Protecting over 200 million PCs, Macs, & Mobiles – more than any other antivirus

July 17th, 2009

avast’s Top 5 Hidden Gems

Most users are not able to tell the difference between various antivirus software applications. They consider all the applications pretty much equivalent (function-wise) and usually decide which one to use according to subjective things like prettiness of the user interface, ease of use or lightness on system resources (and of course, the price).

More experienced users sometimes try to search for independent reviews and pay attention to detection rates measured in comparative tests. The problem is that these reviews and tests often produce conflicting results, making the situation even more confusing. In addition, most of these tests only perform on-demand scans, completely ignoring the on-access (and pro-active) parts of the product.

In this article, I’d like to pinpoint 5 features of avast! that we feel are pretty unique, and differentiate us from the pack.

1. Boot-time scan. The boot-time scan is a unique feature in avast that allows you to perform a full hard drive scan before Windows boots. The principal advantage here is that at the moment the scan runs, the vast majority of malware is still dormant (hasn’t been chance to activate yet) and is thus easily detected, and removed. Moreover, the boot-time scan uses direct disk access (bypassing the Windows file system drivers), allowing us to see even the most stubborn rootkits. Therefore, it is wise run the boot-time scan whenever there’s a suspicion that the system may be infected.

In order to run a boot time scan, open avast’s user interface (run avast e.g. from the desktop icon), and from the right click context menu, select “Schedule boot-time scan”.

Note: the boot-time scan is currently available only on 32-bit operating systems.

2. Antivirus screensaver. Another avast! favorite, the antivirus screensaver is basically a special screensaver that is able to run a full system scan when it makes most sense – i.e.when the system is idle. It can run on top of another screensaver (with just a small top-level window showing the scan progress), so you don’t have to sacrifice your favorite screensaver in order to use it.

To enable the avast! screensaver, open the system screensaver properties window, and select “avast! antivirus” from the list.

3. Unrivaled detection of script malware. Five years ago, most viruses were distributed by means of email. These days are now gone, with the World Wide Web taking over. Indeed, the vast majority of malware today is distributed over the web, mostly by means of hacked (otherwise legitimate) sites. The attacker usually injects malicious some scripts into some (or all) pages on the site, waiting for an unsuspecting user to visit the site and possible infect his/her machine.

And this is where avast’s detection capabilities really excel. Its abilities to detect these web-based malicious scripts are second to none, and thanks to the Web Shield and Script Blocking providers, they are used exactly when needed, doing an excellent job stopping the web-based malware right on the entry point.

4. Strong antirootkit shield. Starting with version 4.8, avast has a built-in antirootkit scanner. It is based on GMER, one of the most respected specialized antirootkit applications available (in fact, the guy who created the original GMER now works for us). We’re constantly improving the internals of this component so that it’s able to detect and remove even the latest threats, including e.g. the infamous MBR rootkit.

Normally, it’s not necessary to perform any manual rootkit scans as these are done automatically each time you restart your computer. Uses of the Professional Edition can run a manual rootkit scan by creating a task in the Enhanced User Interface and selected Rootkit scan in the Scan Areas section.

5. Malware submission system. This is one of the lesser-known features of avast!, but an equally important one. Under the hood, avast deploys a number of sensors that monitor the file system, registry and other components of the operating system. On top of these sensors, there’s a module that analyzes all the data reported by the sensors and if it concludes there’s something suspicious, it immediately alerts the user. However, it doesn’t tell the user that the system is infected. Instead, it just reports that something fishy is going on on the system and that these and these files/programs are the suspects. And, most importantly, allows the user to submit these files to our virus lab for further analysis (the submission process is then automatic, all we ask for is the consent to send the files).

This way, we’re able to have a continuous feed of the latest samples right from our own user community. And since the community is so huge, it all works very well, moreover with the community being self-sufficient.

By the way, in avast 5, the core of the malware submission system have been refactored into something we call the “Behavior Shield”. More on this later.

Categories: Technology Tags: , , ,
  • Sunil

    thanx for information.


