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Avast - the world's most popular free antivirus - version 5.0 now available for download

I figured the big day was nearly at hand when checking Google Pack for the switch to Avast - the spherical 'a' logo was orange instead of the blue which accompanied version 4. It's now official: Avast 5.0 is now available for download.

As with previous versions of Avast, there are both free and pro versions - as well as a a full internet security suite. It's Alwil's first suite, and a relative bargain at $59.95 per year for three computers. Norton - still the big dog in paid antivirus - charges $69.99 for a single machine.

What's new in version 5? Like many other AV developers, Alwil has made the new version lighter on system resources. They've cut down the total number of system processes Avast creates and boosted scanning speeds. The new behavioral shield provides solid heuristic detection for threats not yet included in Avast's definitions.

The professional version also adds sandboxing - which you can leverage outside the antivirus program itself. Want to run your web browser in Avast's sandbox? Go right ahead. It's an excellent way to add another layer of protection to your system and it's not coming at a premium price -- Avast Pro goes for $39.95.

In AV Comparitives December 2009 rundown, they had this to say about Avast:
"This year, Avast! showed big improvements in its detection rates and reduced its number of false alarms. Its on-demand scanning speed is one of the fastest."
One other big change in v5? The default interface. Gone is the blue and gray, gone is the tape-deck styling. Take a look at our Avast 5 beta version gallery to see what the new version looks like!

Once the v5 download links are live (and they should be after 8am EST today), you'll find the new free version on this page.

edit: It's up! As noted in the comments, you'll find Avast version 5 here: Thanks, chocholo!

Tags: 5, alwil, antivirus, avast, free, malware, security, suite, trojan, virus