In the past couple of years AVG Internet Security has gone through a bit of a revolution, by moving away from its origins of security suite and antivirus and it has now become extremely professional by offering features such as online backup, high end parental control as well as PC clean-up. The design engineers in AVG also seem to be making some major positive changes to the core protection technology, and the latest AVG Internet Security 2012 is the best example. Let us see if each and every component lives up to the great expectations.
Features retained with some additions:
2011’s AVG Internet Security main window had a whopping fourteen icons of security and this year’s feature has retained all of the identical features, but with the shrinking of icons to just eight of them. There are three more icons giving you access to AVG PC Tuneup 2011, AVG Family Safety as well as AVG LiveKive internet backup.
Without any doubts all of you would agree that the most important thing that the users will be looking for in a security suite is minimal usage of the resources. Nobody like their system to slowdown, and this is definitely mandatory than any great protection against malware. The good news is that, the AVG Internet Security 2012 suite did very well in performance with less resource usage. The AVG Internet Security Suite 2012 just took 6% longer then the same system without the suite. The antivirus suites will check the files on access, if they try to overdo the protection, they will end up slowing down the file operations. All of the web protection components including the LinkScanner does not seem to slow down the browsing experience in any way. AVG Internet Security 2012 did not have the lowest impact on any particular test, but it did have lesser impact than an average suite. Overall AVG has delivered on its promise to reduce the system resource usage.
There are some enhancements made under the hood that are not visible. The latest addition is the AVG Accelerator that has promised to increase the download speeds from Download and YouTube and few others too. While it was a bit tough to measure the speeds, the YouTube videos did seem to be loading a lot quicker. The team at AVG suggest that you keep looking at your system for things that may aid in speeding up things and for now, what the suite does, is to request you to restart the browser when it detects using up heaps of memory.
The AVG 2012 Internet Security Package also has a feature known as LinkScanner that looks for malicious codes on webpages and it also manages to know what is running in the web browser. With the help of the latter feature, the suite gets the power to handle some of the more dynamic threats codes that seems to be spread of a number of WebPages. As far as scareware is concerned, AVG Internet Security 2011 makes use of the patent pending technique in order to detect the scareware program that is fully based on its user prompts and actions. With the help of this technology, it will be able to detect some of the latest scareware without the need of a file signature.
AVG Internet Security 2012’s Firewall has protection profiles including Home network, business and public network, with each of the profile having its own complete configuration settings. We recommend that you do not fiddle with these setting without any instruction from the support team. This Firewall was able to manage the work of stealthinng all the system’s ports. The suite passed out with flying colours in most of our web-attack testing. Like we had mentioned previously, the LinkScanner was able to put off attack over the network by both identifying and blocking the exploits. AVG has database of the known trusted programs and by default, the firewall seems to be automatically configuring the network programs for such programs. And, as far as the unknown programs are concerned, the old school query pops up, asking you if each and every program has to be allowed for complete entrée, only to the networks that are identified to be safe, or, it will just provide no access at all.
This type of program control is not so impressive. The latest firewalls like the one in Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 and Norton have employed the in-built aptitude in order to make security decisions. Just requesting the user to make a decision seems like getting into trouble. The suite seems to be still vulnerable to some of the basic attacks that will be a piece of cake for a malware coder and easily turn off the protection. All that is required is to set up the start-up status of the essential windows services to AVG to be disabled and then force in a reboot too. Suites such as TrendMicro Titanium, Norton and ZoneAlarm simply will not allow for any external change of this setting. Overall, the firewall does not match the quality of the antivirus, using the out of date user input technique for program control. We are looking for more enhancements in this area.
There is a feature known as Online Shield that is a component of the LinkScanner and is not available on the free version. While re-downloading the malware about half of the preexisting samples, and that is just average performance. The common features included in both the paid and free versions include the LinkScanner’s Surf-Shield as well as Search-Shield features. While the former looks out for the websites that hot spiteful exploits and takes away the users from such sites and the latter feature marks of the hazardous result links of the famous search engines. The Surf Shield feature is also supposed to be keeping you off from the fraud phishing websites, however, when the feature was put into test, it did not do a good job. Norton is the best when it comes to this task.
