PROS / It accurately distinguishes between safe and dangerous files.
CONS / There are no parental controls built into the application.
VERDICT / Avast Internet Security is not among the top 10 in the category even though it is good in its own right.
In between the antivirus version of Avast and the premiere internet security software version, is Avast Internet Security. These three products have more in common than differences. All three are antivirus and antispyware. All three can scan home networks for weak spots. And all three protect logins and passwords from theft so that you can conduct online banking and purchases safely. Antispam features and a proprietary firewall are not included with the entry-level antivirus version of Avast. For those two features it is necessary to move up to the internet security suite, Avast Internet Security.
Avast Internet Security lacks a couple of features included in Avast’s premiere internet security suite, Avast Premier: a firewall and automatic patching of outdated software applications. And in comparison with the best internet security suites, Avast Internet Security is missing a few things. It does not include a password manager, and there are no parental controls. One could argue that these holes are not important if you already have a password management method and you do not live with children.
Various security features are all very well, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Much more important than features is the actual ability of an internet security suite 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. It is to Avast’s credit that it participates in independent testing conducted by AV-Test labs. In fact, AV-Test included Avast in a lineup of 25 of the best internet security software products in continuous testing throughout March and April of 2014. In protection tests consisting of 20,647 prevalent malware samples, Avast detected 98 percent of them in March 2014 and 99 percent in April 2014. The industry average, in comparison, was 98 percent. It did better than the industry average in tests to measure its effect on system performance. Finally, in tests to check its accuracy in distinguishing between safe and malicious samples of software and websites, it made just one false detection of legitimate software out of 826,400 samples. The competition was so fierce that even though Avast performed adequately, it did not finish among the top 10 internet security suites.
Avast Internet Security lacks quite a few of the features that its competitors include. Furthermore, even though it did not fall below average during independent software tests, it was competing against stronger products that kept it out of ranking among the 10 best security software brands. Nevertheless, the performance of Avast is perfectly adequate. You will need to consider, however, whether you can live without features such as password management and parental controls.