There are lots of different packages available that offer anti virus and/or firewall protection, often with many other products and protection elements bundled in as well… but sorting out which is any good and which can be relied upon is important for all computer users.
The is my list of free ant virus and firewall software. It’s not an exhaustive list – and I’m open to receive recommendations or suggestions for additions… but it’s a useful list of free resources.
Comodo offer a suite of cutting edge security including Antivirus, Firewall, malware prevention and more. It’s free to download and includes free lifetime upgrades, which can be set to automatically download and update. In my opinion, it offers the most complete security package that is freely available.
AVG – http://free.avg.com/gb-en/download-avg-anti-virus-free – only anti virus and anti-spyware
Avast – http://www.avast.com/en-gb/free-antivirus-download – only anti virus and anti-spyware are offered for free
Avira – http://www.avira.com/en/avira-free-antivirus – only anti virus is free
Bit Defender – http://www.bitdefender.com/PRODUCT-14-en–BitDefender-Free-Edition.html – free anti virus only
Zone Alarm – http://www.zonealarm.com/security/en-us/zonealarm-pc-security-free-firewall.htm – a good free firewall, but Comodo’s integrated approach makes it a better option (in my opinion), especially as Zone Alarm’s free firewall has limitations.
Online Armour – http://download.cnet.com/Online-Armor-Firewall/3000-10435_4-10426782.html – another good, free firewall
Outpost Firewall – http://download.cnet.com/Agnitum-Outpost-Firewall-Free/3000-10435_4-10913746.html – free firewall
Windows does now come with some good security options built in, including a free firewall and Security Essentials (http://www.microsoft.com/Security_essentials/), but it’s inadvisable to solely rely on these. It’s also important remembering that many broadband routers will also have some sort of firewall facility built in too, so adding another handy level of protection.
The problem with many people’s PCs is not that they don’t have adequate protection – it’s that they routinely open programs, emails, attachments and other material that is possibly infected. So just remember, if you don’t know what it is, or have downloaded something from an untrusted site, consider the implications of opening it. Comodo helps protect against this with their auto sandbox feature. As they describe it, “The sandbox is a virtual operating environment for untrusted programs – ensuring viruses and other malicious software are completely isolated from the rest of your computer”. Basically, it isolates whatever you’re opening if it’s not been opened before, meaning that any potential virus or malware is isolated from the rest of your machine.
In fact, since I like Comodo so much, I’ve reproduced their features list below for reference: