The dangers of buying free antivirus software

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Let’s face it: nothing in this world is free. Somebody, somewhere has to pay for it eventually. Antivirus software online is no different. While the dangers of downloading free antivirus software may not be immediately apparent, they can sometimes cause serious harm to your computer. Here are some of the most dangerous things to watch out for:

Backdoor threats: You may have heard about backdoor threats, but not known what exactly they are. Put simply, when a hacker wants to gain access to your computer, he or she may lure users in with a free antivirus program. Once this program is installed, the hacker uses a hidden ‘back door’ (a security loophole written into the program), to gain access to your computer. Once access to your computer is gained, a hacker can steal your personal information, transfer funds from bank accounts and –worst of all – change your Facebook status.

Lack of updates: Sometimes, free antivirus software is priced that way because it does not have a dedicated support team. With antivirus software in particular, a dedicated support team is important, as they will constantly update the program to ensure that it stays current on the latest security threats. Without these updates, viruses will quickly advance beyond your program’s ability to detect them, leaving your computer unprotected.

False positives: Many free antivirus programs are coded poorly, which means that they could see other legitimate programs as a security threat. If your antivirus program turns up a false positive like this, then its actions could seriously damage your computer. If you do have free antivirus software downloaded onto your PC, then you should make sure that the files it selects for deletion do not belong to legitimate programs on your PC.

Lack of virus detection: While good, paid antivirus software can detect almost any threat on the internet, free programs are not so effective. Studies show that antivirus effectiveness can range anywhere from 80% to 99%. Often, the best way to tell which end of the spectrum your antivirus software lies on is the price. Put simply, by choosing free software, you’re putting yourself at risk for a higher level of dangerous viruses.

Malware in disguise: Often known as a Trojan Horse, some free antivirus software will sometimes contain nothing but malware. Two of the most popular types of free antivirus programs that turned out to be malware were WinFixer and MS Antivirus, each of which disguised themselves as legitimate security programs while installing malicious threats onto your PC. In that sense, people who want to do harm to your computer are taking advantage of our natural attraction towards free stuff. If you fall for these scams, then your computer could be in serious danger.

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