Today, we have released a brand new avast! program update, version number 7.0.1473. It's the last program update we plan to do before version 8 (slated for Q1 2013). I'd like to take this opportunity and explain some of its new features.
First and foremost, the new version is fully compatible with Windows 8 - scheduled to finally hit the stores this Friday. The changes we have made went well beyond just making sure everything works. For example, we had to replace the internals of the Network and Web Shields to accommodate the new networking APIs in Windows 8. Also, we had to make sure avast! plays nicely with the new Windows Security Center and that it correctly handles certain scenarios that are new to Windows 8.
This version of avast! will shortly be officially certified with the Windows 8 Compatible logo, and will be included in the new Windows Store.
In this new version, we also rewritten big portions of the avast! browser and MS Outlook plugins. The plugins now use a new optimized API to communicate with our backend infrastructure (for example, to enable the WebRep, anti-phishing and SiteCorrect features) and should be more stable than the previous versions. For your information, we will be further extending these plugins in the upcoming avast v8.
Besides the plugins, we did major improvements to the avast! autosandbox module, which is now even more capable of classifying malicious files and isolating them from the rest of the operating system. During the course of the last 6 months, we have made substantial investments to the autosandbox module and it has now become one of the key components of the overall avast protection strategy. I plan to cover some of the details of how the autosandbox works in one of my future blog posts.
Equally important are the enhancements and upgrades we have recently done to our backend systems. These include the FileRep engine as well as the "Scavenger" system used by our virus analysts to work with samples. These enhancements allow us to process incoming samples much faster and deliver new detections to our users very quickly (thanks to our Streaming update technology).
Last but not least, this new update contains a good number of bug fixes, optimizations and performance improvements that will hopefully make version 7.0.1473 the best avast version to date.
The new version is available immediately. Existing users can get it by invoking the Program Update feature from within the avast! user interface. New users can it by downloading it from the avast! website.