Avast Antivirus 6.0 combats Trojans with virtualisation

Takes new direction with 'SafeZone'

Czech security company Avast Software is adding virtualised security to the forthcoming version of its paid antivirus software in an attempt to woo consumers worried about attacks on online banking by Trojans such as Zeus/SpyEye.

Called 'SafeZone', the new feature in version 6.0 claims it can combat keyloggers and spyware by running a Chromium-based browser from inside a virtualised session. The effect is to stop outside applications - including malware - from accessing any of the data from within the session thereby protecting password and username entry on websites.

The feature is really designed for specific uses such as banking and would not be convenient for general-purpose web browsing. Technologies such as flash do appear to be supported but plugins used in a non-virtualised browser are not present.

The company is confident the feature will work even if the machine has been infected prior to installation.

"SafeZone is about creating a new secure, private space - without users having to worry about the technical specifics, and one that is not dependent on an already clean machine," said Avast's CTO, Ondrej Vlcek.

"This is really a 180 degree change in philosophy as we've long focused on keeping malware from getting in. Now we can also keep malware from taking any information out," he said.

The new virtualised security should not be confused with the 'autosandbox' feature that also makes its first appearance in Avast 6.0. This is an isolated space in which suspicious or new executables are run automatically and securely to stop them accessing deeper areas of the PC. Unlike SafeZone, the autosandbox will also be part of the free version of the app.

Features such as virtualised security are becoming important for 'freemium' antivirus companies that depend on converting users of free software into paid, annual subscribers. Making sure enough users sign up depends on features over and above signature scanning and basic heuristics which have proved less and less effective against state-of-the-art malware such as the Zeus banking Trojan.

Alternatives to what Avast is offering include IronKey's USB stick virtualisation and Trusteer's Rapport, which is a dedicated add-on that creates a sort of private session within a conventional browser.

Full availability has not been announced for the software but Avast Antivirus Pro 6.0 will cost £29.95 (approx $40) per annum, or £40 for three PCs per annum.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Personal TechsecurityAvast Software

More about Avast

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by John E Dunn

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts