How to Get Free Virus, Spyware and Malware Protection

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Clark Howard: Free Virus, Spyware and Malware Protection Guide
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Who says you have to pay to get some good computer protection? There are several free programs that can safeguard your computer from viruses, spyware and other types of malware.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through some of the best free antivirus programs that are recommended by the experts.

Table of Contents

Common Terms for Malicious Software

Before we get into the list of free programs, here are some terms for common programs designed to damage your computer.

  • Adware: These files typically don’t harm your computer, but they can cause endless pop-up ads and consume valuable memory.
  • Malware: Malware is short for malicious software. It includes basically anything that can cause damage by infecting your computer. It can take the form of content, executable code, scripts and more.
  • Ransomware: This is malicious software that rapidly encrypts your files and deletes the originals before you can take action. You may then be asked to pay money to have your computer restored to working condition again.
  • Spyware and Trojan horses: Both of these programs clandestinely steal information from the user, like internet usage data, personal info and even financial data.
  • Virus: This is a program that spreads rapidly through a computer or computer network by replicating itself. Not all viruses are destructive and some aren’t designed to infect immediately.

Now, here are some FREE TOOLS available to help you avoid and remove malicious programs:

Free Protection and Antivirus Software

The following software runs continuously in the background, helping to protect your computer from infection:

Windows Defender Antivirus

Windows Defender Antivirus comes pre-installed on all Windows 10 devices. It provides real-time protection for your home PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Here’s how to activate Windows Defender.

Avast! Antivirus Home Edition

This is free antivirus software that comes with anti-spyware, anti-rootkit and strong self-protection. Link to free PC download | Link to free Mac download

AVG FREE

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AVG is antivirus software from AVG Technologies that automatically protects computers from viruses by providing timely database updates. Link to free PC download |Link to free Mac download

Free Spyware and Scareware Removal Tools

If you’re already infected, you can still fix it! The following software scans your system for malware, destroying any infections it may find. Install and run these routinely.

Malwarebytes

A highly regarded and effective program that identifies and removes malware and scareware from your computer. Link to free PC & Mac download.

SUPERantispyware

A free malware remover that also works on rootkits, spyware, adware, worms and parasites. Link to free PC download.

Adaware

Adaware scans your RAM, registry, hard drives and external storage devices for known data mining, advertising and tracking components.

Adaware can rid your system of these tracking components, allowing you to maintain a higher degree of privacy while you surf the web. Link to free PC download.

Mobile Security for Your Phone

Hackers and other cyber crooks are also trying to get into your phone. Here’s how to stay protected:

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First, always make sure you install the latest software updates from your operating system. These often include security and protection updates to help protect your device.

If you’re looking for mobile security software to better protect your devices, try a freemium app called Lookout that offers protections for mobile devices. Link to free PC download | Link to free iOS download

More Resources to Stay Safe Online

Sandboxie

Create a secure partition on your computer for safer web browsing with this free program. This is a great tool for more advanced users.

If the above tools don’t resolve the problem, you can get individual help from a great FREE tech support website, Techsupportforum.com. Be sure to read and carefully follow their Malware Removal Help Posting Instructions thread before posting.

More Tech Resources From Clark.com:

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