Protect That Laptop! Here’s What You Must Know

These antivirus programs are a very good start — and incredibly, they're also free

With news last week of the “FruitFly 2” malware — which can remotely take control of a Mac’s webcam, mouse, or keyboards — and recurring ransomware attacks on PCs, free antivirus software can be a godsend.

So what should an antivirus program do? Getting rid of existing malware is just the beginning. Good antivirus software will prevent malicious software from infecting your computer in the first place and steer you away from bad websites.

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But malware and viruses are as old as the personal computer — and just as enduring.

Fox News has compiled a list of a few programs that provide good protection for your computer, all for free.

Avast Free Antivirus 2017: Avast offers a lot for a free anti-malware program. In testing done at PC Mag, Avast blocked 87 percent of the malware samples. It posted “excellent” scores in hands-on malware and anti-phishing tests, according to the publication. It can also perform security checks on your Wi-Fi network and offers something usually not seen in free antivirus software, password management.

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There’s browser security as well, which tags websites that are unsafe.

Needless to say, there are premium features that you can pay for. For example, using Avast to set up a private virtual network (VPN) can trigger the paid service. But upgrading to Avast’s paid services — if you need it as part of your business — might not be a bad idea considering how good the free stuff is.

Kaspersky: The Moscow-based cybersecurity and anti-virus purveyor just launched a free service on July 25.

“We’ve been working on this release for a good year and a half,” the company said in a blog post.

What do you get? “All the bare essentials,” according to the blog post.

Kaspersky Free includes file, email and web antivirus, automatic updates, self-defense, and quarantine and works to protect against malicious websites and phishing. “In short, the indispensable basics that no one on the planet should do without,” according to Kaspersky’s post.

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The bare-bones free protection won’t compete against paid-for versions. The latter adds parental control, online payment protection, and secure VPN.

Why the seemingly altruistic act? Increasing the number of Kaspersky Free installations improves the quality of protection “of all users,” according to Kaspersky, including paid users. Kaspersky has received some negative media attention in the U.S. based on accusations of ties to Russian intelligence, which Kaspersky has denied.

The free software is available in the U.S., Canada, and certain Asia Pacific countries. More regions will be added in the next few months.

AVG AntiVirus Free (2017): AVG’s free version includes real-time security updates, scans for both malware and performance issues and stopping malicious downloads before they reach your PC. It also sports a new, simpler interface.

The paid version adds secure personal folders with an extra layer of ransomware protection, an enhanced firewall, and detection of fake websites for safe payments.

This Fox News piece is used by permission.

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