AVG – Identity Protection 8.5 review

malware defence to back up your anti-virus suite
Photo of AVG – Identity Protection 8.5
£22.99 (one year subscription)

The concept of identity is a tricky one. Who are you, exactly? Yourself? The trouble with that is the mental construct of your “self”, your thoughts, can be observed by you, so you aren’t that. “You” are a speck of consciousness, or being. Or maybe a figment of some slumbering deity’s dream. It’s tricky stuff to grasp, indeed.

However, your online identity is much easier to pin down as a stream of code zipping through servers.

Of course, because such data can be pinned down, it can be pinched, and AVG Identity Protection is concerned with keeping your details where they belong: privately ensconced on your hard drive. Installation is a simple process and thereafter the program sits in your taskbar, monitoring your machine in real time.

Identity Protection stays constantly alert and watching any applications, monitoring not only those programs that connect online, but everything running on your PC. It aims to catch any malware by analysing the behaviour of applications, looking out for any suspicious activity.

Double-clicking the taskbar icon brings up the program’s control centre, where under the advanced tab a list of processes being monitored is kept. Anything fully recognised is labelled green, whereas anything slightly suspicious is treated to a splash of yellow or orange, along with a breakdown of what exactly is dodgy about it.

Two processes on our PC were flagged up (a games company’s download manager and an online media player) but with only minor nitpicks about security. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to see this information. A log of all program activity is also kept here.

However, there’s no need to delve into any of this, as the program runs by itself. No updates or scans are necessary: this is completely run-and-forget software that only interrupts the user if something dodgy crops up which might need quarantining (although the program can be set to automatically quarantine anything suspect if you don’t wish to ever deal with any prompts).

AVG Identity Protection isn’t designed to replace a virus scanner, rather its remit is to add an extra layer of security, running seamlessly alongside your existing anti-virus software, whether that’s AVG or not. We used it in tandem with BitDefender and it worked without any problems.

Whether you really need this second layer of malware defence is arguable. Yes, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and it certainly helps on the security front. But we’d be happier if Identity Protection was a bit more competitively priced than £23 for a year’s subscription, as we would think twice about paying that much for a secondary security program. On the plus side, the program offers a 30-day trial period, so you can give it a whirl yourself (or indeed your consciousness can).

Company: AVG

Contact: 0844 894 1000

A useful utility and second line of defence which runs quietly in the background with little or no input from the user. However, we feel it's priced on the expensive side.