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January 19th, 2011

avast! 5.1: Concept, production model, or facelift

The quiet launch of avast! 5.1 has some people guessing: Is this a concept vehicle, a new model, or just a facelift?

In the automotive sector, a concept car is the designer’s visualization of how the car’s identity and key features will develop, a new model has brand-new exterior metal, and a facelift just has a different plastic bumper slapped on the same old sheet metal.

So if the 5.1 was a car and I was a ‘gearhead’, this is what the report would be: 

1.      More than a facelift. The new 5.1 doesn’t look different than 5.0 as the GUI is the same. Under the hood, the Behavior Shield has been strengthened, enabling avast! to spot more malware based on its suspect activities rather than the traditional virus signature. Avast! is also now able to scan for 64-bit rootkits, nipping this new type of malware in the bud for the newest computers.

2.      Not quite a new model. The key antivirus engine has remained essentially unchanged. To see the complete range of new safety and community features, you will need to wait for the upcoming avast! 6.0.

3.      The concept is here. Within 5.1, there are several key features which will be visible in the next-generation 6.0. In fact, these features are already included in the software, they just haven’t been turned on yet. We will tell you about them in the coming weeks. The jury is now deliberating: concept, new model, or facelift. Download it, hop in, and take a test drive yourself.  It’s your decision.

  • Cahya

    Wait…, wait…, did I missed something? Why suddenly there is this line about avast 6.0?

    Wow…, I think it just about yesterday the forum quite crowded by the beta tester if avast 5, now 6 already in the issue page :).

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  • RejZoR

    Well, the version 6 is planned for 2011. No exact date yet, but i think some early stuff should start coming out pretty soon… like what new stuff will be available, maybe basic interface concept, any possible free/payable model changes etc.
    But i can say for sure that the thing will be big. Mostly because of behavior analysis and automatic sandboxing of suspicious stuff.

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  • harrifol fenced

    i use avast from 5 years, one thing i notice in avast scan image also which is need less many times
    Computer Services Software

  • // Nick

    I wanna get avast 6.0!

  • amisus

    very good anti-virus.

  • amisus

    it is really good.

  • Matthew

    “In fact, these features are already included in the software, they just haven’t been turned on yet.”

    I find this slightly disturbing:

    Features which are not published?

    Additional software downloaded onto hard disk drives which is not required?

    Who has the ability to turn them on? When? How?

    If they are included, why are they not on by default? Are you trying to hide something?

    I don’t like the idea of my computer entering a mass beta test, especially in software as critical as antivirus.


  • RejZoR

    Behavior Shield sensors are there and are for now just monitoring user systems. All the data is collected and sent to avast! Software labs for further analysis. Once they get enough info, they will engage the Behavior Shield in a Block mode where it will actually block malware on its own without user intervention.
    But to get there you simply have to collect and generate rules on how programs and also malware behave.

  • Matthew

    But they haven’t been turned on yet, so how are they collecting data?

    This seems to be getting worse: so avast is collecting data on my system – did it ask for permission? What else is it collecting and transmitting back?

  • yanto chiang

    @ Cahya : I also supprised to hear the new versoin of 6.0, but i think this version will launched together with Business Pro and avast 4 server as well. And there’s will be launched with the new features as well….have you upgrade your existing avast 4.8?

  • Fernando Gregoire

    This post does not say anything useful. What are these features? Why has been included in the software prematurely?

  • vlk


    First, here’s the privacy policy page that explains what data are transferred:

    Please note that the submissions are only done if you’re part of the “avast! community” – there’s a check box for this on the first page of the avast installer, as well as in the avast settings. If you don’t feel comfortable about this, feel free to uncheck that box.

    By the way, submissions from users’ machines is what keeps most today’s AVs above the water. Norton, Kaspersky, McAfee, AVG, Microsoft, you name it – all of these do a similar thing. And with some (such as Microsoft Security Essentials), there’s even no way to opt out.

  • DBN

    The sensors are on, but the features that blocks the malwares’ actions are not turned on by default.

    And they certainly did asked for your permission. They will collect data from your computer only if you choose to join avast! community.

  • Matthew

    And who gets to turn them on?

  • DBN

    You can turn the feature that blocks the malwares on in the behavior shield settings.
    I think it will be turned on by default in the future with one of the program updates.

  • Bill

    Would be nice to hear when the business versions would be coming out. Been waiting since last year and have more licenses to buy when it is ready. Hearing people talking about v6 when we are still on v4 “managed” is a bit depressing. Not sure how much longer I can keep telling my supervisor we are still waiting.

  • Kevin

    So the thing about Avast 6 free having sandboxing, will the pro version have a new feature? well I hope so, or else the only difference is script shield so no one will buy the pro, they will either get free av or internet security

  • HackTohELl

    Wow super coool but I am a bit worried about beta versions

  • Prithviraj Sahoo

    I am presently using avast free anti virus and am totally impressed by the protection avast is providing to my PC… Previously i had used dozens of anti virus programs but was not satisfied until i heard about avast… I started using avast from its 5.0 version & have not used 4.8 though… Anyways hats off to the people in avast and thank you a lot for bringing out such a nice anti virus.. And yes, I’m really waiting and looking forward for Avast 6.0.


    I have just mailed u folks a check for 2 yrs maximum Avast! protection. I am deeply disturbed after reading Matthew’s intelligent discourse with u folks! Am I correct in believing that Avast! can read the contents of my PC’s hard drive at your discretion? If this is true, how do I prevent u folks from doing this? I do not like, nor fully understand, the answers that u furnished to Matthew! I admit, to not having much expertise with computers. Can u reassure me, in non technical jargon, that I am thinking wrong on this interpretation? Also, after using Avast! for free for one year, I felt that it was the right thing to do to pay for this service. Now, after reading replys here, it seems that the free loaders can go on indefinately using and not paying for Avast! Say it isn’t true!

  • Alex Bash

    im going to make a few things clear to those that obviously do not know what they are talking about.’
    First Avast only collects information if you choose to join the Avast community
    Second Avast only collects information on the sites you visit that ARE infected
    Third the behavior sensors by definiton cannot do anything untill they have been trained to do so works the same way as any similair program must learn before it can adapt