A scandal that surfaced after Google and Mozilla pulled Avast’s browser extension from their stores showed that the company—which also owns AVG—had reportedly been secretly monitoring user browsing activity and selling it to businesses for millions of dollars in profit.
Avast Antivirus: Is It Safe, we are unable to recommend them on our website any longer due to these unethical actions. More information on the debate and our choice is available here. Please refer to our list of the top 10 antivirus software providers for 2022 for a list of the firms we do recommend.
How safe is “safe enough”? Although Avast appears to be betting that you’ll want all the security bells and whistles you can buy, its subscription levels appear to be providing too little for the cost.
Having said that, Avast’s free tier has an excellent antivirus engine at its heart. You’ll love Avast’s security and how quickly it can identify and stop malicious apps; just try not to get too annoyed by its constant requests that you upgrade.
Video: Avast Free Antivirus Review | Tested vs Malware
As previously said, Avast went above and beyond while designing the free edition of their antivirus software. Even the most basic malware check has more features than most.
It doesn’t just look for viruses and other harmful software; it also finds outdated programs, nefarious browser add-ons, network problems, exposed sensitive documents, and weak passwords.
Avast Antivirus: Is It Safe
My initial scan turned up vulnerable software, unencrypted documents, and weak passwords but no malware, problematic extensions, or network problems.
Since I have a lot of software and updating it all is a hassle, I’m not surprised that my PC has vulnerable software, but these last two things made me pause. What important papers are considered unprotected by Avast, and how do they locate them? How do they assess the security of my passwords, furthermore?
It turns out that the scan of sensitive papers is very successful. It uncovered information I had accidentally placed on my computer, including financial accounts, tax returns, and employment records. It only found two false positives in total.
These documents were categorized by Avast into tax, payroll, job, and travel categories (including documents like driver’s licenses and passports). Additionally, it provides a simple button to the right of each entry that instantly displays the location of every document it locates.
If you take the marketing language at face value, Avast appears to be utilizing a technique called Data Loss Prevention (DLP). DLP is a technique that’s typically employed by big businesses that keep consumer information like credit card and social security numbers on file.
Is avast antivirus safe?
When it comes to keeping computers safe from malicious software, Avast is widely considered the best option. It offers full security with both free and paid versions. Avast provides more than just antivirus protection; it also includes a password manager, data shredder, webcam shield, sandbox, and more.
Companies can use DLP to scan word documents and use optical character recognition (OCR) on PDFs to look for strings of numbers that resemble these sensitive pieces of information. The organization can then take precautions to ensure that no one moves or deletes its sensitive data by knowing exactly where it is.
Simply knowing where my sensitive data is located is quite helpful, and it’s certainly intriguing to watch DLP technology transition from a corporate to a consumer setting. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do with this information without committing to a subscription.
You have the choice to encrypt your data and keep it in a safe digital locker once you decide to subscribe. The program prevents access and warns the user in the event that an intruder tries to move or delete these files.
In all honesty, Avast’s scan for weak passwords is a bit disappointing. I was hoping the service would inform me that I had chosen “123cat” or another similarly easy password by employing some kind of cutting-edge hash-scanning method.
Instead, it simply informed me that everyone stores passwords in their browsers, that this practice may not be secure, and that I need to upgrade if I want to utilize Avast Passwords, Avast’s password management service.
This might be helpful, however, using one of the top password managers that are already available elsewhere is preferable to sign up for a yearly subscription to this service. (More to follow on this.)
CAN THE ANTIVIRUS ENGINE COMPETE?
Since the malware detector is the main component of the scan itself, all of these extras are really just a distraction. According to independent lab tests, Avast offers a highly regarded antivirus engine that exhibits cutting-edge capabilities and flags no false positives.
Few antivirus programs achieved a higher grade. Furthermore, testing in actual environments demonstrates that Avast is effective at identifying and minimizing the vectors—such as drive-by downloads and code injection attacks—through which malware spreads.
