If You’re Using Avast, You Need to Read This

By | June 4, 2014
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Avast doesn’t even come close to living up to its promise of protecting its users from malware.

At one time we recommended Avast, but we stopped recommending them two years ago when Avast decided to become a one-size-fits-all security solution  – a little Norton.

The truth is that even the worst of the anti-virus bunch does a decent job protecting your computer from viruses. And if all a program claims to be is an anti-virus then the chances are good that it is protecting your computer. But when a program, such as Avast, claims to protect you from all manner of bad stuff including malware, then they had better live up to their promises.

Avast doesn’t even come close to living up to its promise of protecting its users from malware.

We recently cited an article about Avast’s forums being hacked. A couple of people drilled us for not focusing more the fact it was just a forum and therefore not remotely related to Avast’s security programs. Facts are facts and the fact is that a Web server is nothing more than a computer, just like most eveyone uses, configured to be used as a Web server. If Avast can’t protect their own servers (computers) how can the protect your computer?

If a company is going to make claims for their products then those claims need to be substantially true. We do understand that no security program is going to be 100% effective against 100% of all threats, 100% of the time. But it better be ready to stand tall when it comes to its claims. Avast falls flat on many fronts; so flat, in fact, that against the most common malware, the kind of malware you’re most likely to be exposed to, Avast provides little protection or no protection at all.

Here’s a claim, right from Avast’s site…”Intelligent antivirus, anti-spyware, & anti-malware
Not just a marketing phrase! Our DynaGen-powered antivirus streams hundreds of tiny real-time updates to your PC’s virus database each day, to catch new malware faster. Its decisions are based on artificial intelligence that works inside the algorithm responsible for analyzing suspicious files…”

Bold claim — catches ne malware faster. But what about the most common malware – the type you’re most likely to encounter every day on the Internet?

Again we say that facts are facts are facts. Here’s a malware scan of a computer running the paid verion of Avast Internet Security –everythining listed below is malware:

Service Found : CltMngSvc
Service Found : MyWebSearchService
Service Found : Update Albrechto
Service Found : Util Albrechto
Service Found : Web Assistant

***** [ Files / Folders ] *****

File Found : C:\END
File Found : C:\WINDOWS\system32\conduitEngine.tmp
File Found : C:\WINDOWS\system32\f3PSSavr.scr
Folder Found : C:\DOCUME~1\Owner\LOCALS~1\Temp\apn
Folder Found : C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\apn
Folder Found : C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\speedypc software
Folder Found : C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Viewpoint
Folder Found : C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Application Data\DriverCure
Folder Found : C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Application Data\iWin
Folder Found : C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Application Data\PriceGong
Folder Found : C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Application Data\registry mechanic
Folder Found : C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Application Data\speedypc software
Folder Found : C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Application Data\Uniblue
Folder Found : C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Local Settings\Application Data\AskToolbar
Folder Found : C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Local Settings\Application Data\Conduit
Folder Found : C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Local Settings\Application Data\IncrediMail_MediaBar_2
Folder Found : C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Local Settings\Application Data\PackageAware
Folder Found : C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Local Settings\Application Data\SearchProtect
Folder Found : C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Local Settings\Application Data\TidyNetwork
Folder Found : C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Local Settings\Application Data\visi_coupon
Folder Found : C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\Optimizer Pro
Folder Found : C:\Program Files\albrechto
Folder Found : C:\Program Files\Ask.com
Folder Found : C:\Program Files\Conduit
Folder Found : C:\Program Files\driver-soft
Folder Found : C:\Program Files\Free Offers from Freeze.com
Folder Found : C:\Program Files\Freeze.com
Folder Found : C:\Program Files\FunWebProducts
Folder Found : C:\Program Files\IncrediMail_MediaBar_2
Folder Found : C:\Program Files\MyWebSearch
Folder Found : C:\Program Files\registry mechanic
Folder Found : C:\Program Files\Search Toolbar
Folder Found : C:\Program Files\SearchProtect
Folder Found : C:\Program Files\SelectRebates
Folder Found : C:\Program Files\TidyNetwork
Folder Found : C:\Program Files\Uniblue
Folder Found : C:\Program Files\Viewpoint
Folder Found : C:\Program Files\Web Assistant

