5 Best Free Anti-Malware Programs for Your Computer

March 7, 2019 • Shannon Flynn


Computers are great when they work well and intensely frustrating when they don’t. You may have done the same thing that many people do to keep computer-related problems at bay, which is to download and install anti-virus software. That’s a practical first step. Here’s the best free anti-malware software to benefit you.

What’s the Difference Between Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Programs?

When you’re thinking about the best ways to protect your computer, there are many things you could do, such as making sure you only access public Wi-Fi by getting private Internet access through a virtual private network, or VPN. But, for the discussion here, you need to know the difference between anti-virus software and anti-malware software.

First, keep in mind that a virus is a kind of malicious software that can copy its code and harm your computer. Malware is a broader term including viruses and other threats, like ransomware and Trojans.

Anti-virus software typically protects against threats that are well-established in the internet landscape, while malware software generally protects against newer dangers.

You may also find anti-virus software has a malware-protection component. That’s mostly for marketing reasons. People may not know what malware is, but even the non-tech-savvy ones understand anti-virus software.

Now that you know some differences between anti-virus and anti-malware options, let’s look at several anti-malware programs you can download. Some of them have premium versions, but all the choices listed here include complimentary options.

1. Malwarebytes

This option has high-tech components, like anomaly detection powered by artificial intelligence and behavior matching to tackle malware not yet known as a threat, plus other well-known issues. Plus, when the scanner detects malware on a computer, people can use the cleanup function to get rid of it quickly.

2. Zemana

Zemana offers real-time malware protection, and it’s one of the options that guards against viruses, too. There’s a feature that removes browser hijackers, which take over a user’s browser by changing settings or installing things in the background without permission, too.

3. Avast Free Antivirus

This anti-virus software comes with a built-in malware-fighting component. Its Smart Scan feature goes through all the potentially vulnerable areas of your computer that could make it easier for malware to become a threat. For example, you may already know browser-based ad blockers can stop you from clicking on pop-ups or links that could introduce malware into your system. This program offers protection to supplement ad blockers.

It also has a CyberCapture feature that automatically sends suspicious files to get analyzed in the cloud, then pushes fixes to users through the same method when needed.

4. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

One of the handy things about this safeguard against malware is that it has automatic updates. That means you can rest assured of up-to-date protection without needing to check for new versions manually. When people run the on-demand scan, the program looks for various kinds of malware. There is also an advanced threat defense component that notices and blocks threats.

5. TotalAV Free Anti-Malware

In addition to getting rid of malware on your system, this product has several complementing features that cater to how modern society uses the internet. For example, there is a built-in VPN, as well as a two-way firewall. Plus, you can go through several checks intended to boost the performance of your browser and overall computer.

Protect Your Computer Without Blowing Your Budget

As this list proves, there’s no need to set aside money to pay for anti-malware titles. This roundup gives you an idea of the free options available. But, choose the product carefully: Some of the provider sites are set up to mix the free title in with paid versions.

After using the complimentary version, you might decide to pay for a premium product, but these will suffice if you want protection from malware.