Safety is something people are more aware and concerned with it in this digital age especially with their digital files and data.
Keeping your computer and your devices safe from threats such as hacking is a necessity. There are numerous software and tools to help combat those issues. But today we are gonna discuss one software specifically called Avast and it’s free Version.
Avast Free Antivirus Review
Avast was founded in 1988 and it is currently one of the biggest and number one giant in the consumer security market. As of writing this article, it claims to have more than around 435 million monthly active users worldwide.
They have a free Version as well as a paid upgrade. If you don’t have the budget for it, the free one will do just fine. However, they will be constantly nagging you until you upgrade. The paid version has some extra features such as the Password manager, etc.
The set up for Avast Free Antivirus is easy as to say compared with others. It can be set up in just a few coupe clicks. The user interface (UI) is simple and easy to navigate too. They also provide some information which you can scroll down and read but I would say it’s not entirely necessary.
They also have an option for custom Installation where you will be able to browse 13 separate Avast modules and apps to decide which one are you gonna install and discard. For instance, If you don’t want the Avast’s price comparison system (SafePrice browser extension). just simply uncheck the installer checkbox and it will not be added.
Let’s say you have another antivirus software already installed in your PC or devices, Avast will simply install by itself in a Passive Mode. Meaning you will still be allowed to run such as scans and also use other program features but limiting to real-time protection.
However, on the other hand, for others If another antivirus software detects another package on your PC, they will demand you to remove the other competing products, thereby offering less flexibility.
But if you are not willing to risk for an antivirus conflict, you can simply turn off the Passive Mode and see for yourself if your antivirus apps will work together or not.
Next, after the main package is already installed, Avast also offers to set up its own version of Secure Browser, a hardened version of Chromium.
The key data (bookmarks, history, passwords, settings and more) from your default browser will automatically be imported and will set the Secure Browser as your new default browser. But it’s not for everyone. If you don’t like it you can simply skip the step entirely or leave it for later on.
All the major companies typically force you to register in order to use their products as an excuse just to get your details. However, with Avast none of those things are mandatory. The closest thing they will get to you is to ask for your email to send the download link for the Android client. But even that’s still an optional too. You need not register or create an account.
With its free version, Avast still gives a lot of features. At the very least, you can just open the app, click Smart Scan and it will automatically scan and checks your PC or device for missing software patches, malware, dubious browser extensions, etc.
The scan time is usually at around 30-60 seconds. Before the last update, in the Avast Pro, it has the option to turn off particular checks to speed up your scans. However, the Smart Scan can’t be configurable any more.
It also has the option to scan specific files, drives or folders, your entire system, or to run a scan at the next reboot before the Windows starts.
You can also schedule and set up multiple custom scan types to carry out specific actions. Choose the areas to scan and it can also exclude particular file types to check, actions to perform, archive formats to expand etc. Before you can only do a single custom scan and it forces you to manually decide its actions each time.
You can also schedule it to run on auto. Simply set up a full check to run every day with speedy and more basic scans to run every few hours.
Avast has its own chrome/Browser extension to filter out web harmful sites/links on the web. With the Chrome extension, it will highlight all the suspicious and dangerous links on your webpage or search results.
When you visit a site and it had malicious files or virus, Avast Free Antivirus will automatically scan any files or downloads and catch the threat before it can do any damage to your computer or devices.
Click on the toolbar icon and it will give a down to the current page or simple thumbs-up. When it shows Green, it means the site is safe and clear to visit, red means stay away, and if it is gray, it means the site hasn’t yet been analyzed.
If you are like me, you will be annoyed by the ads following you from site to site. Now you can simply get rid of that in just a few clicks.
The extension will detect any advertising trackers or other trackers on the current site and will display in numbers of how much it found simply overlaid on the icon. When you click on the icon, it will give you a summary of all the found advertising, social media, and web analytics trackers.
If you want, you can block some or all of the trackers on the current site or automatically block all found trackers on all sites.
No need to be afraid to use a public Wi-fi. Because Avast has another bonus feature called the Avast’s excellent Wi-Fi Inspector.
What Wi-Fi Inspector does is, it will scan your local network and reports on whether there are any connected devices and also gives you their device types. I would say this is really a handy tool and a way to see who else might be using your Wi-Fi.
Each of the connected devices is checked for security issues such as poorly configured network settings, weak passwords, etc.