***** [ Shortcuts ] *****
***** [ Registry ] *****

Data Found : HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows [AppInit_DLLs] – C:\PROGRA~1\SearchProtect\SearchProtect\bin\SPVC32Loader.dll
Key Found : HKCU\Software\APN PIP
Key Found : HKCU\Software\AppDataLow\{1146AC44-2F03-4431-B4FD-889BC837521F}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\AppDataLow\AskToolbarInfo
Key Found : HKCU\Software\AppDataLow\Software
Key Found : HKCU\Software\AppDataLow\Software\IncrediMail_MediaBar_2
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Ask.com
Key Found : HKCU\Software\AskToolbar
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Babylon
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Conduit
Key Found : HKCU\Software\ConduitSearchScopes
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Crossrider
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Fun Web Products
Key Found : HKCU\Software\FunWebProducts
Key Found : HKCU\Software\IM
Key Found : HKCU\Software\ImInstaller
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes\{014DB5FA-EAFB-4592-A95B-F44D3EE87FA9}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes\{171DEBEB-C3D4-40B7-AC73-056A5EBA4A7E}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes\{56256A51-B582-467E-B8D4-7786EDA79AE0}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes\{CFF4DB9B-135F-47C0-9269-B4C6572FD61A}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Settings\{00000000-6E41-4FD3-8538-502F5495E5FC}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Settings\{00A6FAF1-072E-44CF-8957-5838F569A31D}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Settings\{00A6FAF6-072E-44CF-8957-5838F569A31D}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Settings\{02478D38-C3F9-4EFB-9B51-7695ECA05670}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Settings\{07B18EA1-A523-4961-B6BB-170DE4475CCA}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Settings\{07B18EA9-A523-4961-B6BB-170DE4475CCA}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Settings\{21608B66-026F-4DCB-9244-0DACA328DCED}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Settings\{336D0C35-8A85-403A-B9D2-65C292C39087}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Settings\{74CC49F7-EB32-4A08-B204-948962A6E3DB}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Settings\{98279C38-DE4B-4BCF-93C9-8EC26069D6F4}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Settings\{9D425283-D487-4337-BAB6-AB8354A81457}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Settings\{A7A6995D-6EE1-4FD1-A258-49395D5BF99C}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Settings\{D4027C7F-154A-4066-A1AD-4243D8127440}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Settings\{D8278076-BC68-4484-9233-6E7F1628B56C}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Settings\{E8DAAA30-6CAA-4B58-9603-8E54238219E2}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Settings\{EBD24BD3-E272-4FA3-A8BA-C5D709757CAB}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Settings\{EF99BD32-C1FB-11D2-892F-0090271D4F88}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Stats\{00000000-6E41-4FD3-8538-502F5495E5FC}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Stats\{00A6FAF1-072E-44CF-8957-5838F569A31D}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Stats\{00A6FAF6-072E-44CF-8957-5838F569A31D}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Stats\{02478D38-C3F9-4EFB-9B51-7695ECA05670}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Stats\{07B18EA1-A523-4961-B6BB-170DE4475CCA}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Stats\{07B18EA9-A523-4961-B6BB-170DE4475CCA}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Stats\{1881A451-F7FB-44BC-85B2-FCEA4B1403E3}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Stats\{21608B66-026F-4DCB-9244-0DACA328DCED}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Stats\{336D0C35-8A85-403A-B9D2-65C292C39087}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Stats\{74CC49F7-EB32-4A08-B204-948962A6E3DB}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Stats\{98279C38-DE4B-4BCF-93C9-8EC26069D6F4}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Stats\{9D425283-D487-4337-BAB6-AB8354A81457}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Stats\{A7A6995D-6EE1-4FD1-A258-49395D5BF99C}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Stats\{D4027C7F-154A-4066-A1AD-4243D8127440}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Stats\{D8278076-BC68-4484-9233-6E7F1628B56C}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Stats\{DEDAF650-12B8-48F5-A843-BBA100716106}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Stats\{E8DAAA30-6CAA-4B58-9603-8E54238219E2}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Stats\{EBD24BD3-E272-4FA3-A8BA-C5D709757CAB}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Stats\{EF99BD32-C1FB-11D2-892F-0090271D4F88}
Key Found : HKCU\Software\MyWebSearch
Key Found : HKCU\Software\ParetoLogic
Key Found : HKCU\Software\PriceGong
Key Found : HKCU\

We are not picking on Avast, but we are certainly going to make sure you know the truth. We have found computers running McAfee, Norton, Trend Micro and other suites loaded with malware too.

If Avast is going to make claims about protect users from malware, then they better stand ready to prove it – not in some arcane antivirus tests proving that it can protect computers from viruses — even the worst of the antiviruses can do that. We’d like to have Avast prove its claim that it protects its users from malware — the kind almost all computer users are exposed to everyday — like Conduit, Price Gong, SearchProtect, MyWebSearch, Tidy Network, Freeze, and the others we found on a computer protected by Avast.

Malware is the scourge of the Internet – and your 100 times more likely to encounter malware than you are a virus. Malware can and does slow computers down. ruin Web browsers, and cause damage to Windows computers.

If you’re using Avast you should be aware of the fact that despite its claims to the contrary, Avast provides little or no protection from the kinds of malware you’re most likely to be exposed to, every single day.

