June 12, 2024


Sapiens Digital

Avira Internet Security – Review 2020

10 min read

Many security product lines start with a basic antivirus tool, then entice the security-conscious with a full security suite that adds a firewall, spam filtering, parental control, backup, or whatever additional components they consider significant. Some take it a step further, with a feature-rich mega-suite, or cross-platform protection. Avira is a bit different. The company is currently de-emphasizing standalone antivirus to focus on a free suite, a basic suite, and an all-inclusive mega-suite. Avira Internet Security is that basic suite, but it adds little to what you get in Avira Free Security.

With a list price of $71.88 per year, Avira costs more than many competitors. For just under $80 you get three licenses for Bitdefender, ESET, Kaspersky, or Trend Micro Internet Security, for example, while Avira charges $95.88 for three and $107.88 for five licenses. McAfee wants $119.99 per year, but that subscription gets you protection for every Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS device in your household. Admittedly, Avira’s prices are almost always discounted, but competitors also run discounts. We compare the list prices.

In keeping with its emphasis on suites, Avira has given all three suites a thorough user-interface upgrade and enhanced their integration. The standalone antivirus is due for its makeover in the third quarter of this year.

Avira Internet Security Main Window

This suite’s main window looks almost exactly like that of Avast Free Security. It has a left-rail menu that lets you choose Status, Security, Privacy, or Performance. A banner across the top reflects security status. Large icons for Security and Privacy dominate the main portion of the dark-themed window. Oddly, the large icon for Performance, found in the free suite, is absent. Likewise, the Smart Scan (which I’ll discuss below) omits the Performance scan.

Shared With Free Security

Given this suite’s similarity to Avira Free Security, you should really read my review of that product before proceeding. I’ll summarize here.

All four of the independent antivirus testing labs that I follow see fit to include Avira in their testing, and all four give it excellent scores. Until recently, it held a perfect 10 aggregate lab score. Some minor slips in the latest tests brought that score down to 9.8, but it’s still better than any other product tested by four labs. With results from three labs, Bitdefender attained 9.9 points, and Sophos reached 10 based on results from two tests.

Avira Internet Security Lab Results Chart

In my hands-on malware protection test, Avira scored 8.8 of 10 possible points, which isn’t great. Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Plus scored a perfect 10 against this same set of samples. Bitdefender, like Avira, earned superb scores from the labs but mediocre scores in my hands-on tests. When that happens, I defer to the labs.

Avira’s Browser Safety installs as an extension in Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Opera, and serves to steer the browser away from dangerous web pages. In a test using very recently discovered malware-hosting URLs, Avira blocked 81 percent, some by preventing access to the page, others by eliminating the malware payload. That’s not an impressive score; McAfee Total Protection, Sophos, and Vipre all blocked 100 percent of their samples.

Avira Antivirus Pro adds Web Protection, which works below the browser level and hence could keep any internet-aware app from happening upon a dangerous site, not just supported browsers. However, in a head-to-head test, Web Protection didn’t block any pages that Browser Safety missed, and it missed 70 percent of those caught by Browser Safety.

Avira Internet Security Malware Protection Chart

Phishing websites don’t rely on malware to do their dirty work. Rather, they imitate secure sites with the aim of capturing login credentials from unobservant users. Once you enter your username and password on such a fake site, the fraudsters own your account. In my real-world phishing protection test, Avira detected 93 percent, much better than it did in its last review but still not the best. At the top of the list, Trend Micro and Kaspersky Internet Security detected 100 percent of the fraudulent sites.

Avira Internet Security Phishing Protection Results Chart

As noted, the majority of this suite’s features are also available at no cost in Avira Free Security. On the Security page, all the variations on malware scanning, access to quarantine, and simple control over Windows Firewall are available for free. Both editions include a software updater that finds apps needing security patches; Pro users can set it to apply updates automatically rather than on demand.

In the Privacy arena, I’ve already mentioned the shared Browser Safety extension. Both free and paid suites include a file shredder for secure deletion and an automated scan that configures your system’s privacy settings. Both incorporate a bandwidth-limited version of Avira Phantom VPN, though by observation the Pro edition doubles the monthly limit to 1GB.

Paying customers do get access to Pro-only features in the password manager component. I’ll discuss those below.

Avira Internet Security System Speedup

As for Performance features, upgrading to Pro doesn’t get you any benefits there. The free and Pro editions have the same limited performance-enhancing features. To get the full glory of Avira’s System Speedup tool, you must purchase it separately, or upgrade to Avira Prime.

With both editions, you can launch a Smart scan that exercises multiple features. It checks for Privacy issues, Viruses, Outdated apps, and Network threats. Oddly, in the free edition only, the Smart scan also checks for (but doesn’t fix) Performance issues.

Shared With Antivirus Pro

Like this suite, Avira Antivirus Pro includes some antivirus features not found in the free suite. I’ve already mentioned the ineffective Web Protection. Mail Protection scans incoming (and optionally outgoing) email for malware, which seems redundant.

There’s also a Ransomware Protection component. I tried to test it by turning off Real-Time Protection and leaving Ransomware Protection active, but despite what the display shows, Ransomware Protection does nothing if you’ve turned off Real-Time Protection. Maybe it works, but I couldn’t test to prove that it does.

Avira Internet Security Antivirus Options

Antivirus Pro includes a well-hidden Device Control component that lets you allow or deny mounting specific USB drives. A similar feature in G Data Total Security lets you ban all USBs except ones you’ve approved, which is handy for keeping kids (or employees) from slotting in possibly infected drives. Alas, Avira doesn’t offer that whitelisting ability. In any case, I couldn’t find any sign of the Device Control feature in this suite.

