The Real Cost of Free Anti-Virus Programs

There are too many ‘free’ anti-virus software packages out there nowadays. It always seems like such an amazing deal, right? Keep your computer and data protected for free! Why wouldn’t this be an awesome thing?

Free Antivirus Programs

If you do a bit of research on the ‘free’ anti-virus programs, some computer companies won’t even install them on their clients’ computers. This is because as always, there really is no such thing as free.

So, why are these programs that are supposed to protect our computers not ‘free’? What makes them so bad? Let’s find out.

PUPs

PUPs doesn’t mean the furry little critters that you can go adopt at any shelter. Instead, it is the acronym for “Potentially Unwanted Programs.” This can be anything from toolbars for your browsers to driver updaters to optimizers for your registry and much more. There are quite a few problems with these things:

  • They will ask you for money
  • They can cause an awful lot of pop ups
  • They will nag you to purchase something
  • They will track you to try to sell to you
  • They will slow your system down

When looking at the eight top-rated free products when talking about anti-virus programs, an astonishing seven of them are bundled with PUPs. See, the vendors for the PUPs will pay the distributors of the software a small fee for each installation in order to get them bundled with the so-called ‘free’ anti-virus programs. They will then make even more money when they redirect you to their ‘safe’ search sites.

Nagging

Yet another thing to annoy you with these programs is that they will begin to nag you. Yes, even more than your mom did when it came to cleaning your room as a teenager. They are persistent with the nagging, too. After this has been going on for a while, it will start to feel like you can’t even go 10 minutes without them asking you to upgrade to their paid subscription. Some of them will even continue nagging after you purchase the paid version. They will want you to buy add-ins to optimize the paid version. This can take the form of “internet Security Suites’’ and any other type of product that you don’t need and certainly don’t want. They prey on users who will believe everything they read on the internet. They are the modern day version of snake oil or hair tonic salesmen.

Privacy

Take the time to actually read the privacy policy of one of these things and it might just scare you. Many of the free anti-virus programs collect all sorts of information about you…and what do they do with it once they have it?

They collect:

  • Information about your computer hardware
  • Copies of your ‘potentially infected’ files
  • Information about your email
  • Information about possible infections
  • Information about the websites that you visit
  • Anything else they want to know

If it is on your computer, they have access to it. Think about that for a moment. How do you feel about that?

There are alternative solutions though. There is a program called Emsisoft Anti-Malware. This is software that is committed to not ever including any sort of PUPs. They also make your privacy a priority. You can get this as a one-year subscription or for longer.

The bottom line is this: if you are looking at these programs and thinking about installing one, do your research first. Remember that if it looks too good to be true then it probably is.

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