Avast has been in operation since 1998 and claims to protect 435 million devices worldwide with its award-winning cyber security software. The company’s free software has limited functionality. However the premium versions, such as Avast Ultimate are quite comprehensive. The suite includes antivirus, VPN service, password manager and Cleanup utilities that allow users to remain private online manage their passwords, and make their devices more efficient.
Avast Ultimate offers a simple interface that clearly shows the tools it provides. Its malware engine performed well in lab tests conducted by independent labs that identified a variety of malware that are often able to bypass other security tools. Its web security features are highly effective, it detects phishing websites that are not detected by Chrome or Firefox’s default security settings.
Other tools include an app lock, RAM boost, and a network scanner that searches for potential security holes. Its ransomware protection stops third-party programs from changing, deleting, or locking your data until you pay. The program is available as mobile applications for Android as well as iOS. Apple’s restrictions have made the Android version more feature-rich, but both versions contain key security features, including malware scanning and web coverage.
Avast’s biggest flaw is that it collects and transmits your personal information to its analytics business, Jumpshot. In 2020, this was disclosed by a PCMag and Motherboard investigative report. This feature can be disabled via the settings menu. If you’re worried, Avast allows you to create a password you must enter before the software is able to share your IP address or other information with third parties.