avast! Free Antivirus 6, with sandbox
With Version 6, AVAST Software has upgraded its avast! virus scanner with new defensive capabilities and promises improved protection against pests. New features include a sandbox (AutoSandbox), browser plug-ins to indicate the reputation of web sites (WebRep) and script protection. According to a press release from AVAST Software, these functions are now included in the free version – avast! Free Antivirus, which is available from the AVAST product download page. Registration within 30 days of installation is required to ensure the scanner still loads the latest signatures. Avast antivirus runs on Microsoft Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP SP2.
The WebRep browser plug-ins for accessing web site reputation display a colour scale to allow the user to gauge the risk of a page. The plug-ins are currently only available for Firefox and Internet Explorer, a plug-in for Chrome is being developed.
The script protection feature prevents the execution of malicious code in Web pages. The scanner is also able to monitor messenger and P2P applications.
In addition, both the paid versions – avast! Pro Antivirus (£29.99 per year) and the Internet Security suite (£39.99 per year) include SafeZone, a feature that promises secure online banking, despite the possible presence of infections on the users computer. With SafeZone users will be able to surf in a virtual environment and will therefore be safe from attacks and key loggers. Ondrej Vlcek, CTO at AVAST Software says “This is really a 180 degree change in philosophy as we’ve long focused on keeping malware from getting in. Now we can also keep malware from taking any information out.” Vlcek says SafeZone is an inside-out sandbox in that the usual virtualisation creates a sandbox to keep incoming malware from coming in, while SafeZone keeps the users private data from going outside their computer.