Avira Free Antivirus

Avira Free Antivirus is an antivirus developed by the German security software company, Avira Operations GmbH & Co. KG. The Antivirus has been under development since 1986 though officially it was launched in 2006. Avira Operations GmbH & Co. KG is headquartered in Tettnang, Germany. As of 2019, Avira has a global Anti-malware market share of 5.1%. In 2012, it was estimated to have 100 million users.

Avira Antivirus is available for mobile devices and PCs in several different flavors. Avira Free Antivirus is Avira’s base product while Avira Internet Security Suite is the premium product. In between, there is the Avira Antivirus Pro that is the premium antivirus/antispyware.  There is also the Avira System Speedup Free and the Avira System Speedup Pro which is its premium version. These two are a suite of tools for PC tune-up.

The Avira Internet Security Suite is basically is a combination of Avira System Speedup, Avira Pro and Avira Firewall Manager. Avira also offers the Avira Ultimate Protection Suite that is composed of the Avira Internet Security Suite and other additional Computer maintenance tools such as the SuperEasy Driver Updater.

In this article, we are going to discuss the Avira Free Antivirus. We will first discuss the protection capabilities of Avira Free Antivirus then look at the features, advantages, and disadvantages of the product in comparison to others of a similar nature. We’ll finish this article with a recommendation on whether you should obtain it or not.

Protection Capabilities

Avira Free Antivirus is the company’s base product. It has the Avira engine that detects and blocks malware. Avira’s engine is heuristic. A heuristic engine is software code uses a heuristic analysis method to detect and contain malware. The heuristic analysis method is a method that is employed to detect previously unknown malware and contain them. This is done by analysis of the program to determine whether it is malicious or not. This is done by:-

  • File emulation – here the engine simulates the program in a virtual machine and determine how the program would behave in a real machine. If the program behaves like malware, it is treated like one.
  • File analysis – this is a check process, just like the airport checks. The engine analyses the program to determine whether it is malicious or not. The engine analyses its destination, intent, and purpose – if for instance the program is equipped with instructions to delete a given file, it is deemed to be a virus.
  • Generic signature detection – this is where the engine uses signatures of viruses it has encountered before to block and contain malware.

Avira free antivirus thus has the capability to protect your device from adware, back-door programs, viruses, fraudulent software and more.

Features of Avira Free Antivirus

Most users don’t fancy investing in software; hence the free version of Avira is the most popular version of Avira. Avira Free Antivirus is an easy to set up antivirus with a very user-friendly interface though I tend not to find it so attractive to the eye compared to some of the other products we’ve already reviewed. That’s not a big deal though since it doesn’t affect the antivirus performance.

Avira runs on a heuristic engine that we already discussed before. Avira regularly updates its virus signatures to ensure a top-notch generic signature detection hence better virus detection and real-time protection. It is ranked among the most frequent database updating antiviruses available on the market currently.

Avira Free Antivirus employs effective protection where it monitors every activity and every program running on the computer. This means it offers immediate action once malware is detected.

Avira protection tools include

  • anti-adware,
  • anti-viruse,
  • anti-dialer,
  • anti-spam,
  • anti-rootkit, and
  • anti-bot.

It also offers the WebGuard Module that protects your device from malicious programs while surfing the web. It does routine checks to confirm whether a web page hosts malicious programs after which it will block your device from accessing it if it does.

Avira Free Antivirus comes with a powerful firewall that will block suspicious network ports. It also prevents malicious cookies from sending private information from your computer.

User Interface

Avira has a simple, user-friendly interface. The interface has red, grey and white theme colors with green, grey and white fonts. The interface is cool and easy to use though not so modern looking.

Comparison with Premium Versions

Avira Free Antivirus comes at zero cost – which is a good thing. However, users of the free version miss out on a  number of features that are available on the Avira Pro. Here are some of the features that are available on the Avira Pro but absent on the Avira Free Antivirus.

  • Anti-phishing – phishing is the attempt of malicious programs to obtain sensitive information from your computer while connected to the internet. Avira pro offers protection against this, Avira Free Antivirus does not.
  • ProActive – the proactive feature enables suspicious halting programs by tracking their behavior. It’s again only available on the premium versions.
  • Live Support – this is live customer care from the Avira help-desk. You can’t access this service on the free version of Avira.
  • Game Mode – Avira Pro has a game mode that will suspend notifications and unnecessary ads during gaming. During gaming, the antivirus continues to run in the background but does not pop notifications until you’re done with your gaming. Avira Free Antivirus does not have this feature.
  • Anti-driveby – this feature, only offered by Avira Pro, prevents unwanted downloads while connected to the internet.
  • Mail Protection – this prevents mail with suspicious attachment from downloading on your computer.

Avira Free Antivirus is easily upgradable to the paid version however, so if you determine a need for a premium feature, you can easily acquire it.

Pros of Avira Free Antivirus

The most obvious advantage of Avira Free Antivirus is that it comes at zero cost. There are however several other advantages that we will look at.

  • It is a light software. It has a minimum impact on the running and speed of the device it is installed on. This feature isn’t particularly true on the latest versions of Avira but hopefully this will be resolved in a future update.
  • It runs smoothly
  • Has the effective heuristic engine
  • It has a frequently updated signature library. Avira is one of the most frequent library updaters of available antiviruses. This enables better protection against new malware hence top-notch protection.
  • It has a user-friendly interface, and it’s easy to set up.
  • It has low false virus detection. False positives can be dangerous as they could lead in the corruption of important files in your computer.
  • Offers the most important basic protection at zero cost.
  • The 2018 version of Avira Free Antivirus provides Firewall protection that was initially only available in the premium versions.

Cons of Avira Free Antivirus

  • It does not offer many features available on the premium versions such as anti-phishing, game-mode, ProActive, live support, mail protection and anti-drive in.
  • The heuristic protection is not that sophisticated in comparison to some top premium antiviruses.
  • The latest versions of Avira have been noted to take quite a toll on the overall performance of the computer, especially in comparison to the quality and effectiveness of protection they provide.

Recommendations

The Avira Free Antivirus offers most of the basic features necessary for a home computer. It, however, would not be ideal for a computer one wishes to use with highly sensitive jobs or a work computer. It would deliver you very decent computer protection for a home computer, and it’s pretty good for a free antivirus.

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