To Free or Not to Free: Pros and Cons of Unpaid Antivirus Solutions

Every four seconds, a new type of malware is developed. More than 20 million cyberattacks occur every day. Securing your connected devices is no longer an option — it is a necessity.

Thankfully, there are dozens of security solutions available, and many of them are offered without cost. However, can you trust free antivirus protection? Can you trust any online software that does not require payment? Read on to learn about the pros and cons of unpaid security packages and understand what protection you need on your devices.

Pro: The Software Is Free

Some of the top antivirus solutions cost hundreds of dollars; subscriptions and SaaS options can cost more than $50 per month. Meanwhile, you can also acquire adequate protection for nothing — goose egg — free.

Though getting such an expensive service without charge might feel like theft, it isn’t. This software doesn’t cost anything, and you aren’t doing anything illegal by taking advantage of it. No price is as satisfying as free, so you should feel excited by the opportunity to protect your precious devices while maintaining your current budget.

Pro: There Are Options

Using your search engine of choice, type “free antivirus program” in the search bar, and you will find hundreds of thousands of results. In truth, there are just over a few dozen reputable free antivirus programs that you can download today — right now — without paying a dime.Because there is more than one free antivirus solution, you can evaluate your options and choose the service that best serves your needs.

Con: Many Aren’t Trustworthy

Unfortunately, that means there are plenty of alternatives that either won’t provide adequate protection or will actively harm your devices. In fact, cybercriminals have long known that disguising viruses as free software tools is an excellent way to spread malware, and many ransomware attacks look like an antivirus program alerting you to a threat.

Though having choices can feel like it provides you more power and security, the more options in front of you, the greater your risk of making the wrong decision. Before you download any program, you must be absolutely certain that it is trustworthy, which might require extensive research.

Con: It Requires More Effort

Even after you devote an evening to deeply researching which free antivirus software packages are honest and dependable, even after you install and update the program, you are likely in for more work maintaining your protection than you would be with a paid service.These free services are more accurately described as freemium, meaning they allow users to buy features and upgrades that improve protection. The base antivirus program often lacks critical elements, such as automatic updates, alerts or quarantines that make it easier to stay safe. As a result, you might need to check up on your free security software frequently to ensure it is working properly, hasn’t identified threats and doesn’t require a patch or update.

Truth: It Depends

Whether or not free antivirus solutions will work for you truly depends on your security needs. If you have one device connected to a private, secure network, you might be able to stay safe using free software. However, if your device ever connects to public networks or if your private network connects to multiple devices, you should almost certainly seek out a paid option.

This is because paid antivirus solutions have the resources to protect your devices more thoroughly.Trend Micro Maximum Security and similar products are funded by sales, which means they have teams of InfoSec professionals and developers working constantly to ensure the security provided is as perfect as possible. With paid solutions, you are more likely to enjoy a straightforward user experience, automated features and up-to-the-minute updates, all of which contribute to higher-quality protection. If you are introducing risk to your computer and data by adding devices to your network or connecting to public networks, you should be certain that your security software is up for the challenge.

No software is perfect — but free software is especially imperfect. Some users are willing to put in time and effort to avoid the costs of cybersecurity, but if you can’t afford any vulnerability, you should strongly consider paying for it.

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