See How We Test Security Software

Software Updater Pro

So, what do you get with the suite that’s not already present in the Pro-level antivirus? For starters, the suite includes Avira Software Updater Pro, available as a separate product for $32.99 per year. But that’s not the bargain it sounds.

Avira Internet Security Software Updater

The free suite includes a software updater component that does almost everything that the paid edition does. It scans your system and reports on any applications that lack important security patches. With a click, you can download and install any pending updates. The only significant difference is that the Pro edition automatically applies any missing patches, without user interaction. Well, almost without any interaction. In testing, I found that it required a reboot to finish the update process.

Password Manager Pro

Quite a few password manager utilities offer a free edition, but with significant limitations. For example, you can use Dashlane, RoboForm, or Sticky Password for free, but only if you stick to a single device, with no cross-device syncing.

That’s not how things work with Avira Password Manager. Free users can sync any number of passwords across Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices. It handles the basics of password management, and even offers two-factor authentication, but advanced features like secure sharing and digital inheritance aren’t present. Read our review of the free edition for full details.

The big enhancement you get in the Pro edition is a full-powered password strength report. Why is that important? Well, getting all your passwords into the password manager is just the first step. Your password security quest isn’t complete until you replace any weak or duplicate passwords with strong, unique ones. That’s where the strength report comes in.

In the free edition, you get a simple strength percentage, but the lists of weak, duplicate, and breached accounts are blocked off. With Pro, you can use the report to power through all password problems. Start with the list of password strength problems. Here you’ll find any passwords that rate less than strong, per Avira’s rating system. Clicking the Change Password button next to an item takes you to the site, though actually changing the password is up to you. Dashlane, LogMeOnce, and a few others fully automate the password-update process, for selected, known websites.

Avira Internet Security Password Strength

In the same way, you can go through the list of re-used passwords and change each to something strong and unique. Conveniently, a separate list called Accounts to Improve merges the weak and duplicate lists.

The Unsafe Websites list calls out nominally secure sites from your list that don’t use HTTPS for security. That’s a big red flag; if you find any such sites listed, consider canceling your account. In testing, I didn’t turn up any of those.

Finally, the password manager lists breached accounts. It gets this information by checking your email addresses and usernames against the haveibeenpwned website. In the past, this component checked a huge list of known breached sites for accounts that might belong to you. I found the list bursting with unfamiliar sites, simply because the site had an account with a username containing Neil. The new system, checking only actual accounts from your list, is an improvement.

Avira’s free password manager does almost everything you’d expect, though it doesn’t fill web forms with personal data. The Pro edition adds support for improving your passwords. That’s something you could do yourself, simply by eyeballing each site’s password and fixing the weak ones or dupes. I’m not sure the Pro edition is worth its $31.99 standalone price tag, but it does help you work toward password perfection.

Little Performance Impact

As you’ve surely noticed, this suite doesn’t include many common standbys such as firewall, spam filtering, or parental control. This smaller scope could mean less of an impact on system performance. To get a feel for the product’s impact, I ran several simple tests.

Real-time antivirus protection involves watching for file access and vetting the files involved. This could theoretically impact common file management tasks. To check this possibility, I use a script that moves and copies a varied collection of files between drives. Averaging many runs before and after installing the suite, I come up with an impact percentage. That script took 19 percent longer with Avira installed, more than many but still not bad.

My second test times a script that repeatedly zips and unzips the same collection of files. Here, too, the script took 19 percent longer to complete after I installed the Avira suite.

Avira Internet Security Performance Chart

Getting all the components of a suite loaded and active at startup can take time. The script I use to measure boot time launches after reboot and checks CPU usage once every second. When 10 seconds have passed with no more than five percent CPU usage, I consider the system ready for use. Subtracting the Windows-reported start of the boot process yields a boot time figure. As with the other tests, I average multiple runs before and after installing the suite. I also discard the highest and lowest values before taking those averages, to get rid of any weird outliers.

In the past, the boot time test has been Avira’s nemesis. At my last review, it doubled the boot time; in the previous review the boot time tripled. This time around, I found boot time significantly faster with Avira installed. That result was so surprising and different that I uninstalled all the Avira components and ran the baseline test again. The fact remained that with Avira the system booted faster.

Webroot and ESET also sped up the boot process in their latest tests. In the chart above, I record those events as zero percent, meaning no slowdown. Avira’s impact on the three tests came to 13 percent, just a little more than Bitdefender Internet Security’s 10 percent. No current suite causes the horrendous performance impacts that we saw 10-12 years ago, but it’s nice to see Avira showing a low impact.

Not a Full-Fledged Suite

Despite the name, Avira Internet Security isn’t a full-fledged suite. It doesn’t offer a VPN service, spam filtering, firewall, parental control, backup, or other common suite features. In fact, the only thing you get beyond what comes with Avira Free Security are the Pro editions of Avira Software Updater and Avira Password Manager. Buying those separately would cost almost $65, but their free equivalents are effective enough that you don’t need them. Most of the best features in this suite come to you with no charge in the free suite.

For a powerful, full-featured security suite, look to one of our two Editors’ Choice suites, Bitdefender Internet Security or Kaspersky Internet Security. Both earn excellent scores from the labs and include all expected suite features. Bitdefender in particular packs in a wealth of bonus features beyond the expected. And both cost less than Avira.

Avira Internet Security Suite Specs

VPN Limited
Firewall No
Antispam No
Parental Control No
Backup No
Tune-Up No

Best Security Suite Picks

Further Reading

Source Article

Copyright © All rights reserved. | Newsphere by AF themes.