AVG Internet Security review: Money for nothing

An ostensible upgrade from the free Avast package – but there’s very little here to justify the cost

A screenshot of AVG Internet Security's main dashboard

IT Pro Verdict


  • +

    Good performance and protection ratings

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  • -

    Minimal extra features

AVG is known for its basic, free antivirus tool, but when you can upgrade to the full version of its security suite for less than a quid a month, it’s tempting to at least look into what you get for the money.

For the price, it looks like a tempting upgrade. However, the extra features are of questionable value and there are plenty of things that this program won’t do: if you want all-round protection, you’re encouraged to buy additional AVG-branded products to fill in the gaps.

AVG Internet Security review: Features

If you’ve used AVG Free lately, you’ll be right at home with AVG Internet Security: it looks exactly the same, except that all the buttons are unlocked.

These give you access to various premium features. AVG Internet Security includes webcam protection, to ensure no-one can spy on you or listen in to your activity. It also features a custom firewall, and there’s a module specifically designed to block malicious remote desktop connections.

Then there are a few tools designed to protect sensitive data, including a secure file shredder and AVG’s innovative Sensitive Data Shield, which identifies documents containing information such as payment, tax or travel details, and blocks applications from accessing them without your say-so.

The price shown above covers a year-long subscription for a single PC, but there are also options that cover longer periods and more devices. Whichever you choose, it’s normally cheapest to buy from a third-party retailer such as Amazon, rather than AVG’s own website.

AVG Internet Security review: Protection

AVG Internet Security achieved a perfect 100% protection rating in the latest tests by AV-Comparatives.org and AV-Test.org. Obviously, that’s as good as you could ask for, but it doesn’t make AVG exceptional: several other products achieved the same score in recent tests, including the free edition of Avast, which isn’t surprising since the two suites use the same core antivirus engine. Come to that, Windows 10’s own built-in protections came tantalisingly close, with an average score of 99.97% across all of the two labs’ tests.

A screenshot of AVG Internet Security's web and email security dashboard

AVG also jumped the gun just a few times, registering three false positives during the tests. Avira, BullGuard, Eset, F-Secure, G-Data and Kaspersky all did better, wrongly flagging up fewer or no innocent files. Still, this isn’t a disastrous showing.

AVG Internet Security review: User interface

Across numerous performance tests, AVG Internet Security slowed down Windows performance by 8.5% on average. That’s not bad at all. The slickest security solution we’ve seen lately is the 2021 edition of F-Secure SAFE, and even that had an impact of 6.15%.

Overall, though, AVG Internet Security isn’t a terribly impressive package. The custom firewall seems pointless – there’s nothing wrong with the standard Windows one – and, while we like the idea of the Sensitive Data Shield, it didn’t work for us at all, failing to recognise or protect a text file containing our banking details and online password.

AVG also omits features found in other security suites such as a driver updater or a warning tool to alert you if your online credentials are leaked. Instead, these functions have been spun off into separate products and the AVG interface conveniently includes marketing links from which you can buy them. It’s not exactly in-your-face advertising, but it still feels a bit distasteful.

AVG Internet Security review: Verdict

Sadly, this paid package isn’t worth it. Even though the price is low, AVG Internet Security simply isn’t very good value. For sure, the underlying antivirus engine is great, but you can get that in the AVG Free Antivirus suite without paying a penny.

Conversely, if you’re willing to pay an annual subscription for internet security, check out something like McAfee or Norton, which do far more for a similar price.

Darien Graham-Smith

Darien began his IT career in the 1990s as a systems engineer, later becoming an IT project manager. His formative experiences included upgrading a major multinational from token-ring networking to Ethernet, and migrating a travelling sales force from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95.

He subsequently spent some years acting as a one-man IT department for a small publishing company, before moving into journalism himself. He is now a regular contributor to IT Pro, specialising in networking and security, and serves as associate editor of PC Pro magazine with particular responsibility for business reviews and features.

You can email Darien at darien@pcpro.co.uk, or follow him on Twitter at @dariengs.