AVG Internet Security 2012 Review: Respectable Antimalware Capabilities
By Nick Mediati
At a Glance
Good malware prevention
Interface feels overly complicated in spots
AVG’s security suite will protect your PC, but it can’t quite keep up with the best performers in our latest test group.
AVG Internet Security 2012 ($55 for one year and one PC as of January 25, 2012) finished ninth in our 2012 roundup of security suites. It does a very good job of keeping a PC safe, but some other products do an astounding job, which caused AVG to fall in the rankings.
AVG’s suite fully blocked 92.3 percent of attacks in our real-world test–which helps determine how well a suite will be able to block brand-new, as-yet-undiscovered malware–and partially blocked an additional 3.8 percent. Those results are nothing to sneeze at, but they rate as mediocre among this year’s test group. Historically speaking, the AVG software’s 99.11 percent detection rate of known malware samples is excellent, but given the strength of its competition, that result is actually slightly lower than the average for the products we evaluated this year.
Even though the AVG suite was successful in detecting and disabling all active malware infections on our test PC, it removed all traces of malware only 40 percent of the time, tying for the worst showing in completely purging malware. It also flagged six safe files out of our pool of over 250,000 as being malicious; percentage-wise, that’s a very low false-positive rate, but a few of its rivals posted a perfect score in our false-positive test.
The AVG package had a relatively light impact on PC performance, though it added nearly 10 seconds to startup time as compared with our test PC with no antivirus installed (the second-worst result of the group). Scan speeds were uneven: It went from being good in our on-demand scan test (1 minute, 31 seconds, the sixth-best showing of the 14 suites we tested) to not-so-good in our on-access scan test (5 minutes, 5 seconds, the fourth-worst outcome). The former test shows how quickly a security product can check 4.5GB for malware during a manually initiated scan, while the latter test evaluates a scan that runs when the user opens files or saves them to disk.
AVG’s interface, while good, needs improvement. The main screens are fairly straightforward and easy to use: At the top is an indicator that tells you whether any problems need fixing. And AVG’s overview pane helps you find all of the suite’s features quickly and easily. That said, the settings seemed downright intimidating to me. Settings live in either the Advanced settings window or the Firewall settings window. The Advanced settings screen is especially hard to navigate: You have to deal with a three-level-deep hierarchical list to find the options you want to adjust. This complexity makes the AVG suite feel like a product designed for advanced users; it wouldn’t be a bad idea for AVG to give its interface an update in next year’s product line.
At the end of the day, AVG Internet Security 2012 doesn’t do a whole lot wrong, but it doesn’t do much to stand out from the crowd, either.