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December 13th, 2012

Is Google Protecting Me After All?

The latest version of Android 4.2, code-named “Jelly Bean” has been released some time ago. While being just an incremental update to the major 4.0 release “Ice Cream Sandwich”, Google introduced some major new features within that update. While offering multi-user support and improved notifications, a new feature which is being promoted heavily, is the built-in app scanner which should protect Android devices from being infected by malware.

The client side app scanner of Android 4.2 is the next step in Google’s attempts to protect their Android ecosystem from malware threats, after introducing Bouncer, a server-side malware scanner used by Google to analyze apps that are being uploaded to Google Play Store. Bouncer was announced in February 2012 and is Google’s approach to prevent malware from being uploaded to the Google Play store as a first line of defense.

Now, some authors claim that third party mobile security tools are most likely not needed anymore, because Google now already pre-checks all mobile apps. I’ve been closely monitoring all those changes and improvements because I wanted to make my own mind on how successful these attempts by Google would be and to find out how our Android antivirus scanner delivered within our free avast! Mobile Security suite (http://www.avast.com/free-mobile-security) would stack up to what the operating system vendor itself would be able to provide.

Since months before the release of avast! Mobile Security in December 2011, our virus lab was working on setting up the initial state of our Android malware database. The database contains signatures of all the malicious files our virus lab guys find over time and is being extended day-by-day to contain definitions of the newest threats in real-time. Currently, tens of millions of Android devices owned by our users download those definitions every day to their avast! client side scanners. So I just went to our virus lab and asked the guys there to provide me with some statistics on the growth of our Android malware database.

As I already stated, Bouncer was thought to be the first line of defense, and tries to protect the main source of app downloads from malicious offerings. Could it be that as a result of introducing Bouncer, our malware database stopped growing or started to decline in size when Bouncer was introduced? Has Google been successful? See for yourself:

Android Malware Database History (Source: AVAST)

Android Malware Database History (Click to enlarge)

Obviously, since February 2012, our Android malware growth has not started to decline; it has not even stalled its growth, but has been continuously growing since that point in time. Read more…

November 22nd, 2012

Avast is now free for schools and libraries in the USA

Starting this week, we have made most of our Avast antivirus products and solutions free for use by schools and libraries in the US. This is just the first step and if it is successful, we will extend it worldwide. We are doing this for a couple of reasons. First, even though schools need security products, in these tough budget times, they need the ability to focus their spending on teaching. A couple of us here at Avast used to run the government and education sales at Symantec some years ago. We know that schools spend a lot on security—money that could be better spent on teaching.


Read more…

October 18th, 2012

avast! only Free Antivirus to receive “ADVANCED+” award for Performance and Detection

Avast! Free Antivirus won the top rating for malware removal from independent research organization AV-Comparatives last month, and this month is the only antivirus solution that also received the ADVANCED+ award for performance. The latest performance test measured the impact on system resources and speed of 19 antivirus products, and avast! Free Antivirus was the best scoring FREE product again.

AV-Comparatives performance testing is a series of real-world scenarios that includes downloading, extracting, copying, and encoding files, installing and launching applications, in addition to an automated testing suite. The ranking system is three-levels: “Standard,” “Advanced” and “Advanced+” awards. To receive the “Advanced+” award, avast! Free Antivirus was compared to mostly paid-for antivirus suites based on how much impact the product has on system resources, including protection against ‘real-world’ zero-day malware attacks, detection of a representative set of malware discovered in the last 2-3 months, false positive rates, and scanning speed. Avast was the highest scoring free product and out-shined a host of paid-for products and other free products.

These results are proof that it is not necessary to pay for excellent quality antivirus protection.  Avast! Free Antivirus provides award-winning high protection rates against malware without degrading the system performance or troubling users.

Get award-winning antivirus protection on your own PC, download avast! Free Antivirus. We also have award-winning protection for Mac and your Android devices.

September 18th, 2012

“Avast earns another VB100 award fairly easily”

avast! Free Antivirus just earned another VB100 award, this time in the August 2012 Virus Bulletin comparative review for Windows 7 – with a perfect score of 100%.

According to the review, avast! “routinely elicits warm, affectionate smiles from the test team, with this month’s submission promising more of the same.” As well, we were told that “Avast earns another VB100 award fairly easily” in this case.

We offer much thanks to our beta testers, our developers, and our QA team for all their hard work in making software that is easy to stand behind.

 

A  list of other awards and certifications earned by avast! in recent years can be found here: http://www.avast.com/awards-certifications (incomplete list)

 

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August 23rd, 2012

How do I access my avast account, and what can I do there?

Question of the week: How do I access My avast! account, and what can I do there?

The My avast! account was created so you can manage all your avast! software and services from one area. You can enter your account by clicking on the avast! icon in the system tray in the bottom right corner of your computer. This opens the avast! user interface. In the Summary section of the UI, you can see if the device you are using is connected to your My avast! account.  To the right of that is a link to connect,  https://my.avast.com. Click this link to log in and connect the device to your account.

Once you are there, you can see all your avast! protected devices in one place. This is quite useful if you have multiple devices like a PC, tablet and mobile phone. The section called Security Info gives you a summary of protection for each device. If your avast! Antivirus license is expiring soon, it will remind you and give you the opportunity to renew.

For those of you with Android phones, your My avast! account provides valuable information related to avast! Anti-Theft. You can change the settings, for example, add a friend’s number to communicate with your phone if it gets stolen, remotely wipe or lock the phone or stealthily send SMS commands. The Locator Map finds the position of the phone, so you can track it.

