Avast is one of the biggest names in the entire antivirus industry. Its appeal lies in excellent overall protection against online threats. It not only scans your devices but also inspects your online network, protects your webcam, as well as blocks suspicious activities and downloads. On top of that, it even gives you a VPN service for safe browsing.
However, in late 2019 and early 2020, Avast made headlines for collecting user data. They sent it to their analytics business called Jumpshot. Later, Avast’s CEO Ondrej Vicek shut it down.
Well, as part of our review, we’ve taken a close look at Avast’s security measures to help you decide whether it’s worth installing the software. Spoiler alert: while Avast is a solid virus removal tool for basic protection, we’ve tested much better antivirus products in terms of protection, privacy, and reputation, such as TotalAV.
Having this in mind, can Avast antivirus still be trusted? Read on as we put its features, online protection, and security to a test and find out!
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|🥇 Overall rank:||#17 out of #25|
|💵 Price:||From $50.28/year|
|✂️ Free version:||Yes|
|🖥️ Platforms:||Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS|
|🔥 Coupons:||Avast coupon 50% OFF|
Avast Antivirus pros and cons
- Free version
- Comes with lots of useful features
- Performs well in independent lab tests
- Really easy to download and navigate
- You have to pay extra for a lot of features
- Big business plans are very expensive
- Avast has been known to leak user data in the past
How safe is Avast Antivirus?
Naturally, if you’re looking for good antivirus software, you’re probably quite security conscious. And considering Avast was forced to admit to selling user data last year, it’s reasonable to wonder just how safe Avast actually is.
What did we find out during our Avast research? We had a look at the security features and independent lab test results – and there are some interesting things worth noting.
Independent Avast antivirus testing
Like a lot of industry-leading antivirus providers, Avast pays to have its products included in tests done by independent labs. And the results are surprisingly great.
The German institution AV-TEST, which is researching cybersecurity products, has tested both Avast’s free and paid versions. Luckily, the results were identical and the May-June 2022 test showed that the antivirus detected 100% of both 0-day and older malware threats. Thus, it earned the highest possible “Top product” certificate.
Moving on, AV-Comparatives also tested the free version of Avast. In its latest real-world protection report dated February-May 2022, Avast blocked 99.6% of the widespread malicious samples used in the test. And although this sounds pretty near flawless, there were several antivirus providers that did better. Avira, Norton, and Trend Micro managed to block 100% of the malware tested.
And in its Malware protection test dated March 2022, AV-Comparatives found that Avast managed to protect against 99.98% of online threats. It also yielded 10 false alarms which isn’t fantastic, but a lot better than the staggering 96 flagged by Panda.
As for SE Labs, it’s another cybersecurity product testing laboratory that evaluated Avast’s free version. While Avast managed to block 99% of threats, it still snatched the highest “AAA” award.
Overall, while there’s room for improvement with false positives, Avast is definitely among the best antiviruses in terms of malware detection. Not to mention that the free version is as safe as paid ones.
Avast Antivirus features
Avast has a wide range of features and tools meant to help your online security. However, keep in mind that what you get depends on the plan you purchase. The biggest difference, of course, will be between Avast free and premium antivirus plans.
Let's take a look at what they offer – and what features each plan will give you.
|Avast Free||Avast One||Avast Premium Security|
|Malicious website protection||❌||✅||✅|
|Data breach monitoring||❌||✅||❌|
|Automatic driver updates||❌||✅||❌|
Unsurprisingly, the paid plans are much more feature-loaded. However, it’s very refreshing to see such a generous free version that even includes a firewall. Not to mention that its malware detection rates are as good as with paid plans.
However, for all-rounded protection, Avast One is a great option. You get to protect either 5 or 30 devices and you get various kinds of security, including real-time, webcam, malicious website, ransomware, and tracking protection.
It’s also important to note that whichever subscription you choose – free or paid – it’s available on all popular operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
Continue reading to find more in-depth explanations of various Avast features below.
Jumping straight to the main stuff – scanning options. Avast’s scans are simple to find, and there are plenty for you to choose from, including Smart, Full, Targeted, Custom, Boot-time, and Network Inspector scans. Our research team tested each of the scans themselves with 10 malicious file samples on the computer, so let’s jump into the results.
Smart scan – it’s meant to identify malware, network threats, and outdated software. It took 40 seconds to finish and none of the planted malware was found. In terms of system resources, the CPU load was around 20-30%.
Full scan, which is an in-depth scan of your system – took 6 minutes and 50 seconds to complete and found 10 out of 10 malicious files. Plus, the CPU load was relatively light, around 30%, but there were several spikes of more than 80%.
While such results are great, at the same time, the full scan did detect a false positive. Since we’ve previously had Ivacy VPN installed, Avast mistook it for a threat and blocked it.
However, in such cases, you can just click on the “Send for analysis” button to help improve Avast’s malware detection.
Targeted scan – you can use it when you suspect threats in a certain destination. We checked the C: disk which took around 3 minutes to complete and… it found all 10 malicious files that we tested it with!
Custom scan – it fits great if you’re in a hurry or just want a quick checkup. It checks the surface of the system. It took about 1 minute and 10 seconds to finish.
Boot-time scan is meant for finding types of malware that activates on system startup.
Network Inspector – if you want to scan your network, it helps find hidden vulnerabilities to prevent hackers from stealing your sensitive information. Unfortunately, during our test, it didn’t find anything and took only 30 seconds.
So, while Avast is capable of detecting most if not all malicious threats, it could improve in terms of false positives and simple surface scanning options.
Malware protection is hardly anything revolutionary for a literal malware removal tool, but it’s still important to cover. After all, not all antivirus products offer the same things.
Here’s what you can expect from Avast packages:
- Real-time protection that runs silently in the background to block threats as they appear in an unobtrusive yet effective way. This feature is even available in the free version, which is rare to see.
- Complete malware detection that stops you from sharing infected files with other users.
- In-depth scans of your entire machine or device that’s designed to root out hidden malware.
- External storage scans to check external drives, such as CDs, DVDs, USB sticks, etc. for viruses.
- Scheduled scans so it can check for malware while you’re away from your desk.
- Security reports that provide you with personalised updates every 30 days.
- Real-time security updates and new features which are updated automatically.
The Email Shield feature provides you with a decent level of email security and is even available with the free version. The way it works is it alerts you about unsafe websites, blocks suspicious downloads, prevents dangerous email attachments, and stops intrusive web tracking.
To put it simply, it prevents PuPs (potentially unwanted programs) and scans secure connections. Such scans are only applied to ingoing or outgoing emails of popular mail management software, such as Mail or Outlook.
Another important feature included in the Premium plan is the ransomware shield. To put it briefly – it protects your files and photos from ransomware attacks. Once enabled, the feature doesn’t let untrusted applications access your sensitive files.
There are two ransomware shield modes: smart and strict. The former is the default setting which refers to a list of trustworthy apps to determine which ones have the ability to modify your files. If anything outside this list tries to touch your secured documents, you’ll be instantly notified and nothing will be done without your permission.
As for the strict mode, you’re notified and asked for permission every single time that any app tries to access your secured files. That is, except for those that you’ve already allowed (or didn’t allow).
A firewall is an essential part of an antivirus package, and Avast provides both free and paid users with one.
To put it simply – a firewall protects your network from unauthorized intrusions. With Avast, you can block internet access to specific apps yourself.
However, paid users also get more advanced network security. First off, you can enable or disable hiding potentially sensitive information from other network devices. Also, you can be notified about open ports and ARP spoofing attacks.
When picking an antivirus, security features, malware detection rates, and affordable pricing are important factors to consider – and they should come with guaranteed privacy and a scandal-free reputation.Get TotalAV
Avast SecureLine VPN
Getting the Avast One bundle will also give you the Avast SecureLine VPN (which you can also buy separately). Even though it might not be as good as, say, NordVPN, the service is pretty decent, especially when you know that it comes from an antivirus developer.
Free Avast users can also use the VPN, however, it’s limited to 5GB per week, which tends to use up fast, especially if you’re streaming content.
So, there are quite a few things it can do. Avast SecureLine VPN unblocks Netflix libraries (US, Canada), as well as everything you need on YouTube. Also, the service supports torrenting and offers decent download speeds.
There’s also a feature called a Password leak checker that will tell you whether your email has been compromised. And Additionally, Android users will get the split tunneling feature as well. Avast SecureLine VPN now offers WireGuard protocol for Windows and Android users, which can improve your online experience.
When it comes to cons, I’d mention a humble tunneling protocol selection, as well as a relatively short list of available countries. In case you want to know more about this tool, you can read our comprehensive Avast SecureLine VPN review.
Overall, although the SecureLine VPN is good for basic security, we wouldn’t recommend getting it separately as it’s very limited. Plus, it’s much more expensive than market-leading VPNs, such as NordVPN and Surfshark.
Avast for business features
Avast’s business plans come with a range of solutions depending on the size and needs of your business. Need help deciding whether one of these plans might be right for you? Here’s a breakdown of Avast’s business offerings.
Avast’s Small Office plan features
As you might expect from the name, Avast’s Small Office plan is ideal for all manner of small businesses. Avast lets you customize your plan so you’re getting the protection that best suits your business needs for up to 10 devices.
The Small Office plan has some similarities to Avast One in terms of features. Both plans include ransomware, email, file, web, and webcam shields, a customizable firewall, and the Network Inspector.
Here are all the features included in the Small Office plan:
- Business-grade customer support offers 24-hour help from trained engineers who can assist you via email, chat, or phone.
- Remote access shield blocks unwanted remote connections.
- Wifi inspector looks for weaknesses in your network that might be putting you at risk and fixes them for you.
- Real site keeps you and your employees safe from fake sites designed to steal sensitive data.
- The sandbox provides a safe environment to test new programs and files in an area that’s completely separated from the rest of your PC.
- Sensitive data shield stops spyware from accessing sensitive documents on your computer.
- Data shredder permanently deletes any confidential files that contain financial or customer data you wouldn’t want recovered.
- Phishing net uses Avast’s cloud database to protect your business from even the most recent phishing sites.
Avast Business Security features
If the Small Office plan isn’t big enough for you, Avast’s Business Security plans might be a better option for you and your company. There are 3 available Business Security plans – Essential, Premium, and Ultimate.
Each plan includes:
- Online management platform, which lets you easily manage your subscription and add/set up/monitor all of your devices in one place.
- Avast antivirus with all advanced protection measures included.
- Data protection – to keep your personal, business, and even customer data secure from cyber felons.
- IT support – 24/5 email, live chat, or phone support from experienced engineers.
- Identity protection, or password and webcam protection.
The only difference is that the Premium plan also includes the unlimited VPN for each device and USB protection.
As for the Ultimate plan, on top of the things you get with other business plans, you also receive patch management. It monitors your device and fixes vulnerabilities automatically.
One thing to keep in mind is that identity protection, unlimited VPN, USB protection, and patch management are unavailable for macOS users.
Avast’s Advanced protection plan for MSSPs and resellers
If you’re looking for comprehensive antivirus software for a reseller or a managed security service provider (MSSP), Avast’s all-in-one solution has a lot to offer.
The main attraction here is CloudCare, which, as you might imagine, delivers all of Avast’s security features through the cloud on a user-friendly platform.
Here’s what CloudCare does:
- Lets you grow your MSSP while increasing your revenue and building your business. Avast’s CloudCare solution gives MSSPs a simple way to scale business, add new services, and deploy security remotely to new customers.
- Fills the gaps in your security with CloudCare’s essential layers of security to defend your business from threats.
- Manages multiple networks easily by viewing threats, updates, and reports for your customers in one central place.
- Helps you avoid rising costs and upkeep for clients, which helps you reduce onsite client visits to save you money and time.
How much does Avast Antivirus package cost?
Considering that Avast has a free version available, its pricing strategy is pretty reasonable. You can get all the basic security features for free, which is much more generous than many other free antivirus services.
Yet, the Avast One package is the optimal choice – with webcam, malicious website, and tracking protection, you’re secured from virtually all threats. Not to mention that you also get a VPN which is great for online anonymity and streaming.
It’s also worth noting that Avast uses regional price discrimination. The pricing given here applies to US users but might not apply elsewhere. For example, the prices are significantly higher in the UK.
|Avast Free||Real-time malware protection, app monitoring, firewall||$0.00|
|Avast One||Everything in the free and Premium Security plans, plus SecureLine VPN, data breach monitoring, optimization tools, tracker blocker, and automatic driver updates||$50.28 (1st year)|
|Avast Premium Security||Everything in the free plan, plus webcam protection, ransomware and malicious website protection||$69.48 (1st year)|
If you’re looking for basic protection for your home PC or smartphone, Avast Free is a solid option as it even offers real-time protection and a firewall. Meanwhile, the Premium Security plan ensures you’re also protected from malicious websites and ransomware, as well as webcam intruders.
Yet, considering that you can get Avast One cheaper than Premium Security ($50.28/year), the One package offers the best value for your money. After all, you even get a VPN service that you can use not only for security but to unblock Netflix libraries as well.
Avast business pricing
In terms of business users, the prices are a bit more complex. There are plenty of different options to choose from, depending on what you need.
First, there’s the Small Office plan that you can buy for $139.99/year. It’s a great fit for a small business and covers 10 devices.
Then, there’s also three other plans for business security – Essential, Premium, and Ultimate. The Essential plan costs $36.99/year for 1 user, is great for basic business protection, and is recommended for mac users.
Meanwhile, the Premium Business security plan protects every user with a VPN and costs $46.99/year for 1 device. Lastly, the Ultimate subscription includes patch management and costs $56.99/year per 1 user.
If you’re looking to sign up for Avast’s all-in-one security services for MSSPs, you’ll need to get in touch with them directly to discuss your security requirements. The team will then come up with a pricing package based on your needs.
Avast Secure Browser
Avast’s secure browser used to be a paid-for service until 2016 when the security company began bundling it with the free version of its antivirus software.
The browser is incredibly easy to set up and use and comes with a lot of great features, including:
- Ad-free browsing that blocks online ads by default. This can significantly improve website loading times.
