Sunday, February 27, 2011

Avast! 6.0 - Excellent and free antivirus!

I get irked, people. What irks me? Many things, but one in particular that relates to this post: Companies tricking the ignorant into paying for what they can get for free. (I use the term "ignorant" in its non-pejorative sense, i.e. lacking specific knowledge.)

As an example: It's tax season, and the thieves are out in force, trying to get you to pay for their tax prep services, never letting on that you can do your taxes yourself for nothing. Granted, some of you with complicated incomes and investments can benefit from professional tax preparers, but when you have a simple W-2, you don't have to pay anyone!

In my local WalMart, a sign prominently displayed promises that you can get your taxes done for "as low as $38." Folks, that's ridiculous. Go online and plug in a few basic facts about yourself and reputable companies will complete your 1040EZ and have your refund deposited into your bank account within 10 business days FOR NOTHING!

Now, what's this have to do with this blog? Antivirus is another arena where the ignorant pay through the teeth when excellent applications will do the job for free. Avast is one such free app, and they've just come out with version 6, which adds some nice features:

# AutoSandbox - The first automatic virtualization feature in a major antivirus package. AutoSandbox identifies suspicious applications and automatically prompts users to run them in a safe virtual environment. “If the item is dangerous, the virtual computer is shut down and the user’s real machine remains safe. And, if the item is safe, there is no hassle from a false positive,” stated Ondrej Vlcek, CTO of AVAST Software.

# WebRep - The first reputation guide for malware and website content incorporated into a free antivirus application. “WebRep interfaces directly with search engine results, combining CommunityIQ data on infected websites with user-submitted information on the content and reputation of individual sites,” added Mr. Vlcek. “Thanks to our more than 120 million active users, our WebRep has the deepest support of any web reputation option on the market.”


# More internet protection - Additional internet security options have been added to the new avast! 6.0 Free Antivirus. “As 85 percent of malware is now transmitted through the internet, we’ve extended our protective features to all avast! users,” remarked Mr. Steckler. Avast! Free Antivirus now includes both Web and Script Shields, protecting users at both the http level and the browser level. Site Blocking, another new feature in avast! Free Antivirus, allows users to block selected websites.


# Knows what’s bad – Recognizes and stops malware attacks in the billions, thanks to CommunityIQ sensors. avast! stopped 1.2 billion viruses in January of this year, a significant increase from the over 900 million viruses stopped in the previous January. avast! also prevented over 32 million users from visiting infected sites in the past 30 days. “We get over 12,000 unique samples sent daily to the Virus Lab – which then enables us to fine-tune our detection abilities,” said Mr. Vlcek. Thanks to its massive CommunityIQ network of user-sensors, avast keeps the largest – and freshest - list of infected websites in the security industry.


# Great ratings – Consistent high reviews in independent product reviews. Avast! Free Antivirus is a regular top performer, placing at or near the top for its malware detection, fast scanning speed, and its performance – even when competing against the leading paid-for products. New avast! 6.0 features are set to continue this trend. “It looks like avast! 6 will land far closer to the high end of the spectrum thanks to its new WebRep browser add-on and sandbox environment, unique in the free antivirus marketplace,” wrote Seth Rosenblatt, senior associate editor at Download.com in his review.


# It’s free – Light on computers, even lighter on the wallet.


Get Avast! 6.0

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