PROS / Avast accurately distinguishes between safe and dangerous files.
CONS / There are no parental controls built into the application.
VERDICT / Avast does well in protecting your computer from both known and unknown malware, though it may cause your computer to run slower.
Avast Internet Security is both antivirus and antispyware software. It scans home networks for weak spots and protects your logins and passwords from theft so that you can conduct online banking and purchases safely. Antispam features and a proprietary firewall are also part of this internet security suite.
To determine our ranking, we looked at scores from independent testing lab AV-Test that reflect the ability of internet security software to protect against known and unknown malware, the effect that it has on the performance of the host PC, and the accuracy with which it distinguishes between malicious and benign files. AV-Test included Avast in its lineup of 22 of the best internet security software suites in continuous testing throughout March and April of 2016. In usability tests, an evaluation that looks at how often a program blocks legitimate programs because it thinks they are threats, Avast received a perfect score, only blocking one legitimate site out of over 1.2 million, which is better than the industry standard of three.
The performance score marks how much of a computer's resources the program uses while running. Avast slowed down the test computer noticeably while testers surfed the web, accessed and used programs, and copied files. In some cases, Avast caused nearly 20 percent more lag than the industry standard. While some lag is common and expected, this much may interfere with some functions, especially those that need your computer's full resources to work correctly, such as playing videos and games.
In protection tests, Avast received a perfect score for detecting and blocking more internet threats than the industry standard. This included both currently known threats and new malware introduced during the four-week testing period.
In comparison with the best internet security suites, Avast Internet Security is missing a few things, most notably built-in parental controls. These tools would let you control when your children have access to the internet and what kind of content they can see. Parental controls often also come with social network protection to let you monitor what your child is doing on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and turn off chat features on those platforms.
Avast doesn't have online backup either, which is helpful if your computer is infected and needs to be restored. However, you can create a bootable rescue CD that will accomplish the same thing, but it may not have the latest versions of files and programs, which is one advantage that online backup gives.
If you need help installing or using the Avast internet protection program, you can find answers online in the searchable FAQs section. For one-on-one help, Avast support agents are available via telephone 24/7.
Avast Internet Security lacks a few important features that its competitors include, but it scored high in both performance and usability during independent software tests. This internet security program may slow down your computer while running, which may cause problems if you need all your computer resources for online gaming or watching videos.