Internet Security Showdown 2015: Avast vs AVG

As the end of the year approaches, many companies are releasing their latest anti-virus and internet security software. Recently, PC Magazine took a look at both Avast Internet Security 2015 and AVG Internet Security 2015 with full reviews of each of these software packages that can protect your computer from a variety of threats.

We’re going to go over a rundown of these two powerhouse security apps as well as some others that you want to make sure you have installed. When it comes to protecting yourself online, you can never be too prepared or cautious. Okay, maybe you can go overboard a little bit – like Brazil, for instance. In any case, here’s a loot at what’s on the horizon for internet security.

Avast Internet Security 2015 Review

One of the great things about the new version of Avast is that it comes with quite a few bonus features. For example, it will actually check out your router to make sure there are no security holes for one reason or another on your hardware. Some of the separate features have an additional cost, which isn’t really cool. Additionally, Avast 2015 did have a slight impact on overall system performance, which has been a common complaint since the birth of anti-virus and security software.

AVG Internet Security 2015 Review

One of the other big names in internet security – AVG – also has a new version coming out for 2015. While it runs a lot faster and had less of a hit on performance of the systems it was tested on by the PC Magazine labs, the actual protection it offered was negligible. Unfortunately, a lot of malware was able to slip through. This is a shame for around $55/year for the paid version – which is the one that was tested at PC Magazine.

Other Top Security Software

Some legacy anti-virus software is needed (even if it’s not the two mentioned above). Next, we’re going to go over some of the more well known anti-malware and spyware removal programs that you want to have installed on your system if you’re online a lot. Most of these have a free version, but if you’re serious about security and protecting yourself, you’re going to want to shell out a little money to get all the best features.

MBAM – Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

malware-bytesBasically, all you need to know is in the name of this tool. This is very cool software that goes after all malware, spyware, and adware – not just the easy ones. You know you have a good piece of useful software when the writers of malware typically target this program specifically.

Luckily, MBAM makes it easy to run it even if the malware on your system is trying to stop it from running. As always, you want to make sure you keep it updated often as new threats are coming out all the time. The MBAM freeware version is nice, but if you want more features (which are useful), you’re going to have to pay.

Ad-Aware 11 by LavaSoft

Over at LavaSoft, they have Ad-Aware 11, the newest version,  which you can try for free. The latest update has an entirely new user interface, but from what PC Magazine and others have to say, it’s a very nice change. At the same time, the protection offered by Ad-Aware 11 may not be as good as previous versions. One big thing to point out is that Ad-Aware 11 doesn’t have any zero-day capabilities. That means it can’t protect against new and unknown threats when they first come out.

Changing the Way We Fight Malware

Last but not least, I want to spend some time on an article from PC Magazine that ran in October of this year. It touched on the fact that instead of struggling to keep up with zero-day threats all the time, there needs to be a paradigm shift when it comes to fighting malware. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly to some, Microsoft is helping lead the way when it comes to defeating attacks on their operating system.

If you didn’t know, The Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) from Microsoft is running on billions of computers around the planet. As you might imagine, that’s quite a bit of data that is being collected regarding attacks. This could be very useful for building next generation tools to fight malware and more. At the 9th IEEE International Conference on Malicious and Unwanted Software (aka Malware 2014), Microsoft’s Dennis Batchelder gave a keynote speech that talked about the Redmond giant’s plans for all that data. The Clean Software Alliance is just part of the plans. 

Whether or not Microsoft (and others who are involved in getting rid of malware) actually lives up to their word and does something to create a better way to combat attacks and exploits online is up in the air. However, the fact that Microsoft is sharing quite a bit of data is a really good thing. Two other internet security projects to watch include Digital Exhaust and Coordinated Malware Eradication.

All in all, the fact that competitors (the good guys) are working together against the bad guys is good news for everyone who just wants a safe and secure computing environment.  The Cloud is here to stay, but we’re going to have to seriously rethink the way we protect ourselves. Instead of playing Whack-a-Mole with each new virus or malware program that pops up, it makes sense to step back and take a look at the big picture to try to come up with a new way of fighting the bad guys, one that doesn’t slow down the computer and is easy and simple for everyone to use.