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  1. #1
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    AVG -no longer free?

    One of the folks that I help says she just got a message from AVG that her current free version will expire on January 15, 2007 and that they are discontinuing their free version? Has anyone else heard about this?

  2. #2
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    Re: AVG -no longer free?

    Support for version 7.1 is being discontinued on Jan 15. Version 7.5 is the newest version. See New Free Anti-Virus

  3. #3
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    Re: AVG -no longer free?

    I just received (I guess) the same message. It points to their new commercial product, but a new
    AVG Anti-Virus Free is also available. That's advertising for ya!

    Alan

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    Re: AVG -no longer free?

    In a PC World (http://www.pcworld.com/article/124475-1/article.html) review, AVG free got very poor marks. In addition to PC World not thinking much of AVG Free (and please note: the review was on AVG Free, not AVG Paid; however, Free and Paid are not the same engines), PC Magazine also didn't think much of AVG Free. PC Magazine noted that it doesn't offer lab-certified antivirus removal. It isn't enough to detect a virus, a program has to effectively remove it. Compare these statistics from the testing done by AV-Test, a German security testing company, on 3 products: BitDefender, Kaspersky, and AVG Free:

    The test data gave these results for AVG:

    Performance - Performance: Fair
    WildList viruses - 100%
    AV-Test zoo threats - 80%
    Heuristic detection with one-month-old signatures - 8%
    Heuristic detection with two-month-old signatures - 4%
    Scan speed (in seconds) - 354
    Outbreak response time - 8 to 10 hours

    In contrast, the test data for BitDefender was:

    Performance - Performance: Superior
    WildList viruses - 100%
    AV-Test zoo threats - 95%
    Heuristic detection with one-month-old signatures - 56%
    Heuristic detection with two-month-old signatures - 38%
    Scan speed (in seconds) - 556
    Outbreak response time - 2 to 4 hours

    and for Kaspersky:

    Performance - Performance: Superior
    WildList viruses - 100%
    AV-Test zoo threats - 100%
    Heuristic detection with one-month-old signatures - 51%
    Heuristic detection with two-month-old signatures - 26%
    Scan speed (in seconds) - 420
    Outbreak response time - 0 to 2 hours

    Most importantly, the review noted that "[w]hile AVG Free Edition caught nearly 100 percent of bots and zombies in our collection of zoo malware, it caught a disappointing 65 percent of Trojan horses. It ranked second-to-last in our heuristics tests--detecting just 11 percent of worms and 8 percent of backdoor programs using one-month-old virus data." AVG (Grisoft) sells an AV product called AVG AntiVirus Professional Edition for $40, which they wouldn't be able to do if AVG Free offered the same protection.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: AVG -no longer free?

    While I understand that testing month-old signature files might be an indication of how forward-looking a company's software is, I do not think it is especially relevant if people have their software configured to auto-update every 1-4 hours. The companies that do the best on those measures (e.g., eSet nod32) tend to have slightly higher false positives, which can cause unnecessary stress. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

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    Re: AVG -no longer free?

    I'm not sure I agree with you insofar as the irrelevance of the month-old signature files if the AV software updates every 1-4 hours. It seems to me that merely updating is not enough if the program doesn't remove the virus or if the update doesn't catch the virus or if the heuristics are lacking. FWIW BitDefender 10 updates every hour as does Kapersky and both score high in all of the categories, which AVG free does not. I would think that AVG free has to be a lesser AV program or there would be no inducement to buy AVG Pro for $40 (or whatever the current pricing is). If it were that good, every reviewer would rave about it and it would be every editor's choice.

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: AVG -no longer free?

    I'm not sure we're talking about the same thing. Heuristic detection for unrecognized malware provides stopgap protection until the signature file can be updated. It's a good thing, and some vendors do it better than others. But testing a two-month old signature file against today's malware seems to stretch the idea past its breaking point. When you check for updates every 6 minutes or every 6 hours, the relevant time gap is far less than two months, or even one month.

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    Re: AVG -no longer free?

    There are oh so many factors that are not often enough disussed.

    For example, which AV does the most comprehensive scanning.?

    NAV 2006 usually scans about 1.2 million files on my system
    I installed Kaspersky AV 6 and it has thus far scanned about 2,25 million files and it's got a few files to go.

    I had not been aware that NAV only looks in .zip archives. KAV scans a lot more.

    KAV also reports on more categories of threats, e.g.,
    <hr>
    detected: riskware not-a-virus:RiskTool.Win32.PsKill.k File: G:HKFiles-GUtilitiesSystemInternalsSysInternals_07_18_06.zip PsTools.zippskill.exe
    <hr>

  9. #9
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    Re: AVG -no longer free?

