While there’s no doubt that you do need to protect your computer with a reliable antivirus tool, the question comes down to whether that tool should be free. Many antivirus solutions cost absolutely nothing — and that’s a pretty strong selling point.
But what separates these free options from the many premium solutions out there? What do you get for your money, and are those added benefits worth it? In today’s ever-evolving digital world, a premium app can give you the edge you need to stay ahead of emerging threats.
Free antivirus for strong security basics
From the built-in Microsoft Defender included with every Windows computer to the many third-party security apps out there, free antivirus tools are constantly competing with each other to offer the strongest protections and most attractive range of features.
Here’s what you can expect a standard free cybersecurity solution to do:
A strong free antivirus tool on your computer or mobile phone will keep you safe against most types of malware — whether they’re on your device already, or lurking online. Depending on which free product you choose, you’ll find these basic anti-malware protections along with a handful of additional protections as well.
But are they enough to keep you safe against everything out there on the internet? That’s where paid antivirus apps come in.
Unlock greater protections with paid antivirus software
Premium antivirus tools build on the foundations of free software with a wide range of additional features that defend against even more online threats. With more comprehensive protection, you’re a much more difficult target for a hacker to crack.
Premium protections go beyond basic malware protection to ward against threats like phishing, webcam hacking, and remote access hacking — when a hacker takes control over your computer via the internet.
A good premium antivirus tool should:
These are just a few of the many ways a paid cybersecurity tool protects you against a much wider array of threats and dangers online. You’ll often get customizable options to best secure your Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices. And many cybersecurity providers will cover multiple devices under one subscription.
Should you pay for an antivirus app?
Though many free antivirus apps are great at what they do, they’re often limited to anti-malware protection and a few other extras. Premium security tools are much better suited to the multifaceted nature of today’s internet threat landscape — particularly if you’re not the most experienced internet user.
That’s why premium antivirus apps are especially great for families. Children and seniors are often targeted by identity theft scams and other threats, since they may not be as skilled at recognizing and avoiding danger online. With the ability to defend up to 10 devices at once, a premium tool can protect all your loved ones.
While your best defense online is a strong knowledge of internet safety fundamentals, you’ll be much safer with a robust and comprehensive antivirus tool on your side.