Antivirus Software is a Waste of Money

Photo (cc) by Johan Larsson

If you use the Internet (and if you’re reading this article, you do), you’re at risk of contracting malware, a virus or other nasty computer program. Like viruses that infect humans, the computer variety can arrive unexpectedly from unknown sources and have devastating effects.

Fortunately, there’s a simple “vaccine” to protect against Internet-borne malware: antivirus software. While you may already know about antivirus software, what you may not know is that you don’t have to pay a dime to get it.

When you bought your computer, it probably came with an antivirus program installed, along with a “free trial” for the program’s regular updates. Once that free trial expired so did your protection. And since virus protection software has to be kept updated to be effective, you did what millions of other Americans do: You started sending some company $30 to $60 a year to keep your virus-protection current.

However, that annual subscription might not be necessary. Last year, Microsoft introduced an antivirus program called Microsoft Security Essentials. It’s easy to install, backed by Microsoft and completely free.

There are those in the business who say that Microsoft’s free virus protection isn’t as good as its costlier cousins from companies like Symantec and McAfee. For example, here’s a study funded by Norton that concludes Microsoft Security Essentials isn’t as effective, but plenty of others disagree. Check out Do Not Pay for Security Software from CNET or Despite Taunts from Rivals, Microsoft Security Essentials is Solid from PC World.

For the best protection on your computer, you need to observe common-sense rules like never clicking on unknown email attachments, shady ads or other suspicious links, and keeping your web browser and its plugins (like Adobe’s Flash) up to date.

If you want free but don’t want Microsoft, there are other options. CNET recently put together a comparison of five free security suites. Their editors gave three, Avast Free Antivirus, AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition and ThreatFire AntiVirus Free Edition, five out of five stars. However, each of those programs will try to sell you a “premium” version. Microsoft’s doesn’t.

What should you do with your current antivirus? If you’ve already payed for a subscription, keep it installed until the subscription expires. Then, if you decide a free substitute will do the job, uninstall your current costly software and replace it. If your subscription has already expired or you don’t have an antivirus program installed, download a free one and set it up right now.

Antivirus isn’t the only free software worth considering. Check out our story called Five Best Free Software Programs for some additional freebies for your computer.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Effortless Ways to Make Extra Money
7 Effortless Ways to Make Extra Money

In the digital age, new ways of earning cash crop up all the time — and some require next to no effort on your part.

9 Products That Will Organize Your Home for Under $45
9 Products That Will Organize Your Home for Under $45

These clever Amazon finds can help transform a messy nest into the pristine home of your dreams.

11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet
11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet

It’s scandalously easy to overspend in these areas of your life.

3 Easy Ways to Get Laundry Soap for Nearly Nothing
3 Easy Ways to Get Laundry Soap for Nearly Nothing

Not using any of these methods for saving on laundry detergent? Then, you are washing money down the drain.

13 Affordable Products for a Better Night’s Rest
13 Affordable Products for a Better Night’s Rest

These Amazon products can help you finally catch 40 winks — or more.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.