protection state of your PC in real time. ... Read more AVG's Anti-Virus and Internet Security line follows on the heel of last year's highly-ranked security suite by not merely incorporating some minor but ... Read more The latest update to Avira Antivirus adds Online Essentials, Avira's Web dashboard, a more approachable, more modern, and more encompassing way to manage security ... Read more The bottom line: Microsoft Security Essentials 2 will protect you, and it will generally do it well. However, its impact on system performance could be ... Read more Panda Free Antivirus is fast and free, boasts the top score in real-world protection, and offers a USB drive cleaner.ProsHigh security scores: Panda Free ... Read more Let's get one thing clear: PC Tools' ThreatFire Antivirus Free isn't supposed to be your system's primary antivirus solution. This behavior-based virus ... Read more
License Free Free Free Free Free Free
Limitations No limitations No limitations No limitations No limitations No limitations No limitations
Downloads Last Week 1091398 701663 15596 2381 63156 1
Total Downloads 322500259 522048091 145883734 3531748 4260636 3630581
File Size 4.64MB 4.54MB 3.86MB 10.58MB 1.27MB 9.42MB
Operating Systems Windows 7
Windows 8
Windows XP
Windows
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows 8
Windows XP
Windows
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows XP
Windows
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows XP
Windows
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows 8
Windows 8.1
Windows XP
Windows
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows XP
Windows
Windows 2003
Windows Vista
Windows Server 2008
Additional Requirements No additional requirements No additional requirements No additional requirements No additional requirements No additional requirements No additional requirements
Publisher AVAST Software AVG Technologies USA Avira Microsoft Panda Security PC Tools