    I love using Avast free-It is simple,light & powerful.It nver seems to slow dowm my laptop,can’t wait for the new version 5.0 release.I really hope that new Avast firewall will be avilable for the free version as well.

  • Alexis Majfud

    Sinseramente mis felicitaciones,hace unos dias estaba sin antivirus debudo a la caducidad del anterior,muy reconocido.Un tecnico me recomendo Avast Free, lo instale como emergencia asta conseguir el que supuestamente era el “mejor”,en el arranque me detecto 7 virus, a avast no lo cambio mas,para mi solo hay un antivirus y varios sistemas operativos, pero reconosco que la cartula o skin no me gustaban.Espero con entuciasmo la nueva caratula, es genial, y creo que el que no tenia Avast,lo va a instalar por eficacia y apariencia.Gracias a todo el equipo por proporcionarnos una proteccion tan efectiva personalizable y gratis.Uruguay.

  • Juan Ovalles

    Why avast don’t run the boot-time scan in 64bit systems?

    I think 64bit systems are the leaders right now and Avast can’t stay behind with this issue.


    64bit User!

  • Fred Smith

    I am grateful to your company for allowing us to navigate the web safely. My wife has been using the free Avast since 2005 and I just started last year. We have never had any problems since, and I find the information posted on your site of great interest besides learning a lot from it. Looking forward to the next version 5.0.
    Keep the good work!!! and thanks again.

  • http://hotmail RUBEN Peruchet

    Gracias por todos estos anos que me as brindado seguridad y esperando la nueva vercion mi computadora se lo agradece y yo tambien

  • rich

    advast is a good antivirus the only draw back is that you cant set it to do a weekly scan automaticly you have to do it manually but outher then that i have had good results with it

  • lula

    Leaving aside the anti-virus, spyboots, etc, then I met the avast. This love has lasted several years. I think I made a good exchange and do not want to leave him.

  • Tata

    Since I using Avast 2 year ago…my laptop never have problem about Virus..Worm ..etc. I love Avast…AVAST ROCCCCKKKKKKKKK..

  • Julian Evans

    We are big fans of the “boot time scan” and “malware submission”. Really looking forward to seeing the ‘Beta’ version in October.


  • Krupakar T. Joshua

    I am a BIG Time fan of PANDA Antivirus since 1997. I moved to Delhi in 2006. My friends Satish Benedict Khalkho, Babul Nag, Asfa Begum, Neeraj, Neeraj, Haamid etc use Avast Antivirus.
    I found AVAST Antivirus Software very Good. Especially the Free Updates, the Latest Virus Definitions that are available directly from the AVAST Website. Especially Browsing the Internet is Risky and Not Secure as there are lots and lots of Virus, Trojans, Spywares, Adwares, Worms….
    AVAST helps us to keep safe from all these Dangers. AVAST is Simple to use and it does not Slow down the System. There are many other Features that I am still Exploring.
    GOOD Work….!!
    Greetings..!! & All the Best 2 all of you behind this Cool Antivirus Software.

  • kier obang

    i really find avast! an excellent AV program. so far, it has been protecting my laptop very well from all sorts of viruses. i’m proud to be a home user of avast! 4.8, and i can’t wait for the release of avast! 5…

    congratulations to the makers of avast and more power!!!

  • Len Brock

    Since I joined AVAST I have never looked back, I used to be with NORTON and at the time I thought they were good, but since joining AVAST, I have had excellent service, far more superior than NORTON. AVAST is so much easier to operate, has far more to offer, and is continually keeping us updated to ensure that our PC’s are working to their maximum. Looking forward to being updated when AVAST 5 comes about. Well done to the team behind AVAST, what would we do without your knowledge and expertise. Keep up the good work and THANK YOU. – Len.V

  • Anjan

    thanks for new comming, avest is total protection n we all love it

  • marcelobrrj

    the only problem that I think is the avast and delays in the update that lets the machines in some very slow boot

  • Scout

    Sir VLK. Are the modules/components of the avast pro and home edition are the same?.. I’m only curious because i use avast home edition.. I’m kindly waiting for your reply sir thank you!!!