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 2015 AVG AntiVirus Free 2015 Avira Free Antivirus Microsoft Security Essentials Panda Free Antivirus ThreatFire AntiVirus Free Edition
Date Added November 10, 2014 October 23, 2014 November 07, 2014 July 25, 2013 November 21, 2014 October 11, 2011
Editor's Rating
Average User Rating
Review Date October 21, 2014 November 05, 2014 November 19, 2014 December 22, 2010 August 13, 2014 September 11, 2012
Summary Avast Free Antivirus 2015 has added utilities to an already comprehensive set of security tools. The new Smart Scan detects vulnerabilities in your home network, ... Read more AVG AntiVirus comes in three models: Free, Pro, and Internet Security. AntiVirus Free includes AVG's antivirus engine, Link Protection, and File Shredder. Pro adds ... Read more Avira Free Antivirus 2015 protects against viruses, malware, and phishing, and the new Dropbox partnership offers secure syncing for your data. In security tests, Avira'... 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.Pros High security scores: Panda ... 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 1138827 795685 19501 1361 63147 1
Total Downloads 336522233 531962753 146082768 3550153 5160653 3630581
File Size 4.77MB 4.42MB 144.6MB 10.58MB 1.27MB 9.42MB
Operating Systems Windows 7
Windows 8
Windows 8.1
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 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