Author Topic: Is Avast Free Antivirus dangerous? Maybe more problems than solutions!?  (Read 16877 times)

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Offline straightedge

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After seeing the fiasco with the new Avast Free Antivirus 17.2.2288 I am seriously thinking about uninstalling this bloated thing.
Once it was a very cool and slim software, but now it is nearly worse than Norton a few years ago!

a) Just read about the neverending problems with the new build in this forum!

b) Then, consider this advice from a famous Firefox-developer:
"At best, there is negligible evidence that major non-MS AV products give a net improvement in security. More likely, they hurt security significantly; for example, see bugs in AV products listed in Google's Project Zero. These bugs indicate that not only do these products open many attack vectors, but in general their developers do not follow standard security practices. (Microsoft, on the other hand, is generally competent.)"

http://robert.ocallahan.org/2017/01/disable-your-antivirus-software-except.html

c) At last, read about the serious problems using interception (which is turned on by default). Even though Avast seemed to be better than others in the test, there is no guarantee that the new build is not as harmful as the others!

"Anti-virus software performed even worse. The study tested 26 products from 13 vendors including major anti-virus software makers Avast, AVG, and Kaspersky. A whopping 15 products scored an “F” and 9 a “C” (that’s 24 of the 26 products). ... This means that both consumer and corporate traffic is being severely harmed by their own HTTPS interception products. These products are meant to provide more security – by allowing for network monitoring and anti-virus and malware scanning. While they may very well do that, it comes at the cost of crippling the encryption that protects that data.

In the context of corporate networks, this means that using an interceptor not only makes it easier for you to monitor your traffic, but it’s likely making it easier for other people to monitor your traffic. Poorly encrypted data can be captured and stored by anyone who can monitor the network (such as the government, or your ISP operating under court order from the government) and then decrypted. Some of these connections are weakened so severely that they can be easily decrypted today – while others could be broken in a few years when computing power increases.

The authors pointed out that the problem here is multi-faceted. First, while the internet community has always known HTTPS interception was happening, the scale of it was likely not realized. This means that interception has largely been ignored and there is little consensus if an alternative solution should be sought out.
"


https://www.thesslstore.com/blog/https-interception-harming-security/


Offline Eddy

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a)
The problems will be solved (eventually) *sigh*.
The real problem (as I see it), is that avast has shifted the focus from creating good av to making money as much as possible,
They are releasing beta versions while those versions didn't even passed the alpha testings.
And if they did passed the alpha testing phase, there really are major things wrong with the "internal" testing.

b)
That Firefox developer was amongst other things, responsible for the security of the browser.
During that period Firefox had huge security leaks (See the Secunia advisories) and he thinks he knows about security ?
If he did, he should have solved them, but he didn't
Because he failed, it was possible for the FBI to take down sites like silk-road.
Not that I have anything against that :)
« Last Edit: March 04, 2017, 04:02:33 AM by Eddy »

Offline bob3160

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It's a Support Forum - You very seldom get someone to join to tell you that they don't have a problem. :)
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Offline straightedge

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a)
The problems will be solved (eventually) *sigh*.
The real problem (as I see it), is that avast has shifted the focus from creating good av to making money as much as possible,
They are releasing beta versions while those versions didn't even passed the alpha testings.
And if they did passed the alpha testing phase, there really are major things wrong with the "internal" testing.

I agree with you, that ist exactly what I claimed last year:

It seems to me that Avast Free is getting more and more a sort of beta testing platform, for trying out new things and making them disappear again (or only available to Premium). This would explain the "once a month" updates.

And also, it would explain why the traduction in the components section is still wrong, you can see "uninstall" there instead of install, so you are seduced to click on things you don't really want.

...

That's what I meant with "beta testing" - the updates every month will bring up a lot of new bugs and will not leave enough time for the genuine beta testers to find bugs, so in the end every user will be a bit like a beta tester...

By the way, is there a way to make disappear the alert symbol in the systray, because I sure don't want to install the new build?

Offline DavidR

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<snip quotes>
By the way, is there a way to make disappear the alert symbol in the systray, because I sure don't want to install the new build?
[/quote,

Easy really, one of the functions that avast monitors is out of date or disabled AvastUI > Settings > General > Status Monitoring - uncheck the Program version.

Time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted ;)
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Offline straightedge

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Cool, thank you.

I already have clicked at least 20 times through all the settings in the last years to optimize the program, but somehow I overlooked this one.
I thought Settings > Update > Program > manual actualisation would do it ;)

Offline Rednose

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Hi guys :)

As far as I know Avast 17.2.2288 is solving ( some ) problems, but not creating new ones ?

Btw you should realise that the recent acquisition of AVG has a huge impact on Avast as company, so also for Software Developement as well.
Avast Developers in Prague now have to coordinate with ( former ) AVG Developers who work for example in Bruno.
So it is not that simple as you maybe think.

That said : A new Avast 17.3 Beta is basicly planned for the upcomming week, and the release for the end of March.

Greetz, Red.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2017, 02:07:55 AM by Rednose »
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Offline chris..

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Hi guys :)

As far as I know Avast 17.2.2288 is solving ( some ) problems, but not creating new ones ?

