Michal Krejdl

10 August 2009

What is avast! responsible for?

The question sounds promising, right? You'll finally understand everything that avast! does while it's running on your machine. However, this article is intended to discuss the topic from the other side - what avast! is absolutely not doing on your PC. The inspiration to write this article came from my short discussion with Vince. This article should continue the aim of his posts in making things clearer. I'm not used to writing such posts, I'm rather technically based, so if you have any questions, feel free to use the comments and ask me. So, let's consider the main points.

While reading the forums all over the internet, some of them seem to be rather demagogic. They push their readers to hate avast! regardless of the facts. Some users (often moderators themselves) have their magic incantation to carry out an exorcism and "uninstall avast" and they use it at every opportunity.

Q: My computer has a picture of a landscape as a background, what should I do?

A: Uninstall avast and install blahblahblah, I'm sure it will find many infections.


Q: A bus driver ignored my signals and didn't stop.

A: Uninstall avast, you'll feel much better.

If you thought that such answers are not typical, then you would be wrong. I'll give you some examples from one forum, which was supposed to help people solve their PC problems. It's up to you to judge, whether they actually did that or not. Person A is the questioner, person B is the pseudo-geek, who is supposed to help him.

A: Yesterday when I started my PC the sound was completely off. What's wrong?

B: What's your antivirus and antispyware?

A: Avast and blahblah.

B: Avast is a piece of s**t. It only produces false positives and doesn't see any trojan horses. Uninstall it, download blahblahblah and scan your system, you'll be amazed.

What the hell is the relation between the sound output and avast? The answer should guide the user to check his sound card drivers, recently installed software and games etc. I haven't seen even one single case of the sound output being corrupted by avast.

A: My computer generated a BSOD saying something about memory corruption. It happens only when the computer runs for a long time.

B: It may be some kind of overheating, but I have to ask you what antivirus you're using.

When A answers, that his AV is blahblahblah, B guides him to check the RAM modules. When A answers "avast", B tells him that's not a HW problem and that he should uninstall avast etc. Why? Can you see any kind of logic in that? That's an example of what I call pure demagogy.

Fortunately, the facts can't be changed. As I have said many times - there are people who talk and people who really do something. Someone else said - antivirus software changes, but their reputation remains. Many of these so-called "advisors" may have used avast years ago, maybe visited some site, got infected and this has colored their opinion of avast forever. But now we are in 2009 and things are completely different. There are also many people doing a lot more than only talking - I mean the testers. They measure the effectiveness of the program against the various types of malware, the number of false positives, the impact on systems etc. Why do people choose to ignore the facts in favour of their biased opinions? They're telling people that avast is terribly slow and uses too many system resources, even when systematic testing shows it's not true. They're telling people that avast is the worst antivirus ever, but in fact, for the last several years, avast has consistently been rated as one of the best performing antivirus programs. All of this information is readily available, it only requires a bit of googling - and what's really important - the right interpretation of the measured data. So, what can I suggest to you?

- If you have any problems while using avast!, try using our forums, where you'll be connected with the real community (the devs, viruslab, highly experienced users called Evangelists), and someone will almsot certainly help you find the right solution.

- If you come accross a post on a forum, which you think may be biased, look for some independent data so you can make your own decision.

- When a problem arises - don't jump to conclusions too quickly. It's always important how the vendor responds to such things, so you should always give them the opportunity to respond. You'll see that the problem can often be solved while still using the product, whereas making a knee-jerk decision to uninstall and switching to another product provides no guarantee that the problem will not persist.

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