George says “What about Avast Internet Security”?
I have been running Avast Free on my laptop for many years now. I was offered a free trial of their Internet Security program the other day with the ability to revert back to the free program at the end of the 15 day trial. My question centers on ‘ is there an advantage of the paid version over the free version I have used for years’? I rely on you folks for my computer answers, and your services have been very helpful for many years. You two are a lifeline for us non-geek people trying to exist in a high tech world. Thanks for being there for us all.
Thank you, George. You’re talking about a suite – Avast Internet Security, McAfee Internet Security, Norton Internet Security (now Norton 360)…you can lump them all together – Internet Security Suites — the jacks of all trades and the masters of none.
Internet Security Suites sound like a really good idea. Install one thing and you’re done (except paying for it every year). It’s like having a refrigerator with a built-in TV and Microwave, and an electric can opener – sounds really great (actually it doesn’t) everything in one place. But we’d bet if someone did make a refrigerator like that, you would find you could get a better TV, a better microware and a better can opener if you bought them separately and took your time comparing brands. Internet Security Suites are nothing but a brilliant marketing ploy. They sound like a one-stop, one-download solution for everything. But you can bet that the individual components of that suite won’t stand up against individual competition. In other words, there will be better antivirus programs, better antispyware programs and better antimalware programs. Do some research and downloaded them separately – always better to find the best individual program for a task than a jack-of-all-trades security suite. And best of all, many good security programs are free or cheaper than security suites.
And worst of all, almost all Internet Security Suites contain a 3rd-party firewalls which are useless and even troublesome in the era of Windows 7. Even Windows XP has a built-in firewall which critics still pan as a “one-way” firewall. The companies who make 3rd-party firewalls literally make up reasons why you need one. We agree you need a firewall, and Windows has a firewall – Windows 7 has a great firewall, and there’s nothing wrong with Windows Vista’s or Windows XP’s firewall either. But the third-party firewall business is a billion-dollar business that survives by scaring people into thinking that a firewall will protect them from identity theft (it won’t), or that it will stop hackers from breaking into your personal computer. The chances of a hacker targeting your personal computer or laptop are about one in 900 million. If your odds of dying the next time you drove your car were one in 900 million, you’d drive your car, right? Your odds of dying the next time you drive your car are greater than that…so are your chances of being struck by a meteor fragment. Do you walk around worrying about getting killed by a rock from space falling on your head? Not really, huh? But the odds of a hacker snooping our your PC to steal some valuable information are less than you being struck on the head by a meteor. Yet third-party firewall companies and Internet Security developers do all they can to make you think that a hacker is out there looking for us poor saps who don’t have the smarts to install a 3rd-party firewall and instead rely on Windows firewall. It’s really all about the money.
Lately, it seems, Avast has become more and more about their for-sale products and less and less about their freeware product. And that worried me enough that I got rid of Avast over a year ago. I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think Avast is really giving its freeware version the attention it deserves and needs. I don’t know what the future holds, but it seems to me like Avast is all about selling you something you don’t need – like an Internet Security Suite
You need a good antivirus. You need good antispyware. And now, with the scareware rogues becoming so prevalent, you need good antimalware. Microsoft Security Essentials beats Avast in head-to-head independent lab tests – and it’s free. We can’t ever imagine Microsoft going into the for-profit Internet Security Suite business. We’ve not found a better antispyware program than SUPERAntiSpyware. And while it’s not free, it is less than $25 for a lifetime license, and the license is good for two computers for a lifetime. Malwarebytes offers a free version which will clean scareware (rogues) off you computer. If you want “real-time” protection you have to pay for it. But we use the freeware version and run it weekly just to be sure nothing has sneaked onto our computers. The freeware version works just fine for us.
Here’s what the Avast Security Suite contains (remarkably the same things as most other security suites contain):
“avast! Internet Security
Maximum, lightning-fast protection
Carefree transactions & networking
Identity protection against hackers
All that marketing hype! What the heck does “Maximum, lightning-fast protection” mean? Sounds great though, doesn’t it? “Renowned antivirus/anti-spyware”, pray tell me what you mean by “renowned”? “Carefree transactions and networking”. Boy that sounds great! If only it could be true. If only the Land of Oz was true, and all the trees could talk. “Identity protection against hackers.” There we go, the scare tactic – bogeymen behind every bush. There isn’t a firewall made that protects you from identity theft. And if hackers can break through the DOD’s firewalls they can break through Avast’s. But hackers don’t sit around looking for computers without active firewalls. There are no bogeymen sitting around in basements in Croatia seeking your personal information. That would take forever. There are cybercriminals who will try to trick you into giving away your information and or getting you to download something (a Trojan, a Botnet) that they can use to control your computer and get information – but a good antivirus will stop those. There isn’t an antispam made that won’t cause you problems – either your good email will be tossed in with the spam – throwing the baby out the bathwater – or spam will still get through. So why bother?
And so on. It’s all about the money. Avast is in a highly competitive market – they’re a bit player compared to Norton and McAfee. But imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, you just have to be really careful who you imitate.
My advice would be to get rid of Avast all together and get Microsoft Security Essentials. But it’s your computer and your decision in the end. We’re never in favor of security suites no matter who makes them
Hope this helps you make up your mind, George.