Check out your My avast! account here, https://my.avast.com.

 

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August 20th, 2012

Feature-rich avast! Mobile Security 2.0 launched

Eight months after the wildly popular release of avast! Free Mobile Security, we are pleased to launch avast! Mobile Security 2.0 for Android smartphones and tablets.  Adding to its already feature-rich anti-malware and anti-theft capabilities, the latest version of avast! Mobile Security 2.0 is sure to be the best free security solution for Android on the market.  You can download it from the Google Play store.

The free-but-full-featured Android antivirus and anti-theft app has become the highest-rated security solution on Google Play store with a score of 4.7 stars,” said Ondřej Vlček, CTO of AVAST Software. “We protect over 8 million active devices now and we are growing by 1 million active devices per month,” added Vlček.

avast! Mobile Security 2.0 uses the same award-winning antivirus engine as avast! Antivirus products for PC and Mac and is constantly updated with a mobile version of our virus database and latest virus definitions. avast! Mobile Security 2.0 seamlessly integrates the most stealthy anti-theft component in the marketplace: Immediately upon detecting a threat, avast! Anti-Theft jumps into action without alerting thieves to its presence.

avast! Mobile Security 2.0 includes the following new features:

  • Remote functions through the web portal - allows you to remotely control your avast!-equipped device(s) from the web. The web portal offers full control of the device to remotely locate, lock, or wipe your lost phone, sound an alarm, SMS and call forwarding, and a lot more. Access the interface on my.avast.com.
  • Improved tablet support – with the popularity of Android tablets such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, AVAST has worked to provide better compatibility with these devices, along with delivering a specific user interface tailored for the larger tablet devices.
  • Network meter – review your data usage consumed by each app, individually for WiFi, 3G, or roaming networks.
  • avast! Widget – from your device screen, the avast! Widget provides you a quick view of your overall security status, and the ability with one tap to access the main avast! Free Mobile Security interface, to run a malware scan of your installed apps, or bring up a dashboard of device health information such as CPU usage, memory usage, and SD Card free space.
  • SiteCorrect™ – in a new feature unique to AVAST, our web protection will now detect common URL typing mistakes and can redirect you to the site you intended to visit.
  • Custom name for Anti-Theft – this name is used to disguise the app from thieves’ eyes (e.g. label it “Dodo Gadget”)
  • Real-time protection of apps – scan installed applications on their first execution

“We’ve now made the avast! Mobile Security product even better, and continue to keep the solution totally free,” commented Vince Steckler, CEO of AVAST Software.

June 29th, 2012

New avast! antivirus software update

Late yesterday (28 June 2012), AVAST Software’s VP of Windows Products, Pavel Sedina, announced a new release of avast! Free Antivirus, avast! Pro Antivirus, and avast! Internet Security.

The new version is 7.0.1451 and contains the following totally new features:

  • WebRep now supports Opera
  • SiteCorrect module for the detection of unwanted websites

And, in addition to the new features, our developers have made the following modifications:

  • Changes in the AutoSandbox module
  • Outlook plugin redesign
  • Windows 8 compatibility updates
  • Emergency Updater
  • Improvements to Remote Assistance (support for UAC prompts, etc.)
  • Improvements to avast! SafeZone™ (protection against kernel-mode keyloggers, updated SafeZone Browser, clipboard sharing, etc.)

We offer very special thanks to our developers, our QA team, and most importantly our loyal users, who have for many years provided us with great constructive feedback. Anyone can complain, but avast! users consistently amaze us with their new ideas.

 

For more technical info, please visit http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=100247.0

For the millions of you who have avast! already installed, just open your avast! control panel, then go to Maintenance -> Update Program

Or, you may download the new update file directly here http://files.avast.com/iavs5x/avast_free_antivirus_setup.exe

 

June 27th, 2012

Worst Data Breaches So Far in 2012

I’ve kept a NETWORKWORLD.com article open in my web browser for the last 9 days, hoping to have time to read it. Today I finally did read it, and it’s worth sharing. And, it was actually short enough that I could’ve read it 9 days ago. :)

Among the largest data breaches you’ll find: credit card companies, government agencies, utility companies, universities, and hospitals.

Read more here, initial data courtesy of Identity Theft Resource Center: http://www.networkworld.com/slideshow/52525

If your organization needs great network security, take a look at our new line of avast! Endpoint Protection.

June 21st, 2012

Panda PR tells us avast! – and 7 others – rank better than “best”

 

A press release from Panda Security, dated June, 21, 2012, properly goes straight to the point in its headline:

Panda Internet Security 2012 Ranks as Best-Performing Antivirus in Recent AV-Comparatives Evaluation

 

What the headline and accompanying ‘news’ fail to mention is that Panda scored among best-performing antivirus software in the AV-Comparatives test, but still only tied F-Secure for seventh (7th) place – coming in under Tencent (6th), Qihoo (5th), AVIRA and Sophos (tied for 4th), ESET (3rd), avast! (2nd), and Webroot (1st).

Read more…

March 16th, 2012

Music to our ears

We like to think that the avast! voice telling us that our virus database has been updated is almost like a pleasant song, something to cheer us all up, reminding us that nobody needs to sing the PC blues.

So it’s great to know we’re not alone, and that our users also think this way. Here’s an example by “Ferrett Steinmetz,” an Ohio-based writer, who recently tweeted:

A quick read down Mr. Steinmetz’s twitter wall shows similar cleverisms about a large number of subjects. You can follow him on twitter @ferretthimself.

Also, feel free to change your avast! voice or even record your own avast! voices via our avast.com Community pages.