Kamis, 28 Januari 2010

AVG Internet Security 9

In the race of antivirus developers to provide users with the most comprehensive security solution, Internet Security suites have emerged on the market. Not only do they hold the capacity to protect your computer against viruses, spyware and digital threats of the kind, but it is also equipped with components to keep spam out of your view, cut off any shady connection outside your computer, or keep an eye on the processes running on the system. To make a long story short, Internet Security suites are designed with utmost protection in mind, to guard all doorways malware might try to your computer.

AVG is a strong name in the antivirus industry, and just like the most important security solution developers on the market, also released an Internet Security suite. The latest version of the suite brings a total of 13 different components, all working for the safety of your computer and your personal data implicitly.

Unwrapping the 110MB installer goes fairly smoothly, with a few stops to completing the process, for including AVG Security Toolbar (useful for tracking down dangerous websites) and changing your default search engine to Yahoo, defining automatic scans and updates timetable, select the type of computer the suite is being installed on (automatic detection of the computer being desktop or laptop is not available) and agreeing to providing anonymous info about detected threats, in order to improve security. After going through these few steps, a system reboot is required for all the settings to fall in place. Every security component will be active (firewall included) and waiting for your custom configuration.

A seemingly open interface, with an unusual small number of menus running down in the left hand side (but which are enough for the main purposes of the application), gives you the rundown of the current status of each security component available. You’ll have the overall status of the components in the upper part of the screen, while for an overview of each component, you have to access the Overview menu, which will present the state of each component.

The developer kept only the most frequently used functions for the modules available within easy reach, leaving complicated underpinnings suitable for an advanced user in the Tools menu, under Advanced Settings.

Computer Scanner is the second main menu available in the main application window. Once accessed, you’ll have the possibility to choose between three different types of scans and configure their settings in your best interest. Checking the entire computer for threats could not miss from the list, just like scanning specific files or folders. Both types of scan share the same set of settings, which include enabling automatic removal or healing of infections, reporting potentially unwanted programs and spyware threats, including tracking cookies in the search, looking inside archives or appealing to heuristics for maximum efficiency. Additionally, you can set the scan process priority to automatic, fast or slow.

The third type of scan available in the menu is specifically designed to discover a particular type of malware, rootkits. There are no supplementary settings available; as a matter of fact, there are no settings at all to fiddle with. But there is the possibility to run it by a user-defined schedule.

The anti-rootkit component available in the Overview section permits a minimum of configuration that refers to what should be scanned: applications, DLL libraries, and drivers. There is also the possibility to opt between quick and full rootkit scan.

Updating the entire suite with the latest databases available is truly a walk in the park. Even if this has already been configured in the First Run Wizard, upon installing the application, you can always start the update process manually. The app will check for newer files available on AVG servers, and, if found, proceeds to downloading them.

The first module on the list is Anti-Virus, providing absolutely no configuration possibilities. This is actually the AVG virus signature database used for identifying known malware. As no settings are provided, the only thing left in your care is maintenance, which is updating it regularly, either manually or setting up a schedule for the task. Once the suite is installed, you benefit from continuous protection against viruses known to AVG.

Anti-Spyware module functions by the same rules and settings as anti-virus, so there is nothing to configure and regular updates are the key for the best protection AVG can offer against this sort of malware.

As far as the detection rate goes, AVG has indeed improved it, but has made nothing extraordinary out of it. Although it does not excel compared to other solutions on the market, the product is effective and very reliable in the battle to keep malware out of the computer or detecting new samples. Heuristics plays an important part in this, so keeping it on provides higher reliability.

During our tests, scheduled scans required a bit more processing power than expected, as AVG Scanning Core Module recorded high usage percentage, at times spiking over 80%. The average CPU use of the module, however, was around 50%. With the current resource usage trend setting lower and lower stress on CPU and RAM, AVG Internet Security does not fit the chart comfortably, even with the increased power of an average computer nowadays on the market. 

Although Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware modules themselves feature absolutely no sort of configuration settings, there are some means to customize the time scans should be started, as well as the scan method, or the locations to be checked. All these can be found in AVG’s advanced settings, under Schedules.

Automating computer check-ups in AVG is no complicated matter as the manager for scheduled scans helps you program a new task and customize its behavior to fit your needs perfectly. You can add as many schedules as you want, set the tasks to run whenever you want and choose the computer locations to be checked.

Moreover, you get to customize the way the scanning goes. The application can be set to automatically heal or remove infections, report potentially unwanted programs and spyware threats, and look for tracking cookies while scanning, use heuristics on the job for improved detection or also search for rootkits. Scanning inside archives is supported, just like the option to define a set of extensions to be excluded during the scan and include data without extension. To speed up the process, the application makes available the possibility to scan only files prone to infection. Additionally, you can define the computer areas you want to be verified (network locations included).
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