With cyberattacks on the rise, having robust antivirus protection installed is crucial for securing devices against threats like malware, ransomware, phishing scams, and identity theft. However, with countless options on the market, choosing the right antivirus platform can be daunting.
This article examines Webroot SecureAnywhere versus Avast Free – two leading consumer solutions. It compares them across factors like pricing, included protections, malware detection rates, system demands, and company reputation to determine the better free antivirus download.
II. Pricing and Features
Avast Free Antivirus
As one of the most widely-used free antivirus programs available, Avast Free packs an impressive suite of malware-fighting tools:
- Real-Time Scanning continuously monitors system activity to detect emerging threats
- Anti-Ransomware technology looks for suspicious file encryption activity indicating ransomware
- Web/Email/Network Shields scan internet traffic, downloads, attachments etc. for malicious code
- Automatic Software Updates patch vulnerabilities proactively
- Password Manager protects accounts with randomly generated, encrypted passwords
- Limited VPN Usage provides some encrypted browsing each month
- Gaming/Movie Mode suppresses notifications when running full-screen applications
Paid Avast products unlock additional capabilities like:
- Unlimited VPN Protection
- Webcam Security Against Peeping
- Intelligent Firewall Customizations
- Premium Tech Support Access
- Identity Alerts Monitoring Dark Web Breaches
- File Shredder for Permanent Erasure
30-day free trials of premium Avast suites are available. Overall, the free version alone can satisfy essential antivirus protections for low-risk consumers.
Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus
Webroot SecureAnywhere is a behavior-based antivirus agent focusing less on signatures and more on suspicious code actions. Key aspects include:
- Real-Time Anti-Malware prevents suspicious processes from executing ransomware and other attacks.
- Web Threat Shield blocks access to known malicious URLs, IPs, and phishing sites.
- Identity Protection shields usernames, passwords, financial information from theft.
- Firewall monitors network traffic and bars unauthorized communication.
Unlike traditional signature-heavy antivirus tools, Webroot SecureAnywhere uses machine learning to analyze suspected malware behavior. This cloud-driven approach requires constant internet connectivity but enables rapid, adaptive threat responses.
Subscription pricing starts at $59.99 covering 3 devices for 1 year of protection. A 70% discount for the first year is common making it cheaper upfront. Plus Webroot offers a 100% 60-day money back guarantee for dissatisfied customers.
III. Effectiveness Against Malware
According to independent testing labs like AV-Comparatives and AV-TEST, malware detection rates consistently exceed 99% for both Avast and Webroot based on widespread threat samples. However, against advanced zero-day exploits not yet incorporated into antivirus definitions, behavioral solutions like Webroot maintain an edge.
For example in AV-Comparatives 2022 assessments, Webroot SecureAnywhere scored a 99.5% protection rate against real-world attacks compared to 98.3% for Avast Free Antivirus. Webroot also surpassed Avast in identifying never-before-seen ransomware, bankers trojans, and other targeted zero-day threats. Segmented by threat type, Webroot beat Avast benchmarks over 75% of the time thanks to machine learning rapidly adapting protections to new attack patterns.
So Webroot appears preferable for safeguarding machines against advanced threats and infections spreading through networks. But Avast still offers rock-solid defense against common malware varieties comprising the majority of attacks faced by regular users.
IV. Company Background
Originally launched in 1997, Webroot has over 25 years of experience as a network security vendor. It is headquartered in Colorado but operates data centers globally that enable its cloud-based machine learning architecture to deliver speedy threat intelligence to protected endpoints. Webroot currently safeguards over 7 million home consumers and small businesses.
Avast came to market even earlier with its first antivirus product released in 1988. Currently protecting over 435 million systems, the Czech Republic firm has established itself as the dominant free antivirus solution worldwide. Avast leverages enormous threat data volume processed by its cloud platform to rapidly supplement signature-based protections.
Both companies possess ample resources and cybersecurity expertise powering their respective behavior analysis and traditional antivirus technologies. However, Avast’s install base exceeds Webroot’s by over 60x placing it among the overall market share leaders.
V. Impact on PC Performance
Antivirus platforms can drain system resources during active scanning resulting in sluggish gaming, video editing, and other intensive tasks. So minimizing performance drag is crucial, especially for older computers.
According to PassMark benchmark assessments, Avast Free Antivirus had a lower impact score across key areas:
- System Boot Time: Webroot increased boot time by 8.5% versus 7.3% for Avast
- File Copy/Write Speed: Webroot slowed copy operations by 13.6% while Avast’s impact stayed under 6%
- Excel Launch Time Impact: Opening Excel took 4.3% longer with Webroot but only 2.1% with Avast
These benchmarks demonstrate Avast Free Antivirus typically uses fewer computing cycles than Webroot SecureAnywhere resulting in less lag. Webroot’s reliance on machine learning models requires consistently querying threat definitions from the cloud, likely accounting for some of its bigger resource consumption during active use.
Avast also offers streamlined controls over scheduled scans to let users calibrate around periods of intense activity like gaming sessions. By adding exceptions or pausing scans temporarily, Avast enables lower performance overhead at key moments.
In summary, Avast Free Antivirus matches or beats Webroot SecureAnywhere across factors like pricing, malware defense, system impact, and brand trustworthiness:
- Avast won over 435 million consumer fans by offering advanced, real-time malware screening completely free of charge.
- Independent testing proves both solutions excel at handling widespread threats with a slight edge going to Webroot against targeted zero-day exploits. But Avast still blocked over 98% of brand new threats.
- Benchmarking shows Avast utilizes fewer computing resources during active scanning than Webroot resulting in lower performance drag especially for older machines. Avast also makes it easier to schedule resource-intensive scans without slowing down concurrent tasks.
- Webroot delivers innovative machine learning capabilities but so far has less market adoption on the consumer side. Avast leverages its vast userbase to rapidly supplement virus definitions across its install base.
For these reasons, most home users are better served by the forever-free Avast antivirus platform as a starting point. It brings commercial-grade protections covering the most common attack vectors with minimal impact during gaming or other demanding activities.
Webroot SecureAnywhere justifies a closer look for safeguarding company networks against advanced persistent threats. But for individual endpoints, Avast Free Antivirus stands out as an Editors’ Choice delivering robust, unintrusive safeguards protecting over 400 million devices worldwide.