The latest version of avast! antivirus kernel features outstanding detection abilities, together with high performance. You can expect 100% detection of In-the-Wild viruses (viruses already spreading between users) and excellent detection of Trojan horses.
The kernel is certified by ICSA Labs; it frequently takes part in the tests of Virus Bulletin magazine, often yielding the VB100 award.
The avast! engine also features outstanding unpacking support. It can scan inside the following archives: ARJ, ZIP, MIME (+ all associated formats), MAPI (Outlook pst files), DBX (Outlook Express archives), RAR, TAR, GZIP, CAB, BZIP2, ZOO, ACE, ARC, LHA/LHX, TNEF (winmail.dat), CPIO, CHM, RPM, ISO, 7ZIP and SIS. It also supports a number of executable packers (such as PKLite, Diet, UPX, ASPack, PeShield, FSG, MEW etc.).
Last, but not least, it can also scan for viruses hidden in Alternate data streams on NTFS volumes. [top]
The Simple User Interface is used to start on-demand scanning, work with the results and change various options. Basic resident protection settings can be modified here.
The Simple User Interface is the main application of avast! 4 Home Edition. You can start additional avast! modules from here, such as the Virus Chest, Updater or Log Viewer.
The appearance of the Simple User Interface is very flexible. It supports so-called skins (changeable appearance of the application), so you can change the interface to suit you. The main package contains three skins, with additional skins available from our web pages. [top]
Avast features a module for the protection of IM (Instant Messaging, "chat") programs, and a module for the protection of P2P (peer-to-peer) programs. The list of supported IM and P2P programs is extensive, with more than 30 programs currently supported.
While chat itself would not pose any serious security risks in terms of viruses, today's IM applications are far from being just chatting tools: most support more or less sophisticated file sharing methods - which may quite easily lead to virus infections, if not properly monitored.
The P2P protection module doesn't need much explanation - today's P2P networks (such as Kazaa) contain potentially thousands of infected files, and effective protection is essential. [top]
A new resident protection module was added to avast! 4.5: the Network Shield. This module provides protection against known Internet worms/attacks. It analyzes all network traffic and scans for malicious content. It can be viewed as a lightweight firewall (or, more precisely, an IDS (Intrusion Detection System)).
The Network Shield is only available on NT-based systems (Windows NT/2000/XP/2003). [top]
Web Shield is a unique feature of avast! that enables it to monitor and filter all HTTP traffic coming from Web sites on the Internet. Since an increasing number of viruses (and other malware, such as adware, spyware and dialers) are being distributed via the World Wide Web, the need for effective countermeasures has also increased. Web Shield acts as a transparent HTTP proxy and is compatible with all major web browsers, including Microsoft Internet Explorer, FireFox, Mozilla and Opera.
Unlike most competitive solutions, Web Shield's impact on browsing speed is almost negligible. This is because of a unique feature called "Intelligent Stream Scan" that lets the Web Shield module scan objects on-the-fly, without the need of caching. Stream scanning is performed in operating memory only (without the necessity to flush the contents to disk), providing maximum possible throughput. [top]
Automatic updates are another key need in virus protection. Both the virus database and the program itself can be updated automatically. The updates are incremental, with only new or missing data downloaded: thus reducing the transfer heavily. The typical size of a virus database updates are tens of KB; program updates typically are in the hundreds of KB range.
If your Internet connection is persistent (such as an always-on broadband connection), then updates are performed completely automatically at fixed time intervals. If you connect to the Internet only occasionally, avast! watches your connection and tries to perform the update when you are online. [top]