Antivirus Software Review: G DATA Antivirus
For cars, tools, or even chocolate, "Made in Germany" has traditionally been regarded as a sign of quality. G DATA, a German software producer, has made a noticeable attempt to jump on to this bandwagon by including the Germanglish "Trust in German Sicherheit [Security]" in its newest logo. But does it really need to rely on this marketing gimmick?
Way back in 1987, G DATA did something none of the other providers from our sample can lay claim to, namely, it developed the first antivirus software. All the same, over the decades since, malware has gone through millions of mutations, achieving levels of sophistication once thought impossible. In this review, we'll take a look at whether or not G DATA has managed to keep up with the times.
What Is G DATA Antivirus?
G DATA is a German cybersecurity company headquartered in Bochum, which offers antivirus software for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, in addition to a wide range of solutions for individuals and corporate clients alike. As is the case with nearly all providers from our sample, G DATA's software can be purchased in a variety of packages, which apart from price, also differ in terms of their features. We tested Total Security 2020 for Windows, but also reference other packages throughout this review.
Pros and Cons
Offers a wide selection of features and configuration options
Provides an overview of all security levels in the menu bar/dashboard
Offers excellent support
Fairly complicated desktop app
"Only" solid scores from the testing labs
Slightly outdated user interface
Installation & Usage
G DATA is not the fastest out of the gate: A total of eight minutes elapsed from when we launched the program's installer until we could use the service on our laptop. Once the program has finished installing, you can either input a registration code to enable access to the full version or start a free trial subscription. In contrast to other antivirus programs, you won't need to input a payment method if opting for the latter, so there's no risk of falling into the dreaded subscription trap. After installation is wrapped up, all you'll need to do before being able to use the program is restart your computer.
G DATA has a fairly long installation process.
Usually, red symbolizes danger, but, this isn't the case with G DATA, as the dashboard's upper menu bar comes crimson-clad by default. When clicking on any of its icons, they'll change to grey. For our eyes, the color choice was a bit striking and required a few seconds to get used to, but this is more a question of taste than anything else.
Don't worry when you see red in G DATA Total Security; this is part of the dashboard's normal color scheme.
Most of the dashboard is located below the red menu bar and includes all of the software's features, grouped into categories. Here, G DATA follows the industry standard: Green is good, red requires attention.
Hopefully, you'll see lots of green, since, in contrast to other providers from our sample, G DATA doesn't randomly display individual components that require your attention, but rather, the status of all of your security levels and whether your virus definitions are up-to-date. We liked this transparence, even if it meant that G DATA's main screen is somewhat more overloaded than those of its competitors.
By clicking on a particular security level, you can adjust settings and toggle elements on or off. To access settings, click on the gear symbol in the upper right.
By clicking on a security level, you can switch individual components on or off, or adjust additional settings.
In the Total Security package's main menu, you'll find 10 modules. These are: "Security Center", "AntiVirus", "Firewall", "Backup", "Password Manager", "Tuner", "Parental Controls", "Encryption", "Autostart Manager", and "Device Control". You'll only see their names when you hover over the corresponding symbol or click on it in the red bar, however, they are fairly self-explanatory and the accompanying icons make sense.
Unfortunately, the program does lag a little: Menu titles don't appear immediately, and switching between the submenus is not as smooth as it should be.
You can alternate between the program's different features using the navigation bar at the top of the dashboard's interface.
G DATA Total Security doesn't try to hide its power, like ESET, for example. Instead of concealing its complexity through submenus that only the most dedicated users would dare explore, G DATA plays with its cards on the table. For those less experienced in technical matters and only interested in boosting their security, G DATA Total Security's interface might be too much. If, on the other hand, you value the ability to fine-tune your computer's security, we think you'll be pleased with how intuitive G DATA had made this.
Despite everything else, G DATA's user interface is too slow and, in our opinion, not exactly up-to-date when it comes to appearance. In terms of usage, we were more disposed to how other programs handled, so, we've deducted some points from G DATA.
Score: 3.7 / 5
All G DATA packages come with basic security, real-time protection, and manual scans. As a dual-engine program, G DATA utilizes its own engine as well as that of Bitdefender. This additional power helps the program exude confidence since Bitdefender received excellent ratings from independent testing labs. G DATA comes pre-installed with both engines, however, you can change this if desired.
