Tag Archives: avast antivirus

Major avast! version 17 released!

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)

avast17

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. 🙂

DOWNLOADS:

Home page:
https://www.avast.com

My referral link (you get a download, I get a referral point):
https://www.avast.com/get/PylIx3WC

Online installers (recommended, always up to date install):

http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avast_free_antivirus_setup.exe
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avast_pro_antivirus_setup.exe
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avast_internet_security_setup.exe
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avast_premier_antivirus_setup.exe

Offline installers (only use if no connection on destination PC during installation):

http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avast_free_antivirus_setup_offline.exe
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avast_pro_antivirus_setup_offline.exe
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avast_internet_security_setup_offline.exe
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avast_premier_antivirus_setup_offline.exe

New big avast! v12.1 update released!

avast! has just released a big update. Maybe not big on the outside, but under the hood, it has undergone some big changes.

What’s new in version 12.1.2272:

  • Lower system impact – faster boot time, less space taken on disk
  • CyberCapture – better detection of unknown and unique files via our cloud technology
  • Regular monthly program updates – automatic and silent, configurable via Settings
  • Improved detection of router vulnerabilities
  • New Bank mode in SafeZone browser
  • Faster SecureLine connection
  • Antispam is now as opt-in component
  • Removed hardware virtualization (NG) – replaced with CyberCapture,that has much lower impact on system resources
  • Removed Remote assistance – not used enough and not a core functionality

Two biggest changes are monthly program updates and CyberCapture. Monthly updates mean more flexible updating, faster fixing of vulnerabilities and faster evolution of protection technologies with less bugs since they can focus on individual parts of the program instead of accumulating huge number of changes for big releases every few months.

CyberCapture, the second and probably one of largest things is replacing old Secure VM (NG Technology). Secure VM was a big virtualized behavior analysis system running on local system. Imagine creating a clone of your entire system and running it as a secure analysis system on top of your own system. Not only this was very demanding or system, it was also quite problematic and it rarely really worked well. CyberCapture is basically an inverted system of old Secure VM. Instead of running virtualized system on every user computer, suspicious files are now sent to avast! cloud where it essentially does even more advanced analysis on avast! servers. Freeing user computers of heavy load while allowing avast! analysts to have more control over file analysis, being able to update their detection systems more often and provide better protection. Analysis take a bit longer now, but are more rigorous and hopefully with even higher detection rate. We’ll see how that will prove itself in tests and real world scenarios.

More info and download links can be found here. If you’re already using avast!, just invoke Program Update and it’ll update to this version automatically.

More info on CyberCapturee feature.

avast! 2015 Protection Tweaks updated for the new R3 release

AVAST Software has “just” released a new build of avast! named R3. This is basically a 3rd “Service Pack” after original avast! 2015 release.

New features and Improvements in Avast 2015 R3:

  • Grimefighter is now redone and called Cleanup.
    – runs without need of reboot
    – much faster
    – runs on more devices (better compatibility)
  • Improved Windows 10 compatibility
  • Ability to check compatibility issues with other antivirus software
  • Host-based intrusion prevention system (HIPS): an installed software package which monitors a single host for suspicious activity by analyzing events occurring within that host
  • StreamFilter with HTTPS scanning  is now available also for Windows XP/Vista
  • NG is not using Volume Shadow Copy Service anymore

avast! download:

http://www.avast.com

Updated avast! 2015 Protection Tweaks:

https://rejzor.wordpress.com/avast-2015-protection-tweaks

Changes:

Changes for the R3 release include adjustments to the newly introduced HIPS functionality which is set to “Monitor system for malware-like behavior” only with highest sensitivity. This should provide higher protection without annoying the user.

avast! Antivirus 2015 released!

AVAST Software has released a new major version of their flagship product avast Antivirus today. Here is the list of major changes/improvements:

• HTTPS scanning
Ability to detect and decrypt TLS/SSL protected traffic in the Web-content filtering component. This feature will protect you against viruses coming through HTTPs traffic as well as adding compatibility for SPDY+HTTPS/ HTTP 2.0 traffic. You can tune/disable this feature in the settings section.

