Malware viruses infections and hacker attacks are an everyday phenomenon. Each hour thousands of computers are getting invaded by all sorts of nasty and harmful software programs and as the time passes. The different types of malware are getting more and more advanced. Undoubtedly, the most important aspect of protecting your computer system is being careful with your online activities and using your common sense when browsing the Internet but another important factor that you must bear in mind is the need for a reliable, high-quality antivirus program.
On our site, we have already covered a couple of popular antivirus tools such as AVG and Avast and in today’s article, we will go over yet another free security application that can help you keep your computer safe from potential malware invasions and hacker attacks. The name of the product that we are going to be focusing on today is Avira.
Avira is one of the oldest antivirus programs out there dating back all the way to 1986. Currently, there are quite a few versions of the program – there is the free version of the antivirus itself, a free package where, in addition to the antivirus, you’d also get a number of additional tools and utilities and there are also several paid versions of the program added to different packages. Additionally, you can get Avira for your Android device. In the current article, we will be primarily talking about the free Avira Security Suite which includes the antivirus program and several extra utilities, some of which have limited functionality that gets expanded when the paid version is purchased.
Once you install Avira’s free Security Suite and open it, you will be greeted by a plain white panel with several options corresponding to the different elements of the suite. The first one is the actual antivirus and below are a Software Updater, a VPN service, a system optimization tool (System Speedup) and a Safe Shopping utility.
Once you open the Antivirus, the interface remains in the same style, which seems somewhat outdated and unpretentious. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it is fairly easy to navigate the program since most options are buttons are ordered in a self-explanatory fashion. Still, though, some users might find the outlook of the program a bit old-school. Unlike the previous antivirus programs that we have reviewed here, in order to access the extra utilities for Avira, you would need to do that from the main window of the suite that we mentioned above – you cannot control the added features from the interface of the antivirus program.
Out of the majority of free antivirus programs, Avira has some of the highest scores in most tests that it has been put to. In most instances, it outmatches both Avast and AVG in terms of malware detection, web security and phishing protection – bear in mind that those two antivirus programs are also some of the best out there when talking about free software.
Avira has been tested by multiple labs and in most of the test, it came out with some of the top results. Of course, it still doesn’t score as high as some paid products such as BitDefender and TrendMicro but the protection that you get for free with this antivirus is still of a satisfyingly high-quality. Avira manages to handle most forms of malware and even though it handles your computer’s protection in a rather slow and sluggish way (more on that in Performance) it still eventually gets there and after it is done, your machine should be clean of most types of potential threats. One other thing to mention here is that there are rather few false positives coming from this tool meaning that there won’t be many instances where an otherwise harmless piece of software would be marked as a potential harm by the antivirus.
The web-security of this program and its phishing protection are also good. Avira manages to block most sites that could be potentially hazardous (about 95% of possible website threats) and offers some level of phishing detection. However, browser protection is supported only for Chrome and Firefox and not for other browsers such as IE or Edge, for example, which is a minus. Also, when talking about phishing, similarly to most other free antivirus programs out there, Avira falls behind other competitors such as Norton as it still fails to spot a large percentage of phishing pages.
This is where Avira really needs serious improvement. If you aren’t using a powerful computer, then you should probably install some other security program that doesn’t require as much CPU and RAM from your PC in order to operate. Avira is rather weak when it comes to performance. Its scans take way more time than the scans of other antivirus programs and its Real-Time protection feels clunky and slow. In addition, the tool uses substantial amounts of RAM and processor time, especially while scanning. Out of the antivirus programs that we have reviewed here,on our site, Avira uses the most RAM which can often affect the overall performance of less-than-powerful computers.
A sidenote that needs to be made in relation to the performance of this program is the way it installs. First of all, the time it requires to install is significant, way more than that of other antiviruses. Also, when we were installing Avira on one of our weaker PCs, it caused severe slow-down also activated Windows Update without (which had been disabled on that computer in order to save CPU and RAM usage). Even when we disabled WU during the installation, it still got re-enabled once again before the process was finished.
Unfortunately, though its scans are accurate and there aren’t many false positives, Avira does indeed feel sluggish and clunky during its scans and while performing its Real-Time protection. One other thing to mention here is that during the Real-Time protection, the program kept making irritating beeping noises each time it came across a potentially hazardous or suspicious file while also popping-up tiny windows with loading bars which signified the prevention actions that the program was taking towards the detected data. All of this could get rather frustrating which is why not everyone would enjoy using this program.
There are several added utilities that you get for free with the Security Suite which are worth mentioning. As we already said above, the main extra features can be found as separate tools from the main panel of the suite. Here is a brief explanation of what they do:
- Software updater – scans your other programs and informs you which of them are outdated. Also, offers you to automatically update them to their latest versions (all at once, or only the programs that you manually choose to get updated).
- VPN – this feature allows your browsing to be safe and private by redirecting your traffic through proxy servers. There are about twenty different VPNs that you can choose from. However, if you are using the free version, the bandwidth will be limited to 1GB per month. With the paid product, no such limitation would be present.
- Safe Shopping – allows you to find better offers for lower prices online while also helping you avoid offers that are fake.
- System Speedup – scans your system for inefficient settings and junk files and offers you to optimize the detected elements which might be slowing down your PC.
- Do not Track (active, not present in the main panel) – actively prevents website trackers from keeping tabs on your activities online.
We here highly value free software that doesn’t go out of its way in order to promote some other product or push its paid version, shoving it down people’s throats. This is why we were glad to see that Avira doesn’t do that. While there might still be occasional ads here and there within the program’s interface, it isn’t intrusive and doesn’t make using the program unpleasant. One of the few times when you will be informed about the paid version of Avira is when you try to use a feature that isn’t free. Otherwise, you would hardly get bothered by any unwanted advertisement while using this antivirus.
Avira is a reliable security tool that offers high-quality protection for the user’s computer. It is capable of stopping most forms of malware and also provides the customer with adequate web protection and security. However, the lack of support for any browsers other than Firefox and Chrome is a minus. Also, the biggest flaw of this program is its weak performance and high RAM and CPU demand while scanning making it all feel sluggish and clunky, especially when compared to some other, faster and more optimized performance-wise antivirus applications out there. Nevertheless, Avira is still a solid option that is sure to keep your machine well protected and secured and if the computer that you are using does not suffer from low amounts of virtual memory or a weaker CPU, then you should probably give it a try and see how it works for you.