Image: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty ImagesBy Monica Chin2018-04-05 15:33:07 UTC
Avast — the Czech-based digital security company that made a name for itself offering “free” antivirus software in the 2000s — has a new version of its Chromium-based web browser, called Avast Secure Browser, which it claims is faster and more secure than its competitors.
The browser offers a laundry list of features intended to beef up security, including HTTPS encryption, an extension guard, a built-in password manager, a special mode for banking, and anti-phishing features.
Additionally, all the privacy features are turned on by default, so you don’t need to download any extra software or set anything up.
More dubiously, Avast claims it’s 400% faster than other major browsers (at least sometimes), and 30% faster at loading 1,000 of the “most popular websites.” While that may be true in some scenarios, browser makers tend to cherry-pick tests that are favorable to them, and we haven’t independently verified these claims.
Avast, as a security company, has a good track record when it comes to internet privacy. As of last year, it had detected and prevented almost a quarter of a million WannaCry ransomware attacks around the world. With a comprehensive set of security features, Avast looks to be a promising option for users who are paranoid about their data in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
That said, no matter how many browsing modes it boasts, no browser is completely invulnerable. In 2016, for instance, the company’s Avastium browser was found to be vulnerable to an exploit that could bypass security checks and gain access to cookies and email. Check out Avast if you want secure browsing — but it’s still important to be careful with your data.