07 October 2009 | 40,660 views

AVG Stepping Up Consumer Anti-Virus Offerings

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AVG used to be THE anti-virus software a few years ago, especially with it being the first major vendor offering a free solution for home users.

If you asked any techie back in 2002 which AV should you use, the answer would invariably be AVG free (or perhaps Panda).

After that AVG just got bloated, slow and their signature files became very weak missing a lot of nasty infections, I had to fix so many PCs running AVG that were infected up the ass with all kind of malware.

People starting recommending other like Avast!, Avira and BitDefender which also offer free use versions for home use.

AVG is putting an emphasis on increased speed with a revamp of its free and paid for security suites.

The latest revamp – AVG 9.0 – boasts 50 per cent faster speed and increased ease of use. Improvements in speed have been achieved by skipping the scan of files already marked as safe in future scans unless the file structure changes. The approach also offers claimed improvements of ten to 15 per cent for boot times and memory usage, respectively.

The firewall module in AVG 9.0 has also been redesigned to be less intrusive (ie fewer ‘Do you want to allow this application online’ questions) alongside tighter integration with the anti-malware scanner that forms the core of the product. This anti-malware scanner makes greater use of behaviour-based, cloud-based and white-listing technologies.

I haven’t tested AVG 9.0 yet as the free version isn’t being released until later this month, but if it stands up to their claims it could be a good product.

Speed and bloat is definitely something they need to work on along with a more accurate scanning engine and complete signature files.

Let’s hope it’s not all just hype.

AVG Free 9.0 will be available mid-October. Details of the features are being held back until then, but expect to see a cut-down product based on the same engine but without a firewall and other bells and whistles. Based on past form, AVG free will offer an anti-malware scanner alongside LinkScanner safe search technology.

AVG’s business model relies on selling into small business and getting a percentage of consumer users of its free product (perhaps around two per cent) to upgrade. The consumer end of this equation is severely threatened by Microsoft Security Essentials launch.

Recommendations from tech savvy friends were one of the main reasons consumers latched onto AVG in the first place. AVG lost a lot of goodwill in this area with the traffic-spewing fiasco that attached to version 8.0 of its security scanner.

Secondly, irrespective of the technical merits of its product, AVG is facing off against Redmond’s marketing muscle while at the same time hunting for a new chief executive.

Microsoft Security Essentials is definitely a huge entry barrier for them and they will need to push hard to gain back a decent market share. There are some extremely good AV products out there now and a lot more choice for consumers.

Plus of course the big fat behemoths are still out there bundling their software with OEMs (Symantec, McAfee etc).

We shall see if it stands up to the tests of real world use.

Source: The Register



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6 Responses to “AVG Stepping Up Consumer Anti-Virus Offerings”

  1. geek.4.fun 7 October 2009 at 1:04 pm Permalink

    awesome, I hope AVG decided to stop sucking.

  2. whitehat2k9 7 October 2009 at 5:47 pm Permalink

    WTF are you guys talking about? I’ll admit AVG picked up some weight with the release of 8.0, but it only got better with 8.5 (and now with this latest v9 release). It’s always been a solid antivirus, and I’ve installed it on everything from low-powered single-core machines to high-performance workstations without any slowdowns or system issues.

    Additionally, your point about MS Security Essentials jumps the gun. MSE is a newcomer to the (free) AV market, and only time will tell how successful it will be. In the meantime, consumers will keep using more established free products like those from AVG, Avast, Avira, etc.

  3. anony 7 October 2009 at 7:32 pm Permalink

    I’ve been using AVG for a couple of months now, and I must say it’s pretty good for being free and all. It was also the fastest out of the few AVs I tested. Its signature detections are very easy to bypass, by just modifying 1 byte it will evade detection, though I was using an online scanner (which shares results with AV vendors) to scan the modded virii, and by the next day of scanning the same modded virii, AVG now detected it. So at least they are on their toes. AVG is a great solution if you don’t feel like spending money, otherwise I would go with Kaspersky. I downloaded the free trial to try out some signature evasions and they were much harder. Even if I evaded the signature, heuristics would still catch on. When scanning my infected modified files, out of 24 AVs, Kaspersky never failed!
    For worst AV, I would have to put Panda at the top of the list. It couldn’t detect any modded virii and unmodded one’s only got detected as “Unknown/Possible Threat”.

  4. NNM 8 October 2009 at 7:15 am Permalink

    AVG had major problems with some computers, causing a shutdown to take 5 minutes or more. Even seem some computers (more than 1) ended up being unable to boot because of AVG.
    Slowness, update problems, etc made me go away from AVG a few months ago. I did not trust its efficiency either in the end.
    It will take a lot of changes for me to back to it. (+ the massive notifications caused some of my computer noobs to install the pro version and have their trial expire).

  5. Rishabh Dangwal 10 October 2009 at 4:25 am Permalink

    True story..happened with me too.I used to use AVG untill its updates became a pain in the ass and it used more than 50MB of memory and multiple processess. I later moved on to Nod32-comodo solution which i m using till date.
    AVG needs to revamp its core in order to get back to what it used to be.

    PS:Competition from Microsoft ? Are you serious ?

  6. chrisv 1 November 2009 at 8:47 pm Permalink

    i haven’t tried AVG9. i’ve used it (free and paid) on client and server machines since 03. i’m in agreement with the author.
    it really doesn’t matter much though. the bad guys are so sophisticated (and motivated) that they find a way to infect and own.
    never been a fan of panda and kaspersky has let me down more than once.
    educated users, solid backups, a good firewall, network intrusion detection… all good things to understand and employ.

    Good luck to AVG! I’ll still be using it ~ i sure hope it’s better!

    -chrisv