These days, there are plenty of free antivirus options available for Android, Windows, macOS, and iOS. Do you really need to pay for antivirus software? Actually, you probably do, if only because the features on a free program will be extremely basic. A free program might be fine if only you are using your devices and you’re a pretty cautious internet user – someone who never clicks on suspicious links in emails or downloads suspicious attachments and only installs software from trusted sources.
However, even if you are extremely careful, the extra level of protection you can get from a paid antivirus suite can make a big difference to your device security. And if you have children or even a spouse using your devices or network, you need the extra features and functionality that a paid antivirus suite can offer. Make sure you know what paid antivirus programs offer, so you can make the right choice for you and your family.
What You Get from Free Antivirus Programs
As previously mentioned, free antivirus programs typically only offer the most basic of features. A free antivirus app will detect and remove malware from your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. It will monitor your computer use in real-time to protect you from new malware infections. A free antivirus program should be able to protect you against most types of malware, but its protections may not be as robust as those offered by a paid program.
Most free antivirus programs have strong anti-phishing filters to protect you from scam emails. Some can detect unrecognized devices on your network, which can alert you to an intruder trying to break into your devices. Some free antivirus apps may even offer sensitive file encryption to protect you against ransomware.
Why Paid Programs Are Better
If you’re looking for an antivirus program to protect your family or your small business from hackers, you can’t go wrong with a paid antivirus suite. Paid antivirus suites offer all of the protections of free programs, but with more bells and whistles that help you make the most of the product. One thing you’ll get with a paid antivirus that you won’t get with a free version is customer support over the phone. If you’re the kind of person who needs to speak to a human being when there’s a problem, a paid antivirus program is for you.
However, better customer support isn’t all you can expect from a paid antivirus program. A good premium antivirus tool should offer various additional features to help keep your devices safe. For example, many premium antivirus products offer webcam protection, so that hackers can’t spy on you remotely through yours. They also offer protections against remote access attacks, through which hackers gain control of your device through a backdoor.
Do you like to install a lot of apps? Are you worried about how safe those apps might be? You should be worried, because malicious apps do get into the Play Store and some of them get downloaded millions of times. A premium antivirus suite will include a sandbox that allows you to open a new app in a segregated spot on your computer so that if it turns out to be malicious, it can’t affect your whole system.
Are you worried that files you’ve placed in your device’s Recycle Bin might not be private? Many paid antivirus programs include a file shredder functionality that completely erases files you place in the Recycle Bin, so they’re truly deleted and not just sitting there waiting for you to empty the bin (and even then, deleted files can still be recovered). Paid antivirus apps also offer automatic updating for your apps, so you can make sure you’re always using the current versions of your software, including any newly released patches for security flaws.
Paid antivirus software is great for families because you can buy suites that will protect up to 10 devices. Children and sometimes even adult members of the family aren’t always so vigilant about cyber security, so you’ll need the extra protection and parental controls that a paid suite provides. It’s also a good idea if you need protection for a small business system because small businesses are particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks, so you’re going to need the extra features and functionality.
Is it really worth it to pay for a premium antivirus app? It absolutely is. The extra functionality and features you get are well worth the money you’ll pay for a subscription – and you can’t put a price on peace of mind.