AVG Internet Security 8 review

A fierce protector against web threats, but middling elsewhere.

Darien Graham-Smith
13 Feb 2009
Price when reviewed 

Most of us have used AVG's free antivirus package, and the same engine underpins the company's full security suite. It also includes a firewall, email integration and antispam, plus a few extras such as rootkit detection and IM protection. Those are good things to have, but considering the basic malware component can be had for free it doesn't seem like great value.

Our malware detection tests only strengthened that impression. A score of just 80% left AVG near the bottom of the class, missing trojans, diallers, backdoors and more. When we probed the test PC with our network scanner, we found five potential vulnerabilities and six open TCP ports - more than any other package. We were less than impressed by the firewall too, which was confusing to configure and intrusive once we'd done so.

We were also turned off by the way the program's browser tool bar includes a Yahoo search box that can't be closed - and "page not found" errors are, by default, redirected to another page with a Yahoo search field. We might excuse that sort of thing in a free program, but not in a paid-for suite.

AVG does have one trump card: web-based detection. Clearly, the company's acquisition of Exploit Protection Labs and its LinkScanner package at the end of 2007 is paying off. By combining URL blacklists with real-time detection, AVG achieved a chart-topping 74% success rate with dodgy websites.

If your prime concern is web-based threats, AVG Internet Security is worth considering, but for all-round peace of mind we'd go with a more balanced package such as Avira.


Software subcategoryInternet security


Processor requirementN/A

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes
Operating system Linux supported?no
Operating system Mac OS X supported?no

Read more about