Avast has launched the latest version of its free anti-virus product.
With an emphasis on speed and usability for multiple users, the company said the features in version seven have not been made available in other, paid-for products.
Among the features are cloud capabilities to give users streaming updates; users can more thoroughly distinguish between malicious and clean files and faster threat identification by sorting new, potentially dangerous files from known safe ones.
Avast has also enhanced its WebRep browser plug-in to detect counterfeit sites and fake/planted SSL certificates.
Speaking to SC Magazine at the launch of the version, CEO Vince Steckler said the company has offerings for Macs and PCs, Apple and Android mobile devices, and in more than 30 languages.
Ondrej Vicek, Avast Software's CTO, said: “We spend time improving our web-based functionality, adding layers on the web interface to distinguish bad things and block those.
"For the streaming updates, previously every four hours the computer would connect and update; now it is pushed from the cloud instead of waiting for the user to come to us. This is up-to-the-minute and an efficient way to keep users up to date.
“The updates are very small, typically less than one kilabyte, and we send them to the cloud every 15 minutes or at increased intervals. This will keep users protected against zero-day threats.”
The FileRep feature will be driven by a 150-million-strong user community who will flag files to the database, where the anti-virus engine will make an intelligent decision. Also among the new features are a sandbox for the browser, phishing protection and remote assistance from an administrator.
Vicek said: “We had the phishing protection in version six but it was restricted to email, now we have moved it to the web system. We look at how many people visit a site and allow access, but when typing in a credit card number or personal details a pop-up box will appear and warn the user to double-check as the site has been flagged as phishing.
“This is more proactive, we won't stop you going to the site, it is not our intention to block access to a site with a low rank.”
He added that a business edition would be launched in the summer and contain similar features to version seven but with a management console.