First up is the aptly named Avast, defending your PC against would-be pirates, identity thieves, and just run of the mill jerks who want to damage your PC for the sheer fun of it.
Avast comes in a free version and an ultimate protection version which can either protect one PC for around $70 a year, or ten devices for around $80 a year. Not bad, especially when you consider one of the things we look for in an antivirus is the ability to cover multiple devices at once – more on that later.
First, let’s talk about the most under-appreciated aspect of any antivirus – its subtlety. Avast is a great product if you are looking for an antivirus that sits in the background and doesn’t interfere heavily with any other program running at the same time. In fact, you can even set Avast to run in what they call ‘Passive mode’, which allows Avast to sit behind another antivirus program you might have installed and only initiate scans when you want it to – good stuff if you are the type who can never be too secure when it comes to their online habits.
Speaking of online habits, let us talk about Avast’s browser protection. A simple plugin that slots into your browser, this is probably one of the most important parts of any antivirus on the market today just because of how unpredictable and dangerous the web can be at times.
Apparently, the browser protection not only protects against popups and other different ads that might crop up on your screen as you browse but also against downloads being forced into your PC and even encrypts your data so that everything you type online stays secure – combined with anti-keylogger technology then, your going to be pretty secure from having your details recorded as you fill in different fields online.
An additional plus to the online browser functionality of Avast is that you can actually connect to a VPN as you run your Avast software, meaning that when you are browsing online your data is entirely secured so that neither the sites you visit nor your ISP are recording your data. In real terms, that means that paid advertising and other annoying cookies that follow you won’t be able to get a grasp on your identity, meaning that any information you choose to share online stays as private as it can be.
Let’s talk about one of the biggest features for any antivirus though, the actual scanning of your PC to detect any threats that could be present. Whilst it’s unlikely that any viruses are going to be getting to your machine through the Avast firewall, you can rest easy knowing that you can customize your Avast software to scan for malware as often or as little as you want to – a handy feature to have if you are concerned about regular scanning eating away at your CPU power.
Then you have the actual frequency of the updates to Avast’s library of known threats -its almost constant. You would expect this from any antivirus really, but it’s always good to know that you can set the frequency of both scans and updates so that theoretically you can have your Avast update, and immediately after launch a fresh scan of your PC daily.
Let’s talk more about that multi-device cover. Avast gives the user the option to set their antivirus up the way they like it, and share these settings across your different devices really simply. Want more protection on one device than another? Don’t worry, you can have it that way too, and Avast will conduct comprehensive scans of any Android, Mac or iOS device as comprehensively as it does on a PC – you just need to set it to your preferences.
Avast doesn’t alter the performance of your devices either in any noticeable way, making it just as seamless on a phone or tablet as it is on PC. What you do have to keep in mind though is that the ability to protect ten additional devices does come at a higher price than the standard Avast antivirus itself. It’s not much, but that price jump is there, so be aware of that in case it does cause an issue for you.
Outside of all of that, Avast does have some extra features that prove pretty useful in an antivirus. A secure password manager is available for those who want a safe space to keep all of their different passwords without having to worry about Google account tracking, and there is a driver monitoring software present as well, just to make sure that your PC performance is always top of the line, and you never become vulnerable or slowed due to lagging behind the most current drivers.
All in all, Avast is great antivirus software that offers an awful lot in the way of protection and features for a slightly higher price than its competition in this article. Plus it has ready support available through either live chat or ticket submission – good stuff if you have pressing questions regarding your protection. By and large though, a great antivirus to be using on your PC.