Avast Free An­tivirus

GREAT PRO­TEC­TION, BUT YOU DON’T GET A LOT OF FEA­TURES AND OTHER FREE SOFT­WARE DOES BET­TER

PC & Tech Authority - - CONTENTS - Free • www.avast.com

Avast Free An­tivirus is one of the best-known names in free anti-virus pro­tec­tion. Avast also has paid-for soft­ware avail­able, which pro­vides ad­di­tional tools. Up­grade to In­ter­net Se­cu­rity, Pre­mier or Ul­ti­mate and you get fake shop­ping site de­tec­tion, a sand­box op­tion to safely test dodgy-look­ing pro­grams, an ad­vanced

re­wall, spam lter­ing, and ran­somware pro­tec­tion. The top two tiers also add we­b­cam block­ing to stop peo­ple spy­ing on you, and an op­tion to up­date your other apps.

Given the pop­u­lar­ity of the free ver­sion, we’ve once again stuck with this for test­ing. Avast has im­proved its pro­tec­tion over the years, and a to­tal ac­cu­racy rat­ing of 94% puts this soft­ware ahead of some paid-for suites.

That score was made up of a pro­tec­tion rat­ing of 82% and a score of 100% in the le­git­i­mate soft­ware test. For mal­ware pro­tec­tion, four threats were al­lowed through, with the re­main­der blocked or neu­tralised. Im­pres­sively, the le­git­i­mate soft­ware test showed that Avast al­lowed ev­ery­thing non­harm­ful through. You may see this as a good thing, given how much other soft­ware is loaded up with ex­tra pro­grams, but Avast Free An­tivirus doesn’t ship with a lot else.

In­stead, the free ver­sion of­ten acts as an ad­vert for the paid-for ver­sions. Sev­eral op­tions in the in­ter­face link to a screen that tries to get you to up­grade. You get a free 60-day trial of Avast’s Se­cure­Line VPN (a free seven-day trial is avail­able if you down­load the VPN stand­alone). If you want to give a VPN a go, then two months’ pro­tec­tion could make Se­cure­Line a more in­ter­est­ing choice.

ILL RE­PUTE

More use­fully, you can run quick scans for out­dated soft­ware, and for browser ex­ten­sions in Google Chrome, Mozilla Fire­fox and In­ter­net Ex­plorer that have a ‘poor rep­u­ta­tion’.

The Pass­words fea­ture could be use­ful, se­curely stor­ing and syn­chro­nis­ing your pass­words across your de­vices. With Avast Free, you can use Pass­words to au­to­mat­i­cally ll in web forms, al­though you’ll need the Chrome or Fire­fox ex­ten­sion to use this fea­ture. Use­fully, Pass­words can im­port your pass­words from your browser and let you know how se­cure you are, by telling you how strong your pass­words are and if you’ve re-used them. Up­grade to the Ul­ti­mate ver­sion of Avast, and Pass­words can also warn you if one of your ac­counts has been leaked on­line.

Avast will also of­fer to scan your PC for junk les and sys­tem set­tings that could be slow­ing down your com­puter. It claimed to have found 46.8MB of junk les and four sys­tem set­tings that should be tweaked. Click­ing the Re­solve but­ton brings up a nag screen for a ser­vice that costs $3.33 a month. It’s not worth the up­grade, in our opin­ion.

The set­tings menu is well stocked and, for the most part, free of hints try­ing to get you to pay for things. You can make gran­u­lar changes to the way Avast scans by, for ex­am­ple, choos­ing whether it scans pro­grams when you rst start them up or not. You can also choose which el­e­ments you want to run: File shield, which scans pro­grams and

les as they’re opened or added to your hard disk; Be­hav­iour shield, which mon­i­tors ap­pli­ca­tions for sus­pi­cious be­hav­iour; Mail shield, which scans email at­tach­ments; and Web shield, which mon­i­tors web­sites and in­ter­net traf c. Our ad­vice is to leave all the pro­tec­tion turned on.

HARD CHOICE

A ded­i­cated Hard­ened mode beefs up the pro­tec­tion even fur­ther, mak­ing it more dif cult for mal­ware to get on to your com­puter. This is rec­om­mended for in­ex­pe­ri­enced users only.

The po­ten­tially un­wanted pro­grams (PUPs) scan­ner can cut down on the sneaky tool­bars and ap­pli­ca­tions that come bun­dled with some free soft­ware.

For gamers, there’s a ded­i­cated Game mode. This dis­ables popup mes­sages, in­ten­sive scans and the like, so you can play away with­out be­ing dis­turbed. Neatly, you can add games for Avast to watch for, so that Game mode launches au­to­mat­i­cally.

The Wi-Fi in­spec­tor is a new com­po­nent, scan­ning your net­work for any de­vices that may have se­cu­rity is­sues. None was found on our test net­work, which was re­as­sur­ing at least.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.