Greetz, Red.
Do you like to play on words without bothering to interpret?
We all understood (except you?) that straightedge talks about avast since its big changes of the first version 17 (17.1.2286) , isn't it ? ;)

Offline Rednose

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Hi chris05 :)

I am just asking a question, and trying to explain things.

Greetz, Red.
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Offline TrueIndian

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The entire "No Antivirus Hypothesis" is flawed.Let me post the same post I made on wilders about the argument.

About 15 years ago, when the antivirus industry was quite young, there were far fewer competitors in the anti-malware space. Most antivirus firms at the time had a couple of guys in the lab whose job it was to dissect, poke and prod at the new crimeware specimens. After that, they’d typically write reports about the new threats, and then ship “detection signatures” that would ostensibly protect customers that hadn’t already been compromised by the new nasties.

This seemed to work for while, until the smart guys in the industry started noticing that the volume of malicious software being released on the Internet each year was growing at fairly steady clip. Many of the industry’s leaders decided that if they didn’t invest heavily in technologies and approaches that could help automate the detection and classification of new malware threats, that they were going to lose this digital arms race.

So that’s exactly what these firms did: They went on a buying spree and purchased companies and technologies left and right, all in a bid to build this quasi-artificial intelligence they called “heuristic detection.” And for a while after that, the threat from the daily glut of malware seemed to be coming under control.

But the bad guys didn’t exactly take this innovation laying down; rather, they responded with their own innovations. What they came up with is known as the “crypting” service, a service that has spawned an entire industry that I would argue is one of the most bustling and lucrative in the cybercrime underground today.

Put simply, a crypting service takes a bad guy’s piece of malware and scans it against all of the available antivirus tools on the market today — to see how many of them detect the code as malicious. The service then runs some custom encryption routines to obfuscate the malware so that it hardly resembles the piece of code that was detected as bad by most of the tools out there. And it repeats this scanning and crypting process in an iterative fashion until the malware is found to be completely undetectable by all of the antivirus tools on the market.

Incidentally, the bad guys call this state “fully un-detectable,” or “FUD” for short, an acronym that I’ve always found ironic and amusing given the rampant FUD (more commonly known in the security industry as “fear, uncertainty and doubt”) churned out by so many security firms about the sophistication of the threats today.

In some of the most sophisticated operations, this crypting process happens an entirely automated fashion. The bad guy has a malware distribution server or servers, and he signs up with a crypting service. The crypting service has an automated bot that at some interval determined by the customer grabs the code from the customer’s malware distribution server and then does its thing on it. After the malware is declared FUD by the crypting service, the bot deposits the fully crypted malware back on the bad guy’s distribution server, and then sends an instant message to the customer stating that the malware is ready for prime time.

Crypting services are the primary reason that if you or someone within your organization is unfortunate enough to have opened a malware-laced attachment in an email in the first 12-24 hours after the bad guys blast it out in a spam run, there is an excellent chance that whatever antivirus tool you or your company relies upon will not detect this specimen as malicious.

In short, as I’ve noted time and again, if you are counting on your antivirus to save you or your co-workers from the latest threats, you may be in for a rude awakening down the road.

Does this mean antivirus software is completely useless? Not at all. Very often, your antivirus product will detect a new variant as something akin to a threat it has seen in the past. Perhaps the bad guys targeting you or your organization in this case didn’t use a crypting service, or maybe that service wasn’t any good to begin with.

In either case, antivirus remains a useful — if somewhat antiquated and ineffective — approach to security. Security is all about layers, and not depending on any one technology or approach to detect or save you from the latest threats. The most important layer in that security defense? You! Most threats succeed because they take advantage of human weaknesses (laziness, apathy, ignorance, etc.), and less because of their sophistication.

Antivirus has to evolve. It has been evolving and it will be evolving forever. To evolve you need to invest in it, and no company invests in something they consider dead. To be involved in the creation and development of new technologies and revolutionary approaches to combat malware and fighting cybercriminals is one of those secret ingredients.
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Offline Ashley62

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Re: Is Avast Free Antivirus dangerous? Maybe more problems than solutions!?
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2017, 05:55:41 AM »
Interesting read TrueIndian.

Avast/AVG support has basically just fried my operating system.
Here is my thread.
https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=198217.0

I'd say anti virus is ok as you mention, but be VERY CAREFUL of the AVG/AVAST support. 8 hours of frustration and then a fried PC which keeps looping in the boot sequence.

It now even loops when trying to boot in safe mode. I followed every step their support team provided.

All programs gone.

Now I have to get a disc recovery service and pay for that myself to recover the programs I have lost on my boot drive.

AVG/Avast support has been the most frustrating service I have ever dealt with.

Offline bob3160

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Re: Is Avast Free Antivirus dangerous? Maybe more problems than solutions!?
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2017, 02:02:21 PM »
Interesting read TrueIndian.

Avast/AVG support has basically just fried my operating system.
Here is my thread.
https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=198217.0

I'd say anti virus is ok as you mention, but be VERY CAREFUL of the AVG/AVAST support. 8 hours of frustration and then a fried PC which keeps looping in the boot sequence.