In conclusion, Avast will locate the majority of sophisticated malware types and will stop the majority of them from ever reaching your computer. If any malware slips through, a routine scan will generally find it within a day and remove the infestation.
Avast begins to work as soon as malware tries to run on a computer. The majority of known malware samples will be quickly detected, quarantined, and deleted. Avast stops the process and analyzes the malware sample at its corporate headquarters if it notices an unfamiliar file acting suspiciously.
You can right-click any file in your Windows Explorer panel and choose the file or folder for individual scanning if you think Avast may have missed a file.
However, Avast excels at preventing malware from ever entering your computer in the first place. The majority of malicious websites are stopped in their tracks before they can begin downloading malware onto your machine.
The malware sites will only be allowed to download a small number of files before being blocked by Avast’s active security, which will usually catch them once they try to run. The rest will be blocked.
Phishing websites, which imitate social network and banking login windows, are much more prevalent and more accessible to create than virus websites. Protecting users from these websites may be more crucial than safeguarding them from malware-focused websites.
Despite the fact that this is a premium function, Avast is surprisingly effective in shielding consumers from fraudulent websites. Their software may detect phishing sites that are too young for security researchers to have detected, in addition to blocking sites that have already been included to blacklists.
In conclusion, Avast’s free edition provides some of the best protection I’ve ever seen. It’s almost like you’d expect the designers to have disabled something to make the premium upgrade more necessary, but they didn’t.
It merely doesn’t bring anything new to the table with its subscription options, which include a vault for your passwords and an encryption choice for private files.
FREE FEATURES ARE ESSENTIAL TO THE QUALITY OF LIFE AND ONLINE SECURITY
Avast first offers a number of sophisticated security scans. The “Smart Scan” that you can access from the program’s main menu is different from this. You can choose from a number of options when you select the “protection” page, including “Full Virus Scan” and “Boot-Time Scan.”
The primary smart scan is faster than the Full Virus Scan, but it is also more thorough. Although it takes much longer—up to a few hours on a slower machine—it has a higher likelihood of identifying and removing threats.
You should probably run a Full Virus Scan on your computer if you believe it had malware on it before installing Avast in order to get rid of any remaining dangers.
Additionally, you should perform a Boot Time Scan. Modern malware is so sophisticated that it can survive the deletion of its files from your computer’s operating system. This is due to the fact that these viruses exist outside of the main OS.
When erased, they simply reinstall themselves using files from a location other than the operating system. When your computer restarts, a boot time scan keeps an eye out for any suspicious apps that attempt to run while it is already operating and halts them in their tracks.
Last but not least, Avast provides a fully functional WiFi scanner made to keep you safe both at home and when traveling. When I started it, it quickly found my desktop, laptop, console, phone, and kitchen speaker among the devices connected to my WiFi.
If my devices were unprotected, it would have identified weaknesses including default passwords, internet-accessible ports, and other flaws.
PAID OPTIONS DO NOT PROVIDE ENOUGH VALUE.
Avast doesn’t offer much beyond these sophisticated malware detection features, but you probably wouldn’t need much more anyway. For instance, there is a paid-for software that purports to clear the hard drive on your computer.
CCleaner is free in the interim. Want to get rid of some especially delicate items? Avast has a secure wipe feature that can completely remove a file from your computer by repeatedly writing over it.
Although the technology performs as promised, it is difficult to imagine a use for it outside security researchers. There is a paid VPN add-on available, however other standalone VPNs charge less for comparable functionality.
To sum up, I like Avast’s free version, but the company has lost its equilibrium when it comes to paid and premium pricing. The majority of their functionality can be duplicated with free or less expensive third-party software, therefore these features won’t make you significantly more secure than the free software.
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EASY OF USE
Avast irritated me in this regard. I am aware that turning your free users into paying customers is how antivirus companies make money.