• AVAST NG
A hardware based virtualization solution capable of running each Windows process in standalone safe virtualized environment (VM) and fully integrated to your desktop. Each process is executed in its own instance of VM, which means totally isolated from your other applications. This feature is now powering the Avast DeepScreen, resulting in better detection. Avast NG requires HW virtualization enabled.

• SecureDNS (this feature is active in the paid versions only)
A new provider which guards against unprotected DNS/DNS hijack on a router/client (including unsecured networks, public ones, etc.).

• Home Network Security

Scan your home network for vulnerabilities (wifi status, connected devices, router settings, factory passwords, etc.). It helps to discover potential problems not isolated on the particular device only, but in the entire network of devices you use or connect to the Internet from.

• Smart Scan

Integrated all on demand scans into one (Antivirus, Software updates, Home Network, GrimeFighter). One scan, different results and recommendations.

• New Support System
Easy contact for paid users to submit a ticket with all info included automatically. Improved knowledge base for free users. Help is completely online and is more up to date.

• General bugfixing
This covers a lot of stability & performance changes in all components (but the main focus was traditionally on the network & engine components).

avast! Free download with referer (if you weant to help me out)
http://www.avast.com/get/PylIx3WC

Download locations
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avast_free_antivirus_setup.exe
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avast_pro_antivirus_setup.exe
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avast_internet_security_setup.exe
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avast_premier_antivirus_setup.exe

avast! cleaner:
http://files.avast.com/iavs9x/avastclear.exe

My updated, super silent, fully automated config file for the new avast! 2015:

https://rejzor.wordpress.com/avast-2015-protection-tweaks/

It should be possible to install this version on top of your existing avast! installation (all settings should be preserved). Or you can use in-product updater.

Enjoy this release!

avast! Protection Tweaks

I’ve launched a new sub-page for avast! Antivirus configuration tweaks which provide the least intrusive experience with maximum protection and performance. If you just want antivirus to silently sit in the corner of your desktop and do its job when malware is detected, then you’ll love it. All the animations, information pop ups and sounds are interesting at first, but over time, they do get a bit annoying (at least they did for me). My configuration file takes care about that and much more.

Access the sub-page on the link below or through the right side Pages panel…

https://rejzor.wordpress.com/avast-protection-tweaks

avast! 2014 released!

After a quite long BETA test, avast! team has released their flagship product avast! Antivirus. It brings many new features that I wrote about some time ago. Below here is just an official summary of important new features. I love the way how this new avast! turned and I think you will be too 🙂 It’s a great protection package with some really cool features like Hardened Mode for users who don’t know much about computers, the crazy fast scanning, new completely transparent Auto Sandbox (now called DeepScreen) and so on and on. You won’t be disappointed!

Protection-related features and improvements

  • New DeepScreen technology allows avast! to make more intelligent decisions about new/unknown files. DeepScreen is a successor of AutoSandbox, now upgraded with some additional new technologies such as dynamic binary translation and dyna-gen announced earlier.
  • New Hardened mode for stricter lockdown scenarios. This is a new mode that is recommended especially for novice users (such as your grandmas): it automatically blocks execution of binaries that would normally be deepscreened (Moderate level) or even allows only execution of programs that are well-known to FileRep (Aggressive level). In a way, it brings the whitelisting concept to the consumer AV space.
  • Improved cloud scanning features and crowdsourced analysis of suspicious items. This includes new, optimized mechanism for collecting data from our sensors.
  • Continuously streaming update (CSU) technology for up-to-minute detections. This is not entirely new for v2014, but we now have really buttoned up the whole streaming update infrastructure to allow for reliable, uninterrupted service. We’re currently doing 350-400 updates a day, which equals to one update in roughly every 3.75 minutes, 24×7, 365 days a year. Streaming updates can now also carry more types of definitions than before.
  • Improved cleaning of malware. This applies to standard malware as well as rootkits and file infectors.

