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We review products independently , but we may earn affiliate commissions from buying links on this page. Terms of use. It might seem logical that antivirus companies would offer free antivirus protection as a kind of loss leader, with only the most basic protection.

Getting the advanced bonus features would require becoming a paying customer. But actually, many of the most popular free antivirus tools offer full-scale protection and a ton of extra features. Avast Free Antivirus gives you more than many competing commercial products.

On top of excellent antivirus protection, it adds a network security scanner, browser protection, and more. It’s an impressive collection of security tools—especially considering that it’s free. Avast acquired rival free antivirus company AVG in Fans of both companies can rest easy; years and years later, there’s still no plan to merge them into a single product. Both have millions of users worldwide, but each is strong in geographical areas where the other is weak. And the underlying antivirus engine is identical in Avast and AVG AntiVirus Free , as demonstrated in both our tests and independent lab tests.

Editors’ Note: Last year we learned about a problem with sharing of user data between Avast a problem with sharing of user data between Avast and its subsidiary Jumpshot. Avast resolved the problem and terminated Jumpshot terminated Jumpshot shortly thereafter. This product is only free for personal use.

If you want to use Avast in a business setting, you must upgrade to Avast Premium Security , which replaces both Avast Internet Security and the all-inclusive Avast Premier. It’s a simpler product line than most, just a free antivirus and a for-pay suite. Not surprisingly, AVG follows the same model.

During installation, Avast offers to install Avast Secure Browser, noting that it is private, secure, and fast. By default, it also makes this your default browser. It also asks a few questions to personalize its settings, and then runs a personalized scan. The previous version included a full page devoted to explaining how Avast uses your nonpersonal data, and how you can opt out if you wish.

That seems to be gone, replaced by a Personal Privacy page in Settings. The biggest part of Avast’s main window is a slate-gray rectangle with a bit of texture, decorated with a status icon and a big button titled Run Smart Scan.

A left-rail menu lets you switch from the main Status page to Protection, Privacy, or Performance. Across the bottom, you find a banner offering you a welcome gift. Unwrapping the virtual gift reveals a discounted upgrade to Avast Premium Security. If you reject the upgrade, it offers a day trial. Avast really wants you to experience the suite and get hooked on its premium-only features.

One of this product’s features needs special mention, because it’s virtually invisible, and it’s disabled by default. After you reach into settings and enable Passive Mode. Avast takes pains to avoid interfering with other antivirus tools.

If you install another antivirus, Passive Mode kicks in automatically. To avoid conflicts, it disables all real-time scanning and other active protection. You can still launch scans manually. There’s precedent for this behavior— Microsoft Windows Defender Security Center does something similar. You might not realize this, but in most cases antivirus companies pay for the privilege of having products tested by the independent labs.

The company does benefit; a high score gives it bragging rights, while if the score is poor, the lab helps the company work through what went wrong. With a free antivirus that doesn’t bring in any income, a company might be tempted to avoid the expense of testing. Not Avast. We follow four independent testing labs that regularly release reports on their results, and all four routinely include Avast. Three of them include AVG in their latest reports as well. The analysts at AV-Comparatives perform a variety of security tests, of which we follow four.

AV-Test Institute reports on antivirus capabilities in three areas: protection, performance, and usability. With six points possible in each category, the maximum score is 18 points. Avast took six points for usability, meaning it didn’t erroneously flag valid programs or websites as malicious, and six more points for malware protection. It came close in performance, with 5. AVG precisely matched that score. A total of Kaspersky Security Cloud Free also took Note, though, that in the latest test 10 products managed a perfect point score.

Trying to come as close as possible to real-world conditions, the experts at SE Labs capture drive-by downloads and other web-based attacks, using a replay system to hit each tested product with the exact same attack. MRG-Effitas reports its test results a bit differently from the other labs. Products that don’t manage perfect or near-perfect protection simply fail.

We follow two tests from this lab. Avast appears in the latest report for one, while the other includes neither Avast nor AVG. Alas, despite past successes Avast failed this latest test. With four tests, Avast is clearly an important contender. Our scoring algorithm maps multiple lab results onto a scale from 0 to 10 and generates an aggregate score.

The big winner is Kaspersky, with results from all four labs and a score of 9. Malicious software from the Internet must run the gauntlet of numerous defense layers before it can infect your PC. Avast could block all access to the malware-hosting URL, for example, or wipe out the malware payload before the download finishes—I’ll discuss those malware protection layers shortly. If a file is already present on your computer, as my malware samples are, Avast assumes it must have gotten past the earlier protection layers.

To test Avast’s malware-blocking skills, I opened a folder containing my current collection of malware samples and tried to launch each one. It killed off some of those that managed to launch before they could fully install, but missed some low-risk types. Tested against this same malware collection, Sophos and G Data earned 9. Unusual activity by a few files merited deeper examination. Avast displayed a message stating that it detected a suspicious file and promising an evaluation within a few seconds.

All my hand-coded testing utilities triggered this warning; all three got a clean bill of health. But when a ransomware sample came under the same scrutiny, it wound up in quarantine. The samples I use for the malware blocking test stay the same for months. Typically, these are no more than a few days old. I try to launch each one, recording whether the antivirus blocked access to the URL, eliminated the malware download, or totally failed to notice anything wrong.

I test using URLs from the last few days, continuing until I have a large enough sample set. Then I tally the results. I did notice that Avast identified the pages it blocked in two different ways. For some, it reported that it aborted the connection because the page was infected with URL:Botnet. For others, it reported URL:Blacklist. Phishing websites are significantly easier to create than websites that secretively launch malware attacks. All a phishing fraudster need do is create a convincing duplicate of a sensitive site.

They go after banks and financial sites, but also try to scam such things as gaming and dating sites. Any user who logs in, not recognizing that the page is fake, has just given away account access to the fraudsters. If a thousand web surfers spot the fraud and just one falls for it, that’s a win for the bad guys. And when the authorities quash the fraudulent site, the fraudsters just pop up another one.

I test antiphishing using the very newest phishing sites, including plenty that haven’t yet been fully analyzed and blacklisted. I launch each probable phishing URL in four browsers. The product under test protects one of the browsers, naturally.

The other three rely on protection built into Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. Anyone can write a phishing protection module that blocks blacklisted sites. The best products use real-time analysis to identify frauds that are too new for the blacklists. Avast clearly has this capability; the company touts its enhanced real-time phishing detection technologies. As in other tests, AVG scored just the same. Of more interest, perhaps, is the fact that Avast Security for Mac also scored the same.

While phishing is completely platform-agnostic, phishing protection can vary between Windows and macOS. In this case, they fared just the same in testing. If you just click the big button in the middle of Avast’s Status screen, it runs a Smart Scan. In addition to a quick check for active malware, this scan looks for browser threats, apps with missing security patches, and what it calls “advanced issues.

Digging in for details, I found no actual issues, just efforts to upsell me to Avast Premium Security. It noted that the system has only a basic firewall, and warned that hackers could hijack my DNS.



Avast antivirus windows 10 review free download

Avast Free Antivirus is a free security software that you can download on your Windows device. The latest version of the program includes multiple scanning. Download Avast Free Antivirus – Powerful anti-malware solution delivered in a user-friendly and free package, featuring multiple scanning. Avast Free Antivirus is a free security software that you can download on your Windows device. The latest version of the program includes multiple scanning.


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