Avast 8 generates detection of entire malware families

At RSA Conference 2013 in San Francisco, Avast Software introduced a new version of its consumer security software line, with a number of new technologies and improvements to deliver proactive detection, vulnerability prevention, and user comfort.

Avast 8 brings:

  • Malware-similarity search technology to deliver automatic identification and blacklisting of files similar to other known infected files. These detections are pulled in real-time from the Avast cloud database.
  • A new dynamic-detection engine combined with the AutoSandbox feature. The AutoSandbox allows Avast to analyze suspicious files in an isolated environment before they are allowed to run on the user’s system. The new engine helps users make more intelligent decisions, whether files running in the sandbox are malicious or not, and it quarantines infected files automatically. The technology is based on an in-memory SQL database, allowing for complex queries on the file’s overall execution trace.
  • A new backend detection system called Evo-Gen that generates fully generic detection of entire malware families. Statistical methods enable the Avast Evo-Gen to identify characteristics common to large sets of malware samples that are otherwise unique to the entire ecosystem.

“Our new Evo-Gen system helps create much more efficient definitions, which can often protect against vast sets of malware,” said Avast CTO Ondrej Vlcek, “including unknown “zero-day’ malware, without the risk of generating false positives.”

Further vulnerability prevention closes back-door security holes with:

  • Software Updater, a new feature that pre-empts potential exploitation of vulnerabilities in outdated applications by helping the user stay updated with latest available versions of the most-exploited apps. In the new Avast! Premier, Software Updater can run in completely automatic mode.
  • Browser Cleanup, a new feature for removing unwanted toolbars and other plugins. Such “tools” are not only obtrusive but could potentially modify search results to lead the user to sites distribution malware.

And new user comfort enhancements offer:

  • Touch-optimized user controls and navigation, as well as a complete redesign of the graphical interface. This new simple and intuitive version 8 is available in 42 languages.
  • Remote Assistance, an feature that allows amateur computer users to get help remotely from a friend or family member who can help.

“As antivirus should remain focused on stopping viruses, our goal for version 8 was to improve upon what we already do very well,” said Avast CEO Vince Steckler. “And we’ve been able to achieve that by leveraging our unique advantage: a 177-million-strong worldwide user base.”

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