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Avast! antivirus (written with the exclamation mark) is an antivirus program developed by ALWIL Software based in Prague, Czech Republic. Its first edition was released in 1988, improving overtime. Avast! was one of the first on-access antivirus programs to be released for the Windows x64 edition. Avast! 4 Home is a popular full-featured freeware antivirus applications available to Microsoft Windows and Linux users. As of October 2008 the free Home Edition has had over 37 million downloads on Download.com. As of December 2008 Avast! (Home version) has had 70 million registered users.
Avast! is aimed at preventing infection by several types of computer threats, including those that are not technically viruses such as spyware and even rogue software. Avast! also can recover malware-damaged files through its Virus Recovery Database. (VRDB)
Avast! Home Edition is the freeware version of Avast! antivirus available to Microsoft Windows and Linux users, while Avast! Professional Edition is offered to businesses and users that want additional features. Avast! Professional Edition contains an enhanced user interface, through which scanning tasks can be scheduled to run automatically, while priority updates are delivered automatically using PUSH update technology. The Professional Edition also has a command line scanner and a script blocker. Avast! antivirus is one of the most widely used antivirus programs in the world, with more than 80 million users worldwide as of April 2009.
- Antivirus kernel based on certified antivirus engine.
- Resident protection comprising individual modules or "shields", each of which can be individually configured or disabled:
- Standard Shield — Real-time protection against viruses and other malware threats.
- IM shield — Instant Messaging protection. (Scanning of files transferred through instant messaging applications)
- P2P shield — P2P protection.
- Internet Mail — E-mail scanning.
- Outlook/Exchange — Microsoft Outlook/Exchange scanning.
- Web Shield — HTTP protection (local transparent proxy). Version 4.8 also allows the blocking of URLs.
- Script blocker — Professional version only; scans webpages for malicious scripts.
- Network Shield — Basic protection against well-known network worms. Acts as an Intrusion Detection System.
- Anti-spyware capabilities
- Anti-rootkit capabilities
- Virus Recovery Database (VRDB) — Allows repair of malware infected files.
- Self-Protection — Prevents malware from terminating avast! processes and damaging avast! files.
- Automatic incremental updates — Updates of both the program and the virus database which is used to identify potential threats — Avast! updates its virus definitions on a regular basis (sometimes multiple updates daily) and this process is automated by default.
- Audible alarms — Vocal warnings and notices such as "Caution, a virus has been detected!" and "Virus database has been updated."
- Boot-time scan — Users can schedule a boot-time scan to remove infections that load during Windows startup.
- Virus Chest — Quarantine; folder where infected files can be stored. The virus chest also stores vital system files to protect them from damage by malware. Users can also add their own files to the virus chest. Once in the chest, a file cannot be executed; double-clicking the file will instead display information about the file.
- Skinnable user interface
Registration (Home Edition) Edit
Avast! antivirus can be downloaded and used for free for 60 days. After 60 days, the free Home Edition must be registered, and a license key inserted into the program, in order for the program to continue functioning. After registering, a license key is sent by email and once inserted into the program, it can continue to be used free of charge for 14 months. After 14 months, it is necessary to re-register and insert a new license key.
The latest Windows version is 7.0. The Avast! product range comprises the following:
- Avast! Home Edition — Freeware for personal, non-commercial use only.
- Avast! Professional Edition — Shareware for both personal and commercial use.
- Avast! Windows Home Server Edition — Shareware for use on Windows Home Servers.
- Avast! Professional Family Pack — Shareware for use in the home by families with multiple computers. Includes 10 licenses of Avast! Professional Edition and one license for Avast! Windows Home Server Edition.
- Avast! Mac Edition — Shareware for the Mac platform. The Mac+PC Edition includes both Avast! Mac Edition and Avast! Professional Edition for Macs also running Microsoft Windows.
- Avast! Server Edition — Shareware for businesses running Windows Server - may be extended by additional modules for MS Exchange Server 2000/2003/2007, MS Proxy/ISA Server, SMTP Server, MS Sharepoint Server (Portal Server 2001/2003, Windows Sharepoint Services 2003 and MS Office Sharepoint Server 2007)
- Avast! Distributed Network Manager — allows network administrators to manage the Avast! antivirus product line across the whole enterprise.
- Avast! Small Business Server Edition — Shareware for Windows Small Business Servers, including Exchange server or ISA server
- Avast! Linux Home Edition — Freeware for personal, non-commercial use only — for use on Linux workstations.
- Avast! for Linux/Unix Servers — Shareware designed to run on Linux and BSD servers running x86 kernels only. Packages are available as RPM, Debian or in Tarball form.
- Avast! for Kerio — Shareware designed to work with Kerio products such as their secure mail servers.
- Avast! U3 Edition — Shareware for the protection of U3 smart drives from viruses and other forms of malware.
- Avast! PDA Edition — Shareware for Windows PocketPC/Windows Mobile, WinCE and Palm OS.
- Avast! BART CD (Bootable Antivirus and Recovery Tool) — Shareware to detect and remove virus infections.
Future versions Edit
The upcoming Avast! antivirus version 5.0 is currently planned to be released in October 2009. The product will be offered in three versions: free version, paid version and a full Internet Security Suite. In addition to all the features of Avast! 4.8 Home Edition, Avast! 5 Free contains a new "Behavior Shield" designed to monitor for suspicious activity, and a re-designed "Security Center" style interface. According to the official Avast! blog, the new upcoming version of Avast! 5 Suite will also contain a firewall and antispam module. 
Awards and tests Edit
- In 2006, Avast! antivirus won the Secure Computing Readers' Trust Award for best antivirus.
- In August 2008, Avast! antivirus was awarded the "Advanced+" rating by the independent testing company AV Comparatives. It was awarded the "Advanced" rating by AV Comparatives in February 2009.
- In August 2009, Avast! antivirus was awarded the "Advanced+" rating by AV Comparatives.
- ↑ "Avast! Home Edition - Free software downloads and reviews - CNET Download.com"
- ↑ "Two More Ways to Fight Viruses, for Free"
- ↑ "avast! Professional Edition". http://www.avast.com/eng/avast-4-professional-antivirus-antispyware.html. Retrieved on 2009-03-09.
- ↑ "avast! celebrates 80 million registered users". http://www.avast.com/eng/news-celebrates-80-million-registered-users.html.
- ↑ http://www.avast.com/eng/download-avast-home.html
- ↑ "avast! antivirus Downloads". www.avast.com. http://www.avast.com/eng/programs.html. Retrieved on 2008-07-03.
- ↑ "avast! 5 is coming soon". http://blog.avast.com/2009/07/20/avast-5-is-coming-soon/. Retrieved on 2009-07-20.
- ↑ "Independent comparatives of antivirus software – AV Comparatives". http://www.av-comparatives.org. Retrieved on 2009-02-23.
- ↑ "Anti-Virus Comparative No. 21 February 2009". http://www.av-comparatives.org/images/stories/test/ondret/avc_report21.pdf. Retrieved on 2009-04-02.
- ↑ "Antivirus Comparative No. 23, August 2009". http://www.av-comparatives.org/images/stories/test/ondret/avc_report23.pdf. Retrieved on 2009-09-21.