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AVG Internet Security Review: A premium antivirus suite that you can put on all your household PCs

AVG has a big advantage in the free antivirus space since it owns both Avast (acquired in 2016) and its homegrown product, AVG Free. The hope is that you’ll love the free stuff so much that you’ll eventually upgrade to one of its paid products.

In the case of AVG, most people go with its Internet Security program. Priced at $70, it’s one step down from the company’s flagship product, AVG Ultimate, and lacks a number of Ultimate’s less crucial features. For example, you don’t get AVG’s PC tune up package or third-party desktop software updater. That’s hardly a loss, though, as you can find free programs to dump cached folders taking up too much space or monitor software updates. The important security features are all included in the $70 security suite, however, including antivirus, firewall, and phishing protection.

Unlike Avast, AVG opted not to include a password manager as part of its various security packages. Instead, you have to fork over an extra $20 per year to make that a part of your security set-up. That’s not a bad price, though for a few bucks more you can get an annual subscription to LastPass.

When you first open up AVG, it offers a similar aesthetic to its corporate counterpart Avast. The app largely has a gray background with bright green to highlight important information. You’ll first see a status dashboard that lets you know which AVG security features are active.

Note: This review is part of our best antivirus of 2017 roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

avgmenu Ian Paul/IDG

AVG Internet Security’s primary dashboard and menu.

This dashboard is not intuitive, though. Almost nothing is clickable in the main part of the screen. To tweak most options, you have to click on the Menu hamburger icon at the top right of the window. There you can get into the nitty gritty of the application’s settings, including general options, controls for ransomware protection, a data safe (encrypted folders), and a file shredder feature that overwrites deleted data to make it harder to recover.

internetsecuritymenucomponents Ian Paul/IDG

AVG Internet Security’s Components settings.

Overall, the settings could be better organized and made clearer. Most of the key settings you’ll want to access, for example, are under Menu Settings Components. From there you can tweak your firewall and play with the spam scanning settings.

Reinforcing my point about organization, however, is how the options are laid out. Each part of the component settings is hidden under a downward facing arrow. Click that arrow and you reveal each section’s panel, but all you’ll see is an explanation of the feature and an option to uninstall individual parts of the security suite. To actually get deeper into those firewall settings, you have to click the Customize link in each tile, which is never hidden.

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