AVAST Software launched their brand new, major release of their flagship product avast!, this time with version number 17 (skipping 5 versions because of AVG acquisition). It’s probably one of the greatest and most complex releases of them all in a very long avast! history.
avast! v17 (example of Premier Edition)
New branding with trademark orange amoeba, new grey, white, green and purple color scheme. This is the new face of avast! 🙂
What’s new in version 17
- Improved user interface – simplified navigation, new brand colors, notification center
- Behavior Shield – better protects you against ransomware by monitoring running programs for suspicious behavior
- Game mode – helps reduce distractions and lag times by automatically prioritizing your game’s performance and suspending all unnecessary background notifications and processes while you play
- Free version no longer requires email registration
- Performance improvements – faster webpage loading and app launching thanks to optimized hashing algorithms
- Wi-Fi Inspector – previously called Home Network Security, this feature now detects even more problems and vulnerabilities on both home and public networks
- Passwords – faster UI and improved browser integration
- Real Site – our new name for SecureDNS, which prevents DNS hijacking to help you avoid visiting fake websites
- SafeZone browser – common settings for all modes, faster startup of bank mode, currency converter
Under the hood changes and features
I’m not going to bore you with really technical details, all I can say is this new version will provide SIGNIFICANTLY enhanced protection. DeepScreen has been moved to CyberCapture system, removing (for some) annoying “DeepScreen scanning…” popup, scan engine gained many cool features from AVG creating a hybrid engine of best features from both scan engines and lastly, the biggest addition, Behavior Shield. A feature I’ve been waiting for since version 5 and now it has finally made a debut in v17 in all its full glory. It’s a behavior based analysis system which continuously monitors execution process of each and every program on the system. Malware writers can use most sophisticated packers and crypters, but Behavior Shield doesn’t care about any of it. All it cares about is how program behaves on a higher level. If it’s doing suspicious or malicious things to your files or system, it’ll terminate the offensive program and reverse the changes. I’ve made an early test during BETA testing phase and it detected pretty much everything I’ve thrown at it. I’ve also seen internal operation of Behavior Shield during my visit of avast! HQ and it constantly feeds detection and sensors data back into their cloud, processing all the data in near real-time and feeding it back to users and into other avast! systems, progressively increasing protection with every sample processed. It’s already outstanding against ransomware, as well as all sorts of other malware types like file infectors (viruses), trojans, backdoors and worms. It’s gonna catch ’em all! 😉
Plans for the future
I can’t go into exact details due to NDA, but I can tell you avast! team is already working on additional anti-ransomware measures that will proactively protect whole system and personal user files from ransomware. One involves proactive measures and another one generic whitelist based protection where only programs on extensive avast! whitelist are allowed to modify user documents. This gives outstanding generic protection with nearly perfect user experience since users will still be able to edit their personal files using safe tools like image and text editors.
Phishing protection will also be moved from browser extension into Web Shield module, providing extended protection against phishing websites without the need to use browser extensions.
There are also extensive plans on interface upgrade. First stage is the main interface which you can already see in screenshot above. Next stages through March, April and later will evolve certain deeper menus even further, making them look nicer, more consistent with the new design theme and also more user friendly.
There are also many other smaller changes that I’m not covering here which will be included in upcoming monthly releases.
It’s a bright future ahead for avast! and I can’t wait to see how it will do in AV-Comparatives and AV-Test with the new Behavior Shield as well as all the other protection goodies. 🙂
My referral link (you get a download, I get a referral point):
Online installers (recommended, always up to date install):
Offline installers (only use if no connection on destination PC during installation):