It is hard to pick just one best free internet security software product, because there actually is an amazing array of free internet security software available. You can find great free products in any security category imaginable. If you select the proper combination of quality free security products you will be provided protection as good as or better than that afforded by the purchased alternatives.
You must realize that there is a wide range in the quality and performance of free security software, so you need to stick with products that have been tested and have an established track record or at least have been developed by an organization that has previously proven themselves. It is difficult to tell if most internet security products are performing as expected. For example, if a game is not working properly you will be able to immediately tell because the game will not play correctly. In contrast, if a firewall or antivirus program fail to function properly you may not have any idea until long after your computer has been compromised. This certainly is a risk that few of us can afford to take.
I like to think of internet security as a triangle with the three main categories making up the three corners and the secondary categories lying on the lines of the triangle or within the security triangle. The three corners represent the primary categories of antivirus, firewall and antispyware. The differentiation between product classes has begun to blur and there are many combination products especially among those sold commercially. To simplify our discussion and allow us to look at a number of unique free products we will look at them as distinctly unique product classes. There is excellent free software to satisfy our triangle concept with this article focusing on a couple of the best free internet security software products in each main category.
There are about 15 free antivirus products that are worth considering with a few other specialized products that also best fit into this antivirus group. My favorite free antivirus product is without question Comodo Antivirus. Comodo is involved in the high end enterprise area of the internet and decided to provide this antivirus product free to help make all consumers safer while online. The bottom line is that Comodo gets a lot of goodwill and free publicity from making such a great product available free of charge. It is a win-win situation! This antivirus product detects and eliminates viruses from desktops and networks, protects with real-time on access scanning, uses proactive heuristic analysis to intercept unknown threats, has host intrusion detection to block malware before it can run, and provides automatic daily updates of virus definitions. The other free antivirus product that I will touch on here is from PC Tools well known for their Spyware Doctor and also Registry Mechanic. In this case there is also a paid version that has direct customer support and faster updates but the two products themselves function the same whether free or paid. PC Tools Antivirus Free Edition provides world-leading protection, with excellent database updates, OnGuard real-time protection and comprehensive system scanning to ensure your system remains safe and virus free. This product is Vista compatible.
There have been many changes in the category of free firewalls with a number of popular free products no longer available and a few new arrivals to take their place. There are about 15 free firewall software products that I feel are worth considering. The first of two free firewalls that I prefer is Zone Alarm Free Edition which now is Vista compatible and has been a #1 choice for a number of years. It has proven itself as real winner practically defining the firewall class. The other free firewall I would like to mention is the Comodo Firewall, which like their antivirus software mentioned above, is fully functional yet free. The Zone Alarm Firewall is a reliable but basic product that lacks some of the features of their higher-end retail products. This is not to say that there is any type of reliability or quality issue just that it is feature limited. Comodo's firewall on the other hand is in no way a limited feature product in fact it has some of the most sophisticated features of any firewall free or paid! Many reviewers consider it the best software firewall in existence.
There are almost two dozen good free antispyware products available. One feature of antispyware software compared to antivirus and firewall software is that more than one antispyware product can usually be used at the same time. I currently use Windows Defender from Microsoft, Spybot Search and Destroy and Spyware Terminator all running at the same time. They work fine together on my particular system with no performance hit or other problems.
Picking one free security software product from each of the three primary groups above should, when used in combination, provide you with more than adequate internet security protection. After you have taken care of these three basics, you should move on to consider antispam, privacy, content filtering and some of the other available classes of free internet security software.