It will also highlight all the problems also along with it the solution of what to do next to fix the issue.
Avast does a good job of identifying each device by the name and their type, but it can’t always get that information. So, If you have some network skills, you can help it out by identifying a device from its IP address and MAC address. Change the type of any device to any of five dozen choices, among them hand-held gaming console, security sensor, a head-mounted display.
You can also change the name to something more recognizable than, say, Unkown84035uo2f9l. And Avast will remember your changes in future scans.
I would say, Avast password manager isn’t as big as LastPass and Dashlane. But it’s still a good and secure one which cover the basics and can sync your logins with other devices (Windows, Android, and Mac.)
You can save new logins and it will automatically log you back into those sites whenever you return. It is found in Chrome and Firefox.
It also has the option to change and edit your already saved passwords. You can also save your secure Notes and Credit Card details so that the next time when you visit a web form that asks for your credit card details, you simply click on the Avast key icon and it will automatically fill in the card of your choice.
If you forget to update your software, you are letting a huge security gap hole because that is a hacker loophole to find it’s way into your devices.
Avast has found the best solution for this and it is called Software Updater. The idea behind is very simple but yet an effective one. It will scan your devices and find all the missing updates, and will also offer to download and install them for you.
Some of the Supported applications are – Java, Adobe Air, Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Flash, Adobe Reader. It will not make much mess, it will download and silently install any required updates with a click.
Do Not Disturb Mode:
Sometimes notifications are really annoying especially when you are working on something serious. With this Do Not Disturb Mode from Avast, all the frustration can be cleared away. You can block notifications from All the apps, Windows or even from Avast themselves while you’re using specified full-screen applications.
Security and Privacy:
Yes, Avast’s SafeZone secure browser helps in blocking ads and also suspicious sites. Its Bank Mode isolates the browser from the rest of the system to thwart the nosy malware.
Unfortunately, Avast Free Antivirus’ users don’t have the option to either get a phone nor email support. But not to worry, there are tons of free guides, FAQs, tutorials, installation tips and knowledge base to fix any problem.
Excellent Phishing Protection
Phishing websites are huge on the web. Who knows how many are there. They create an exact replica that sometimes it’s hard to tell which one is the fraudulent one.
Out of the thousands visiting their site, even if a single individual enters his/her credentials. That’s a win for the bad guys. If the site is squashed by the authorities, a new one will just pop up. It will be impossible to control it 100%.
Avast does a good job at detecting the phishing fraud.
Personally, I find Avast Interface fairly simple and easy to figure out even for a beginner.
To perform a Smart scan, there’s a button which will check for vulnerable software, weak passwords, malware, network and performance problems.
When you launch the Programme, in its main interface, if your device is secure you will find a standard green check mark next to the words “You’re Protected.” But however, if something’s not right, the check mark changes to a red X.
it has the option for a full scan, scan specific folders or run a boot-up or custom scan in the Protection settings. You can also schedule scans according to your needs into daily, weekly or monthly.
On every lab testing report, you will, for the most part, find Avast included in it.
AV-Test’s December 2018 Home User report shows that the test conducted on Avast is doing very well. Very well that it is blocking 100% of all the sample threats in both months and raising just only one false alarm in more than 1,500,000 samples (the industry average is five.)
The report also suggested that it may slow down some actions more than usual, but not by enough rate that you will not be able to notice any difference in it.
Although the Avast Free didn’t very quite top every of the test, AV-Comparatives highlighted its consistency by, stating “It had received an Advanced+ Award in every test this year. Not only that, it also is the Gold Award for the Malware Protection Test winner, Silver for the Malware Removal, and Bronze for the Performance Test.”
Yes, Avast Free Antivirus may not be the best and match other market leaders, but it does a good job in safeguarding, protecting your devices in many ways and also outperforms many other commercial products.
Avast Free Antivirus review: Verdict
Avast Free Antivirus has been around a long time and it is constantly developing and becoming better on every update. When compared to other free antivirus Products on the market, Avast Free Antivirus offers more features and protection even in terms of diversity too. Its protection is not that 100% flawless but it’s still an OK.
It provides all-around protection even in it’s a free version. It pretty much includes everything you’d ever want from an antivirus program, free or otherwise.
Finally, If you’re looking for a trustworthy free antivirus product, Avast is worth a look.