Avast review

Score
8.1
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Score 8.1

Threat Protection

  • Protection against: trojans, malware, adware, spyware, ransomware and Phishing scams
  • Remote firewall protection
Plans & Prices:
  • Ultimate- $119.99 per year per device
  • Premier- $69.99- $209.99 per year-three years per device
  • Internet Security- $59.99- $159.99 per year-three years per device

Payment Methods

Intro

Founded as a cooperative in 1988, Avast is among the biggest global antivirus software providers that use the most up-to-date technologies to confront cyber threats in real time. Avast cloud-based machine learning system receives live data from the millions of users connected, which allows the system to constantly adjust itself and stay secure at all times.

  • 2 billion malware attacks stopped each month
  • 200 billion URLs scanned each month
  • 300 million new files scanned each month
  • Over 1,500 employees worldwide
  • Top 5 markets: US & Canada, Brazil, France, Russia, Germany

Avast is headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic and applies an innovative security approach by experienced security engineers from all over the world. According to Avast website, their scientists, engineers, and mathematicians come from some of the most highly respected institutions, including Stanford, MIT, Oxford, and NASA.

On 7 July 2016, Avast announced an agreement to acquire competitor AVG for $1.3 billion. Both product lines continue their separate existence, but the underlying antivirus protection engine is identical. Avast is now worth nearly a billion dollars, and their antivirus solutions have a very positive reputation on the market known to be efficient in removing malware and strong in feature set.

Avast Engineers

During our research on antivirus software, we’ve identified five key criteria for you to consider when choosing an antivirus software: 1. Threat Protection 2. Resource consumption 3. 24/7 protection/real-time scanning 4. Extra protection features 5. Platforms/Devices accessibility. Our reviews will examine each antivirus software in accordance with how well it delivers on these five criteria.

How Avast meets the 5 criteria?

1. Threat Protection

Avast system has multilayered protection, so even if a threat manages to break through one security layer, others are there to stop it. And cloud-based artificial intelligence constantly updates it all against emerging threats.

Avast Layers

Malware Protection

Avast’s first protective layer is standard signature-based scanning that compares files to already known malware. The second layer monitors activity and code snippets to look for indications of suspicious and potentially dangerous files.

Spyware Protection

Spyware is a type of malware that hackers use to see your personal information, banking details, or more. It collects information about your surfing habits, browsing history, or personal information. Avast scanner can find and remove any spyware on your computer.

Web Protection

Web Shield blocks are known malware from downloading to your PC while you browse the web.

Email Shield works with installed email clients like Outlook and Thunderbird to strip malicious attachments from messages before they’re downloaded to your PC. Avast’s Online Security browser extension automatically redirects you to the correct site if you mistype a URL and warns you if you ever land on a malicious website.   

Phishing Websites Protection

Phishing is tactic hackers use to trick you into revealing personal information, such as passwords or credit card, social security, and bank account numbers. They do this by sending you fake emails or directing you to a fake website.

Real Site (available to paid users) protects users against hacked routers that use fake DNS (domain name system) settings to redirect you to fake websites. Real Site uses Avast’s own secure, cloud-based DNS settings to bypass vulnerable router settings and ensure that you don’t unwittingly give your passwords or bank info to fake sites.

Adware Protection

Avast SafeZone Secure Browser, part of Free Antivirus, can keep your wallet secure by limiting add-ons while blocking ads and suspicious sites. Its Bank Mode isolates the browser from the rest of the system to thwart nosy malware.

However, Avast Privacy Policy notes that if you search for items in the Secure Browser, “you consent to having your search query and history transmitted to third-party search providers and to being redirected to third-party sites.”

2. Resource Consumption

While normally the Avast impact on the system is related to as moderate, there are enough feedbacks out there, pointing out at the quite tangible slowdowns during the active scans.

During  Tom’s Guide lab tests Avast Antivirus was said to use too many of the system’s resources during active scans, which took a long time. During Avast full scan, the test task took the computer 27 percent more time than the baseline and 19 percent slower than Avast’s background load. Smart Scan, Avast’s term for a quick scan, put less stress on the system, letting the task finish 22 percent slower than the baseline and 14 percent slower than without an active scan. But that system impact was still heavier than with many competitors, except Avira Antivirus.

3. 24/7 Real-time Scanning

Avast virus scanner will constantly look for infections on your PC, remove them, and protect you by running the software in the background and monitoring your system, as long as the device is on. It is real-time protection against all malware attacks: whenever you execute a file, File Shield immediately scans it.

If you have a small or stable network though, you might not want to have Avast scan your network every time it runs an antivirus check. Customizing the Smart Scan to remove the network audit helps to improve scan speeds, and you can still manually launch a network scan whenever you like. You can schedule scans to run daily, weekly or monthly.

