AVG In­ter­net Se­cu­rity

Price: £49.99 from fave.co/2zZJEin

Tech Advisor - - Round Up -

AVG has a big ad­van­tage in the free antivirus space since it owns both Avast and its home­grown prod­uct, AVG Free. The hope is you’ll love the free stuff so much that you’ll up­grade to one of its paid prod­ucts.

In the case of AVG, most peo­ple go with its In­ter­net Se­cu­rity pro­gram. Priced at £49.99, it’s one step down from the com­pany’s flag­ship prod­uct, AVG Ul­ti­mate (£69.99 from fave.co/2zZJEin), and lacks a num­ber of Ul­ti­mate’s less cru­cial fea­tures. For ex­am­ple, you don’t get AVG’s PC tune up pack­age or third-party desk­top soft­ware up­dater. That’s hardly a loss, though, as you can find free pro­grams to dump cached fold­ers tak­ing up too much space or mon­i­tor soft­ware up­dates. The im­por­tant se­cu­rity fea­tures are all in­cluded in the se­cu­rity suite, how­ever, in­clud­ing antivirus, fire­wall, and phish­ing pro­tec­tion.

Un­like Avast, AVG opted not to in­clude a pass­word man­ager as part of its var­i­ous se­cu­rity pack­ages.

In­stead, you have to fork over an ex­tra £10 per year to make that a part of your se­cu­rity set-up. That’s not a bad price, though for a few pounds more you can get an an­nual sub­scrip­tion to LastPass.

When you first open up AVG, it of­fers a sim­i­lar aes­thetic to its cor­po­rate coun­ter­part Avast. The app largely has a grey back­ground with bright green to high­light im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion. You’ll first see a sta­tus dash­board that lets you know which AVG se­cu­rity fea­tures are ac­tive. This dash­board is not in­tu­itive, though. Al­most noth­ing is click­able in the main part of the screen. To tweak most op­tions, you have to click on the Menu ham­burger icon at the top right of the win­dow. There you can get into the nitty-gritty of the ap­pli­ca­tion’s set­tings, in­clud­ing gen­eral op­tions, con­trols for ran­somware pro­tec­tion, a data safe (en­crypted fold­ers), and a file shred­der fea­ture that over­writes deleted data to make it harder to re­cover.

Over­all, the set­tings could be bet­ter or­ga­nized and made clearer. Most of the key set­tings you’ll want to ac­cess, for ex­am­ple, are un­der Menu > Set­tings > Com­po­nents. From there you can tweak your fire­wall and play with the spam scan­ning set­tings.

Re­in­forc­ing my point about or­ga­ni­za­tion is how the op­tions are laid out. Each part of the com­po­nent set­tings is hid­den un­der a down­ward fac­ing ar­row. Click that ar­row and you re­veal each sec­tion’s panel, but all you’ll see is an ex­pla­na­tion of the fea­ture and an op­tion to unin­stall in­di­vid­ual parts of the se­cu­rity suite. To ac­tu­ally get deeper into those fire­wall set­tings, you have to click the Cus­tom­ize link in each tile, which is never hid­den.

To ac­cess other op­tions, you’ll have to go back to the main dash­board. In the up­per left hand cor­ner is an ar­row – when you click on it, it opens an­other win­dow where you can add an­other de­vice to your sub­scrip­tion, as well as down­load and sub­scribe to other AVG prod­ucts such as PC TuneUp, Se­cure VPN, and Pass­word Pro­tec­tion. This win­dow is rem­i­nis­cent of Nor­ton Se­cu­rity.

AVG’s over­all in­ter­face is not a deal breaker, and once you get used to the logic of the ap­pli­ca­tion, it’s not hard to nav­i­gate. How­ever, dur­ing test­ing I of­ten kept think­ing about its Avast coun­ter­part, which I found to be far more in­tu­itive with items more read­ily ac­ces­si­ble and not buried un­der a moun­tain of clicks.

One thing that AVG In­ter­net Se­cu­rity does make very easy is the abil­ity to scan your PC, as the Scan Com­puter but­ton is the most prom­i­nent item on the pri­mary dash­board.

Per­for­mance

Like many of the main­stream se­cu­rity pro­grams, AVG got very high marks for antivirus and mal­ware pro­tec­tion. A-V Test’s Au­gust tests gave AVG 100 per­cent de­tec­tion in its 0-day and mal­ware tests. In A-V Com­par­a­tives’ real-world pro­tec­tion test, mean­while, AVG scored 100 per­cent as well with three false pos­i­tives out of 329 sam­ples.

When pit­ted against A-V Com­par­a­tives’ mal­ware pro­tec­tion test, AVG scored 99.8 per­cent in an on­line scan against nearly 38,000 sam­ples and 98.8 per­cent off­line.

SE Labs gave AVG an AAA rat­ing, say­ing that both it and Avast were the most ef­fec­tive free soft­ware in its tests, but AVG did fail to de­tect five tar­geted at­tacks. All three or­ga­ni­za­tions used the free ver­sions of AVG’s antivirus, which doesn’t have the ran­somware, fire­wall, or phish­ing pro­tec­tion.

AVG also did well in our per­for­mance bench­marks. When we ran PCMark 8’s Work Con­ven­tional test (a sim­u­la­tion of ev­ery­day tasks like word pro­cess­ing, web brows­ing, and video chat), our ini­tial score was 2521. With AVG run­ning in the back­ground, that score was 2524 – a tiny enough dif­fer­ence that the im­prove­ment could be chalked up to mar­gin of er­ror.

Our Hand­brake test, which puts much more stress on a sys­tem, showed no sig­nif­i­cant per­for­mance dip. Our Win­dows 10 PC takes an av­er­age of one hour, 15 min­utes, and 30 se­conds to transcode a 3.8GB MKV file us­ing the An­droid Tablet pre­set. With AVG in­stalled, Hand­brake transcoded the same file in one hour, 15 min­utes, and 25 se­conds.

Verdict

AVG In­ter­net Se­cu­rity leaves a lot to be de­sired when it comes to app de­sign, es­pe­cially com­pared to Avast. Given that the same com­pany owns both de­vel­op­ment teams, we hope to see some im­prove­ment. Nev­er­the­less, AVG gets high marks for se­cu­rity, has enough fea­tures to sat­isfy most users, and doesn’t drag on your per­for­mance.

AVG In­ter­net Se­cu­rity’s sec­ondary dash­board

The Com­po­nents set­tings

AVG In­ter­net Se­cu­rity’s pri­mary dash­board and menu

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