Avast Internet Security Software Review

Avast Internet Security is a step up from the company’s Pro Antivirus plan, with additional features like a robust firewall, anti-spam filter, and secure browser for online activity.
Best for firewall security
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • Protection from online threats
  • Sandbox for testing suspicious files
  • Password manager
  • Light impact on your computer
Kasey Tross
Researcher & Writer
December 12, 2019

Avast Internet Security at a Glance

Avast Internet Security—owned by the same company behind products like AVG Internet Security and AVG Secure VPN—is an antivirus suite designed to protect your PC from malware, ransomware, adware, and other threats to your hard drive. The program works using artificial intelligence (AI) technology to recognize specific software signatures and behavior patterns of dangerous programs and files. When an unsafe item is detected, it is placed in the "Virus Chest," a quarantine area safe from the rest of your computer. From the Virus Chest, you can choose to either mark a program or file as safe or have Avast remove it from your computer.

pro
Pros
pro Free trial and money-back guarantee
pro Coverage for additional devices
pro Multiple protection features
pro Fast download and installation
con
Cons
con Unclear handling of data breach
con No phone protection
con Confusion setup
con Upgrade required for best features
con Known security breach
Avast Internet Security

Avast Internet Security's additional features go beyond basic protection from viruses to extend your security to your online experience. Its email shield works with your email program to keep you from accidentally sending or downloading malware through phishing scams. The browser extension makes sure you're not landing on any potentially dangerous websites. You can even create your own secure browser to keep you safe when shopping online or making other online transactions.

Bell
2019 data breach

In December 2019, Avast collected unnecessary user data such as browsing history and activity through Avast subsidiary Jumpshot. Its privacy policy defends storing user data since it’s anonymized, but the company offered no clear policy on length of data retention.

Avast has since severed ties with Jumpshot, though we have to recommend this software cautiously because of its history.

Avast pricing and features

Malware Protection
Icon Yes  LightYes
Protection against Unsafe Links and Downloads
Icon Yes  LightYes
Performance Issue Scan
Icon Yes  LightYes
Real-Time Security Updates
Icon Yes  LightYes
Extra Ransomware Protection
Icon Yes  LightYes
Enhanced Firewall
Icon Yes  LightYes
Fake Website Protection
Icon Yes  LightYes
Browser Cleanup
Icon Yes  LightYes
Sandbox
Icon Yes  LightYes
Game Mode
Icon Yes  LightYes
Wi-Fi Protection
Icon Yes  LightYes
Password Protection
Icon Yes  LightYes
Webcam Hacking Protection
Icon No  LightNo
Mobile Device Protection
Icon No  LightNo
Parental Controls
Icon No  LightNo

Avast has some nice customer-friendly policies like a free thirty-day trial of the Internet Security software so you can try before you buy. If you do purchase the software and you're not happy with it, Avast offers a thirty-day money-back guarantee.

Automatic renewal isn't always a good thing, but antivirus software is like health insurance: you don't want to be caught without it. Avast's yearly auto-renewal ensures there's no lapse in protection for your PC, but you can also opt out at any time.

Avast's best features are locked behind higher price points. Avast will let you increase your Internet Security subscription to include additional devices as needed, but there is an additional charge.

At this price point, we'd hope to see a data shredder and parental controls included with the package, but you'll have to pay for an upgrade to get these features. 

Features and Usability

Avast has several additional features that go above and beyond a standard antivirus program. While some are useful—like the Sandbox and Browser Cleanup—others, like SafePrice, have little to do with security and can be annoying.

While many other antivirus software firewalls work by either allowing nothing in or nothing out, the Avast firewall uses a more sophisticated system of rules that allow it to decide what passes through. This is a smarter approach that still provides top-notch protection.

Avast's Sandbox feature allows you to test out new software in a separate, protected space on your computer before it interacts with the rest of your hard drive, so you can make sure it's safe.

And if you've ever worried about strangers using your wireless network, Avast's Wi-Fi protection will stop them in their tracks, and it monitors for hackers on hardwire networks as well.

Most email providers offer spam filters as part of their services, but few offer customization options like the ones available through Avast. With Avast, you can adjust the strength of the filter and automatically whitelist email addresses you send mail to.

Download and Installation

Downloading Avast is pretty straightforward. We did find a few glitches with installation, but they're easily fixed.

If you're not careful during installation, you might end up with a lot of Avast pop-ups for additional features like Software Updater and SafePrice. Fortunately, you can disable most of these by either clicking "customize" before installation begins or by going to the Preferences tab in the program. Putting Avast in Game Mode can also solve the problem.

The subscription setup can also be confusing. Several customers complain that even though they bought a one- or two-year license for the program, their installation screen shows that they only have a thirty-day license. Turns out, you need to enter your product code into the program in order for it to update the license.

Protection and Performance

Avast has one of the lightest touches on the market when it comes to quietly doing its job without interfering with your computer experience, but its scans may run longer than expected.

If Avast catches any suspicious threats that it doesn't recognize, it sends them to its virus lab in the cloud for analysis. If the lab identifies one of these threats as malware, it notifies all Avast users. Not only does this keep your antivirus software current, it also adds more layers of protection.

Avast blocked 99.6% of malware with only one false positive, and it blocked 100% of malware encountered online—this is according to tests from April 2018, run by the independent testing organization AV Comparatives. It received three out of three stars and an Advanced+ rating for both protection and performance.

FAQs

A VPN (virtual private network) encrypts your connection, allowing you to be completely anonymous whenever you connect to any device. This keeps you safe from advertisers and others who try to track your online activities, and it also gives you added protection when using public Wi-Fi.

No, but you can purchase it as an add-on to the Internet Security package by buying Avast SecureLine VPN.

SafePrice is a deal alert feature that automatically installs on your browser when you set up Avast Internet Security. When Avast notices you shopping online, it will automatically start to search for a better deal for you. If you want to remove this feature, you can disable it under Preferences without affecting Avast's protective features.

Yes, Avast includes a password manager that allows you to create a single secure password for all of your accounts, but its features are limited. For additional features like one-touch login and Password Guardian, you can upgrade to a more robust Avast Passwords Premium for an additional fee.

The Bottom Line

Avast Internet Security is a proven choice for those who want to go beyond free antivirus programs and add the protection of a robust firewall and online security features. Its simple download, user-friendly interface, and light impact make it low-key enough for anyone to use, but its SafeZone browser and Sandbox features open up additional possibilities for the more adventurous.

pro
Pros
pro Excellent malware protection
pro Minimal impact
pro Thirty-day guarantee
pro Tough firewall
pro Secure browser
con
Cons
con No parental controls
con Pop-ups
con Lengthy scans
con Known security breach

How We Evaluated Avast Internet Security

To write our Avast software review, we studied Avast's independent test scores, read numerous online reviews from a variety of sources, and tried Avast's software for ourselves. To learn more about how we review products, check out our methodology.

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Kasey Tross
Written by
Kasey Tross
Kasey is a trained Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member and a freelance writer with expertise in emergency preparedness and security. As the mother of four kids, including two teens, Kasey knows the safety concerns parents face as they raise tech-savvy kids in a connected world, and she loves to research the latest security options for her own family and for SafeWise readers.

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