There are lots of different packages available that offer anti virus and/or firewall protection, often with many other products and protection elements bundled in as well… but sorting out which is any good and which can be relied upon is important for all computer users.

The is my list of free ant virus and firewall software. It’s not an exhaustive list – and I’m open to receive recommendations or suggestions for additions… but it’s a useful list of free resources.

Comodo –

Comodo offer a suite of cutting edge security including Antivirus, Firewall, malware prevention and more. It’s free to download and includes free lifetime upgrades, which can be set to automatically download and update. In my opinion, it offers the most complete security package that is freely available.

AVG – – only anti virus and anti-spyware

Avast – – only anti virus and anti-spyware are offered for free

Avira – – only anti virus is free

Bit Defender ––BitDefender-Free-Edition.html – free anti virus only

Zone Alarm – – a good free firewall, but Comodo’s integrated approach makes it a better option (in my opinion), especially as Zone Alarm’s free firewall has limitations.

Online Armour – – another good, free firewall

Outpost Firewall – – free firewall

Windows does now come with some good security options built in, including a free firewall and Security Essentials (, but it’s inadvisable to solely rely on these. It’s also important remembering that many broadband routers will also have some sort of firewall facility built in too, so adding another handy level of protection.

Simple guidelines

The problem with many people’s PCs is not that they don’t have adequate protection – it’s that they routinely open programs, emails, attachments and other material that is possibly infected. So just remember, if you don’t know what it is, or have downloaded something from an untrusted site, consider the implications of opening it. Comodo helps protect against this with their auto sandbox feature. As they describe it, “The sandbox is a virtual operating environment for untrusted programs – ensuring viruses and other malicious software are completely isolated from the rest of your computer”. Basically, it isolates whatever you’re opening if it’s not been opened before, meaning that any potential virus or malware is isolated from the rest of your machine.

In fact, since I like Comodo so much, I’ve reproduced their features list below for reference:

Default Deny Protection™
Makes sure that only known PC-safe applications execute
Prevention-based security
Stops viruses and malware before they access your computer…so it isn’t too late to stop them.
Auto Sandbox Technology™
The sandbox is a virtual operating environment for untrusted programs – ensuring viruses and other malicious software are completely isolated from the rest of your computer
Full strength, top notch virus detection and elimination
Our download offers free Antivirus protection that exceeds the protection offered by expensive security suites
Quarantine system to isolate suspicious files
Possible viruses are kept executing to ensure that nothing “sneaky” gets through
Personalized protection
Set virus scans to run on a schedule, when it’s convenient for you
Spyware Scanning
Spyware Scanner detects and cleans malware infections in PC registry and disks.
Cloud based Antivirus
Cloud based antivirus scanning detects malicious file even if a user does not have up-to-date virus definitions.
Cloud based Behavior Analysis
Cloud based behavior analysis system detects zero-day malware INSTANTLY.
Cloud based Whitelisting
Cloud based whitelisting of trusted publisher easily identifies a safe file and vendor
Game Mode
Suppresses operations that could interfere with a user’s gaming experience such as alerts, virus database updates or scheduled scans.
Application Control
Provides users with the ability to lockdown their PC so only known good applications can run.
One-click scanning
Make sure your PC is clean with one simple button click
Easy and user-friendly interface
Simply install and forget, while Antivirus continues to protect
Real-time access to updated virus definitions
Get the most current protection possible against new viral strains
Unique “slider” to easily change your current security level
Change the behavior of Antivirus to reflect your security preferences at any given time