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Do free anti-virus programs offer adequate protection?
The selection of anti-virus programs is large. Numerous paid anti-virus software developers such as Kaspersky Internet Security, Bitdefender Internet Security, Bullguard Internet Security or Norton Internet Security have made a name for themselves in the past decades in terms of virus protection. However, free anti-virus programs are becoming increasingly important. Accordingly, many users wonder why they should pay for their security. But do these free anti-virus programs really offer adequate protection?
In 2018 Stiftung Warentest carried out an extensive test of anti-virus programs. The first three places were paid programs. Nevertheless, the free anti-virus programs were largely rated well. But not all of the tested anti-virus programs were convincing. In order to get really good protection, it is necessary to get specific information about the individual products. If it is all about the actual protection against viruses and other harmful software, free programs can certainly perform well. However, it should be mentioned that the service of the paid programs is better and faster. This means that new viruses and their signatures are imported into the respective software considerably faster. Against the latest viruses, a paid anti-virus program is the better solution.
Every software needs capital to be generated and, above all, to be maintained. Paid anti-virus programs can use the money earned directly in personnel to ensure that maintenance is carried out as best as possible. The handling of the program is also guaranteed by a large number of programmers. Weaknesses of the free programs can be seen here. The handling is often confusing and inadequate, which was also criticized in the test by Stiftung Warentest.

Free anti-virus software is also often funded by advertising. In some cases it is placed in a reserved manner, in others it can be shown very excessively and penetratively. Negative extreme examples even went so far that spyware programs and adware were installed together with free anti-virus software or that a sophisticated Trojan virus was hidden behind the supposed anti-virus software.

In summary, it can be said that private users who are reasonably familiar with computers and programs can fall back on free programs. You just shouldn't be bothered by advertisements that appear. For people with less background knowledge, paid programs are recommended due to the simpler operation. Larger companies and connected networks should always use the faster updated, but therefore paid programs. It is also a good idea to provide protection using firewalls. Private users only need a personal firewall, while networks should be protected by private firewalls on each individual computer and an additional external firewall.