One of the first things that I do after I install Windows on a PC is to install security software on the system to protect it from malware and other attack forms.
Windows users have two main choices when it comes to that. They can select a free software, or buy a commercial product instead.
One of the free products that you can install on your system is Avira Free Antivirus. We have reviewed the premium version of Avira 2014 some time ago, and while it does not offer all features of the premium version, it shares several of the program's core technologies.
Avira announced today that it will add two new features to its Free Antivirus program.
Avira Cloud Protection was previously reserved to premium users but will be added to Antivirus Free in the next three months. We have reviewed a technical preview of the product back in 2012, and it has since then been integrated into Avira's premium products.
The application creates digital fingerprints of files and submits the values to Avira servers where they are compared to existing data.
If a match is found, a result is returned to the locally installed copy of the antivirus software. Files that are not in the database can be uploaded to the cloud server instead where they are scanned and added to the database so that all Avira users benefit from the scanned result.
Avira Browser Safety on the other hand has been available as a beta version for some time now. The browser extension, available for Chrome and Firefox, adds protection and features to each browser.
When you enable the extension -- you need to install it separately as it won't be installed automatically -- you will benefit from the following features:
- Safe Search - Can be opened with a click on the icon or by moving the mouse cursor to the small dark area that it displays at the top of the browser window. Safe Search uses Google, but adds verification to each search result.
- Tracker identification and blocking - It will block all sorts of tracking scripts on the Internet, including most advertising scripts. You can disable the tracking on select websites.
- Malicious site blocking - Blocks malicious sites that can infect your computer.
You can disable trackers on select websites with a click on trackers in the extensions' interface, a click on blocked, and the disabling of Ad Networks there. I'd appreciate it if you would so so here on this site.
Browser Safety is already included when you install Avira Free Antivirus, while Avira Cloud Protection will be made available soon.
It is interesting to note that Avira has made various changes to its free product to improve usability and the overall user experience. The company removed the pop-up advertisements for instance, and is no longer bundling toolbars with its product.
Additional protection is always welcome, especially if it improves a product and does not reduce usability of it. There is little to criticize about the update. Browser Safety is an optional component for now that you need to install manually to make use of, while Cloud Protection is an essential component that improves the real-time detection capabilities of the application.