I can tell you this...I run Avira Free with Windows firewall and have SAS installed. I don't have a malware problems and have never had one on any of my systems. I have worked on the systems of friends who had malware...but that's second-hand, safe educatuib fir ne,,,and they get working systems back
I also keep Autoruns installed...because I like to check it every now and then after I've installed different programs...and I disable everything that is not essential that appears on the Logon tab
of Autoruns and is not related to Microsoft, Java, some Adobe player, my AV, and SAS. None of those other programs on my system...need to run until I open them.
I do let audio and video function software remain as startups also.