“Change or die,” as the old saying goes. Internet user habits have been changing over time and, along with them, the behavior of malicious software that never stops trying to infect us. Operating systems thus need a protection model adapted to current times. To this end, the Avast! Antivirus system has just launched the beta of its new version 2014, an update that includes changes, improvements, and new features with the aim of speeding up its analysis and confronting the new threats that are now floating around on the Internet.
The Internet security company Avast! has been in operation for more than 25 years, protecting its clients—whose number is now nearing 200 million—with versions in more than 40 languages. This latest beta of its antivirus is presented as a much lighter product for operating system memory that nevertheless leaves nothing out when it comes to its predecessor versions’ functionalities (many of which are improved) and that adds new security measures.
Shields: The previous version of Avast! Free Antivirus included eight modules that have now been reduced to three—File System Shield, Web Shield, and Email Shield—making it easier to manage them. This doesn’t mean that the others have disappeared, but rather that their functions have been condensed into these three categories. For example, the Web Shield used to be divided into the Network Shield and the Script Shield, and now we have all three options in a single shield.
Firewalls: This has now been included into the “Tools” menu with all the other characteristics, making it less conspicuous on the interface but giving it a more logical position when it comes to searching. Its redesign offers better performance and compatibility with the new versions of Windows thanks to a greatly simplified configuration.
Statistics: This feature has obviously been given much more emphasis in this 2014 version. Avast! has widened its statistics to provide access to both personal reports with data obtained from your own shields as well as universal-use data: how many streaming updates have been installed, the virus definitions that have been added to Avast!, and currently infected domains.
Reduced size: The new Avast! installer has been drastically reduced in size, now weighing less than 60MB compared to the 120MB of earlier versions. This allows the antivirus to use less memory. In addition, the new installer will always offer the most recent version.
Higher speed: The analyses are much faster thanks to a new optimized exploration engine. Exploring .EXE files will be about twice as fast and the text content analyses—of web pages and scripts—up to 10 times faster. The installation and update process has also been totally revamped to make them faster, simpler, and more reliable.
The new features
SafeZone: This new feature has appeared to make banking and online purchase processes and transactions more secure, an area where it never hurts to have extra protection. From this tool, users can access their online banking sites automatically in the SafeZone.
Rescue Disc: This module has appeared to create a system recovery CD or USB memory stick in a few simple steps so you can be able to do an emergency system spring-cleaning if necessary.
My Devices: Controlling and managing all the devices that you’re protecting with Avast! has never been easier: your account at my.avast.com will be perfectly integrated with the main antivirus screen on your desktop. This new section lets you view the protection status of your phone or tablet.
DeepScreen: Another new option designed to protect newer users. DeepScreen is a successor of AutoSandbox, an automatic feature that lets Avast! make better real-time decisions when unknown files are being run. If you prefer to deactivate it, you just have to got to Options > Antivirus > DeepScreen.
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