In informal testing, on a Dell system with a 134GB drive and 2GB of RAM running Windows XP SP2, we found the suite consumed many system resources. While there is a toggle option to help reduce the impact of full system scans on performance, we kept ours in the default position.
During the rootkit scan, AVG asked us to minimise our computer usage. We haven't seen that before. AVG used 20 percent to 30 percent of system resources during the scan -- somewhat high, but not as high as during a full system scan.
During a full system scan, our resource usage leapt to 70 percent, at times slowing our use of the system. The rootkit scan took well over an hour to complete.
The scan found mostly Internet cookies, however, it did identify one legitimate program as a "potentially harmful program." The program, XeroBank xb Browser, is an anonymous version of Firefox 2 that uses The Onion Router network to disguise Internet traffic. Xb Browser is used by many people in countries that censor Internet users.
When asked about the false positive, an AVG representative said "some programs might be used for legit purposes by some, but are also quite often misused for illegit (sic) purposes. These are often installed by hackers when they invade a system. The app mentioned is one such fine example -- that is why we call it 'potentially unwanted' application. Such apps can be added to exceptions easily if the users (sic) knows what they do and why he installed it."
Steve Topletz, the developer who wrote XeroBank responded: "The obvious reason is that AVG may feel compelled to cater to corporate clients, rather than provide honest and accurate identification. In the end, the user suffers. We regret companies that use their software to subdue and scare users, but XeroBank will continue to develop software that empowers users to take control of their privacy."
Two leading independent antivirus testing organisations give AVG high ratings for PC protection. In the latest test results from AV-Comparatives.org it gave AVG Anti-Virus 7.5 -- the previous version -- an Advanced rating (highest) for On Demand protection and Advanced Plus (highest) for heuristic protection, blocking 97 percent of the malicious code used in the test. Our second source of independent antivirus testing, CheckVir.com, gave AVG Anti-Virus 7.5 a Standard rating (highest) for identifying malicious software (the products were not tested for removal).
AVG Internet Security 8.0 is priced at AU$101.95 for a two year, single user license including unlimited signature updates and program upgrades. A special 3-pack licence offer for AVG Internet Security 8.0 covering up to 3 PCs for two years is also available for AU$123.25.
Free telephone support is included during Melbourne business hours, plus AVG provides Internet Security 8.0 customers with free 24/7 e-mail technical support within the program. There are searchable FAQs on AVG's Web site with a handful of useful questions and answers. There is also a downloadable 172-page PDF users' manual that lacks a comprehensive index. There is no online user's forum, however.
Despite the addition of Linkscanner and numerous small enhancements, we feel there are other suites (such as our current Editors' Choice ZoneAlarm Internet Security 7) that provide equivalent security protection and integrate their tools much better.