Other new features

  • All-new web browser plugins featuring comprehensive security ratings, protection against malware, phishing and typosquatting sites and Do-Not-Track (DNT) functionality for improved anonymity on the Internet. The DNT functionality doesn’t rely on the DNT HTTP headers; instead, it uses a proprietary technology that cannot be overridden by the servers.
  • All-new SafeZone for more secure online shopping and banking. Users can now switch back and forth between SafeZone and the regular browser with a single click. Also, online banking sites can be automatically opened in the SafeZone.
  • Rescue disk – allow users to create a bootable CD or flash disk with Avast on it. Great for cleaning.

Other improvements

  • A new, streamlined user interface for simplified navigation and more user comfort. The new UI is actually much simplified, and it’s probably the biggest change since version 5.0. We have also redefined the shields to the total number of three (File Shield, Web Shield, Mail Shield) and tweaked the action buttons (tiles) on the home page so that they’re now fully configurable.
  • Control and manage all protected devices directly from the Avast console. That is, the my.avast.com account is perfectly integrated in the UI to allow for management of all your devices running Avast.
  • Dramatic reduction in product size (full installer < 60MB, compared to today’s 120MB) and memory footprint. By default, install is done through a new stub installer though (which has the advantage of always installing the most up-to-date version).
  • Faster scanning thanks to optimized scanning engine (raw [in-memory] scans of EXE files are about 2x faster, while scans of text contents (e.g. web pages and scripts) are up to 10x faster).
  • Completely rewritten setup/updater that makes the installation and upgrade process faster, easier and more reliable
  • Firewall has been redesigned from scratch to allow for better compatibility with latest Windows, better performance and full support for IPv6 (although its UI hasn’t really changed).
  • New licensing system allows for much easier management of product licenses. The system relies on activation codes, and these can be added seamlessly by simply clicking a link.
  • Various improvement in the Software Updater and Browser Cleanup tool.vvv

Download:

http://www.avast.com

avast! Antivirus 2014 announced!

At first it was not meant for this info to go live for another week or so, but someone leaked it already so there is no point in keeping the cat in the bag anymore… avast! 2014 has NOT yet been released, this is just a teaser announcement. Public beta testing will soon begin and the actual final release to the end users planned later this year…

New naming scheme

We talked about this a lot in the past years and now the decision has been made to follow the year numbers in the program name. While many of the advanced users generally don’t like this, it makes sense in a way. For me as an advanced user, it doesn’t really matter if it says avast! Antivirus 9.0 or avast! Antivirus 2014. But to some casual user, “2014” tells that he is using the latest version. So, that in a way makes casual users more aware of keeping program up to date. With antiviruses, that is very important as only the latest version can effectively combat latest threats.

New release schedule

In the past years, new avast! version has been released in February every year. This brought few complications for the testing of avast! by various testing organizations like AV-Test and AV-Comparatives which mostly conduct tests from December to July, so avast! often got a bit handicapped because of that. I mean, it was basically old version of avast! against latest versions from competitors, because the casual February release was in the middle of the testing where program versions are usually frozen and they don’t get changed during testing. I’m not expecting drastic changes, but at least the competition will be somewhat more equal for everyone (especially for avast!). Oh and this also goes better with the yearly naming scheme. New year number just before it actually transitions into the actual New Year.

New protection features

Along with new version also come amazing new protection features. Here are few of the most profound ones…

  • DeepScreen Technology

A successor to the AutoSandbox, an enhanced version with capability to make much more intelligent decisions for new/unknown files and offers advanced new features like Dynamic Binary Translation and Dyna-Gen (a fully machine generated behavior detection signatures). We’ve seen a great success with Evo-Gen (fully machine generated generic “signature” detections), so we are expecting quite a jump in detection with it.

  • Hardened Mode

Hardened Mode is a new mode designed to further reinforce the system for less knowledgeable users. There will be two modes, Moderate (which blocks anything that would otherwise be verified by DeepScreen) and Aggressive (which blocks everything unknown to the FileRep service (file reputation in the cloud)). This is very useful for systems operated by those who don’t know much about computers like kids or grandma/grandpa. Basically it brings whitelisting concept into a more every day use.

