G Data Antivirus Review: Putting Your PC to Work

Other antivirus solutions can certainly boast about their years of experience, but few match G Data’s 30-plus years. The German developer also claims to have developed the world’s first antivirus program in 1987 (some would argue it was Bernd Fix).

G Data Antivirus is the firm’s entry-level offering, but don’t think that means it can’t get the job done. It has an above-average number of modules to protect from exploits, ransomware, malicious URLs and spam. There is also a dedicated browser for safety when online banking, shopping and other monetary transactions.

Multiple types of tech gets used throughout the program for security, which includes its own virus scanning engine. A second engine, from Bitdefender, is also integrated into the package, as is a CYREN-based layer for instant detection of outbreaks.

Price

G Data starts at  $29.95 (£24) for a year-long subscription for 3 devices. Kaspersky Anti-Virus rivals it, starting at $29.95 for 3 devices for 1 year, but F-Secure Anti-Virus starts at $35.99 (1 device, 1 year), ESET NOD32 at $39.99 (1 device, 1 year) and Avast Pro at $49.99 (1 device, 1 year).

Additional computers or extending the license term can yield a discount. However, other antivirus solutions offer more options, including subscriptions for a larger number of devices and for more years.

Number of Devices1 Year2 Years
1$29.95 $54.95 ($27.48/device annually)
3$39.95 (13.32/device)$74.95 12.49/device annually)
5$49.95 9.99/device)$94.95 ($9.50/device annually)

You can take advantage of the free trial, which has the assurance of a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Setup and User Interface

The G Data Antivirus trial is a simple download. Installing took us some time, since you have to download the components for setup, but after this was completed, the rest of the process went effortlessly.

G Data, like many competitors, requires registration, so you’ll have to enter your name and email address. It also requests a physical address and phone number, but this turned out to be optional. We left those boxes blank and were able to proceed.

After completing the main setup process, a window popped up recommending installation of G Data WebProtection. This Chrome extension thwarts phishing, scams and malicious sites and offers network-level protection (all browsers and system software), as opposed to just a single browser. G Data insists that a browser-based plug-in results in higher accuracy. But we’re skeptical as to why this would be.

Taking a gander at our hard drive, G Data filled up 600MB of hard drive space and added seven new background processes, consuming 250MB of RAM. With our system running under a full load, we certainly noticed the performance was dragged down.

G Data’s interface offers plenty of information and options. Experts will welcome this approach over the more minimalist strategy of competitors, such as Kaspersky Anti-Virus. The home screen provides a full overview of the security status, rather than a quick gloss over--such as a ‘Protected’ caption or the ‘All good!’ green check--that some other competitors unfortunately use. G Data discloses the system’s security status through seven protection layers, containing the update details, system messages and license information.

More so, these status reports also function as menus, with a click on Web Protection opening a menu with options that can disable URL filtering, add exceptions, or open the Settings menu for additional modifications. Furthermore, the status lines for Real Time Protection, Spam Protection and other layers are a jump off to frequently used settings, which is convenient for quickly optimizing screen space and simplifying navigation.

AntiVirus Scans

The Virus Protection tab houses links to initiate several scan types: quick, full, check specific files or folders, removable drives and rootkit scans. Another plus is that scan times are faster than average.

With that said, it’s time to get picky. We were miffed when G Data fell short of simultaneously running two scans. With the program already running a full system scan, an attempt to start a second scan on our latest download from the Microsoft Edge browser’s right-click menu resulted in a 'Can't do that, a scan is already running' indicator.

Antivirus Testing and Performance

Importantly, G Data exhibited a high level of accuracy when it came to detecting malware, providing no false alarms.

We set up a steel cage match between G Data and our custom ransomware software to see if G Data could neutralize the threat through behavior monitoring only. This resulted in nearly the impossible: G Data completely shut down our ransomware before we could even run it. From this test, we are unable to make an informed statement about the behavior monitoring abilities of G Data. However, we can conclude it works great at static file detection and preserved the safety of our system.

AV-Test’s September/October 2018 report found this program provides protection from 100% of malware threats and nears 100% on the even more challenging zero-day attacks, which gives it the maximum score for protection. The downside is a higher than usual performance impact,  Meanwhile, PassMark's Consumer Security Products Performance Benchmarks 2019 (Edition 2) ranked G Data ninth out of 14 antivirus solutions in terms of performance impact.

Other Security Features

Moving on to the URL filter, G Data’s thankfully performed with nary a complaint and was able to block any threatening web URLs. We’re still wondering why G Data continues to recommend installing its browser extensions though. Even if there is truth to the higher detection rate, the Chrome extension is missing the configuration options and does not seem to add much.

The spam filter works well, fitting itself into our copy of Outlook and giving us plenty of options for customization. We found this module performed better than Microsoft Outlook’s default Junk filter and mimicked commercial-level anti-spam software.

There is also the Keylogger Protection module, designed to protect a limited number of applications--mostly the popular browsers. We pit it against a commercial keylogger solution, and it got blocked from recording anything entered online. This security does extend to other apps, but not every piece of software is compatible with this feature.

There is an Autostart Manager that optimizes the system and can delay the launch of less than essential Windows startup programs. If you're weary of a Steam client consuming resources with each system boot, then delay its start for two minutes, or whatever time interval you desire. While arguably useful, there is also plenty of excellent freeware that performs this identical function.

The Network Access dialog has options to specify the network used to download updates and can also stop the program from using too much data when you’re on a limited connection.

Even more bonus features include BankGuard and exploit protection elements, designed for the protection of vulnerable processes that works deep inside the engine.

Bottom Line

From our time with it, G Data Antivirus proved it can completely stop malware with precision and reliability. We also appreciate the many useful bonus elements, such as the proficient spam filter that distinguishes it from other antivirus-only suites.

Despite these nice elements, G Data hardly has the most expansive feature list, with competitors like Avast Pro Antivirus offering more. Plus, G Data’s notable performance impact may impede older systems. Those looking for something that runs lighter should consider Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus.

But we generally think this product is favorable with good performance at its core anti-malware mission.

Image Credits: G Data, Tom's Hardware

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  • Geef
    My only question is if they actually asked Gordon Freeman if they could use his picture on their promo?