Free Anti-virus Programs
AVG is one of the best-known cybersecurity companies, up there in the big leagues with the likes of Norton or McAfee.
Now a subsidiary of Avast, AVG claims to have around 200 million users on home and mobile devices, while independent lab tests consistently show that their software is highly effective at intercepting malware.
For those who want to provide solid protection for their devices without breaking the bank, AVG offers completely free security software in the form of the aptly-named AVG AntiVirus Free.
So, how does this software stack up against other free antivirus programs?
Very well in terms of raw performance, we'd say.
However, we do need to note that AVG and its parent company Avast have been involved in scandals, even found to be selling user data - this is a major caveat.
That aside, we're going to perform an evaluation of the software itself.
To begin our evaluation, let's take a look at this free program's features.
AVG AntiVirus Free works on Windows versions 10, 8, 7, Mac computers, and Android devices.
With this program, you'll get a lot of features, including:
AVG AntiVirus Free has one of the simplest installation processes around. If you're running Windows, though, note that the program for each version of Windows has its own page: here are the links for Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7, respectively.
Here is the download link for Mac users.
Once you've downloaded the .exe file (or Mac equivalent), open it and the program will start installing - you won't even need to click a "Run" button.
You can choose which features you'd like to install, too, but there's really no reason not to install all of the protections available.
Once installed, AVG AntiVirus Free is very easy to navigate. With the free version, you'll be notified you have "Basic Protection", with enabled protections - Computer and Web & E-Mail - highlighted.
Other protections - "Hacker Attacks", Privacy, and Payments - will be displayed as not protected. For those, you'll have to buy AVG Internet Security, which costs about $70 annually.
You'll see a big green "Scan Computer" button at the bottom of the window. You can also execute custom scans by clicking on the little gear next to this button and modifying it as desired.
What AVG calls a "Computer Scan" is more like a quick scan. For a thorough scan of your entire system, you'll want to perform the Deep Scan (warning: could take a few hours to complete).
Overall, the one potential drawback of the user interface is its color scheme - some people don't really like the green text on a black background, but that's all down to personal preference.
AVG AntiVirus Free offers an excellent, free antivirus that has a high detection rate. It also offers some features - for instance, the file shredder - that would normally only be included in premium packages.
With this program, you'll be protected on and off the web.
You'll also get a "performance scan" that will recommend certain steps to improve your system's functioning. However, this is mostly an upsell attempt as it won't fix the issues but redirect you to buy another AVG tool that will.
Compared to its cousin, Avast Free Antivirus, the free version AVG is missing a few features. For instance, here you won't get a password manager, nor will you get parental controls.
It also lacks a proper firewall - if you click on the firewall button, you'll be redirected to purchase AVG Internet Security, which is the premium version of this software. You won't get a VPN or webcam protection here, either.
AVG has done very well in independent lab tests - it's been shown to have a 99 % to 100 % malware detection rate.
In November and December of 2019, for instance, the AV-Test lab found that AVG detected 100 % of both well-known and zero-day threats.
AV-Test evaluates antivirus software based on three categories - performance, protection, and usability - and assigns each a maximum score of 6. AVG received 6 points for protection and usability, but 5.5 for performance. In other words, a near-perfect score!
AV-Comparatives ranks products as Standard (meaning it does the bare minimum of what it should), Advanced, and Advanced+, with AVG receiving an Advanced rating.
In another test, AVG was found to block 98 percent of phishing attempts.
AVG seems to use the same software as Avast since both programs have identical test results. Both are robust packages with slightly different features outside that core software.
Before we wrap up, let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of this software.
1. Free to use
2. High malware detection rate, even for zero-day threats
3. Includes features that, in most other programs, you'd have to pay for like the file shredder
4. Minimal system impact - even when running scans, you'll be able to perform other operations without much interference
1. Sometimes scans seem to go way too slow
2. Avast's 2019 Data Breach is a big concern and since then they've been found to be selling user data
3. Pointless performance scan since you need to pay to do anything about potential issues
4.Sometimes gives false positives
AVG AntiVirus free is definitely one of the best free anti-malware programs available in 2021 in terms of raw performance.
We said we'd evaluate it simply as an antivirus program, and we did.
The one huge caveat to all this is that data breach and the fact that AVG and Avast have been found to be selling user data. In an age where data privacy is a huge concern, this is a terrible thing.
If you want protection from malware, you might try another free antivirus program that does not record and sell your data. There are programs, like Kaspersky Antivirus, that do a slightly better job of intercepting malware, anyway.
The news of Avast and AVG's shady dealings is really a shame since AVG AntiVirus Free is itself an excellent program.
That being said, use at your own risk.