Manual scans with plenty of room for customization
Manual scans can be found in the second option (from the left) in the dashboard's upper menu bar, "AntiVirus", under the category, "Manual virus check". Here, you'll find six scans, among them, "Computer check", which examines all local hard drives, as well as options for folders, files, removable media, rootkits and storage, as well as autostart.
There's also the option to automate and schedule scans, with G DATA offering considerable customization in both areas. For example, you can schedule a one-off, hourly, daily, weekly, or even monthly check-up. Beyond that, you can configure scans to launch when your system starts. In terms of analysis, you can add exceptions and configure what the program should do with infected files.
It's possible to automate and schedule user-defined scans.
Real-time protection for a comprehensive defense
In terms of real-time protection, you can independently toggle "BEAST" (behavior-based malware identification), "Exploit Protection" (guards against security weaknesses in software you've installed), "Deep Ray" (protects against unauthorized access), or "Ransomware Protection" (defends against crypto-Trojans that take your files hostage and demand a ransom for their "release") on and off.
G DATA provides Internet and Phishing protection across all three of its paid packages. Browser protection is offered via dedicated extensions available for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. The software also checks incoming and outgoing emails.
You can select which emails should be checked when as well as what G DATA should do in the event that it identifies an infection.
With "BankGuard", G DATA also protects your online banking and digital transactions. This component automatically identifies Trojans, replacing any storage areas that are impacted. Apart from that, the software comes with protection against keylogging and the ability to choose which programs it should be activated for.
Data shredding, or, deleting files so that they leave no traces on your device, can be performed by right-clicking on the file or folder in question and selecting the appropriate option.
G DATA Internet Security Features
For Internet Security users and above, G DATA also comes with a firewall, with which you can keep unwanted guests from accessing your network. By default, this includes five levels of security, but can be user-customized, if desired.
G DATA's firewall has different security levels.
Parental controls, for limiting your children's access to the Internet, are also included. Administrators can easily create a new user and set rules for what sort of content they can and cannot access while surfing the Web. You can select broad categories to block, such as pornographic or violent content, or set a daily time limit for Internet browsing. During testing, sites that we had set to be blocked were not accessible, indicating that the parental controls are reliable.
Internet Security customers will also be able to take advantage of cloud backups, with which they can create encrypted backups of files stored on Dropbox, Google Drive, or DriveOnWeb. Total Security users get access to expanded backup features.
With G DATA's parental controls, you can prevent your children from accessing specific types of content or websites.
Total Security Features
Customers of the Total Security package can create backups of an entire drive, saving them either to the cloud, or locally, on a PC or external storage device.
This package also includes a password manager that works in tandem with a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, or Edge/Internet Explorer. Using it, you can save logins, contact data, and notes, as well as automatically generate secure passwords. In comparison to dedicated password managers though, G DATA's is just a nice bonus. Should you be in the market for a password manager, be sure to check out our reviews of the best stand-alone solutions.
G DATA's password manager is rather rudimentary, but still capable of performing the most important tasks expected of a password manager.
Using the program's data encryption feature, you can add an extra password to sensitive information and files. In this way, entire storage devices, such as USB sticks, can be protected.
You'll also get access to performance tuning and device control. The latter of these lets you select who can connect USB sticks, hard drives, or other devices to your PC or laptop. As such, you'll be able to prevent malware from being smuggled onto your system via external storage devices.
G DATA does not offer a VPN in any of its packages.
With G DATA Mobile Security, you can extend G DATA's antivirus protection to your Android and iOS device. A Mobile Security license is included in each package starting with the Internet Security package; Antivirus customers will need to book Mobile Security at cost. A free version, Mobile Security Light, is also offered, but this only offers definition-based antivirus protection, lacking additional features (real-time protection, web protection, anti-theft protection, etc.).
In contrast to its desktop counterpart, the mobile app's design is rather basic, but this has the advantage that it is very easy to navigate. By tapping on the hamburger icon in the upper left, you can access the main menu, where all features are listed. Here, you can also configure virus scans, setting their frequency (in days), and whether your entire system should be scanned, or just installed apps.
Thanks to the software's web protection, you can prevent phishing attacks in Chrome and Firefox. Under Settings, you can find Wi-Fi protection, which prevents ARP-spoofing and plugs any security gaps in your network.
Optically speaking, G DATA's smartphone app has little in common with its desktop counterpart.
An app lock is also included, which you can use to secure specified apps with an additional password. Biometric authentication can also be configured, however, the software lacks a 'camera trap'.
