- A user-friendly, customizable interface
- Does not need upgrades
- Anti-phishing engine
- Able to detect future threats
- Quite slow scans
When it comes to antivirus software, the only basic requirement is the need for protection against viruses and yet these days the wealth of options available are typically overwhelming. That’s why Panda Security, the Spanish software developer, created its Panda Free Antivirus to be one of the most basic antivirus programs available, a simple version of the company’s premium equivalent, Panda Dome Antivirus. Just because it’s simple, however, doesn’t mean it is limited. Not only does it feature protection against malware, spyware and dangerous automatic executions from USB drivers, but it includes a free PC recovery system, too. The added multimedia or game mode means it doesn’t even interfere with your entertainment, either, and the software will start scanning your computer as soon as it is set up. Panda Free Antivirus represents the latest, most basic protection software the company has launched, and is available in five different versions, available either free or starting from $4.99 per month with a free first month for the Essentials package.
Panda Free Antivirus has several features that make it quite unique. But firstly there is the basic antivirus protection, combating Trojans and viruses and against all kinds of malware and spyware. The software is able to schedule scans though it is possible to scan your PC on demand too. As an added bonus, Panda Free Antivirus offers USB protection to defend your computer against threats from USB drives, which it does with ease.
This program also features the Panda rescue kit that enables you to set up an advanced scan of the computer and can even generate a rescue USB drive in order to clean the PC. Particularly unique is the multimedia or game mode, which enables you to watch videos or play games without being interrupted.
Panda Free Antivirus has a well-designed interface with titles that can be personalized, meaning that the user is able to choose the features they want to appear first and even eliminate the ones they are not using. The program includes a VPN client mode, too, with which you can easily utilize Panda VPN (a virtual private network).
This free antivirus software provides its protection through cloud computing, meaning that its most important files are saved on a dedicated server accessed through the internet. This is useful in the sense that there are no updates to slow your computer down or unexpected scans that could last for hours. The program can be run automatically or manually, and this way daily, weekly, or monthly security scans can be actioned, on demand. The software is quickly installed, immediately starts a scan of your system, and it only needs an email address from you. Once set up, the program doesn’t interfere with your computer’s performance, even though the full scans might take a bit too long to be done. Since it is a cloud-based system, it does not need to download or install updates which might slow down your device or even leave the software out of date and missing important protection.
Panda Security doesn’t only work as a traditional antivirus in the sense that it also deals with known malware and ransomware. In addition, this updated version uses smart technology that relies on big data and artificial intelligence to verify each application running on the system and classifies everything, as such being able to identify known and unknown malware, APTs (advanced persistent threats), fileless attacks, and any other type of malicious activities even prior to their taking place.
Panda Free Antivirus functions on standard antimalware techniques such as a customary malware signature detection engine to identify widespread malware and heuristic verification that checks any suspicious activities. All the suspicious icons are then transmitted to the Panda Collective Intelligence servers for more investigation, this use of cloud technology being a unique characteristic not often seen in antivirus software.
It is also important to note that, because it relies on cloud processing, this free antivirus does not need to be updated and therefore will not unexpectedly activate scans on your computer as is the case with other programs.
The software also runs with a built-in anti-phishing engine that eliminates illegal websites that attempt to steal the user’s personal data such as bank account details, credit card numbers and so on. This function is especially useful nowadays with so many websites attempting to get their hands on such information.
The most basic version also includes a firewall for Windows devices and a free VPN, the latter of which is limited to 150MB daily. This enables you to visit different websites anonymously without being identified, though this is restricted to only one virtual location. The Premium package enables you, however, to do so from several international virtual locations, which is useful when you do not want to be identified by the sites you are visiting.
The paid versions of the Panda Free Antivirus also offer Wi-Fi network protection, which means that they can protect you against intruders such as hackers or curious neighbors.
The most basic and entirely free package available with Panda Free Antivirus can only be used on computers running Windows 10, 8, and 7 operating systems. However, any paid package can be utilized on Mac and Android devices from the same account.
When being used for an Android device, the software runs a real-time scan of all the installed apps as well as of any app updates prior to them being installed, without affecting the performance of your smartphone or tablet. Additionally, it can scan SD memory cards. The software also verifies and displays the access permissions of the apps from your device, such as accounts, contacts, location, and so on. Panda Free Antivirus is able to optimize the battery life of the device, too, and is able to track its GPS in real time to locate it on a map if it is lost.
The Panda Dome Free Antivirus software is free in its most basic version, providing antivirus protection for Windows devices alongside a VPN limited to a data limit of 150MB/day. The first paid package is Essential, costing $4.99 per month. In addition to the most basic features, it offers Mac and Android devices with real-time antivirus protection, Wi-Fi network protection, and external or USB device scanning. The third package is the Advanced one, available for $5.99 monthly and adds in parental controls for PCs and smartphones or tablets and identity protection while banking, for example. Next is Complete, which costs $8.99 per month and brings new features including confidential data encryption, a password manager, and a cleanup tool. The most expensive tier is the Premium version priced at $13.99 monthly and this comes with unlimited VPN and 24/7 technical support. All these paid versions offer a free first month.
Payment options include credit cards and PayPal transfers. If you decide to opt for longer payment terms, then there are three discounts available: the company offers a 25% discount for a yearly subscription, 30% for a two-year contract, and 35% for a three-year payment.
The official website of Panda Security has a support page, where the FAQ can be found and an email address to contact support for more in-depth queries. For urgent matters, the company offers answers on their Facebook page, where we found that the company’s representatives are quick to respond. The Premium version of this program offers 24/7 technical support, which means assistance with repair, maintenance, and virus removal.
Since 2018 the company also offers free technical support through free local telephone numbers in 22 countries, which are listed on their Facebook page. The company is also present on other social media pages, such as LinkedIn or Twitter. Overall, the website is easy to read and understand, even if you are not an IT specialist.
Panda Free Antivirus provides the basic protection for your PC through innovative cloud-based technology. This software not only protects your computer against malware and ransomware, but it is also able to identify future threats. The strength of the software’s main features are convincing enough, particularly the USB protection, the Panda Rescue Kit, and a multimedia and game mode. And in its paid versions it also comes with Mac and Android real-time antivirus protection.
Even though it does not perform the fastest scans, it does enable the much-needed protection for your computer, all handled by a user-friendly, attractive interface that can be personalized. But best of all is how Panda Free Antivirus does not require updates that could slow your PC down and since the software can be downloaded free of charge in its basic version, there’s little reason not to give it a try. However, there are upgraded versions with extra features that cost additional fees, with each of them offering the first month free.
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