Free Antivirus? – Don’t Do It & Here’s Why
July 27, 2023, by Sophie Wholer
With more and more people joining the internet every day, it is extremely important to remain cautious and make good, strong informed decisions about your online safety. Relying on a “free antivirus” might seem enticing at first, with the allure of cost-saving benefits, but this path could lead to some serious consequences. While free things are definitely appealing, free antivirus is not one of those genuinely advantageous options.
The honest truth is free antivirus software comes with significant limitations that compromise your device’s protection. Its features are always limited in comparison to paid alternatives and could leave you and your data vulnerable to various types of cyber threats. Privacy concerns are another aspect to consider. Some free antivirus products collect user data, which is already concerning for those who prioritize privacy and data security and are known to sell this data to third-party buyers. Additionally, these products are known for bombarding users with ads and pop-ups, greatly disrupting and ruining the overall user experience.
When it comes to safeguarding your digital life, investing in a reliable and comprehensive paid antivirus solution is a wise choice. The security and peace of mind they offer heavily outweighs the potential risks associated with their free counterpart. So, while free things have their place, when it comes to cyber protection, opting for a more reputable paid option in undoubtedly the better decision to ensure your online safety.
1. You Get What You Pay For
The biggest reason anyone would get antivirus for their computer is for the protection the software offers. When shopping for the right software, may of the bigger companies will offer you a “free version”, which is their way of dangling a carrot on a stick in font of you. You’ll take the free version, but in turn are then spammed, reminding you this is only a free and are prompted to upgrade to the “premium version”.
If you do fall for this common trick, then you need to know that you are not being offered complete protection. A lot of the features aren’t included, and a lot of these are required to even be somewhat protected well. Your computer is then slapped with a giant target, leaving you even more prone to being attacked. Not to mention the fact that malware these days are so advanced they can easily slip past your “protection” and wreak havoc in the background.
2. Is Your Data Safe?
Free antivirus software often raises privacy concerns due to its data collection practices. To sustain their “free” business model, some providers may collect user data, ranging from basic browsing habits to more sensitive information. This data can be used for various purposes, including targeted advertising, or, more likely gets sold to third parties. How else would they keep up their “free” game? Users may unknowingly agree to this data sharing when accepting lengthy terms and conditions during installation. Consequently, their online activities and personal information become vulnerable to exploitation.
3. The Cost of ‘Free’
Free antivirus software often comes with a price that isn’t monetary but rather an annoyance. These “free” solutions are notorious for bombarding users with a barrage of ads and pesky pop-ups, seriously compromising the user experience. While these ads might be a necessary evil for the companies to sustain their “free” model, they can be disruptive and intrusive, interrupting your workflow and causing frustration.
Imagine trying to focus on an important task or browsing the web, only to be constantly interrupted by pop-ups promoting the software’s premium version or unrelated products. These ads can make using your computer feel like walking through a maze of distractions. Worse yet, some pop-ups may mimic genuine system alerts, leading users to click on potentially harmful links.
4. The Price of Protection?
Free antivirus software often comes with limited resources allocated to optimize its performance. As a result, it may lack efficient algorithms and streamlined code to handle complex tasks. Free versions, with limited resources, may end up consuming more of your computer’s processing power and memory, leading to system slowdowns. These free tools might run resource-intensive background processes or constant scans, causing noticeable delays in regular computer operations, such as opening applications, browsing the internet, or even starting up the system.
5. Does The Opposite
You know what’s even scarier than the points above? Many of the smaller, unknown companies are actually lacing your computer WITH viruses and malware! Instead of doing the opposite and protecting you, they are actually writing malware into their code so when you download it, the malware secretly downloads in the background.
It’s like walking on thin ice with some of these freebies. Not only do they fail to keep you safe, but they might also secretly download spyware onto your computer. Imagine that – someone peeping through your camera and snooping on everything you do.
But wait, there’s more to the cautionary tale. Some of these free antivirus downloads bundle unrelated and unwanted software along with them. It’s like getting a su
rprise gift you never asked for, only to find out it’s not a gift at all – it’s just unnecessary clutter that can slow down your system and make it a hassle to use.
Now you have read about the biggest risks involving free antivirus. You now have a strong, well educated opinion on it and I leave the decision in your capable hands. However, if you’re tossing and turning, then I suggest you check out our ShieldGuard Elite – the revolutionary latest in cyber protection, now included with monitoring from qualified experts – WAitS!