Anti-theft protection and parental controls
G DATA Mobile Security includes anti-theft protection, which allows you to lock or locate your phone whenever a change in SIM card is detected. In addition, you can set your phone to automatically ping its location when you have a low battery or to set off a warning signal if headphones are removed, the latter of which makes it possible to quickly identify an attempted theft. In the Action Center, you can manage your device, locate it, or remotely delete files.
Parental controls in the mobile version offer a number of options for children and teenagers, such as the ability to block certain apps or configure usage limits. Perhaps the niftiest of these is the Panic Button: This is a widget on the home screen that will quickly inform the contacts you've linked to it about your location and that you're in an emergency.
G DATA offers mobile users a nice variety of anti-theft measures.
G DATA impressed us with its powerful and intuitive desktop app, serving up a nice selection of features and customization options, without trying to hide them owing to their complexity. The mobile app gets our seal of approval as well owing to its equally strong palate of features.
Score: 4.7 / 5
Security & Performance
As can be seen above, the two labs reached somewhat different conclusions regarding G DATA. Frequently, the software performs better with AV-Test, achieving very high scores. Most recently, in June 2021, it scored 5.5 points (out of 6) in security and maximum points in performance. As part of AV-Comparatives' Real-World Protection Test (entailing February-May 2021), points were deducted owing to 0.7% false positives during analysis, while in the performance test, G DATA finished near the back of the pack.
During our assessment, we didn't notice any major lapses in terms of performance. A full system scan took around 40 minutes and didn't cause much lagging when doing basic things (such as launching programs or copying data).
As such, our overall impression was good, even if AV-Comparatives's assessment leaves much to be desired.
Score: 4 / 5
G DATA's support center provides a number of guides, tips & tricks, and FAQs. Thanks to the full-text search, it's possible to find exactly what you're looking for without much bumbling around. The help page is nicely arranged and filled with step-by-step tutorials.
Live support (hotline and email) is promised around the clock. For the former, we had to wait anywhere from one to ten minutes to start speaking with a (very friendly and helpful) support staffer. Our email query was answered within eight hours.
Support from G DATA is available 24/7.
Overall, our experiences with G DATA's support were good. A live chat would be a nice touch, but as is, all of our questions were answered quickly and competently.
Score: 4.7 / 5
G DATA offers three antivirus packages for private users: Antivirus, Internet Security, and Total Security. For each, you can select how many devices you intend to use (1-10) as well as the length of the subscription (1-3 years). As is the case with most antivirus solutions, the longer your contract, the lower your monthly fee.
Corporate rates are also offered, however, these are tailored to the needs of your organization, and, as a result, must be agreed upon with G DATA on a case-by-case basis.
A current price list is provided below:
|Antivirus||Internet Security||Total Security|
|Price per year||from $67.70||from $90.30||from $112.90|
|Contract period (months)||12||12||12|
|Max. Number of devices||10||10||10|
|Special Protection Features|
G DATA's pricing structure is fairly consistent, which isn't all that common among the rest of our sample. In order to gain a clearer picture of what each provider's premium packages offer, we created the table below. Since each offers different packages, we created a single subscription and booked identical or similar packages from each provider. According to this rubric, G DATA is one of the most expensive programs from our sample:
Thanks to its sizable number of features in a user-friendly package, G DATA doesn't need to fall back on its status as "Made in Germany". The antivirus software offers a high degree of customization and performed well in terms of security among the independent testing labs we consulted. Rounding things off, its support is of a very high quality.
Of course, for anyone who wants the easiest solution for ensuring their system's security, there are less intricate antivirus programs out there. Similarly, if you're after a more streamlined or minimalistic dashboard, G DATA likely won't be your cup of tea. And, so far as AV-Comparatives is concerned, G DATA was one of the least impressive programs in its most recent assessments, disappointing particularly in terms of performance.
For what it's worth, during our evaluation, we couldn't corroborate AV-Comparatives' findings. As such, we think that anyone who can come to terms with the program's user interface and enjoys being able to micro-manage their system's security will likely get on well with G DATA.
In the customer reviews that we analyzed, G DATA performed well, receiving a "good" score. Many users praised its neatly arranged interface and the reliable protection against viruses it afforded. On Trustpilot, we noticed a number of critical comments regarding G DATA's support and payment process, most of which warned of the dreaded "subscription trap", even for cancelled contracts.
Alternatives to G DATA Antivirus
- Trend Micro
- G Data
- 360 Total Security
- Internet Security
- Virus Protection
- Free Antivirus
- Android Antivirus
- Avast vs. Avira