- Built-in privacy lets you browse, shop, and bank safely online.
- Blocks malicious websites and downloads to protect your device from potential threats.
- Blocks online tracking to stop third parties seeing your online activity.
- Masks your digital identity so websites can’t identify you based on your unique browser profile.
- Monitors your email address to make sure your passwords haven’t been leaked online.
Avast’s secure browser takes seconds to download and has a lovely clean interface that’s very similar to Google Chrome. It even has Google open by default. So you can complete searches just as quickly and easily as you would if you were using Chrome.
What’s more, because it automatically blocks ads, browsing the Internet feels cleaner and quicker than it does on less secure browsers. And the steps Avast has taken to mask the identities of its users gives you added peace of mind when you’re surfing the web.
Ease of use
Downloading and setting Avast antivirus up is pretty simple on any device.Yet, it takes quite some time to install it.
Whether you’re a Windows or a macOS user – the interface is basically identical. I loved the fact that you’re suggested to create an account but you don’t have to.
I tried navigating and scanning with both antiviruses, and let me tell you the app looks very modern. There are four sections – Home, Explore, Messages, and Account.
The “Home” section lets you know if there are any issues and lets you run a smart scan. The only thing I would personally prefer is that all of the scanning options would be present on the main window.
If you do want to find all of the scanning options, you’ll have to navigate to the “Scan center” in the “Explore” section. However, I have to hand it to Avast – the fact that you can find all features under one window is very convenient.
Speaking of scans, if Avast identifies a threat, you can simply click to resolve them. However, if the free version identifies any advanced issues, the Resolve button will redirect you to a payment screen so you can upgrade to the Premium plan. Which feels a little sneaky. Still, it still offers more than adequate protection for a free service.
How to install Avast antivirus
Whether you’re a novice or an experienced person, installing Avast will be an effortless task. All you have to do is follow this step-by-step guide:
- Go to the official website of Avast.
- Depending if you’re getting the free or the paid plan, click the “Download” or the “Buy now” button. For premium plans, make sure you choose the correct device count.
- While free users can continue following the installation instructions, premium version users will be asked to insert payment details.
- Download the file and follow the installation instructions.
|Live chat support||✅ (24/7 with paid only)|
|Phone support||✅ (24/7 with paid only)|
|Email support||✅ (24/7 with paid only)|
Avast offers a basic level of customer service, including an extensive area of helpful FAQs to help users resolve their own issues.
If you go to Avast’s website in need of support, the website is going to ask you a few questions before navigating you to human support. Free users can choose between phone service or email support.
However, if you want more than that, you’re going to have to subscribe to Avast Care, which costs $39.99/year. With it, you get 24/7 phone, live chat, email, and remote access support. They promise to fix any issue you may have.
Avast’s past actions regarding selling user data raises privacy concerns even if the company has shut down such operations. Despite this incident, it’s an independent-laboratory approved antivirus service that is capable of protecting you from various kinds of threats, including ransomware, network intruders, PUPs, and others.
However, the antivirus market has more trustworthy options to consider that provide you with high levels of protection and have a great reputation.
The pricing plans of Avast are confusing, especially business subscriptions. Not to mention that they’re also more expensive. Plus, while malware detection rates are great, Avast tends to find quite a few false positives.
Speaking of setting the antivirus up, it takes a while compared to other antivirus products. And while there’s a variety of features available, most of them you get only with the more expensive plans.
At the end of the day, Avast’s past data sharing scandal aside, it’s a decent antivirus. Yet again, there are much better security products that can live up to your protection expectations on top of having a clean reputation.
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Is Avast antivirus safe?
Although it provides a decent level of basic protection against malware, earlier this year, it transpired that Avast had been selling highly sensitive web browsing data to some of the world’s biggest companies.
This was all done through its marketing technology subsidiary, Jumpshot, which collected browsing data on as many as 100 million devices. Some of Jumpshot’s clients paid millions of dollars for products that included an "All Clicks Feed," which accurately tracks user behaviour, clicks and movement across the web without customers’ knowledge or consent.
While Avast seems to have put this behind them, it does call into question just how safe it is to use Avast products.
Is Avast a good antivirus solution?
On the whole, yes. Avast is a good antivirus and provides a decent level of security protection. The free version comes with lots of features, although it doesn’t protect against ransomware. If you want premium protection, you’ll have to upgrade to one of the paid-for options.
Is Avast completely free?
Yes. The free version will cost you absolutely nothing. It’ll provide you with a basic level of security without costing you a penny. However, if you want more sophisticated protection for your computer, there are lots of paid options that come with more features and better customer support.
Can Avast Antivirus slow down your computer?
Yes, a bit. All antivirus programs can slow down your PC, and Avast is no exception. This might be especially noticeable during a full scan.