Most common free anti-virus software of 2012 rated

On 1 October, 2012 by Carol

Before i start my free anti-virus picks, i have to say that i cannot test a security software like PC Magazine or cNet does and i will explain why.
I work with different layers of security and i focus really hard on prevention rather than repair.
For instance, i use the OpenDNS servers which is my first layer of protection against nasties. Second is Spyware Blaster which adds to the Restricted Zone all the links that are rated as bad.

Browser security is a must, so i am careful what websites i surf. Browser choice is important (I prefer Firefox or Comodo Ice Dragon which is a better and lighter version of Firefox)  and extensions such as WOT, NoScript – which is a must because malware are usually installed by using scripts, Bitdefender QuickScan, PhishTank SiteChecker – blocks phishing links- are tools that you should never go online without.
Only after these tools are checked, i will choose an anti-virus that fits my needs.

And because i am not only using my computer for testing everything, but everything i have it’s in it, i cannot infect it on purpose just to test if any of the antivirus software will catch viruses.
What i do instead is let them scan the many files i have and see if it finds something. So far, none of them detected anything.
With this kind of protection, the last time i had a malware was about 6 years ago when the old AVG anti-spyware (back then it was called Ewido anti-spyware) was the only one able to remove it.
As for viruses, it’s been really long since i have seen one and i don’t intend seeing any of them any time soon.

A good protection doesn’t come from an antivirus and a firewall alone. It comes from layering your protection with good little bits that makes malware and viruses hit wall after wall before hitting you.

I will base this post on the results done at AV-Test.org and AV-Comparatives.org mainly because they are independent and have no reason to play favorites and second, because their tests are better explained than on any other website i know.

These results are from  August 2012 and if you wish to see all the results of the free and paid software, just click on the link.
When the page opens you can sort out by protection, repair or usability and make your choice.

So here it goes….

avast
Avast Free Antivirus 7
– blocks viruses and spyware and it has a beautiful and clean interface.

Features:
– Anti-spyware built-in
– Web Shield
– Anti-rootkit built-in
– P2P and IM Shields
– Network Shield

Avast has been one of my favorites for some years, but one thing that i really don’t like about is that it affects my computer’s boot-time making it slow by at least 180 seconds (the Internet suite). Avast free antivirus itself doesn’t take that much time but it does take a lot more than Avira, AVG and Zonealarm.
It seems to have a thing for false-positives, making it a pain to remove simple software such as Chromium browser for instance, which is neither a virus or a spyware.
I ditched it 2 days ago for the new ZoneAlarm.

av-test.org results:

[note color=”#00e3ff”]122613 Avast: Free AntiVirus 7.0
Protection 4.5/6.0
Repair 5.5/6.0
Usability 5.0/6.0[/note]

→ 


AVG  Anti-Virus Free  2012
– Detects and stops viruses, threats and malware

Features:

-Faster smarter scan
-Advanced privacy controls

I don’t care much if the usability ( interface and easy to find features) of an anti-virus software is low, but i do care about the general performance and for some odd reason AVG has never clicked with me in the past, even though its protection was better than on other freeware.
Before i switched to Avast, i was an AVG user and i was never displeased by its protection but i was displeased by the resources it was using.
Meanwhile, reviewers around the internet seem to give the latest version some extra kudos on improved performance.

Last week i got my hands on somebody’s laptop, this little tiny Assus that needs to run on software as light as possible else it will melt, and my first attempt was to install something i am more than familiar with: Avast, but i ended up installing AVG after Avast failed me again at start-up.
And watching it run while i was fixing that laptop is felt like i was working in slow-motion. It just gave me that lag feeling that i hate.
So, i am adding the improved performance of AVG to the rumors. If you work with a beast, install AVG, ZA or Avira.

av-test.org results:
[note color=”#00e3ff”] 122641 AVG: Anti-Virus Free Edition 2012
Protection 5.0/6.0
Repair 4.0/6.0
Usability 4.5/6.0[/note]

 →

ZoneAlarm® Free Antivirus + Firewall

Features:

  • Antivirus/Anti-Spyware Engine
  • Two-Way Firewall
  • Advanced Firewall
  • Anti-Phishing/Site Status Toolbar
  • Advanced Download Protection
  • Identity Protection

I am testing the new and improved ZA as i type and it’s been running for 2 days without problems, without bothering me about the in-out alerts, without feeling it running in the background.
It runs on low resources, the lowest i have ever seen in all my years of software testing.

Up until 2005-2006 it was my choice above others and then it decided to misbehave and interfere with drivers, making it impossible to use a Logitech webcam and giving errors after errors and blue screens of death…and so we parted ways.
After my bitter experience with it, i had doubts if i should try it again and then  my curious self just said: “Oh well! Why the hell not? There is always a restore point to go back to. “

So i will give it some weeks, maybe months, to see how it behaves and only then i can recommend it or ditch it. 2 days are just not enough for me to conclude if is good or not.

av-test.org results:
[note color=”#00e3ff”]
122646 ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 10.2

Protection 5.0/6.0
Repair 5.5/6.0
Usability 5.5/6.0[/note]

 →

Lavasoft Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ 

Lavasoft did poorly on the tests carried out this year and as you can see, the protection level is really low compared to all the others and the repair is the lowest i have seen.
The new interface makes it easy to use and has everything displayed in one place and the resource usage seems to be low.
That’s about the only positive thing i find about it.

 av-test.org results:
[note color=”#00e3ff”]

122667  Lavasoft: Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ 10.1 & 10.2

Protection 3.5/6.0
Repair 2.0/6.0
Usability 5.0/6.0[/note]

→   

 

Avira AntiVir Personal – FREE 2013

Features

Keeps your PC clean – System Scanner prevents infection from viruses, worms and Trojans.
Blocks new viruses before they run – AHeAD Technology halts unknown code that looks suspicious.
Browser Tracking Blocker: Stops over 600 companies from recording your web activities

The browser tracking blocker feature is much like SpywareBlaster which i find it a great little piece of freeware to have and i highly recommend it as an addition to any security software you might use.

[note color=”#FFCC00″]SpywareBlaster blocks spyware/tracking cookies, prevents the installation of ActiveX-based spyware, adware, browser hijackers, dialers, and other potentially unwanted software on Firefox and Internet Explorer.[/note]

Avira free was not tested on AV-Tests.org, but the Internet Security was tested and did really good in protection and repair.

So there you have it. The most common free anti-virus software of 2012 rated by sources i trust.

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