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Pros / Avira performed well in malware detection tests.

Cons / There are in-program ads.

 Verdict / Avira doesn’t skimp on the security tools it includes with its Free Security Suite. Plus, the software’s automatic gamer mode reduces lag as you play games online while the firewall protects your system.

Avira is a top-notch antivirus solution that consistently performs near-perfectly in in-house and third-party laboratory malware detection tests. It also has a powerful internet security suite that includes additional safeguards such as a personal firewall, safe banking tools and a powerful automatic gamer mode. Avira offers all of this at no cost. While the program’s paid version has additional tools, we found its Free Security Suite to be powerful enough without the extras.

The Avira Windows firewall automatically enables when you install the Free Security Suite; however, you can change its settings. It is good at blocking spyware and cookies – programs that track your online movements and snatch your personal information without your knowledge. Firewall protection is especially important when you connect to pubic hotspots because they often don’t have as many restrictions and protections as work and home networks.

One of this firewall software’s important features is its system scan. This tool looks for programs that are out of date, including your Windows operating system, and provides you with safe links to where you can download the newest versions. Old software can create vulnerabilities that hackers, ransomware and snoops can break through to create chaos on your network, steal your identity or hold your files hostage until you pay a ransom.

Avira’s safe shopping tools are easy to find and set up, and they protect you from cookies, spyware and other tracking programs while your shop online. This helps eliminate phishing schemes, a malware tactic designed to trick you into providing financial information, created based on your browser history.

The software’s gamer mode is very impressive. It automatically enables when you install the program and instinctively knows when you start playing a game. Avira adds the games you play to its whitelist and suspends scans and other non-essential functions so it doesn’t eat up computer resources while you play. As such, you won’t experience any slowdown. The gamer mode also turns on when you watch movies on your computer so your film isn’t interrupted by lag.

Avira Free Security Suite’s only real drawback is there are a fair number of in-software ads and pop-ups that ask you to purchase the full suite. The paid version includes mobile protection and parental controls. These are important features to consider, but if you don’t need them or they aren’t in the budget, the protections offered through the free version are powerful on their own.

Summary

Avira Free Security Suite has a personal firewall that monitors information that passes between your computer and internet network, which is important if you use public internet connections. The safe shopping tools and vulnerability scans are great extras that keep internet snoops from tracking what you do online and hacking into your computer to grab personal information. We were impressed with the software’s virus scan, and it performed well in third-party labs’ Windows malware detection tests.

We have more information about Avira’s security features in the review we wrote as part of our internet security suites comparison.