Nomination: Wisevector Stop-X
- AI-based malware protection, not heavily relies on signatures
- Extremely good detection against new malwares
- Ransomware shield with folder protection/access control and honey-pot
- Very good fileless malware protection
- Relatively good offline protection (online is better)
- Memory protection
- No web protection -> no HTTPS alteration
- Simple UI, install and forget. Optimal default settings
- Very stable, rarely has bugs in recent versions
- Extremely light on CPU, RAM, disk I/O and size. Lighter than most AVs I have used
- Caches -> faster program execution or scanning speed on the next runs
- Tiny update size
- Excellent support from the developers
- Good privacy documents
- Doesn't connect to servers 24/7, only when updating or exchanging malware information
- It's origin country might be a problem for some. Privacy concerns
- The UI design can be too simple or childish for some
- Scanning speed is slow in the first scan
- Simple website design. Not too much information provided
- Some false positives due to AI algorithms
- Some bugs but fixed by the developers after being reported
- Small company
- No default-deny module -> not for paranoid users
- Cannot report/upload files more than 20MB. Must use another method
- Honey-pot creates folders whose names can be confusing/suspicious for some users
- Lack of internet security features: web, mail protection in free version -> can be good or bad for some
Wisevector Stop-X is an interesting nomination. It is not invasive to the system, so its compatibility with the system is probably close to WD. It is very light and the detection is better than any other free AV on default settings. It does not have Internet Protection, so should be used with Edge browser or another web browser with good extensions (anti-phishing, Ad-blocker).
I think that stronger protection can be realized only with highly tweaked Comodo or WD (MAX settings).
It does not have Banking & Payments Protection (feature mentioned in OP), but I do not know any free AV that has such a feature. Wisevector Stop-X does not have Network Protection, but most free AVs do not have such a feature too - these free AVs that have it, do not have Botnet protection anyway.
One con that can be important for average users is too big false positives rate (similar to highly tweaked Comodo or WD on MAX settings).
Globally, there's millions of peoples that cant afford/buy a new powerful computer and does know nothin about security, most of them are so called "happy-clickers". Installing free Forticlient and its amazing web filter can save a lot of fuss and not being part of the botnet.
-Default settings are good enuff
-Worlds best web filter(porn, tobacco, hacking etc etc web "bad" site filter)
-Very good signatures
-Very good exploit protection
-Settings can be password protected, so kids cannot disable it to download "warez" etc.
So where's the Forticlient shines is that it can block malicious downloads/websites in a browser level. If a something might get thru, aka executing scripts, malicious office documents or unknown packers, its not that good.
So my vote goes for Forticlient. Advanced users can pair it with OSA+SysHardener to get quite effective, resource friendly protection.
My nomination is Windows Defender (supported by Windows 10 default security features).
My next nominations are Avast free and Kaspersky Security Cloud free (for people who do not like WD).
This nomination is for average (inexperienced) users. I think that MT members can build sensible security based on any AV, free or paid. I like most AVs and thank God for diversity.
I have nominated WD mainly due to its compatibility with Windows and usability for average users. The detection of all free AVs on default settings is similar and the differences in protection are non-measurable in practice. When the average users buy a computer with Windows 10, they have good basic protection without doing anything. I did not count the usability of GUI, because average users usually do not know how to tweak the AV.
When looking at the criteria in the OP, we can see that default Windows built-in security does not include some features:
Network Protection that supports Windows Firewall
Banking & Payments protection
Anyway, I do not know free AV that has got Botnet Protection or Banking & Payments protection.
There are some free AVs that have got a VPN or Password Manager, but the usability of these features is low.
One of the free AVs that has got some network protection (independent of the web browser) is Avast. This is some advantage, but not enough because of less compatibility and some privacy issues.
I nominate Kaspersky Security Cloud:
Frequently updated, unlike Bitdefender Free.
Accurate, highly-effective engine (if not the best in industry)
System Watcher serves as a last line of defence, to restore the system after a malware attack.
Light and configurable
Easy to use
Given that product is free, I don’t see any.
CURRENT NOMINATION STANDINGS (votes) - Till @McMcbrad .... there may be more votes post this
Note: If I can't edit this post anymore, please check for my following posts for latest standings
------------------------------------------------------------------ No. Product (votes)
1. Microsoft Windows Defender (14)
2. Comodo Internet Security (3)
3. Kaspersky Security Cloud (3)
4. WiseVector StopX (3)
5. Avast Free Antivirus (2)
6. Bitdefender Free Antivirus (2)
7. Fortinet Forticlient Free (1)
8. SecureAPlus (1)