Endpoint security product recommendations

Free endpoint security products

While Information Systems & Technology (IST) has historically licensed Symantec Endpoint Protection, covering the University of Waterloo community, Information Security Services (ISS) are often asked for recommendations for free alternatives. While the following products are not in use campus-wide, they are from reputable companies and score well in independent testing. There are many similar (and also free) products, but we do not feel it is useful to present more than one or two alternatives.

Please note that while the products listed here are free for home use, the companies producing them will often embed attempts to up-sell consumers.

ISS always recommends, regardless of the product used, that users update any definitions on a regular basis – at least weekly – and that the installer only be downloaded from the company’s site. Endpoint security products should never be downloaded or installed from third party sources (with the sole exception being the Apple App Store).

University of Waterloo owned, non-managed machines

Running Windows 7

If your machine is running Windows 7 then our recommended anti-virus solution is System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP) for home.

Running Windows 8.1 or 10


Windows 8 and 10 have built-in anti-virus software known as Windows Defender.

Malware protection

Additionally, individuals may wish to use a supplementary malware scanning technology. ISS has had good luck with Malwarebytes, downloadable from the vendor's site.

Formerly, IST had recommended AVG Free as a non-Microsoft product, but this recommendation is rescinded based on their updated privacy policy.

Mac OS

While Apple builds some anti-malware technology directly into their operating systems, Sophos is also available.

Non-University of Waterloo owned machines

Running Windows 7

If your personal pc is running Windows 7, our recommended anti-virus solution is Microsoft Security Essentials.

ISS cannot recommend software for previous versions of Microsoft Windows as support for those versions by the vendor has ended.

Running 8.1 or 10

If your personal pc is running Windows 8.1 or 10, our recommended anti-virus solution is Windows Defender.