I really shouldn’t mind that Avast constantly tries to upsell me, and most of the time I don’t. But what irritates me is how frequently dark-pattern UI is used to pressure me into making a payment.
Here is a little illustration of dark-pattern UI in case you’re not familiar with it.
Avast starts with a splash screen with a large “scan now” button in the center and a white box presenting you with a welcome gift.
The “gift” is actually a sizable subscription discount. What if you decide against subscribing? There is only a “purchase now” option, as can be seen in the screenshot below. There is no “back” button.
Most people mistakenly believe that clicking the red X in the top right corner simply shuts the software; nevertheless, in order to exit the upsell screen, you actually need to hit that button. By the way, once you click that X, another pop-up appears and offers you a free trial.
Since the service must once again generate revenue, this is not a great letdown. If this were the only instance of this in the application, I probably wouldn’t mind. Having said that, Avast does a lot to bury its goodwill by providing additional perplexing and obtrusive upsells hidden within its software.
Here’s another illustration. Some items in the “privacy” menu of Avast are blocked by a sizable orange lock, whereas others are not. You would anticipate that locked features would cost money to unlock, whereas unlocked features would be provided for free.
Unfortunately, that is not the case. For instance, when you click on SecureLine VPN, another program installs itself on your computer and demands payment. The same thing occurs if you click on “Performance” and select “Driver Updater.”
Avast leads you all the way through the process of installing a new program on your computer before requesting payment. The worst-case scenario involved a password manager, which is free but not very effective.
The password manager works as a Chrome or Firefox plugin that stores your password and is protected by a master password, but unlike other products, it doesn’t advise you to use strong passwords or alert you to weak or duplicate passwords. Even two-factor authentication cannot be used.
Anyway, I made the decision to reject importing my credentials into Avast’s password manager after clicking through the menus that lead to the password management feature.
Imagine my shock when Avast began importing my passwords despite that! I was able to stop the transfer, but Avast also installed its own secure browser on my computer without my consent.
When compared to other antivirus software, the cost of Avast is around average. Internet Security, Premier, Free, and Ultimate are the four main price tiers. Internet Security is definitely your best bet if you’re committed to pay for Avast.
A Real Site option that guards against phishing websites, a Ransomware Shield to safeguard your files from encryption, a firewall that prevents intrusion attempts, and an anti-spam function are just a few of the practical features it offers that the free tier does not.
One of the best features of Internet Security, the Sandbox mode, is also featured but is not available in the free version. This enables you to open documents and software on a virtual machine without granting access to your desktop.
The harmful program will run if the file includes malware in a location where it cannot harm your machine. Anyone who frequently encounters phishing efforts will appreciate this nifty little extra.
The more expensive pricing levels, on the other hand, include more of the software that is desirable but not essential. The unnecessary data shredder and disk cleansing capabilities are included when you upgrade to Premier, whereas the VPN and password manager are added when you upgrade to Ultimate.
None of them are absolutely necessary for the protection of your data, and if you do need them, you can get them from third parties for less money and with equivalent effectiveness.
And once more, Avast’s free tier offers all the information security you’re likely to require. However, if you must upgrade, the Internet Security tier offers the majority of everything else.
The majority of the time, Avast Antivirus is excellent and will keep your computer safe. Its free edition provides a great deal of security, but due to usability concerns, it might be challenging to utilize some of its more detailed capabilities without receiving constant requests to upgrade.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to use Avast Antivirus?
In general, yes. Avast is a reliable antivirus program that offers a respectable level of security defense. The free edition has a ton of features but doesn’t offer ransomware protection.
Does Avast protect everything?
With Avast’s antivirus protection for Android, your phone gets all the power of our multi-award-winning cybersecurity apps. Secure your Wi-Fi connection, scan for and remove malware, and guard against many forms of dangerous software and other online risks.
How long is Avast Free for?
It is now possible to use Avast Free Antivirus for a whole year. Following the above steps will allow you to renew the activation once more after a year.