For antivirus software to be effective it must identify the danger before the download, installation, or execution of malicious software. Good antivirus software stop threats before they can gets a foothold in your system.

There is plenty of good quality free antivirus software out there for both PCs and Mac computers.

But of course free software does comes at a price. Most of these products are free only for non commercial use. If you have a business you have to pay for premium service. But these days the annual cost for basic anti-virus software is so low you’d be crazy not to.

Here’s our shortcut to finding the best free antivirus software.


Kaspersky Free offers focuses on malware-fighting technology. Independent lab tests rated it highly in being able to identify phishing expeditions.

During installation, you create or log into your My Kaspersky account for full activation. The product also installs a toolbar for Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer, providing markup for dangerous links in search results and access to the on-screen keyboard.


This free product offers protection against attack by a very specific collection of ransomware families. It isn't even remotely a general-purpose antivirus tool, but it does exactly what it promises to do.

The key to this technique lies in the fact that the cybercrooks who inflict ransomware on the world don't want it to infect the same PC twice.



Panda is a windows application. Windows systems these days have a built-in anti-virus programs but many believe that external third party software such as Panda remains a necessity.

There's a lot to like about Panda. It's renowned for for vaccinating USB drives against malware and its free.

Avast Free Mac Security

Macs may be a far less tempting target for malware and viruses, but they’re not immune from attack. Even if you don’t care about adware or being used as a means to infect users on other platforms, it’s still possible to fall victim to ransomware,  password theft, or stolen iPhone backups.

In security lab tests, Avast detected 99.9 percent of macOS malware, and 100 percent of Windows malware. However, if you want more advanced protection (like ransomware detection), you'll need to upgrade to paid software.

Sophos Home

In a business environment Sophos Home Free is configured remotely. It is widely used and popularbut has earned mixed results among numerous published security tests.

Reports are that it does well in repelling antiphishing expeditions but not as well when it comes to  malware protection test. If you're managing a busy household or small office it's easy to install and manage and worth consideration.

In an office setting it's rare for employees to manage their own security tools. There's usually an IT department that handles the task remotely, the configuration for Sophos Home is an online affair. With a free subscription you can install the product on three systems, Windows or macOS, and manage them online.

So, for example, you could install the product on an aging relative's computer, and remotely view and manage security events.