Posted by: David Harley | March 16, 2011

Free AV is All Right Now?*

[Update: a highly relevant video from Eddy Willems on the differences between free and for-fee AV.]

Hat tip to Andreas Marx for pointing out this recent article by Gregory Karp (no, it’s not an anti-phishing topic…) for the San Francisco Chronicle: Free anti-virus software does the job, experts say.

Actually, I’d say the consensus as expressed in the article is more along the lines of:
  • paid AV = more comprehensive security and features, better support etc.
  • free AV = limited features, but a good free product (i.e. one made to commercial standards) is a lot better than no product.  

Which is good, since it isn’t too far from my own view. 🙂

Several other good points are made in the article, though I think it may be misleading to assume that Microsoft’s provision of a free product has no strategic intent. (That’s not a criticism: just the way of the business world.) And I’ll save my views on the volume of Mac threats and the effectiveness of countermeasures for another forum.

And the testing connection? Karp suggests checking out the highly reputable http://av-test.org and http://av-comparatives.org for technical comparisons.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Right_Now

David Harley CITP FBCS CISSP
Small Blue-Green World
ESET Senior Research Fellow

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