An antivirus is a type of software that protects the computer from malicious software. Malicious software includes threats like virus, Trojan, worm, malware, spyware, root kit infections, spyware, keyloggers, ransomware, adware, etc. Originally, antivirus scanned for only viruses in a computer; however, since then there has been a rapid increase in different types of viruses, as well as other malicious software such as Trojans, malware, spyware, etc.
In addition, some antivirus may also protect from other computer threats, such as infected and malicious URLs, spam, scam and phishing attacks, online identity (privacy), online banking attacks, social engineering techniques, Advanced Persistent Threat (APT), botnets, and DDoS attacks.
The main purpose of an antivirus is to prevent, detect and remove malicious software. In order to do this, the antivirus must scan the computer for any malicious software, notify the user in case of breach and remove the malware and patch the breach. However, depending on the software and whether it is the free version or paid version, it may do all of these things, or only some of these things.
There are four basic levels of antivirus products exist: free, paid antivirus, suites, and “premium” suites. The free antivirus typically gives the most basic features, and as you move up to paid antivirus, to suites, and premium suites, the amount of features included increase. The highest version of the antivirus can include features, such as identity theft protection, firewalls, parental controls, and system performance tools.
Free vs Paid AntivirusThe main difference between the free and paid versions of antivirus is that the free version offers the most basic features, whereas the paid versions tend to have more advanced features that provide a more comprehensive protection for the device. The actual list of included features on both version differ company to company, but for the regular user, the free version should be enough. Unless they have critical or sensitive data that they need to protect, in which case, it is best to invest in a paid version of the antivirus, to be on the safer side. According to Avast, one of the leading antivirus companies, its free product is intended for average users, while its paid antivirus is for more advanced users. Still, either way, the most important thing is that there should be at least some type of protection in place, either free or paid.
Comparison between Free and Paid Antivirus:
Free Antivirus Paid Antivirus
Description A type of Antivirus that is freely available. A type of Antivirus that one has to pay to use.
It mostly consists of basic features. The fee could be one time, annual, or monthly. It consists of more features than the free version.
Protection Minimal Protection Improved protection
Security Features Only basic security features such as scanning More comprehensive security features such as identity
for presence of viruses and notifying the user. theft protection, firewalls, parental controls, and system
The features may vary according to company. performance tools.
Data Use when there is no critical data that needs Use if there is critical data on device, such as identity,
additional protection and can make do with banking information, business information –
minimal protection. including client and service vendor data you store – anything that can result in damages (think legal damages), when compromised.
Advertisements Often have some sort of advertisement for Usually have no advertisement on the paid version.
the company’s paid product.
Technical support Lack of Technical Support Technical Support
Customer support Basic customer support Better customer support