Security for everyone - Review AVG Internet Security

Rating:
3 out of 5 stars

AVG is a world-renowned antivirus software company, based in the Czech Republic. They have been developing security software for more than a quarter-century, since 1991. The company became famous because of their free antivirus, which is also the reason why Avast, their former direct competitor on the computer security market, has acquired them. However, the AVG brand is still here, and the security products associated with it continue to be sold. One of the premium security products that are sold under the AVG brand is called AVG Internet Security and, because we were curious to see if it can protect you against cyber threats, we decided to test it for a while. Today, we are ready to share our findings with you, in this review:

What is AVG Internet Security good at?

AVG Internet Security is a security product that is good at:

  • Being friendly, good-looking and easy to use
  • Identifying and cleaning malware from your Windows computer
  • Offering good firewall protection against network attacks, when you are connected to public networks

AVG Internet Security vs. AVG Ultimate

AVG Internet Security is the lighter version of AVG Ultimate, and the difference between them is that the latter also includes AVG TuneUp. AVG says that their TuneUp tool “automatically speeds up your PC, cleans up junk data, gives you better battery life, keeps your essentials always up to date and fixes small issues before they become real problems.” However, even if you buy AVG Ultimate you still do not get an important additional tool offered by AVG, which is their Secure VPN. If you believe that you need AVG TuneUp and a few dozens of dollars is not worth much to you, maybe the AVG Ultimate is a good buy. However, considering that most of the stuff you can do with AVG TuneUp you can also do directly with Windows 10, we believe that AVG Internet Security is the better deal.

Pros and cons

Among the good things we liked about AVG Internet Security, are the following:

  • The antivirus engine can identify and clean any malware found on your computer
  • The firewall module does a good job when you connect to public networks
  • The user interface looks good, and it is easy to navigate and use on any device, both with a mouse and a keyboard, as well as on a touchscreen

Unfortunately, there are also many negative aspects regarding AVG Internet Security:

  • The HTTP filter offered by AVG is not efficient, and half the time you are not protected when you visit dangerous phishing websites
  • It significantly increased the boot time of our test computer
  • The SafePrice web browser extension included has nothing in common with your security, and it is probably just a way for AVG to make money off its users
  • There are no user-accessible statistics and logs about what has happened on your computer
  • The antivirus module does not automatically scan, nor does it ask if you want to scan removable drives for viruses
  • Some of the additional apps advertised in the user interface cost additional money, including the VPN service
  • There are no parental controls included
Product Rated
3/5

Verdict

AVG Internet Security is a security solution full of contrasts. Even though it is capable of protecting you against malware, it does not do it as well as it could. The security suite fails to protect you while browsing the web, which is a big problem in the modern era of the internet, and the way it handles removable drives is anything but proactive. However, the firewall is good at protecting you while connected to public networks although rather weak when connected to private networks. The user interface looks and works great, but it does not offer reports or logs about what goes on your computer. To make things worse, some of the additional tools that are advertised in the user interface cost extra money, including the one that is truly useful: AVG Secure VPN. AVG Internet Security is a product with much potential, but its developers should invest more in improving its default behavior and proactiveness. For now, we recommend that you buy AVG Internet Security only if you understand all its weaknesses and you get a good deal for it.

The download and installation experience

To get AVG Internet Security on your Windows computer, you must download it from its official web page, here. What you get is a small 3.47 MB executable file called AVG_Protection_755.exe. We were pleasantly surprised to see that AVG did not require any personal information from us to download the installer. When you run the executable, AVG asks you to enter a valid email address and a password that are to be used to create your AVG account, but you can skip this step too, which is excellent.

The installation wizard then asks if you also want to install Google Chrome on your computer. Chrome is the most popular web browser in the world, and it is safe software. However, that does not mean that you have to install and use it unless you want to. So, if you do not want Chrome and you are happy using your existing web browser, disable this option from the installation wizard.

A good thing about AVG Internet Security is the fact that it allows you to do a custom installation. We recommend you do so and check only the modules that you want to install and use. For instance, you might not want to install the SafePrice browser extension, which does nothing for you regarding security. AVG’s SafePrice browser extension only gives you alternatives to the products you search online, on shopping websites.

If you choose to install everything, the installation wizard downloads an additional 215 MB of data from AVG’s servers. When the installation is done, AVG Internet Security loads its user interface, which looks clean and easy to use, just as it did in previous versions. There is no need to reboot the computer to be protected by the security suite because it loads its processes as soon as it is installed. Unfortunately, AVG Internet Security does not start an automatic update of its virus definitions. However, when we triggered a manual update, we found out that the suite already used the latest definitions available, which is excellent.

