AVG Anti-Spyware ReviewVersion 220.127.116.11
by Coenraad de Beer (Webmaster & Founder of Cyber Top Cops)
Posted on 28-11-2006
When Grisoft took ewido anti-malware over from ewido networks it was suspected that they would take this useful application to new heights. Grisoft revamped the user interface, added a couple of handy features and renamed the product to ewido anti-spyware. Not long after this they decided to incorporate ewido anti-spyware into the Grisoft range of products. This is when it got the name of AVG Anti-Spyware. AVG Anti-Spyware is not much different from ewido anti-spyware except for a few additional anti-spy tools and a new colour scheme for the user interface. The resident shield also changed from the ewido networks logo to the Grisoft logo. AVG Anti-Spyware is your all-in-one anti-spyware solution.
Plain, simple and straightforward. It is easy enough for any kind of user.
AVG Anti-Spyware automatically updates your definition files for a period of 30 days. After the 30-day trial period you need to purchase the full version to continue receiving updates automatically. If you decide to continue with the free version you need to update manually.
The resident shield of AVG Anti-Spyware is active for a period of 30 days. After that you need to order the full version to continue enjoying real-time protection. The resident shield provides effective protection against threats trying to access your system as well as threats already installed on your system. It blocks other programs from terminating AVG Anti-Spyware, it scans files on execution and scans for new applications loaded into the memory. Another handy feature is the setting to delete tracking cookies automatically. The resident shield makes it easy to take action against threats detected on your system and gives you the option to clean and move the object to quarantine, clean it, ignore it or ignore and add the infected object to exceptions.
AVG Anti-Spyware is easy on your system and never slows it down, not even during a scan. But this comes as no surprise because Grisoft is famous for their resource friendly applications.
Isolation of Threats
Just like ewido anti-spyware you won't find the same level of isolation as you would find with an anti-virus package. You can still move, rename, copy and delete files detected by the resident shield of AVG-Anti Spyware, but this is done to prevent file access errors between the resident shield of AVG Anti-Spyware and the resident shield of your anti-virus package. You only enjoy 30 days of free isolation benefits, after that you need to order the full version to continue using the resident shield, the module of AVG Anti-Spyware responsible for the isolation of threats.
Grisoft did not fiddle too much with ewido's already impressive scanning engine but they made some major improvements to the user interface. AVG Anti-Spyware has a sleek and professional look with an easy accessible toolbar at the top of the main window. All the buttons on the toolbar is self-explanatory and makes navigation to and from the different parts of the program easy and effortless.
Scanning & Healing
AVG Anti-Spyware has one of the most user friendly and effortless ways of dealing with detected threats. Scanning is completely automatic and requires no user interaction. After the scanning process you can decide which actions to take against specific threats or you can take one single action against all the detected threats. Clean, simple and most important, effective.
- Fast-scan function: Yes
- Scanning of Single objects: Yes
- Customisable scanning: Yes
- Boot sector scanning: No
- Memory scanning: Yes
- Registry scanning: Yes
- System Area scanning: Yes (Fast System Scan)
AVG Anti-Spyware does not scan the boot sector, boot sector scanning is normally done by anti-virus applications and not by anti-spyware programs. However it does have a few advanced scanning abilities. It scans for Binders (malware attached to other files), it can scan inside of archives (ZIP, RAR, CAB, etc.), it uses heuristic analysis to detect unknown spyware, it scans inside compressed executables like UPX, petite and FSG files and it also scans NTFS Alternate Data Streams (only applicable to the NTFS file system).
AVG Anti-Spyware successfully quarantined 97% of the threats we tested it with. The other 3% could not be quarantined and AVG Anti-Spyware had to delete them. All objects quarantined and can be restored after removal from the Quarantine list under the Infections section.
AVG Anti-Spyware has a few handy functions that deserve some special mentioning. One such function is the System Analysis tool. This section of the program is divided into the following tabs:
- Processes: A handy feature if your Windows Task Manager is disabled by spyware. You can easily see which applications are loaded into your memory and you can also terminate them from here.
- Connections: This tab gives you the chance to view which connections are currently active on your system and from here you can terminate the connections or the applications responsible for the connections.
- Autostart: You can view the Startup section of Windows and remove applications from your Windows Startup. This comes in handy if spyware blocks the System Configuration Utility (MSConfig) or the Registry Editor (Regedit).
- Browser Plugins: Malicious browser plug-ins are commonly used to hijack your browser. Some browser plug-ins may not be harmful, but there are many annoying ones that are hard to get rid of. You can use this tool to remove browser plug-ins when you don't have access to the Registry Editor or don't know how to remove stubborn browser plug-ins from the Windows Registry.
- LSP Viewer: The Layered Service Providers list. You can use this tool to review your active LSPs. You can hide Windows LSPs to easily distinguish genuine LSPs from malicious ones. You can also use this tab to repair broken LSPs if AVG Anti-Spyware detects any broken ones.
The Tools section gives you a couple of Antispy tools to tweak Windows a bit in some areas. It also has a secure shredder that you can use to permanently delete files from your hard disk.
Easy and effortless un-installation with the option to keep scanning logs and quarantined objects. Just like ewido anti-spyware, no shortcut is provided in the Start menu and you have to un-install from the Windows Control Panel.
|Isolation of Threats:||6|
|Scanning & Healing:||9|