Avast Free Antivirus is a computer security software developed by Avast Softwares headquartered in Prague.The company was launched in 1988 by Eduard Kucera and Pavel Baudis who are still on the board today. Avast started developing anti-malware in 1995, and by 2001, they produced the first fremium antivirus. Anti-malware is a software that is designed to detect and remove malicious software from your computer. They include trojans, viruses, spyware, adware, ransomware, and worms. A virus is a contagious form of malware that infects one software on your computer and spreads to other software just like the biological virus.
2018 statistics indicate that Avast commands 17.04% of the anti-malware application market.
Avast Free Antivirus, though free, is excellent in imitating the security of premium, paid solutions. It is compatible with the latest Windows operating systems on the market.
The Avast Free Antivirus method of protection comes in two layers. The first layer involves scanning all the files and comparing the files to known malware. The second layer involves monitoring of activities and detection of any malware attack. Suspicious files are then sent to the Avast lab to get analysed. If the suspicious item is found to be malicious, it’s signature as malware is sent to all the other avast users.
Avast shares the malware detection engine with AVG – another antivirus software produced by AVG technologies which was acquired by Avast in 2016.
The free antivirus has browser add-ons that will protect you from accessing suspicious websites on your computer. The add-on is also responsible for scanning all downloads and email attachments. These scans are conducted before an item is downloaded to prevent the user from downloading malicious software.
Avast Free Antivirus has pretty high lab scores. Unlike many free antiviruses that don’t test their free products in the lab, Avast does test and even releases the results. Independent antivirus testers, AV-Comparatives, test antiviruses and give a standard rating to products that pass their tests while those that show advanced capabilities are given an Advanced or Advanced+ rating. We followed 4 of the tests on Avast and 3 of them earned an advanced+ while one earned an advanced rating which is impressive.
In 2018 Avast Free Antivirus won award “Product of the Year” by AV-Comparatives – read the full report here.
Features of Avast Free Antivirus
Avast software seeks to create a powerful protective antivirus software. In this article, we are going to look at the features offered by the 2018 version of Avast free antivirus.
Unlike the threat detection engine that detects programs that are similar to malware and eliminates them, the cybercapture feature is different. Cybercapture detects suspicious items and sends them to the avast lab for analysis. The results of the analysis are sent back to you. If the analysis discovers that the said program is a virus or malware, it is added to the virus signature library and will be detected as a virus and eliminated by the avast antivirus if detected. This is a protective mechanism that helps eliminate viruses before they spread.
With a single click, you can choose from the scan options including the smart scan, targeted scan, boot time scan, and custom scans. After scanning, programs detected as harmful are quarantined while those that are suspicious are flagged.
Avast free antivirus protects files via an array of shields including:-
- Behavior shield – Accesses the behavior of programs and stops it and notifies you if it finds something suspicious.
- Web Shield – This analyses data from your computer network and stops any suspicious files before they enter your computer.
- Mail shield – this one analyses email attachments and prevents them from being downloaded if it detects anything suspicious from them.
Harmful files and suspicious files are stopped and flagged. They are then moved into the virus chest where they are dormant, non-operatable and inaccessible. Here you can review them and choose to submit them to the avast lab, delete them or restore them. The feature that does this is called virus containment.
Detect WiFi issues
This feature helps secure your WiFi by detecting:
- Weak passwords
- Obsolete and vulnerable firmware
- Open network ports
- Non-encrypted wireless networks
- DNS hacking
This feature scans your computer, detects the version of your software then scans the internet for the availability of later versions. If it finds another version, it will notify you or automatically update the software depending on your settings.
This feature provides:
- A password generator
- Synchronization across your other devices with avast antivirus.
- Imports passwords from your browsers.
- Provides a login form filler
- Password saving (automatic)
- Saves encrypted notes.
This feature will encrypt your data that is exchanged across the public network and prevent access and monitoring by unauthorized persons.
This helps in freeing up space and deleting residual files hence improving your device’s performance. It replaces the obsolete Avast Grimefighter app although this is a premium feature not available in a free version.
This shields the computer from threats while playing online games and also improves performance by freeing up memory and prioritizing CPU focus on the game.
Pros and Cons of Avast Free Antivirus
Avast free antivirus may not offer all the features Avast premier, security and ultimate offer but you don’t have to pay anything for it. The services you’ll get are definitely worth way more than the zero pricing.
Easy to Install and use
The installation and use of Avast free antivirus is easy and straight forward. All you have to do is ensure you have the administrator privileges with no other antivirus installed in your device prior and you are good to go.
Below are the steps of installing the antivirus in your device.
- Download the antivirus from www.Avast.com/free-antivirus-download.
- Double click on the installation file. You’ll be presented with an option to change the language of installation where you’ll click a drop-down menu at the top right-hand corner and click on it.
- Click install.
A user-friendly interface
The Avast free antivirus interface is so simple anyone who can use a computer can use it. There is a lot of space on it and no numerous icons that could confuse anyone or force you to call their customer care. The interface is quite appealing too with its beautiful theme color.
Low system requirements
It is a generally light software that can work on any device without slowing it down. It has a low memory usage too – It flushes it’s a memory at 10 second-intervals thus freeing the memory for other applications during scanning.
The Independent IT-Security Institute’s website gives avast a score of 5.5 out of 6 on protection. The Avast antivirus scores very highly in comparison to other free antiviruses.
- Zero cost
- Low system requirements
- User-friendly interface
- Real-time protection.
- High scores in virus protection
- It protects your device from WiFi hacking
- Automatic software updates
- Only for home use
- Advertising for premium version is sometimes too obtrusive
Avast free antivirus is generally better than many premium antivirus software available today, so they say. Based on tests done by AV-comparatives, there is a lot of truth in it.The free version of Avast is very similar to the paid version save a few features. Avast claims it provides the minimum protection a computer should have.
Avast free antivirus is available in 37 languages – no other free antivirus offers that. It, however, can’t be used at work as it is meant for home use only. It also can’t run on multiple devices. Avast Free Antivirus also doesn’t offer one feature that the Avast Pro, which is the paid version offers. The feature is the SafeZone technology. This feature keeps the users account information safe when online.
Avast Free Antivirus is closer to the paid Avast Pro than any other free antivirus is to their paid version. It is a good choice for your personal computer at home and better still if you don’t use your computer for highly classified work. However, for a work computer, the Avast Pro version is recommended.