Alternative Antivirus Options for Your Personal PC
In the world of antiviruses, there are several big names that are constantly recommended. However, those aren’t the only options and they aren’t necessarily the right fits for everyone. If you’ve tried out all the major antiviruses and are still looking for the perfect protection, consider this list of lesser known, yet not lesser, antiviruses.
360 Total Security
This is a comprehensive package that offers antivirus as one feature among many. With 360 Total Security, you get active scans, passive real-time protection, browser protection, a registry cleaner, and a wide variety of tools for optimizing your computer and tackling more specific security threats. For example, 360 Total Security gives you access to a virtual sandbox that allows you to test risky software in a sterile environment where there is no risk of infecting the rest of your computer.
However, you should take many of these features with a grain of salt. If you are a casual user, you may not need many of these bells and whistles and they can be more confusing than helpful. If you’re a more experienced user, then you would probably be more interested in more specialized and effective programs. However, if you approach the product with the mindset that you’re looking for an antivirus and want to have some extra tools just in case, then 360 Total Security is a good choice.
Like 360 Total Security, Avira offers an antivirus scanner along with a suite of other features. In addition to what you would normally expect, such as browser protection, password management, custom search tools, and optimization features, Avira provides access to a free VPN, a useful tool for anyone that wants to browse anonymously. As far as the antivirus itself is concerned, Avira is actually very powerful and thorough. It can stand with some of the absolutely best free programs when it comes to catching every bit of malware.
On the other side of the coin, Avira’s scans can be a burden on your system. Not only are they slow, but they can slow down your computer in general, a significant potential downside if you like to scan while working on something else or browsing. Free features like a VPN sound great on paper, but you’re generally better off going with a paid alternative in that particular area.
If you want a sleek and highly configurable antivirus, then Comodo might be the best choice. Its scans can be more effective than average, it has a versatile sandbox, and it even provides a Host Intrusion Protection System, a strict set of limitations that you can place on every program on your computer. With a HIPS, you can ensure that both legitimate programs can’t overreach and illegitimate programs can’t sneak into your system in disguise.
At the same time, Comodo doesn’t protect you in every way. It offers no browser protection at all, meaning that you should definitely have another antivirus option for that particular aspect. You also want to be careful when it comes to the installation process and how many additional programs you install from Comodo. Not all are effective and some may conflict with your other security programs.
To contrast with Comodo, Sophos is a straightforward antivirus that does exactly what it says on the tin. It isn’t packed to the brim with features that you can customize, but if fulfills its main functions very effectively. At the touch of a button, you can toggle various real-time countermeasures like intrusive program detection, browser protection, and download scanning. Compared to the competition, Sophos tends to catch more threats than average while also providing fewer false positives.
The downside to a sleek, simple program is that it isn’t quite as useful for more experienced users. If you want to tweak your settings and set up some custom features, then you should probably look elsewhere. Furthermore, Sophos doesn’t have a quick scan function, meaning that you will need to do a more thorough search each time you suspect something is amiss.
Which is best?
- 360 Total Security is a good choice if you want a full suite of security features beyond a simple antivirus.
- Avira is useful if you’re looking for a powerful scanner for active usage.
- Comodo works best for experienced users that know exactly how to configure their antivirus for maximum performance.
- Sophos is ideal for those that want strong, simple protection and aren’t interested in tweaking every individual setting.