How to protect your PC when you are on a budget?

As today’s cybercrime and distribution of malicious software reaches unprecedented levels of sophistication, protecting your PC is a must. Online scams, identity thefts, and data breach scandals are not occasional but a real and present danger.

It is a cat and mouse game between malware creators and software security companies who are trying to keep up and constantly update their products to keep us protected. You are in the middle of this battle and it can be challenging to decide the best and most affordable solution for protecting your data.

They say that nothing good comes for free. Whoever said that is wrong. Please check this list of top five best antivirus software that you can download for free and keep your data safe and protected at all times.

1. Kaspersky Free Antivirus

Kaspersky was always my first choice and the one that lived up to its reputation through the years by delivering consistent quality and reliable performance. Easy to use, nicely designed interface is virtually self-explanatory.

While providing core protection by detecting and removing common viruses, Kaspersky is checking for malicious links in your search results while automatically detects insecure public WI-Fi and switches on VPN to protect your data.

Kaspersky password manager will monitor and safely store your passwords and help you generate strong ones for better protection of your online accounts, which will also be monitored and checked for any data leaks.

You will automatically be notified of any hazardous settings and security threats and advised on best possible action. Kaspersky receives automatic updates and it does not slow down your computer’s performance more than any other application.

2. Avast Free Antivirus

Avast can also boast about compact interface and solid advanced features. You can choose between a variety of scan options including full and partial scan of your device. You can check for previously detected viruses and Avast rescue disk can scan your PC while a system is not running, which increases the chance of detecting malware while it is unable to counteract. You can choose between Not to disturb or Silent mode to prevent pop-ups or just block them in full-screen mode for programs of your choice.

Avast is very customizable with an optional Hardened mode which will block any files detected as suspicious and not included in your whitelist. Avast does exhibit a higher false positives rate compared to some other anti-virus software but I say that it is better safe than sorry.

3. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

Described as most users as a rock-solid virus shield, Bitdefender offers solid malware protection, very fast system scan and bellow average rate of false-positive detections.

Bitfinder engine shows consistent high results on AV-TEST and its ransomware protection uses a heuristic method to learn the behavioral patterns of detected threats and predict their future behavior.

Bitfinder might not be as customizable as Kaspersky or Avast and it does not have an option for a quick schedule, but it still is a reliable tool that keeps your online transactions safe. It runs in silent mode by default and its anti-phishing module provides topmost detection of malicious links and unsafe websites.

4. Avira Free Antivirus 2019

Avira’s interface is very compact, with simple design with standard features and a variety of custom scans to choose from. Advanced settings allow you to blacklist any files and processes.

What users find most compelling about Avira is its almost perfect scores on AV-TEST, with almost no false positives detected and virtually 100% malware detection rate.

This comes with a price of above-average impact on system performance compared to other anti-virus software. Although criticized for losing top rank status among the best free antivirus options in recent years, Avira still stays among top alternatives that you should consider.

5. Microsoft Windows Defender 2019

An honorable mention on this list and the most improved free protection that you can rely on. Although built-in Windows by default, it rose in quality and performance over the years and can now stand as equal with other free antivirus software.

Labeled as finally good enough, it shows excellent results in AV-Comparatives performance tests. With anti-phishing protection for all browsers and amazing feature of Parental Control that will make it every parent’s first choice, it can be easily recommended as your primary anti-virus solution unless you are looking for some advanced features that only money can buy.