4. Extra Protection Features

  • Behavior Shield uses advanced artificial intelligence to monitor all running apps in real-time for malicious behavior. If any is detected, Behavior Shield immediately stops the app and locks it away in the Virus Chest.
  • Boot Time Scan. If persistent malware resists removal attempts by the regular antivirus, you can choose a Boot-Time Scan. Since this scan runs before Windows boots, Windows-based malware has no chance to defend itself.
  • VPN Internet Security. There’s a seven-day unlimited-data trial of Avast SecureLine VPN service, but after that, SecureLine costs $20 a year for a smartphone, $60 a year for a PC or Mac, or $80 for five varied devices. By contrast, Panda Free Antivirus, for example, gives you 150MB of free VPN data a day.
  • Password Manager. The password manager stores an unlimited number of credentials locally; it works with Firefox, Chrome, and Avast SafeZone browser.
  • Firewall. Avast’s firewall can mostly be left entirely on its own to automatically detect your networks, monitor applications and intelligently allow or block connections.
  • Avast Sandbox. Enables running suspect files in a secure virtual space where they can’t infect or damage your real PC. Most users would be better off not running suspect files at all, ever, but it’s a useful feature for those who know what they’re doing.
  • Wi-Fi Inspector. Runs a quick scan of your network, listing connected hardware, their IP addresses, and device type. That could be useful all on its own, as a way to spot unauthorized devices using your network. After that, the module highlights security holes such as weak passwords, or routers that are accessible from the internet, and gives you a little help on how these issues can be fixed.
  • Real Site (formerly known as Secure DNS). A handy option which configures your system to use Avast’s secure encrypted DNS system. This is designed to protect you from DNS hijacking, where an attacker might redirect traffic to a malicious site which looks just like the original. But as a bonus, it also prevents snoopers from using DNS traffic to monitor your browsing activities.
  • Rescue Disk. Creates a bootable environment for cleaning badly infected systems. Avast can write this directly to a USB key, or save it as an ISO image for burning to CDs or DVDs, or for use with your preferred tools.
  • Avast Cleanup. Boosts your PC speed, free up disk space by removing bloatware and junk files

Avast Img Laptop

Avast Img Laptop

5. Platforms/Devices Accessibility

Avast provides Avast AntiVirus for Windows (Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, or XP SP3), Avast AntiVirus for Mac and IOS devices, and Avast AntiVirus for Android devices.

Windows OS

Mac OS

IOS

Android

User Experience

Avast Antivirus installation is easy and fast, and the dashboard is clear and self-explanatory,  so you can quickly find the features, tools, and settings you need.

The current security status, as well as multi-purpose Smart Scan options, are available from the home screen, while left-hand sidebar contains other functions and features.

The Smart Scan button runs a quick antivirus check and looks for network vulnerabilities. Scans panel gives you options to run a full system scan, check specific files or folders, or schedule a boot-time scan. The Other Scans page, allows you to launch it whenever you need, create a custom pattern, or schedule your scans to run automatically, even when you’re not around.

If the program becomes too intrusive, you can adjust the aggressiveness of the scanning or try Avast’s Game Mode. Avast’s Task Tray icon lets you update the software, temporarily disable protection, peek into the quarantine area or switch to the secure browser. Overall, Avast’s interface is highly customizable, so that a user could turn off or adjust every tool for his needs and taste.

Avast Game Mode

Plans/Rates

Avast Internet Security

$59.99 / Year

  • Blocks viruses, spyware, ransomware & other malware
  • Scans for PC performance problems
  • Wi-Fi inspector
  • Secures personal folders with an extra layer of ransomware protection
  • Firewall protection and more

Avast Premier

$69.99 / Year

  • Avast Internet Security
  • Webcam Shield
  • Software updater
  • Data shredder and more

Avast Ultimate

$119.99 / Year

  • Avast Premier
  • “SecureLine” VPN
    -Up to 5 devices
    -Up to 2 Gbits/s speeds
    -No bandwidth limits
    -55 locations
  • Cleanup Premium (To clean, speed up and revive your PC)
  • Premium Password Manager

There isn't a Pro edition of the basic antivirus. If you click one of the pro-only features in the free antivirus, it suggests you upgrade to the Avast Internet Security suite. As a today’s standard, all of the paid options include a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee trial version, giving you the opportunity to try the software in action, before deciding how much you are ready to invest.

Support and Customer Service

Avast Free Antivirus’ users get neither phone nor email support. You’ll need to check the company’s forums, FAQs, installation tips and knowledge base to fix any problem.

To get personal support, you need to have a paid Avast Total Care package or use a  one-time paid support option. With Avast Total Care, you’ll always have a dedicated specialist at hand 24/7 to help you with any issue.

Avast Support

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Easy installation
  • Impressive free package
  • Silent “Gaming” mode to hide alerts during gaming and other full-screen activities
Cons
  • Mediocre performance in the basic packages. Advanced features are available only in paid versions.
  • Ad pop-ups within the program.
  • Unrelated (but safe)  third-party software installation attempts
  • Resource consumption. The software slows your computer more than other antivirus software on the market.

Bottom Line

Avast Antivirus is a decent program for virus detection, with quite an impressive list of features, though it is not that flawless.
While Avast Free Antivirus offers more features than other free AV products and comes close to a full security suite, its protection is just OK, but still a step behind the best. Many attractive features are only offered in advanced paid editions. In addition, Avast’s program can slow the system a bit more than necessary, and its privacy policies leave something to be desired.