We all know that having internet security for our computer and other devices that we use to connect to the internet with is essential, but with so many free versions of antivirus software available, is there any point to paying for it?
Internet security comes in four main levels – free, paid subscriptions for virus protection, suites and premium. With each increase in level, you get more features which include parental controls, firewalls and identity theft protection.
Free antivirus offers the lowest level of protection, with malware scans and automatic scanning of the hard drive. Other additional features are usually restricted to paid-for products. On paid subscriptions you will get behavioural detection, for example, as standard. Behavioural detection picks up and identifies malware by the way it behaves on your PC.
A disadvantage to free antivirus software is that you don’t get any technical support. There may be an email facility, but there is no phone helpline that paying customers would have. People who use free antivirus tend to have to rely on forums for advice from other users.
By paying for a subscription for internet security you tend to have more features including identity theft protection and parental controls. You can also customise scans. Security suites have even more features – and are priced to match their superior levels of protection.
Although free versions of antivirus and mobile antivirus offer a more basic level of protection, it does seem that malware signature updates are treated equally for free and paid for versions by most security software companies. Some companies suggest that the free version of security software is for an average user, while the paid for versions are for more advanced users.
Certainly, by starting with a free antivirus product, you’ll be giving your device basic protection and it gives you the opportunity to see how it works for you. If it’s too limited for your needs, then you can easily upgrade to paid antivirus when you’re ready to do so.