It now even loops when trying to boot in safe mode. I followed every step their support team provided.

All programs gone.

Now I have to get a disc recovery service and pay for that myself to recover the programs I have lost on my boot drive.

AVG/Avast support has been the most frustrating service I have ever dealt with.
I believe you're talking about their third party phone support. Not looked on very favorably by many of us.  :o
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Offline TrueIndian

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Re: Is Avast Free Antivirus dangerous? Maybe more problems than solutions!?
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2017, 04:17:17 AM »
Ashley,My post was in reference to the OP's post linking to a article stating av's are useless (which of course is a baseless fact since AV's are evolving too) and bob is right some of the support features aren't good.

The forum is the best support you can get,believe it  8)
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― Mahatma Gandhi

Offline MystiqueWolf

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Re: Is Avast Free Antivirus dangerous? Maybe more problems than solutions!?
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2017, 11:19:41 AM »
After seeing the fiasco with the new Avast Free Antivirus 17.2.2288 I am seriously thinking about uninstalling this bloated thing.
Once it was a very cool and slim software, but now it is nearly worse than Norton a few years ago!

a) Just read about the neverending problems with the new build in this forum!
It is one of the few products that give you the ability to choose what features you want to install. You can do this at any time, even after installation has finished. You can even do this through the main GUI. The problems are because they rushed to release it and didn't fix all of the reported bugs prior to release. Some of the bugs of course were unknown even in Beta and couldn't have been evaded, but generally the little ones could have been.
b) Then, consider this advice from a famous Firefox-developer:
"At best, there is negligible evidence that major non-MS AV products give a net improvement in security. More likely, they hurt security significantly; for example, see bugs in AV products listed in Google's Project Zero. These bugs indicate that not only do these products open many attack vectors, but in general their developers do not follow standard security practices. (Microsoft, on the other hand, is generally competent.)"

http://robert.ocallahan.org/2017/01/disable-your-antivirus-software-except.html
I know what he tells and why he tells it, but believe me, this is a BAD advice. All of the nonsense talks about antivirus is dead are stupid. Today the word "antivirus" is kept only for marketing purposes. The programs called "antivirus" today don't block just viruses, they block malicious scripts, trojans, different types of ransomware, exploits, adware, PUPs, bots and so on. They don't simply do static signature matching, they use many other technologies to protect. And even though many new technologies(actually the concepts are not new but becoming more and more important than before) are used the old signatures(maybe in some generic kind) are very useful for known families of malware. I agree that Microsoft, simply because of the tight integration between their built in antivirus and their own OS are really competent and generally integrate better with the OS, but you cannot call 3rd party companies and their developers "not competent". Do you know what? Every single software has bugs, malware itself has bugs, all AVs + Windows Defender have bugs(incl. vulnerabilities). Browsers have bugs. You cannot avoid them. You can only find them and fix them as soon as possible. Tell me browsers that scan the JavaScripts running from pages and blocking them from exploiting unknown vulnerabilities and i will tell you that it is safe to stop using 3rd party AVs. Microsoft's AV, although engineered correctly, hasn't really found the logic and experience in detecting and preventing zero day malware. Only recently with their WD Advanced Threat Protection(marketing chooses the name always), they have started using sensors in Windows 10 and analytics from Azure trying to build the knowledge they need. Microsoft are  good company but not every product they create is the best. That doesn't really mean that Avast is the best, there is no best as this is a relative and changing thing.
c) At last, read about the serious problems using interception (which is turned on by default). Even though Avast seemed to be better than others in the test, there is no guarantee that the new build is not as harmful as the others!

"Anti-virus software performed even worse. The study tested 26 products from 13 vendors including major anti-virus software makers Avast, AVG, and Kaspersky. A whopping 15 products scored an “F” and 9 a “C” (that’s 24 of the 26 products). ... This means that both consumer and corporate traffic is being severely harmed by their own HTTPS interception products. These products are meant to provide more security – by allowing for network monitoring and anti-virus and malware scanning. While they may very well do that, it comes at the cost of crippling the encryption that protects that data.

In the context of corporate networks, this means that using an interceptor not only makes it easier for you to monitor your traffic, but it’s likely making it easier for other people to monitor your traffic. Poorly encrypted data can be captured and stored by anyone who can monitor the network (such as the government, or your ISP operating under court order from the government) and then decrypted. Some of these connections are weakened so severely that they can be easily decrypted today – while others could be broken in a few years when computing power increases.

The authors pointed out that the problem here is multi-faceted. First, while the internet community has always known HTTPS interception was happening, the scale of it was likely not realized. This means that interception has largely been ignored and there is little consensus if an alternative solution should be sought out.
"


https://www.thesslstore.com/blog/https-interception-harming-security/
I don't want to write this again, so I'll give you a LINK.

Offline cruiser25

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Re: Is Avast Free Antivirus dangerous? Maybe more problems than solutions!?
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2017, 10:35:29 PM »
The "bad guys comes in different shapes" After the latest documents published by wikileaks you can see that all major AV-brands is affected to compromise by the CIA. Hopefully Avast will take notice because it´s vulnerabiltys is listed there.