Avast has updated its browser to give users greater control over their online privacy. According to the company, its renamed Avast Secure Browser (formerly SafeZone) is designed to plug the security gaps that result from users' misplaced protection expectations. Features such as Stealth Mode, HTTPS Encryption, anti-tracking and anti-fingerprinting have been designed to account for the 69 percent of UK consumers who believe standard private-browsing modes will anonymize their identity, and the 81 percent who believe their browser would alert them to web-based threats, such as malicious cryptomining and extensions.
Based on the Chromium open source platform, the browser also includes Bank Mode, an extension guard, anti-phishing features, a password manager and Flash Protect, designed to free-up computer resources and preserve battery life. In short, Avast claims it's a 'one-stop' product for online security, and in comparison to its competition -- Chrome, Firefox and Edge -- its features certainly seem comprehensive. Especially since there's very little work involved for the end-user -- everything's on by default, and the software will tell you if something's amiss. Plus, using a sample of 1,000 popular websites, Avast claims it bumps up average browsing speeds by 30 percent.
However, Avast doesn't have the best track record when it comes to product security. It owns CCleaner, which was last year hit by a fairly substantial malware issue (although it did become apparent this fault was conceived before Avast purchased CCleaner developer Piriform), while a couple of years ago Avast's Avastium browser (also developed through Chromium) was found to be at risk from security attacks. Nonetheless, Avast Secure Browser does address many people's lack of understanding when it comes to protecting themselves, so it could make for an important redemption offering.
Update: This post has been edited to reflect the fact that the CCleaner malware incident came to light only after Avast purchased its developing company.