Avast 2014 free antivirus launches worldwide

ITProPortal was in Prague this week to see Avast Software launch its 2014 antivirusv solution, featuring what the company claims is the only boot-time scan in the antivirus industry.

Avast 2014 is 40 per cent smaller than January's Internet Security 7 release, but still packs a punch, delivering faster download and update speeds without sacrificing power. Speed and usability are the key tenets of this release, with features such as DeepScreen, Do Not Track and SafeZone mitigating age-old security and privacy issues.

The boot-time scan assures users that from the moment their computer is turned on, the software is combing their systems and destroying threats. The 2014 solution also empowers users with the ability to create a bootable antivirus USB, CD or DVD. By doing so, if their hardware is in any way compromised, a user has the disk ready so that they can clean and restore the computer to its normal function. What's more, since the rescue disk is built on Windows PE (pre-installation environment), users can boot their system even when there is no functioning OS.

DeepScreen is an innovative new feature. Malware creators frequently attempt to dupe users by masking the true nature of the harmful programs they create. DeepScreen combats this by clearing away false code, misdirections and other misleading coding, peeling away the layers to observe the binary level commands within the malware itself. Avast 2014's new Hardened Mode also lets users turn on a whitelisting setting which blocks files from executing when it is unclear whether or not they are infected.

Other additions include Browser Cleanup, which removes unwanted toolbar clutter in one click; automatic false positive solvers; SafeZone, which protects against keystroke thieves and DNS poisoning attacks; SecureLine VPN, a useful feature that makes users invisible to hackers on public WiFi networks, and lastly the Do Not Track browser plugin, which allows users to view which websites are tracking their online activity (usually for marketing purposes) and enables them to choose which companies they will approve and which they will block.

Avast was keen to emphasise its 'community' ethos during the Prague event, and in this vein, the new interface has been designed based on customer feedback. “Our customers are our partners”, said Avast CEO Vincent Steckler at the launch, citing that over 200 million devices are using Avast worldwide. These users feed Avast a stream of information about the latest threats, maintaining a constant flow of intelligence back to the company. Around 250 updates per minute, Avast said.

It’s a system that seems to work, with over 60 per cent of Avast users installing the software from personal recommendation. As Steckler puts it, “Being a global company is about being local around the world.”