Hot on HuffPost Tech:

See More Stories
Free Switched iPhone app - try it now!
AOL Tech

Avast 6 beta buffs up free antivirus with better sandboxing, new Web protection

It may have taken a long time for Avast to move from version 4 to 5, but that's not going to be the case with Avast 6. A beta version has been made available for download, and there are plenty of new features that will make Avast 6 a worthy antivirus program for Windows.

Two technologies which were introduced in paid editions of Avast 5 -- the Web Script Shield and site blocking -- have been made added to the free version of Avast 6. A new Web reputation plug-in has been added which adds Web of Trust-like functionality to both Firefox and Internet Explorer (including IE9). Paid version also include a new virtualized "SafeZone" designed to better secure sensitive data transmitted to the Web -- such as details provided during online banking sessions or checkout.

Avast 6 also improves its sandboxing abilities with a new feature that automatically isolates suspicious applications as soon as they are executed. The sandbox itself has been improved, though no specifics were given in the release post.

Avast 6 beta screenshots

One final addition is the sidebar gadget you see in the screenshot above. Why add a gadget, you ask? It's actually a pretty smart move, since Windows tends to hide antivirus system tray icons -- leading some users to think that they might not be protected. The widget leaves no doubt, with its big, green 'secured' bar. The three buttons at its base will start a system scan, force an update, or load the main Avast 6 window. None of this can be done from the tray icon any more -- there's no context menu and a single left-click simply opens Avast.

Since Avast 6 is still in beta testing, we don't recommend using it for full-time antivirus duties on important systems. It's certainly worth throwing on a virtual machine or spare, unloved metal if you'd like to see the new features in action.

Download Avast 6 Beta

Tags: anti-malware, antimalware, antivirus, apps, avast, avast 6, Avast6, beta, gallery, malware, screenshots, security, torjan, virus, windows