Avast Internet Security, which bills itself as the ‘smartest online protection for your PC’, is an internet security solution for Windows. It offers both a limited-functionality free version and a premium offering that includes more advanced functionalities, such as automatic software updates and anti-ransomware protection.
Avast Antivirus Review – Pros & Cons
- Strong protection against zero-day attacks
- Special quarantine feature for questionable pages and applications
- Convenient VPN features available
- Must pay extra for technical support
- Must use Google Chrome to access some security features
- User interface can be somewhat overwhelming for first-time antivirus users
At $59.99 per year the platform is not cheap but does come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and is in the typical price range for quality internet security subscriptions. A 3-year option, priced at $159.99, is also available in addition to a free trial of the premium solution.
Avast Virus, Spyware, and Malware Protection
The core antivirus component of the software has performed reasonably well in professional benchmark tests, blocking an average of almost ninety percent of zero-day attacks leveled against it, which compares favorably with the rest of the market offering.
Overall, the premium package boasts a comprehensive selection of tools that should keep both those using an internet security package for the first time and those already familiar with online security offerings – such as Bitdefender and Symantec – more than satisfied with their choice of software.
The tools in both the free and premium versions include an antivirus (the basic version includes the same underlying engine as is used in the company’s premier package), a spam filter, a firewall, and ransomware protection. Malware detection is considered one of the provider’s strong suits.
Avast Detection and Removal Tools
Avast is easily customizable. The boot-time scanning method is particularly useful for eradicating bootable malware before it has a chance to cause complete system corruption. The ability to automatically detect outdated software and suggest program removal is another feature that will be of particular benefit to less technical users. Due to its vast user-base, Avast is also one of the best programs on the market for detecting emerging threats as they begin to crop up on the Avast! Virus Lab’s security experts’ radars.
Avast! Internet Security includes a virtualization environment called ‘sandbox’ into which untrusted web-pages and applications can be temporarily quarantined. As the name suggests, this elegant solution gives users peace of mind that suspicious sites can be corralled into an area of the computer where they cannot adversely impact the stability of the system. This is ideal when encountering programs that may be suspicious and are too risky to run on the physical system itself.
Other notable features include a SecureLine VPN connection for securing connections to sensitive websites, such as online banking and e-commerce logins, through a VPN connection. The system also features handy prompts to stay in private (VPN-routed) or public browsing mode during sessions. The integration of the company’s own VPN tool with the rest of the package is a big selling point for those looking for an ‘out of the box’ web security platform that saves users the headache of having to piece together various online security services from different companies. No setup is required for the VPN features and they are billed as an additional subscription service.
Avast Internet Security Firewall Protection
The software includes the Avast Firewall. It automatically permits VPN connections, which saves users some legwork during the configuration phase. Non-default ports are blocked as expected, and the firewall is resilient to attempts to work around its protective features.
Easy Setup with Avast
Installation is relatively straightforward, although unlike many other popular antivirus services the initial update process involves downloading both a virus definition database and a sub-program for installing it with.
Avast User Interface – Advanced Customized Options
Avast offers a comprehensive set of features in its Internet Security package, including advanced customization options. For first-time antivirus users, its user interface may appear more bloated and clunky than other platforms. Those looking for something more basic with less bells and whistles may be better served by another antivirus service.
It’s important to note that the installation process coerces users to install Google Chrome as their default browser, and to use the company’s proprietary browser toolbar in order to take advantage of the full set of functionalities offered. While Chrome is an unrivaled favorite for this reviewer, Firefox and Microsoft Edge devotees might balk at having to switch browsers in order to take advantage of fundamental security features like anti-phishing detection. In addition, necessitating the installation of a browser toolbar does appear a somewhat unusual solution given that one of the program’s features is cleaning up users’ browsers from unnecessary toolbars, plugins, and extensions.
The platform is also rather heavy on popup ads enticing users to purchase premium add-ons, including support.
Avast Customer Support
The lack of included technical support beyond assistance with basic tasks such as installing and configuring the program has drawn the ire of many users. Even with a subscription to the premium package, the company levies fees that some may regard as extortionate. These include one-time removal fees for remotely deleting packages that the system cannot and an annual supplementary subscription charge to avail of higher level technical support.
Why Choose Avast Internet Security Software
Though we have some reservations, overall Avast! continues to merit its reputation as the gold standard in PC security. Its wide array of features may prove overkill for those wanting a more straightforward package, but it’s a great solution for those looking for a comprehensive online security platform.