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Monday, March 15, 2010

Avast Anti-Virus v5 Free

I recently switched from VIPRE 4.0 because of the built in firewall issues. Besides those issues it was great. A link to that review can be read here:

Now after switched to Avast AV Free I had to find a firewall. The Windows 7 firewall doesnt cut it for me. It doesnt offer enough popups letting me know whats trying to go out or whats coming in. Having been a user of ZoneAlarm Pro I decided to check that out as well. Low and behold they offer a free version of their firewall as well.

Heres a short clip on Avasts v5 Free detection tests. Its important to note that only the behavior and file system shields were on and all options were left at default settings.

Credit goes to AlexDBR from Wilders Security for this video.

Now with that video it missed 4 infections on default settings and only 2 of the modules installed. If you bump up the heuristic detection from Normal to High in the webshield settings you should be fine. This is where I like Avast v5 Pro over Free. The Pro version offers "Process Virtualization" of programs that you select. Dont let Avasts naming convention fool you. Its a sandbox environment that the AV allows you to run select programs in. Naturally you would want to include your web browsers. The Pro version also has a scripts shield which is good if you use an x86 system or Internet Explorer only. From their page the Scripts Shield: Detects malicious scripts hidden in internet web pages and prevents them from running and hijacking or potentially causing damage to your computer (Internet Explorer only, 32-bit only).

Now I cant comment personally on detection tests here since I rarely come across a virus on my own machine. I can link you to Malware Research Groups test with Avast.

Out of 30 samples Avast Free v5.0.396 (Old version) detected 99.2% of the samples. As noted on their site this test was also done with default settings. Out of the 30 samples Avast detected 22 of them.

Now a few quick notes. Boot time scanning is not available in x64 systems online in x86. The Avast Process Virtualization works on x86 and x64 systems which is unique for Sandboxing programs. Script shield only works with Internet Explorer and x86 systems.

Screenshots (Note: These are from Avast v5 Pro):