Avast has just released the latest version of its free antivirus software. Existing Avast users can update to Avast Free Antivirus 2014 from within the program… right click the Avast icon in the system tray and select Update, then Program.
With a much reduced download size (120MB to 80MB), an entirely new and simplified interface, and improved protection and scanning times, this new version should maintain Avast’s universal appeal.
Much has been reported about Avast 2014’s new features and improvements. Just for the record, here they are:
What’s new in Avast Free Antivirus 2014:
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.
- Rescue disk – allow users to create a bootable CD or flash disk with Avast on it. Great for cleaning.
- 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 < 80MB, 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
- Various improvement in the Software Updater and Browser Cleanup tool.
Avast Free Antivirus 2014 retains a good selection of additional tools. The Software Updater tool, which reports superseded software installations and provides users with an easy way to update to the latest versions, is a particularly useful inclusion.
The addition of a new tool to create rescue media, with choices of either USB or CD, should also be appreciated by many users.
The new Avast has also enhanced its WebRep site advisory feature with expanded information now readily available.
All in all, it’s a big thumbs up from this Avast user. Unfortunately, for users who are new to Avast Free, it appears the company has made an exclusive download deal with the notorious CNET Download.com. So, here is a direct download link: Avast Free Antivirus 2014
**Please remember to select the “Custom” installation option, this will allow you to choose the components you want to install and disable any you do not want.