Avast Internet Security

By | September 17, 2011
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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.

Our answer
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
Renowned antivirus/anti-spyware
Carefree transactions & networking
Identity protection against hackers
Silent Firewall

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.

5 thoughts on “Avast Internet Security

  1. joyce

    wow , what wonderful advice you people
    give !!! .. and not just a small version of
    good advice !! .. but , everything you need
    to know !! .. i love it !! .. keep up your
    wonderful work !! ..
    Bye , joyce

  2. Joan

    I had to uninstall AVG and install Microsoft Security Essentials because AVG was blocking the internet.

  3. Cynthia Letellier

    I know that you guys know your business. But I really have to take an opposite view. I purchased the Avast Internet Security and I love it. I have used a number of security programs and I have never used one that runs so quietly, and it seems to use very little resources as these programs go. I also went fromMalwarebytes free to the Pro so that I can have the real time protection.

    I’ve been trying to bring back an older laptop that I was given so that my grandson can play his games on it. It was a mess of infections — and you name it. Because of your recommendations I installed Microsoft Security Essentials. It took me at least 6 attempts and it finally installed. But then it was not operating correctly. Even I could see that. So I uninstalled it and installed the trial version of Avast Internet Security. Even though this laptop was one big problem, the installation of Avast went without a hitch, and it ran like a charm right out of the gate. In addition, I went to their forum and have been getting excellent help from them in getting this laptop cleaned up.

    1. infoave Post author

      You can use whatever you like. It makes no sense to pay for something you don’t need to pay for. The only two things in this suite you really need are antivirus and antispyware. AVAST’s antivirus does not rate was well as Microsoft Security Essentials on ANY independent lab tests. AVAST’s antispyware isn’t very good – we’ve not seen it rated highly anywhere. In fact, the antivirus contained in MSE is as good or better than Avast’s – that’s not our opinion it’s fact backed up by several independent lab tests. The components:

      Firewall ( you don’t need it – Windows comes with a firewall that protects as well)
      AntiSpam (like most antispam software, Avast’s doesn’t work very well)
      SafeSurfing component – do you really need a community of inexperienced users censoring the web for you.

      You can use whatever you like – it’s your computer and your money.

  4. Larrayne

    With interest I have been reading about your suggestion to get rid of AVAST and use Microsoft Security Essentials. I stupidly bought the paid version of AVAST after many years of the free. They had a special and it offered more things than the free version. I had a lot of trouble getting the paid version installed and many phone calls & finally got it. Unfortunately I have it til next July. The only thing I found that it is not compatible with Firefox which I like. Would I be wise to get rid of it now & intstall Microsoft Security Essentials. Would Firefox be compatible. I do appreciate all your help and you guys are just great. Saved my computer many times over the years. Thanks


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