Avast produced the Avast Antivirus line of cross-platform internet security programs for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. The Avast Antivirus solutions come in both freeware and commercial versions, and they offer a range of services including firewalls, anti-phishing, antispyware, anti-spam, and antivirus software.
In February 2015, Avast introduced Avast for Business, a freeware business offering. A cloud management center, web threat scanning, browser protection, and antivirus security are all included in this cross-platform package.
Avast is the most well-known antivirus provider on the market as of 2017, and it has the biggest market share for antivirus software.
Avast Free Antivirus received 6 out of 6 possible points in the “Protection” category in an AV-TEST test of various antimalware programs conducted in February 2018. It successfully identified all of the test’s malware samples and received the “AV-TEST Certified” label.
In an AV-Comparatives test of Android malware conducted in January 2018, Avast’s Mobile Security & Antivirus app identified every single malware sample.
According to several news outlets, Avast Antivirus sold its customers’ browser histories through a subsidiary in January 2020. Despite the company’s insistence that all data had been “de-identified,” it was alleged that the sold data could be used to link back to users’ real identities, revealing every search and click they had performed. However, this assertion could not be independently validated. In response, Avast declared that it would shut down the subsidiary due to the reaction to data privacy.
How Reliable Is the Antivirus Engine?
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 identify 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 analyses 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 networks and banking login windows, are much more prevalent and easier 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.
Online Security and Quality of Life Depend on Free Features.
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 Services Add Insufficient 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. C Cleaner 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.
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.