PCWorld has teamed up with AV-Test for another comparison of Antivirus products for 2010, examining all 4 levels of antivirus products: free, paid, suites, and “premium” suites. Moving up the ladder from free antivirus to premium suites typically provides more features, like content filtering, identity theft protection, firewalls, parental controls, and system performance tools.
Their findings indicate the big differentiator is Technical Support. If you are security savvy, you won’t need too much help installing, running, dealing with with alerts, maintaining updates and upgrades, and can probably use one or more of the free product offerings. However, if you rely on cousin Fred or that kid down the block for computer help, ignore or are unsure what to do when you receive an A/V or firewall alert, or can’t afford to “waste” time keeping up with the threats, vulnerabilities and protective controls that security gurus monitor, a commercial product is more likely to fill your needs.
Something to keep in mind, no matter what product you choose, I have had excellent experience with the combination of both free and commercial A/V software in conjunction with PCTools’ ThreatFire A/V enhancement product. ThreatFire adds a behavioral detection and file integrity capabilities to most A/V engines. Bear in mind that you will receive a number of alerts as the product “learns” what is normal for your system, which executables are present, and whenever one of these changes or changes behaviors.
Check out the surprising results. http://www.pcworld.com/article/210589/free_vs_fee_free_and_paid_antivirus_programs_compared.html