    You may be correct that we are not talking about the same things; I admit I'm of limited knowledge in this area. For me the bottom lines are these: (a) AVG free was not highly rated by either PC Magazine or PC World, whereas Kaspersky and BitDefender were. I am not in a position to comprehensively test these types of software and so I put my trust (foolishly or not) in these 2 magazines' reviews and tests. ([img]/forums/images/smilies/cool.gif[/img] AV protection is very important to me. I receive all kinds of files from all types of people from all around the globe in my business (book editing) and not everyone is careful about viruses. It would cost me more to disinfect a computer than to prevent the infection by spending $40 on a high-rated program. Foolishly or not, I can't believe that a free AV program from a for-profit company like Grisoft or Zone Alarm can be nearly as effective as their paid-for software. The free version has to lack something or not do something very well and it has to be something significant or there would be no justification for a paid "Pro" version. I think the reviews of the free AV programs tend to bear this out. However, I will admit that I am viewing this as business person. I do agree that everyone's needs (fears?) are different and that AVG free (or any of the free AV programs) may be more than sufficient. But when I make that decision, I want to make it based on some kind of objective data.

    I look at the test results and I see the red flag of an 80% on the AV-Test zoo thrreats compared to 95% for BitDefender and 100% for Kaspersky. That seems to me to be sufficient reason to question AVG's performance. But when I combine that 80% with the heuristic scores of 8% and 4% (compared to 56% and 38% for BitDefender and 52% and 26% for Kaspersky), it seems to me that AVG is not a good choice for my computers. Isn't detection of unrecognized malware the more important function of an AV program? I agree that the time gap is narrow (AVG free updates every 8-12 hours, I believe), but a lot of things can happen in 8-12 hours that could shut my business down for days. I grant that even with hourly updates I could be hit badly, but that is why the heurisitic scores are important to me.

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: AVG -no longer free?

    Rich, I think your concerns are justified and you should choose the product that makes you most comfortable and fits your budget. I don't have any personal experience with AVG free or otherwise.

    The problem with the published tests for heuristic capabilities that I have seen -- 1-, 2- and 3-month-old signatures -- is that they are no more logical than rating weather forecasters on the accuracy of their 1-, 2-, and 3-months forecasts. It would be great for someone to produce a 5-day rolling window evaluation, since new malware variants typically release in waves of copycat worms and viruses over a short period. But that would be extremely complex to run, so we probably will not see it any time soon. <img src=/S/sad.gif border=0 alt=sad width=15 height=15>

  11. #11
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    Re: AVG -no longer free?

    I understand the skepticism, which is why I look at as many reviews as I can. However, I also realize that I am not in a position to test all of the available AV software and have to put some faith in something. I would point out as being a plus in favor of the magazine's objectivity is that the same magazine gave an editor's choice to Comodo Firewall, a free product, and said that it was at least a good as, and perhaps better than, Zone Alarm Pro (paid version), which was its other editor's choice. Also, these same magazines regularly criticize Symantec, Panda, Zone Alarm, and other major advertisers' products. Look at the ratings and rankings they give to hardware.

    Of course, if I don't accept the veracity of the magazine reviews, how do I make a decision? If I tell you that xyz is great, the best ever AV program, it is simply anecdotal. I know that it has blocked 100 viruses because it told me so, but what about the 10 it didn't that it it said nothing about because the virus was smarter than the program's heristics capability? Whether AVG free notifies you of a virus, who can say. If you don't accept the test reports, what is your basis for concluding that AVGfree at least notifies you of a virus. I admit that I do not know if BitDefender or Kaspersky really do the job; I only know that the reviewers say they do the best job -- at least this year -- and that I have to put my faith somewhere.

  12. #12
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    Re: AVG -no longer free?

    > In a PC World review

    I have no axe to grind, but I harbour an initial modicum of skepticism when reading reviews from a magazine that is supported by advertisers. I am clever enough (I think) to skew reports ever-so-slightly to favour people who buy my product (in PCMag's case, the product is "advertising space").

    In response to "The free version has to lack something or not do something very well" I agree with this logic, but that still isn't enough to convince me that AVGFree doesn't at least notify me of a virus. AVGFree inhibits special scheduling of tasks; I am limited in some features that are not relevant to the detection of viruses.

  13. #13
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    Re: AVG -no longer free?

    In addition to the new <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> AVG 7.5 AntiVirus, there's also some <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> AntiSpyware available in their 7.5 suite. I'm using it at home and it's brilliant - beats Adaware, in my opinion.

    As far as the PC World review is concerned, any software review commissioned or executed by a company that makes it's money from selling software is bound to have an element of bias to it, and so should be taken with a pinch of salt.
    Waggers
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  14. #14
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    Re: AVG -no longer free?

    I think you'll find that the trial AVG AntiSpyware 7.5 product only lasts for 30 days, following which it runs in degraded mode (or whatever you call it!), without the real-time monitor and another option, unless you pay.

    John
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    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  15. #15
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    Re: AVG -no longer free?

    Yep, that's true. I'm not entirely clear on which bits stay and which bits disappear after the 30 days, perhaps I'll post back here after the event to describe what's left. Meanwhile, I'd certainly recommend giving the 30 day trial a go, but it hasn't done enough to persuade me to part with cash at this stage when there are very good free alternatives around.
    Waggers
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