Social network protection:
Just like the antivirus suite, this 2012 AVG Internet Security also installs a tool bar offering some safe search and quick access to Facebook and few of the other features. With the PCAnalyzer tools, they check your system to see if it will be able to benefit by using AVG PC TuneUp 2011, which can be bought separately and then integrated into the security suite.
Being free does not mean that AVG is any less on protection, it possess the same set of malware security as in the case of the full version. In our malware testing, the AVG Internet Security Suite 2012 managed to install with no issues and was also faster than most of the other leading suites in the market. One strange thing was that, we found the rootkit scan to be separate from the complete system scan. The suite was able to detect 88% of the threats, which is extremely good. The suite also performed quite well at malware blocking and it also managed to point out all the scareware and rootkit samples.
Everybody are not looking for a spam filter on the client side. Most of the email accounts will get filtered at lots of layers and even by the service provider. The AVG is capable of filtering the entering POP3 email accounts and also provide an identify marker in the subject line of the spam messages. This gets integrated with the Microsoft Outlook in order to immediately transfer these messages into the spam folder. The people who are making use of some other mail client will end up defining a rule in order to divert this spam.
Similar to the 2011 version of the suite, the current version of the suite also has advanced settings dialog box includes lots and lots of detailed settings meant for the spam filter. The only setting that we believe that an average user may be able to make changes to, is the big slider that allows you to control the spam filtering levels. The default level, which is the least aggressive one will avoid the false positives, but the down side is that, it will allow for more spam to pass through, with the higher level filtering more spam, but then, this will throw out the good mails too. The spam filter did not take longer than the time it would have taken without the filter. However, the bad news here is that, the 2012 version of AVG Internet Security was not as good as the 2011 version, allowing about 50% of spam inside the inbox, compared to the 8% of last year. If you are serious about throwing out the spam mails, we recommend that you just turn off AVG’s spam filtering and install Cloudmark.
While many of the security suites included parental controls, the closest AVG comes to including parental controls, is the integration of separately bought AVG Family Safety. With AVG’s current promotion, you will be able to get this extra feature for free with a meagre donation. On the System Tools component, you will get a range of options to analyse what has been happening inside your system. On the processes tab, you also get to see whose behaviour is being watched by the suite, along with the particular behaviours it is looking for, and these behaviours include both good and bad, such as having a visible window and Windows directory. All the programs will be launched at start-up, including the complete path name and system location too from which the program launches. You also get an option to delete any of the start-up entry, and note that what you delete is permanently gone. Unless you are the AVG programmer, do not try to fiddle with settings of LSPs tables, connections and browser extensions.
The best thing about AVG Internet Security 2012 is its antivirus component. It managed to score quite well in malware removal and blocking tests. As we had mentioned earlier, we were totally impressed by the very low impact on system resources, which is quite a considerable improvement over the 2011 version. Firewall however, was not so impressive and was old fashioned and worse, it could be disabled programmatically by a malware. The antispam let lots of spam mails slip through and the antiphishing component of LinkScanner was also lagging quite a bit behind the best in the market. overall, it is a pretty good suite, however, you will be able to get the best elements of AVG Internet Security 2012 for free on AVG Anti-Virus 2012. For a complete protection, we will always recommend Norton Internet Security 2011.
AVG Internet Security Suite 2012 – Software Details
|Software name||AVG Internet Security 2012|
|Suite type||Internet Security|
|License Validation period||1 year|
|License quantity||3 users/ 4 users|
|Minimal System requirements||Intel Pentium 1.5 GHz or faster
512 MB of RAM memory
1000 MB free space
|Recommended system requirements||Intel Pentium 1.8 GHz or faster
512 MB of RAM memory
1550 MB free space
|OS Compatibility||Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7|
|Special Operating Modes||No|
|Parental Control||No (extra)|
|Data Backup||No (extra)|
|Support||FAQ, forum, videos, email; free phone support in US, UK, Canada.|