Baidu Free Antivirus Review
Fast, effective threat detection, powerful tools, free forever.
Baidu Free Antivirus is a decent free antivirus program with a simple, user-friendly design and rich functionality – a combination that is unusual in shareware. It provides constant virus protection, making it a suitable replacement of antivirus software from companies like McAfee and Norton that charge for their programs.
Baidu licenses antivirus protection from Avira, but it also includes its own antivirus engine. By default, it uses the Avira engine for scanning, but relies on its own for real-time protection. Few test labs have tried out this antivirus and compared it against other popular choices like Avira and Avast! but recently Baidu Free Antivirus has received praise on the strength of its security, including recognition from VB100, AV-Comparatives Checkmark and OPSWAT. Currently, it is a member of the Microsoft Active Protections Program.
Based on its publisher’s description – Baidu is a permanently free and easy-to-use cloud security solution with a built-in cloud engine, USB protection, download protection, browser protection, and many more professional security features. Its main goal is to ensure that your PC is always safe from viruses, worms, Trojans and other digital threats. The latest version of the software is faster and more effective than its predecessor. There have been improvements in the interface, which is cleaner and more intuitive and addition of an array of features, such as a malicious plug-in detector and cleaner, a real-time traffic monitor to rapidly detect and stop malicious activity, an ad blocker for more enjoyable web browsing, a permanent file remover and customizable skins.
Unlike other popular free suites, Baidu Antivirus’s scan speed and detection ability are continually improved.
Baidu Free Antivirus Performance
Baidu Free Antivirus is light on system resources without it affecting its level of protection. The software protects your system with a combination of Baidu Antivirus and Cloud Security Engines and Avira Antivirus Engine. It can be customized to favour speed or protection, and it integrates well with other antivirus programs — two unusual traits in shareware. Baidu Free Antivirus is compatible with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.
During tests Baidu has earned an Advanced rating in AV-Comparatives’s straightforward file-detection test. False positives (valid files or URLs treated as malicious) dragged down its score but the antivirus scored the highest in terms of system performance. It scans a test system over an hour, which is more than twice the current average. While this is largely due to the use of two scanning engines, it is still longer than average. A second scan on the same system is completed considerably faster. It boasts a good detection rate of 86% – better than most free antivirus products out there. Details of the tests performed by AV Test Institute are available on their website.
In tests performed by PC Mag Baidu takes longer to scan each downloaded file for potential threat compared to other free antivirus programs. Even for files smaller than 100KB, some scans still require several minutes. In over 60% of cases, the scan actively reports the file to be safe.
Baidu Free Antivirus Experience
One of Baidu’s biggest advantages is, undoubtedly, the program’s rich functionality. The antivirus comes with a built-in anti-keylogger, webcam protection, file shredder, and an option to automatically remove any threats it detects. Its silent mode can be enabled to suppress pop-ups, limit Internet usage, and delay scheduled scans. This can be enabled manually or set to turn on based on computer activity. The auto-play feature, on the other hand, can be disabled so USB devices don’t automatically launch programs.
The Toolbox page of the software offers ten security-related tools, of varying usefulness. With the Traffic Firewall users have access to a real-time view of network traffic, for those who can interpret it. The System Repair and Network Repair tools locate and fix configuration problems.
As a whole, Baidu Free Antivirus protects from threats on USB devices but also from phishing attempts. However, the built-in phishing protection features in Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer all outperform Baidu. Webcam protection is not a feature typical for an antivirus program, so this is a pleasant surprise in this freeware. The traffic monitor allows for suspicious programs to be viewed in Windows Explorer, shut down, or even blocked from the network.
Baidu Antivirus’ password protection feature can be setup to prompt for a password when running a specific task, such as changing program settings, disabled defences, exiting the software, and/or uninstalling the program, to name a few. This is really useful, especially on computers with multiple users.
Another strong feature of Baidu is the level of customization permitted. Users can choose between different background images as well as automatically scan downloaded executables, compressed files, every file, or do nothing.
Baidu offers protection for your homepage and default browser as well as the option of private mode that isolates the browser from other processes and wipes your history, cookies and temporary files when you quit.
When scheduling a scan – you can choose between a quick and a full scan. Both can be setup to automatically disable themselves when your computer is running on battery. The antivirus engine can be adjusted to Low, Normal, or High for anywhere from quick to deep detection of suspicious files. In addition to file downloads, Baidu Free Antivirus protects drivers, the Windows Registry, and critical system locations.
Baidu Free Antivirus Pros and Cons
Baidu has clutter-free and user-friendly interface and a quick installation setup process. It has a decent selection of features and possibility for customization but is not amongst the best free antivirus programs. While there has been considerable improvement in its latest version, some tools are still far from effective and don’t perform up to par.
Pros of Baidu Free Antivirus
- Slick, attractive user interface.
- Decent results from independent testing labs.
- Automatic program and definition updates
- Quick and easy installation
- USB flash drive protection
- Context menu integration
- Light on system resources
- Includes an anti-hacker firewall
- Game/silent mode
- Specific program changes can be password protected
Cons of Baidu Free Antivirus
- Inefficient anti-phishing feature
- Behavioural detection flags good and bad programs
- Poor local malware blocking
- Missed new threats
- Limited options for resistant malware
While there is a wide array of additional features, such as Exclusions, Proactive Defence, Download Protection, USD and Quarantine – Baidu Free Antivirus is best suited for more advanced users as it often gives false positives. Its latest version shows improvement but it’s still not a recommended choice for free antivirus protection.
However, it is unobtrusive and lightweight, free and working on several OS. Baidu sports additional features that are quite convenient, such as a firewall able to block apps and has minimal impact on system performance. Its highly intuitive and pleasant interface makes the antivirus configuration a breeze for users, even the ones less familiarized in security software.