AVG Antivirus Free Edition is a antivirus and antimalware program created by AVG Technologies, a company originally from the Czech Republic, but now headquartered in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. AVG Free is available for Windows and Mac computers as well as Android mobile devices.
AVG Antivirus Free Edition also comes with a program called AVG Zen which allows you to remotely manage several devices that have AVG software installed. You can also use your mobile phone or tablet to remotely activate the virus scanner on your laptop or desktop using a similar app on the Android app store.
For monetization AVG has app or software suggestions, that you can adjust in the settings under the Appearance tab, to make them less frequent but with the free version you can’t remove them altogether.
Another thing that AVG does is that they collect quite a bit of data, including personally identifiable data such as your name, address, email, phone and SIM number, IP address, Device ID and location. According to AVG they don’t share personal data without your consent, but it still presents a risk if there’s a data breach at AVG, although they do say that they anonymize some of the data unless they need to retain its personally identifiable characteristics.
Additonally they collect non-personally identifiable data such as browsing and search history, including meta data, your internet service provider or the mobile network you use to connect to their products and information regarding other applications you may have on your device and how they are used. Technically this data isn’t personally identifiable by itself, but if compiled and analyzed, you can draw some conclusions as to who the data might belong to, so it’s not entirely true to say that it is completely anonymous. AVG may share or possibly sell this semi anonymous data to third parties.
If you’re concerned about your privacy, then this may be an issue for you. You can however take some measures to limit the amount of data that is provided to AVG through your use of their software.
When you install AVG, click on Custom Installation and untick ”Web component” and ”Email protection”, or if you’ve already installed AVG, then go to the dashboard and disable these components by clicking on Web and disable the LinkScanner, then go to Identity and disable Identity Protection, and then go to Email and disable the Email Scanner and finally, click on Options and go to Computer Protection, then to Antivirus and untick ”Report potentially unwanted applications and spyware threats”. This should reduce the amount of data that is sent to AVG and help to protect your privacy.
AVG Free features include the antivirus scanner which blocks and removes viruses, spyware and other types of malware, Email Scanner which scans your emails for attachments that may contain viruses or malware, LinkScanner which analyzes the website URLs that you’re visiting and blocks phising attempts and known attack sites which may try to infect your computer and then also Identity Protection which analyzes software applications to see if they exhibit any suspicious behavior and shuts them down if they do.
AV-Test gave AVG 5.5 out of 6 in Performance and 6 out of 6 points in Usability however because they tested the full version either of those may not be full accurate. But AVG did also get 6 out of 6 for Protection, and the Free Edition has the same antivirus engine as the paid one, so it should be pretty solid in terms of virus and malware protection.
Overall AVG is good for antivirus protection, but the privacy issues still bother me, so I will rate it at 7 out of 10 points.
Excellent antivirus protection
Medium to high usage of computer resources
Data harvesting and privacy issues