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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…

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.

October 9th, 2012

AVAST is the only Free Antivirus to receive Advanced+ Award from AV Comparatives

AVAST Software received the highest ADVANCED+ Award Certification in the latest published independent tests by Anti-Virus Comparatives. The awarded avast! Free Antivirus 7.0 was the only free antivirus solution to achieve this result, competing among traditional paid-for antivirus tools.

AV Comparatives awards the certification based on a combination of high detection score and avoidance of so-called False Positives. “We did very well in both categories,” said Vincent Steckler, CEO of AVAST Software.  “I’m pleased to say that since 2010, when we decided to submit our free version to compete against the paid solutions, we have achieved the highest award every time but once.”

 

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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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July 5th, 2012

Recommending avast! has its rewards

Our 190 millionth registered avast! user, Julie P. and her friend Steve, were given a free trip to Prague, home base of AVAST Software, in appreciation of Steve’s recommendation. Steve recommended that Julie try avast!, and it turned our better than she expected.

“Since three out of every ten new users come because of a friend, it’s time we also recognize a recommender,” said Vince Steckler, CEO of AVAST Software. “I am pleased we have been able to identify both the 190 millionth registered user and the friend that recommended avast!.”

Julie is a British national living in Spain. She decided to get avast! Free antivirus on the advice of Steve, a helpful retired friend. And when it came time to install avast! on her computer, it was Steve that downloaded and installed it.

“As a recommender and IT helper, people like Stephen have a big impact on AVAST and have helped drive growth last year from 141 million to 189 million registered users,” said Mr. Steckler. Read more…

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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

 

January 5th, 2012

Some free-based music we play at work

Hello avast! Blog readers. Occasionally we hear from people who wonder how we can (or why we would) give away such great software for free – namely, avast! Free Antivirus and our Android offering, avast! Free Mobile Security.

My unofficial response is that we closely align ourselves to the principles of rock and roll. To keep ourselves in the right head-space in the Marketing/PR department, we listen to the following songs – every day – in constant rotation: ;)

 

Rolling Stones – “I’m Free”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FG7N09qjVQ
“I’m free to do what I want any ol’ time…”

The Who – “I’m Free”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjH8_y5JWnY
“I’m free…”

Pearl Jam – “Corduroy”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_kKPTo7EM4
“Can’t buy what I want because it’s free…”

Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Give It Away”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfsMQO12Hfc
“Give it away, give it away, give it away now…”

Read more…

January 2nd, 2012

Early reviews of avast! Free Mobile Security

On 21 December, 2011, we launched our Android antivirus/anti-theft solution (see our official press release). The beta version, released a few weeks earlier, was well received, and generated a lot of initial buzz in the Android community. What follows are quotes from early reviews, many of which were written about the beta version. We have also received a lot of great feedback from our avast! user community, and thus a few days ago AVAST CTO Ondrej Vlcek responded to 10 frequently asked questions about avast! Free Mobile Security.

Here is some of the initial praise from the Android community:


“It has the potential to overshadow just about all of the apps in our Mobile Security App Shootout.”
“A strong contender for the best overall security app on Android.”
“Extremely sophisticated security solution accessible to everyone.”
Android Police (product review, 7 December 2011)

Read more…

November 17th, 2011

Facebook vs. Sharks

Yes, most of us complain about all the seemingly unnecessary changes that Facebook initiates far more often than we’d like (just about the time we figure out how to navigate everything)… but it’s good to remember that Facebook is a free service. Of course some will argue that nothing is really ‘free’, but at least +140 million active avast! Community members know differently. ;)

 

Value proposition

Some of you will remember the days of Rolodex. Mine was typically overfilled with business cards and scraps of paper – taped, glued, or even stapled in place. Sometimes a few ‘creative’ oversized business cards or paper scraps would clog up the ‘machine’, and maintaining changes to phone numbers, addresses, and job titles was always a major problem.

So Facebook, for me, was a welcome change. All my contacts keep their own info updated, and I can find them at any time via the search box. And my Facebook account serves 4 key purposes:

Read more…

November 10th, 2011

5 questions with Fabricia, our 160,000,000th avast! user registration

Fabricia, our famous 160 millionth avast! user registration from Brazil, is coming to Prague with her husband! :) We at AVAST Software are all excited about their visit and looking forward to hosting them here – especially since it turns out that we are inadvertently sponsoring their honeymoon. :)

I decided to ask them a few questions before the trip, just to see what their expectations were.

1. Have you ever won any valuable prize before?

Fabricia: No, neither Eder (new husband) nor I have ever been awarded with any prize whatsoever.

2. How does it feel to be the 160,000,000th avast user registration? :)

Receiving the email notification that we won a trip to Prague was initially a huge surprise.  At the beginning, I thought it was a scam message. However, after confirming that it wasn’t spam, we were very happy… even euphoric. Especially since, as I just mentioned, it was the first time I actually won something and that the value of this award is outstanding. On top of that, we were planning to get married, so we agreed that this trip would be slightly postponed so it could be our honeymoon. We are sooooooo happy and looking forward to it.

3. What do you expect from the trip?

Our expectations are the best possible, and we are anxious to meet AVAST people. We’ve also heard that Prague is incredibly beautiful and we will have an opportunity to visit many interesting places. Read more…

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