There are a lot of security solutions available to consumers today. Recently, we’ve covered programs from Bitdefender, IObit, and iolo–and I will be the first to say that they’ve all been excellent programs. however, when it comes to computer security, some could argue that Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware was one of the originals.
I still remember when malware was new and its full impact hadn’t been discovered. Ad-Aware was the first anti-malware tool I heard about and it served me for a great many years before it fell off the radar, having been outshadowed by a couple of products. But now, I think Lavasoft has updated their program sufficiently.
Let’s take a look at Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware Pro and see what it has to offer in terms of security.
The Ad-Aware dashboard looks a lot like most security suite dashboards–a centralized location where all of the features, options, and reports can be seen. The computer’s security status is displayed prominently at the top. Options are easily accessed–the little gear icons are subtle yet distinctive. The on/off toggles are easy to use, too.
I like the setup, frankly. The basic toggles are separated from the more advanced toggles so that newbie users don’t have to trip themselves up wading through a bunch of options that they don’t care about. At the same time, advanced users can do their advanced tasks with ease.
The anti-malware functions don’t offer much in terms of uniqueness, but they’re laid out simply and succinctly. As expected, there are 3 modes: Quick Scan, Full Scan, and Custom Scan. Threats can be quarantined and you can read generated reports every time you run a scan. These reports are logged so you can always return to them if needed.
Anti-malware scans can be run on program startup or based on a schedule of selected days and times. One feature I liked is the ability to set performance levels for the different scan modes. Performance levels range from Lowest to Critical, allowing you to set the intensity of particular type of scan.
Ad-Aware’s real-time protection acts sort of like a traditional antivirus program: it sits in the background and warns you whenever something suspicious occurs on your computer. You can set which parts of Windows will trigger an Ad-Aware response, such as when shell options are changed, the hosts file is tampered with, or when a new context menu is created.
When real-time protection detects a suspicious program, you can select whether those programs should be allowed, blocked, or quarantined.
Lavasoft claims that their firewall is better than what you can get from Microsoft’s Windows Firewall. Why? Because while other firewalls only check for incoming data, Ad-Aware checks outgoing data, too. So whether malicious data is coming in or going out, Ad-Aware promises to catch it.
The firewall can be configured based on a number of rules that you set: application rules, port rules, network rules, and gateway rules. You can pretty much block or allow whatever you want. Talk about a powerfully flexible firewall.
As for Ad-Aware’s more advanced features, here’s what you can expect:
- Bad Web Site Blocking. Protects your credit card information and banking data when using online services. With the real-time filter enabled, Ad-Aware protects against phishing attacks and impersonating websites.
- Email Protection. Detects and prevents email-based threats when reading incoming mail and sending outgoing mail.
- Identity Protection. By integrating with ID Watchdog, Ad-Aware will monitor your credit report and other personal information, letting you know whenever there are critical changes that may indicate identity theft.
- External Storage Scan. Automatically scans external storage devices, like USB flash drives, whenever they are plugged in.
- Safe Networking. Constantly monitors network activity to defend against malicious activity.
- Gaming Mode. Disables notifications and alerts so that you can play games and watch movies without being disturbed.
Interested in purchasing Ad-Aware Pro? You could spend $36 for a 1-year subscription, or you could head on over to the MakeUseOf Rewards page and get a copy of Ad-Aware Pro for just 500 points!