We've regularly praised Avira's security suite in the past, and this latest version makes only minor changes to the formula. The biggest new feature is the ProActiv module, which identifies potential threats by monitoring application behaviour and pooling information with other Avira users.
This isn't a new idea, though; A-List champion Norton Internet Security 2010 has a similar feature, and Avira's implementation doesn't yet work on 64-bit Windows.
Avira 10's other headline features are a new Generic Repair feature that attempts to undo damage caused by malware, and a lick of virtual paint that brightens up the interface, although it's still boxy and unintuitive.
Happily, it remains a winner thanks to its excellent detection abilities. This month, against 247 malware samples Avira achieved a 95% detection rate, equalling Norton Internet Security 2010.
|Avira raised our test system's idle RAM footprint from 590MB to 685MB. In comparison, Norton pushed memory usage up to 722M.|
It's still a lightweight package too. Installing the software raised our test system's idle RAM footprint from 590MB to 685MB, which is low for a security suite. In comparison, Norton pushed memory usage up to 722MB.
Despite this nimbleness, Avira packs in lots of clever technology. The firewall, for example, gives you plenty of control over which events should cause an alert. You can scan email using POP3 or IMAP, prevent unknown processes from killing other programs, block suspicious iFrames on the web, and even password-protect parts of the interface. There's also a backup module, although no online storage.
With all these options and an unfriendly interface, Avira is likely to be daunting for a typical user. The three-PC licence is more expensive than that of Norton too, but the single-PC licence could save you money if you have only one PC to protect. For technical users, however, it's an excellent choice, combining great detection with a high degree of configurability.