Antivirus software: It’s something you need, but that doesn’t mean you need to pay for it.
There are multiple ways to secure free antivirus programs from reputable software companies if you know where to look.
1. Consider your operating system
Your computer operating system might already have antivirus software, or might make you eligible for free antivirus software from the manufacturer.
That’s the case with many Windows operating systems, for example. An antivirus program called Windows Defender is built into the latest versions of Windows. “There’s nothing to buy and nothing to install. No configuration, no subscriptions, and no nagware,” Microsoft says.
To confirm that Windows Defender is active on your computer, Microsoft advises typing “Windows Defender” into the task bar search box: “If you see a ‘PC status: Protected’ message, you’re good to go. If Windows Defender is turned off, you can turn it on by uninstalling other antivirus solutions and checking again.”
If your computer runs certain older versions of the operating system, you can download a program called Microsoft Security Essentials for free.
Apple operating systems also come with built-in protections, although the Washington Post reports in a recent Tech Tip column that a third-party program would go further.
2. Go through your ISP
You may be able to download paid antivirus software for free via your internet service provider, or ISP.
For example, Comcast’s Xfinity offers subscribers programs like Norton Security Suite, a $160 value, for free. AT&T offers high-speed subscribers its Internet Security Suite by McAfee for free.
Check with your ISP to find out if it provides similar freebies.
3. Download free software directly
The Washington Post notes that several software companies offer free basic versions of their more complete security suites. These freebies can often be downloaded directly from a software company’s website. Just make sure it’s an established security software company.
The newspaper recommends reading reviews and ratings on the AV-TEST Institute‘s website. PC Magazine also recently reviewed free antivirus programs, naming 10 the best of 2017.
For more security tips, check out “5 Easy Steps to Keep Your Computer and Tech Safe in 2017.”
Do you know of other ways to get free security software? Let us know below or on Facebook.
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