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AVG Internet Security

At a Glance: AVG Internet Security 8.5 (2009) offers very good protection for your PC without most of the bloaty “extras” everyone seems to expect now. The new LinkScanner technology is designed to prevent visiting malicious web sites. The firewall is a bit weak and antivirus scans can be taxing to the system resources. But the product excels at finding spyware in places most packages don’t look and has a nice, clean user interface.

The Triple “E” Keys

Effective

Firewall: AVG Internet Security 2009 is a bit weak in the firewall area but still gets the job done. It’s hands off for the most part which is what you want anyway but sometimes you’ll be asked if you want to allow a program to access the Internet. This older style approach isn’t as easy as the automatic alternatives such as Norton’s.

During setup and any time later, you can choose between Standalone, Block All, and Allow All profiles. The Standalone profile leads you through a quick or thorough scan to assess programs. After that, you can, for the most part, forget about it.

Malware: Incredible. AVG Internet Security 2009 found 17 threats (all of them) including the one in the recycle bin on the first scan. It’s the best detection I’ve seen so far. But remember, all reviews are relative to the reviewer’s actual computer setup, actual threats introduced, and yes, the reviewer’s bias to some degree. Still, my experience was great.

I am very impressed at AVG’s ability to find malware in zipped and double zipped files. You can download them without complaint but as soon as you unzip them they are found and deleted or quarantined. The real time protection was good though it missed a couple of text files that should have been flagged. But the thorough scan found every trace of them.

A full scan took 1.5 hours which I hope implies that the scans are indeed very thorough and the results seem to bear that out. Since I run deep scans on my computers while I sleep anyway, I’ve never cared how long they take.

The newest component, LinkScanner, is designed to stop drive by malicious downloads and to display threat information when trying to visit dangerous sites. I’m not a fan of security suites doing this kind of thing. That might surprise you but the reason is that modern browsers already do this for you so it’s redundant. I don’t like wasting system resources on redundant tasks.

Email scanning and rootkit detection are included in the package.

AVG is probably the most popular free antivirus programs available. Of course, you’re encouraged to buy the entire Internet security suite as soon as you arrive at the web site but this marketing approach has always been profitable for software companies.

Score: Very Good

Easy

Install/Uninstall: Installation of AVG Internet Security 2009 is painless enough. There’s a question about installing a security toolbar. The toolbar is designed to assist the LinkScanner in protecting you from the boogie man when you’re browsing. Though admirable in the attempt to protect against malicious web sites, this toolbar is just another unneeded component in modern browsers that already do this. Also, it uses the Yahoo! search engine and I don’t care for that either. I’d recommend not installing it.
Uninstalling is a piece of cake with few decisions to make. There’s an uninstall survey you’re asked to take for “improving product quality”. You also have the option of removing user settings if you never plan to reinstall the package. One down side was that AVG left quite a few files lying around. I thought this was excessive but you could delete them manually.

Setup/Use: Again, easy to do. Setup is quick presents you with a nice user interface. AVG does use a lot of icons on the main screen but that didn’t bother me. Double clicking on any of the icons brings up advanced options or information. It’s all easy to understand and use. I like that one tab is devoted to scanning on demand and on a schedule. It’s easy to configure and launch a manual scan quickly.

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