Free eBooks: Bliss or Blight?
The 20th-century American writer William Faulkner once said, “Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it, just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.”
Some people might think that all we ever do is read some ink on paper. However, we bookworms know that reading is actually a free ticket to travel the whole world and go back and forth in time, visiting different -real and made up- places and embodying our favorite characters.
And while we know that nothing tops going to a bookstore and buying hardcopy books (the smell is the best thing about it, right?), we also know that this option is not always available. And, especially with the COVID situation, for the past year and a half, going out has been something we have tried to avoid as much as possible.
And let's face it, books can be really expensive! So for someone who's addicted to reading, it would cost an arm and a leg to buy books frequently. So what's the solution? Free eBooks, of course!
Free eBooks are every reader's safe-haven! Luckily, there are many online libraries to download free eBooks, such as Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive, Open Library, and LibriVox.
But are free eBooks a safe choice?
Free eBooks Risks
eBooks can be in the form of a PDF file, an EPUB file, an HTML, or even an audiobook.
Websites that offer free eBooks can be infected; you might receive ads and pop-ups that will infect your device. Sometimes, the websites themselves are fine, but the files you download can have malware and/or viruses embedded.
When downloading a file from an illegal distribution network, you also run the risk of inviting Trojans. A Trojan is a malware that is disguised in the form of a legitimate software, through which cyber-attackers can get to your device.
So, it sounds like free eBooks aren't worth the trouble they cause. Because if you're going to lose your device to malware caused by downloading free eBooks, then might as well go back to buying legal books, right?
Not really. Free eBooks will always be the right, pocket-friendly choice. How so? The answer is: use an Antivirus. An antivirus will provide full protection for your device so you can enjoy reading without having to worry about viruses or Trojan horses.
The word "Trojan" derives from the ancient Greek story. When the Greeks pretended to desert the war and left a wooden horse behind, they also left one of their soldiers to persuade the Trojans that the horse was harmless.
The horse was later brought inside the walls of Troy, and some Greek soldiers came out of it and opened the gates of the city to let in the returned Greek army.
In the 20th century, the term "Trojan horse" was applied to benign and malicious computer software and codes that seem legitimate.
Recommended Antiviruses for Free eBooks
We've got your back, so don't fret. We have tried some antivirus services for ourselves and came up with a list of our top picks.
If you don't use a Macbook, you can scroll down to the next recommendation.
Many people consider the Mac operating system better than Windows, claiming it has better security protocols. However, it is not bulletproof, or to be more accurate, virus-proof. Intego provides Mac users with reliable and proficient real-time protection against malware, viruses, and other cybersecurity threats.
While the macOS already has a somewhat strong firewall, Intego's firewall NetBarrier proved to be much stronger. NetBarrier is optimized to protect your Mac on private and public networks. In addition, this firewall gives you control over the websites and apps that want to send you ads and pop-ups, as some of them might contain malware or viruses.
VirusBarrier is Intego's antivirus scanner. It has many features, including but not limited to; antivirus scans, malware detection and removal, real-time protection, and scheduled scans. In addition, VirusBarrier’s “Safe Browsing” feature protects you from malicious websites and emails.
Intego also has a Washing Machine” feature that combines a range of cleaning and performance optimization tools.
Mac Premium Bundle X9 Includes all features and has three plans:
- One device - $84.99 per year.
- Three devices - $115.99 per year.
- Five devices - $146.99 per year.
It is worth mentioning that Intego has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Bitdefender's invincible intrusion detection system efficiently detects both common and newly-merged sophisticated malware. In addition, its firewall makes sure to detect and intercept any virus or malware that tries to get to your system.
In case your device gets infected with a virus, Bitdefender has two solutions:
- Use the rescue tool from inside the antivirus report page.
- If your device isn't starting at all, you can use the USB rescue tool.
Bitdefender has three plans:
- Antivirus: $19.99/ year (1 device), $29.99/ year (3 devices), $69.99/ year (5 devices), $79.99/ year (10 devices).
- Total security: $39.98/ year (5 devices), $44.99/ year (10 devices).
- Internet security: $24.99/ year (1 device), $34.99/ year (3 devices), $84.99/ year (5 devices), $89.99/ year (10 devices)
All plans have alternative periods of commitments: 2 or 3 years. In addition, all plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Norton's advanced firewall will protect your device from any malware or viruses. In addition, not only does Norton have an intrusion detection system, but also an intrusion protection system. It is compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
Norton has a downloadable rescue tool. If any virus or malware bypasses the first line of defense, you can turn to this tool.
Norton has a VPN with all plans. A VPN can help you find and unblock geo-restricted content; this way, you can reach more free ebooks from more servers worldwide. VPNs also encrypt your data and mask your actual IP address, giving you a private and safe internet connection.
Norton has three plans:
- Norton 360 Standard: $39.99 per year - one device.
- Norton 360 Standard: $54.99 per year - five devices.
- Norton 360 Premium: $69.99 per year - ten devices.
All plans have a 60-day money-back guarantee.
McAfee has a strong firewall to detect and intercept any attack. It also has an intrusion detection system to stop any possible intruder from getting to your device. McAfee is compatible with Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android devices.
You can download the McAfee CleanBoot disk on a USB. This tool acts as a rescue mechanism if your device gets infected with a virus and cannot start.
McAfee has four plans:
- Single device: $24.99 per year.
- Individual/Couples: $29.99 per year - 5 devices.
- Family: $34.99 per year - 10 devices.
- Ultimate: $69.99 per year - unlimited devices.
All plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read more about our Antivirus recommendations in more detail.
Virus Scanners & Removers: Best Four in 2021.
Teen Slang and Text Every Parent Should Know.
Phishing Emails Example Guide: Online Safety 101.