The best protection is free

The best protection is free

© Getty Images / filadendron
Antivirus programs don’t have to be expensive (icon image)

Virus protection belongs on every computer, whether Windows or Mac. Stiftung Warentest tested 28 programs. A free program wins on Windows. The same software ends up at the back of Apple computers.

Viruses, blackmail Trojans or the tapping of passwords and banking data: There are many reasons why you should protect your computers with an antivirus program. On Windows– You don’t even have to spend money on calculators, Stiftung Warentest found out in his test of 28 programs.

The testers released more than 40,000 malicious programs, malicious mails and phishing links on the antivirus programs, including pests that had only made the network unsafe for a few hours. The programs generally performed well, there were no total failures. Protection is less good for Mac computers: Because Apple restricts third-party software for security reasons, malware has less chance, but virus hunters are also less potent.

Avira scores on Windows …

The two best programs for Windows come from the German provider Avira: The free Free Security Suite and the Antivirus Pro available from 10 euros (for one device) are the only “very good” programs in the test. Both provide excellent protection in all three categories, that is Virus protection, detection of malicious links and protection against phishing. The purchase version puts a little less strain on the processor, but the free program is easier to use. In the end, the two share an overall grade of 1.5. The clear conclusion from Warentest: There is actually no good reason for private users to pay for the purchase version.

A good alternative is Avast Free Antivirus. The protection of the free program is slightly worse than that of Avira, but it puts less strain on the computer. The overall grade is almost on par with “good” (1.6).

… and messes up on the Mac

On the Mac Avira affords a belly splatter, however: Because of the worst protective performance in the whole test, it is only enough for an “adequate” overall result. This makes the Avira Free Security Suite for Mac the bottom of the list.

Instead recommends Stiftung Warentest the free Avast Free Security for Mac. The program only comes in third place, but protects against it just as well as the two fee-based competitors. When scanning malicious links and protecting against phishing, it is the only Mac program at the level of Windows software.

You can find the complete evaluation for a fee at

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