The best free anti-spyware and anti-malware software 2016
Defeat online irritants and net nasties with these fantastic freebies.
The best anti-spyware and anti-malware
Using an internet-connected PC without anti-spyware and anti-malware protection is rather like walking through the bad bit of town covered in bling, waving big wads of notes around and shouting "I am very bad at fighting!" Luckily you don't need to have big wads of notes to ensure that you don't get ripped off through your router or mugged via modem: as we'll discover in our feature, there are plenty of seriously good PC protection apps that you can get for absolutely nothing.
1. BitDefender Antivirus Free Edition
BitDefender provides a simple, hassle-free way to keep your PC safe from malware
Discreet protection from online security threats, BitDefender is the best anti-malware around
BitDefender Antivirus Free Edition is the strong, silent type. This anti-spyware and anti-malware tool doesn't even ask questions when you install it. What it does instead is use a range of tactics to identify bad things. It has B-Have, which looks for apps behaving badly; link scanning to identify cons; proactive malware and spyware scanning that can detect threats nobody has encountered before; and boot scanning every time you start your PC.
Ad-free, nag-free and hassle-free, it's a great product that runs quickly and silently while you get on with something more interesting.
Its comprehensive suite of tools to protect your PC makes BitDefender our top pick.
2. Panda Free Antivirus
Panda Free Antivirus uses cloud servers to lighten the load on your PC's resources
Cloud-based protection from malware and spyware that takes the pressure off your PC's processor
We're big fans of Panda's security products, and Panda Free Antivirus is smarter than ever before. It's cloud-based, with all the heavy lifting happening on Panda's servers - so the load on your PC is lessened considerably.
As ever there are paid anti-spyware and anti-malware products that offer more features - Wi-Fi scanning, password management, encryption, parental controls and so on - but Panda offers excellent real-time protection and is ridiculously simple to use.
If your PC is a little underpowered, Panda could be the anti-spyware and anti-malware tool for you.
3. AVG AntiVirus Free
AVG AntiVirus Free presents frequent pop-ups, but is a reliable security solution