Avast Software has just announced the initial Beta release of its 2012 range of security products: http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=92820.0
Avast’s latest iteration includes additional and improved features, the introduction of cloud technology plus an array of configurable options which allow users to customize Avast’s protection to suit individual needs and/or leave Avast running comfortably alongside other security programs.
I must say, when it comes to free anti-virus, Avast is certainly the innovator. While free offerings from competitor security houses remain pretty much in dormant mode, Avast is continually revamping it’s free AV, offering new and better features with each new release. Admittedly Avast’s commercial versions still offer more advanced protective features but Avast is certainly not averse to sharing enhancements and new innovations across the free version.
In Avast 7, a new Cloud Services component provides access to Avast’s cloud-based file reputation service, plus delivers streaming updates for a faster response to zero day (latest) threats. Avast Software is also reporting an overall improvement in both sandboxing techniques and browsing protection.
The most unusual (unique?) new feature though has to be the inclusion of a Remote Assistance component whereby a user can remotely connect to, share and manipulate another user’s desktop – of course, this feature works only between computers running the Avast AV software (including free).
NOTE: This is Avast 7’s very first Beta release so naturally there will be plenty of wrinkles which need to be ironed out – as such, this version is not fit for installation on every-day systems, nor suitable for long term protection. You might like to take a preliminary look-see in a VM or VE however.
Here are some of the known issues already reported on the Avast forum:
- n some cases, WebRep Chrome plugin is not installed correctly
- The Safezone browser is opening each time when you switch back and to the Safezone
- Plugins for Outlook 2k3 and 2k7 show “runtime error” message
- Sometimes autosandbox toaster does not close correctly
- Problems with avast sounds on Win 7 and Win Vista
- Remote assistance feature sometimes crashes on Win 7 32b, Win Vista 64b
- avast! account functionality is disabled
- The help hasn’t been updated yet, it’s still from v6
- Many of the translations haven’t been updated yet, so you’ll see new items in English only
Looks to me that version 7 is almost certainly destined to maintain Avast’s position at the top of the free AV pile.