  • Improved cloud scanning and crowdsourced analysis

New array of optimized mechanisms that allow better collection of data from avast! sensors and feeding that data to the whole protection backend.

  • Continuous Streaming Updates (CSU)

This technology is not exactly new as it’s already being used in avast! 8.0. Streaming Updates were in the beginning updates that filled the gap between casual every day updates. In the beginning they were released hourly through the operating hours of avast! Virus Lab to avoid possible devastating false positives, but now the process has matured enough to be fully autonomous and released around the clock 24/7, 365 days a year. The process is so mature that is feeding malware detection “signatures” to the end users roughly every 3.75 minutes, giving avast! capability to stay in touch with all the very latest malware. Streaming Updates can now also carry more advanced detections and not just the most basic ones, so they can feed sophisticated detection measures even through these nearly instantaneous updates. avast! Virus Lab is currently feeding roughly 350-400 updates per day to their users!

  • Improved malware cleaning and disinfection

This includes improved cleaning capabilities of standard malware as well as rootkits and file infectors.

Other new features

  • All new web browsing plugins

Featuring comprehensive security ratings, protection against malware, phishing and typosquatting sites and Do-Not-Track (DNT) functionality for improved anonymity on the Internet. The DNT functionality doesn’t rely on the DNT HTTP headers, instead, it uses a proprietary technology that cannot be overridden by the servers.

  • All new SafeZone

New and enhanced SafeZone allowing users to switch between secure and normal browser in one click and also allow to open banking webpages directly into SafeZone.

  • Rescue Disc

Users will be able to create a bootable CD or USB drive that can be then used for cleaning of resilient malware or systems infested by ransomware where user cannot access installed antivirus software to initiate cleaning.

Other improvements

  • New interface

A new streamlined interface. Till now, the interface only evolved slightly, but with avast! 2014, the interface is going to be revolutionized. It’s an all new, slightly Windows 8 styled interface which you can check in the screenshots below… It’s not finalized yet, but this is roughly how it will look like. Shields have also been consolidated into only 3 shields (File Shield, Web Shield, Mail Shield). Front interface screen will also allow users to place their favorite functions to the front as a fully customizable buttons, so you can always have all the important and most used features at your finger tips.

  • Control all devices from one interface

Control and manage all protected devices directly from the Avast console. That is, the my.avast.com account is perfectly integrated in the UI to allow for management of all your devices running Avast.

  • Much smaller installer

Dramatic reduction in product size (full installer < 60MB, compared to today’s 120MB) and memory footprint. By default, install is done through a new stub installer though (which has the advantage of always installing the most up-to-date version). I also hope standalone offline versions will be provided for systems that don’t have internet connection at the time of installation.

  • Much faster scan engine

Faster scanning thanks to optimized scanning engine (raw [in-memory] scans of EXE files are about 2x faster, while scans of text contents (e.g. web pages and scripts) are up to 10x faster). This should provide less drag on the system and much smaller delays when viewing webpages and running programs.

  • New updating system

Completely rewritten setup/updater that makes the installation and upgrade process faster, easier and more reliable

  • New firewall engine

Firewall has been redesigned from scratch to allow for better compatibility with latest Windows, better performance and full support for IPv6. The interface hasn’t changed much, but the firewall core engine is all new.

  • New licensing system

New licensing system allows for much easier management of product licenses. The system relies on activation codes, and these can be added seamlessly by simply clicking a link. Not much is (yet) known how the FREE version will have to be re-registered. Hopefully the process will be much simplified and less confusing to the casual users who just want to be protected with as little effort as possible.

  • Other improvements

There also improvements to the Software Updater and browser Cleanup tool which might not be as apparent on the outside, but they are there 🙂

Preview Screenshots

These images don’t represent the exact final visual appearance, but they will give you a rough idea how avast 2014 will look like 🙂

status_page

scan_page

Settings

rescue_disc

This is it for now, I will keep you up to date with further info as it becomes available… 🙂