There are certainly no shortage of anti virus vendors nowadays and choosing an anti virus solution can be tricky. The reason being is that no anti virus is 100% effective and probably ever will be. Because of that sometimes we have to look at the other features that it offers to help us decide which the best to use is.
Avast have been in the anti virus and security field for quite some time and their reputation certainly shows that they are experts in what they do. Their anti virus software comes in a free and paid for version, both of which differ but offer a very high level of protection. Let's dive in and see what Avast has to offer.
Avast uses a series of shields to protect your computer from the most common types of threats. It separates these shields up into these categories; Anti virus, mail, web, network, p2p file sharing, instant messaging and behaviour (heuristics shields). The advantage of this is that you can configure each shield individually and also disable them one by one without affecting other areas of protection.
Avast has a very clean user interface that is not bogged down with fancy graphics or large amount of menus. This is good because it makes it easy to navigate and also keeps the program loading times to minimum. The main tabs give you the important features such as a program summary, the full computer scan options, the real time shield status's and the maintenance or options menu. There are plenty of options to customise the operation of Avast but also not too many that will complicate or confuse things.
Anti Virus Detection
The core of any anti virus software is how well it does in detecting and removing viruses and this differs from vendor to vendor. Avast scores very high in this department and has an effective detection engine that is in the top five of all anti virus software suites. In the tests I conducted Avast was able to detect and remove various malware and virus ridden files. I would recommend that you turn up the heuristics sensitivity to full when using Avast as this improves the detection of 'unknown' viruses.
Free and Paid Version Differences
The free version of Avast offers an effective real time protection shield against malware, adware, viruses and some web exploits. The main differences in the paid version are that it offers much faster definition updates, a sandbox feature which allows you to run suspect files without worrying about them causing any damage to your system. It also offers a better web shield that is much more effective against web exploits and phishing scams. Finally it also has a scripting shield to protect against common windows scripting viruses which frequently occur in office documents.
In summary Avast is a great anti virus suite that will give continuous protection against many different types of threats. It runs fast and doesn't bug you unless there is a problem or a critical update.
Is It Worth Getting Avast Antivirus Pro Over The Free Version?
I was caught in a predicament the other day on whether to upgrade to Avast antivirus pro or to just stick with the free version. In the end I went for the upgrade and I can honestly say that I'm glad I did do.
To start with, the first thing I noticed was that the pro versions receives updates a lot quicker than the free version. I think this is a big advantage because the constant release of new viruses means that you have to rely on updates to be able to detect them. The quicker you can get the updates the better it is and the more protected you are from new threats.
Another very cool feature that you get with the pro version is the sandbox feature. Basically what this does is it sets up an enclosed environment to run an application in, this environment is completely isolated from the main operating system, this means that you could run an infected file inside the sandbox and not worry about it infecting the system or compromising your security or data. So if you receive any suspicious files via email you can run them sandboxed to check if their legitimate or not.
The other big advantage that the pro version has to offer is the web-based protection that monitors the sites you visit and checks for potential exploits. This means you don't have to worry about 'drive-by' web exploits or phishing scams, Avast will check the website first and alert you if a threat is found. Since a large majority of malware infections come from the web I thought that this was a very handy feature indeed.
Finally, there is also a scripting shield included in the pro version. This is very handy for office documents that could contain potential script viruses or macro viruses. These are actually quite common nowadays since a lot of documents are shared amongst people. The shield will scan any scripts before they are executed and if they are deemed to be rogue, they will be halted and stopped from executing.
Overall the pro version has some very nice additional features that will greatly improve the level of security on your computer, I was very glad I made the upgrade!