Downloading and installing AVG Internet Security is easy and straightforward. Unlike other antivirus products, AVG lets you choose what security modules you install, and it does not force you to provide any personal information during the installation. However, it also tries to make you install Google Chrome and AVG SafePrice. Although Chrome is a safe and popular web browser, you might not want it on your computer. Even more so, you might want to avoid installing AVG SafePrice, which is nothing more than a browser extension for shopping online and has nothing to do with your safety.

Integration with Windows, web browsers, and universal Windows platform apps

During its installation, AVG Internet Security disables both Windows Defender and Windows Firewall. That is a good thing because it helps avoid any conflicts and performance issues that could appear from using multiple security products at the same time. AVG Internet Security is also well integrated with Windows’ networking features. We were able to create and join a homegroup, share files and folders over the local network and work with universal Windows platform apps.

AVG Internet Security is capable of detecting the network profile set in Windows automatically and adjusts its firewall accordingly, which is excellent. It means that the user does not have to intervene to select the appropriate firewall mode for the networks to which he or she connects.

When it comes to your online security, AVG Internet Security protects you against dangerous websites by filtering the internet traffic on your computer. That is a good approach because it works with Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Internet Explorer and any other web browser you might prefer using.

An important consideration regarding integration with Windows is the effect the security suite has on the performance of your computer. To find more about that, we did a couple of measurements. First, we checked to see if AVG Internet Security increased our computer’s boot time after we installed it. We used an app called BootRacer to measure this, and the bad news is that AVG had a negative influence on the boot times. After we installed AVG Internet Security, our test computer started slower by 28 percent than before.

Then, we looked at how much RAM AVG Internet Security needs to run all its security processes. We found that it consumes somewhere around 76 MB of RAM when everything is OK, and there are no threats on your computer. This is a small number for any modern day computer.

To check whether the internet or local network speeds are affected by AVG Internet Security, we also ran a few tests with Speedtest.net and with LAN Speed Test. The tests that we ran with Speedtest.net showed that neither the download or the upload speed were affected by the security suite. However, the tests that we ran with LAN Speed Test showed that the download speed for copying a file through the local network was slower by 3 percent after installing AVG Internet Security. This means that the security suite has a small negative effect on network transfer speeds and no effect at all on internet data transfers.

AVG Internet Security is a security suite that is well integrated with Windows and its networking features. It is also a lightweight solution that does not slow your computer down when running and which does not hurt your internet speed. However, it slows the boot times by quite a lot, and it also has a small negative effect on the file transfer speeds in the local network.

Ease of use & configuration

The user interface you get in AVG Internet Security looks good and lets you work with the AVG Internet Security suite that is installed on your computer, as well as install other tools from AVG or manage other AVG Internet Security installation from other computers you own and on which you have installed the security suite. To get access to these features and options, all you have to do is click or tap on the Home button, which looks like an actual house. Then, you can access:

  • PC TuneUp - a tool that helps get your computer into shape
  • Secure VPN - a VPN service that can protect you when you use unsecured internet connections
  • Password Protection - a tool that alerts you about security breaches on your accounts, scans for weak & duplicate passwords in Firefox and Chrome, and blocks any other app from accessing them.

If you have an AVG online account and you have installed AVG’s security products on several devices, you can see and control all of them from this interface.

Our main point of interest is the Internet Security, which looks good and simple to use. As always, AVG knows what it has to do with user interface design. The background color is gray, the accent colors are either greens or reds (depending on the security state of your computer), and each bit of information you get is displayed using simple visual cues.

Options, actions, settings: they are all changed, started or controlled by large tiles, buttons or check marks, so the security suite is easy to use by anyone, on any computer or device, both with a mouse and a keyboard and with a touchscreen.

If you need help, it is good to know that AVG Internet Security includes both online help and online support options. AVG offers a “Frequently Asked Questions” section, access to their community forums and, last but not least, options to “Contact Support” directly, via live chat, or via phone.

Unfortunately, we could not find any reports, logs or other kinds of statistics in AVG Internet Security. They are nowhere to be found, and that is not something we like. There is one setting that allows you to create some log files, but only in text form and only if you manually set it to be generated. Furthermore, these log files are not available for full computer scans or deep virus scans. They can be generated for device and file or folder scans though.

Regarding alerts and notifications, AVG Internet Security is not very talkative. The only popups we saw were related to malware being detected on our test computer.

AVG Internet Security offers a user interface that looks good and works well. It is fast, easy to navigate and easy to use on any device, with or without a touchscreen. On the negative side, it does not offer logs, reports or statistics of any kind, unless you manually configure it to generate text log files.

On the next page of this review, you can see how capable AVG Internet Security is at protecting your Windows computer from network attacks and malware. You can also see what additional features are included in this security suite, and check our recommendations for what settings you should adjust.