Its an year end and now all antivirus solution manufacturers have their 2013 version in market. New version doesn’t only change number but bring many other changes in product. As you all liked the article about Best Free antivirus 2012, I thought of continuing the legacy.
Among the many free antivirus software available, I shortlisted the popular 6 and compared to decide #1. Tests are conducted in a similar way as in previous comparison of Best Free antivirus 2012. These six antivirus are evaluated for performance, detection capability, features and interface.
I judged the antivirus popularity by their market share (data provided by OPSWAT). Though the image shows all brands but I have considered only the ones which have a fully functional free version of their Antivirus product.
And these six candidates are:
avast! Free Antivirus 7: Soft Voice
Avast has the highest market share (maximum number of users estimating around 150 million) in the world. It was also declared as the winner of Best free Antivirus 2012. It boasts a usable, uncluttered interface and a set of features that keeps it at the forefront of Windows security.
Lately, avast! has suffered a decline in performance, with increasingly slow scans and consumption of resources away from what would be optimal. Maybe after all this time, it is stagnating and need a refresh.
Microsoft Security Essentials 4.1: The Silent Strength
Microsoft’s solution to defend virus attacks on its operating system. It is now branded as Windows defender which comes inbuilt with Windows 8. It ranks second in the market share and the reasons behind that are obvious.
It is fast and lightweight antivirus, tightly integrated with Windows and offers acceptable detection rates. MSE wants to do its job without getting noticed and that’s the reason I called it Silent Strength.
Avira Free Antivirus 2013: Iron Umbrella
Last year, Avira focused on a breezy new installation and modernizing its interface, the 2013 version is all about offering competitive and forward-thinking security features.
Maybe because of these reasons, there was a rise in market share of Avira.
AVG Free Antivirus 2013: The Shield
Version 2013 of AVG Free has new stylish interface matching the Windows 8 Metro. And at the same time, they have incorporated new features for effective virus removal.
But how effective is AVG Virus detection engine? Detection rate is identical to that of avast!, And its performance is among the best. To this we must add a toolbar to the browser with utilities to protect privacy.
Panda Cloud Antivirus: Free Cloud Protection
Panda Cloud Antivirus comes with its unique cloud technology. Thanks to which, you get impressive results in detecting new malware and also a light weight antivirus with no issues of regular updating.
Last year, it was 2nd runner up in competition.
Ad-Aware Free Antivirus 10: The Spy Hunter
Rookie of the year is Ad-Aware, an old acquaintance who has changed its appearance. It used to be just an anti-spyware but now a promising antivirus, although still very young to fight.
It has one of the most powerful engines on the market (GFI Vipre) in terms of detection, and still has a solid antispyware protection. Limited range of functions could be only negative aspect about this antivirus.
Results and Conclusion
How tests are carried is already explained last year so, I won’t repeat that again. I have taken data from the reports of Virus Bulletin. VB is an independent company carrying out insightful analysis of effectiveness of antivirus software.
Here is a table of results:
The best in terms of detection of viruses and malicious software was Ad-Aware, and right behind that is Panda Cloud and Avira. All programs received more than 9 points except MSE. I am surprised considering that this is Microsoft’s application which integrates effectively with the Windows operating system.
As for the performance of other antivirus, surprisingly, avast! has very bad results. It seems that every year this application is losing to competitors. Even its market share is going down every quarter.
That doesn’t mean avast! is out of competition. It is best in terms of features, options and interface. This makes #1 antivirus of 2012 fall down to third position.
And the Best Free Antivirus 2013 award goes to… Avira Free Antivirus 2013. Its exceptional speed and power of the detection engine, coupled with the removal of annoying advertising popups, it has stepped up to the first place.
Personally, I don’t rely on Free Antivirus for security of my system instead use Bitdefender which is #1 in Paid antivirus. Stay tuned, I will soon be posting Best Paid Antivirus 2013 too.