16 thoughts on “If You’re Using Avast, You Need to Read This

    1. Darcy

      How do you know? If it is not detecting something… how do you know it is not there? Just curious.

  1. Jeff

    Hi Cloudeight,
    are you saying that all the Keys Found under Microsoft “Key: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer reg etc” in the list above are malware?
    I’m not saying they aren’t because I wouldn’t know, but that looks prety scary!

    1. infoave Post author

      Each malware has a few registry keys; there are over 30 malware listed by name so that tells you quite alot. I sent this to TC after having 3 sessions this week with customers using Avast and spending such a long time cleaning these up. I felt if people could actually see what a computer protected by Avast had running, it would better explain what we have been saying for so long. It is a shame that these malware companies get their software on a computer in the first place, and it is unacceptable that Avast program let them install.

      For those reading this article, keep in mind, we rarely find an actual virus on a computer and the numbers are less then 5%,closer to 2% – and I think avast does fine as far as virus protection. But its all the other malware that includes spyware, adware, browser hijackers, search hijackers, and toolbars that do the damage and bring a computer to its knees.

      Emsisoft will protect from all of this. No one else comes close.. and after 16 years + on the web doing tech support and software testing, TC and I are very good at what we do, find, recommend and advocate.

      Darcy, Cloudeight

  2. Richard

    I find it interesting that when you now recommend a paid security program that you get a kickback from, you throw some very good free programs such as Avast and AVG that you used to recommend under the bus. We agree that MSE has seen better days. I offer my clients a choice of a free security program or a paid one. The free one will continue to be Avast and the paid one is Bit Defender.

  3. Darcy

    Actually we stopped recommending Avast and AVG several years ago. When something does not work, we pull our recommendation. Simple as that. We don’t play games when it comes to security. And Avast has only gotten worse; if you take the time to read through that list above, you will see this includes over 30 actual malware programs. I know .. I did the session and spent a long time cleaning up this machine that was barely running.

    Avast has offered us some pretty huge profits on recommending it and we said NO. So has AVG, Norton and numerous others. Some up to 90% profit.

    We recommended Microsoft MSE/Defender for a few years until it quit performing. There is not a single free”antimalware/antuvurus program left to recommend. Those that have been with us many years know we recommended free for over 12 years even though all the main AV companies offered us large commissions right along. So your assumptions are unfounded.

    We tested lots of Antimalware/antivirus programs ourselves.. we didn’t rely on what someone else put in a forum, or wrote in a newsletter. We spent hours and hours testing on our own, formatting our wrecked machines, testing, formatting.. until we found Emsisoft. It was the ONLY one that protected from most major malware/adware/spyware/toolbars in addition to virus/trojans. We were thrilled to find it, and we are lucky the folks at Emsisoft work with us and our customers to continue providing the highest rated protection on the market.


    Darcy. Cloudeight

  4. Arnie Brown

    Thanks for the HEADS UP INFORMATION Folks. We have been running both programs (don’t know why? ) but will take your advice and stick to Emsisoft only. Again, Thanks for the information , We trust your advise.


  5. James Mowrey

    I had written to you before about this. I scanned a computer using Emsisoft and it didn’t find Conduit on it, but it was there. I had to remove it by other means. Why didn’t Emsisoft catch it?

  6. Dee

    I still use Avast and it does fine when it comes to viruses. However, per your recommendation a long time ago, I purchased Malwarebytes and I also use that so I never have depended on Avast to detect malware. I also check my system with SuperAntispyware as you recommended quite a long while ago. My computer runs great and both these programs found and removed Conduit from my system. I do appreciate the warning about Avast when it comes to detecting malware though. Thanks for the heads up!

  7. Steve

    Avast still is regarded as one of the better AV programs. Yes unfortunately it’s gone the way of many other programs thinking that bigger is better and bloat is good.

    As a malware detecting program it sucks and people should never depend on it to detect malware.

    Commonsense is the best AV program and as much as I enjoy reading my regular newsletter I’d never purchase any program where the author of the newsletter is getting a kickback.

  8. JoninOz

    Hi TC & EB,
    It is unfortunate in the current technological world that many good things go bad.
    After being with CloudEight & InfoAve and all the other great off-shoots since the day they started, there has never been one instance where they have been dishonourable to all concerned.
    Years & years & years of recommendations for ‘freebies’, tested by them both, trustworthy to the end, of course, malheureusement from many angles will creep in when the wheel rotates.
    AVG was great many years ago when recommended bythem, so was Avast, WinZip, ZoneAlarm, and many more…..freebies no more.
    Good things come and go , nothing is static, TC & EB tell it the way it is……………….follow them every week for 16 years, they give advice on the good apples, when the apples turn bad, don’t blame them, they don’t own the trees, they can perform “magic” with computers but they do NOT have a crystal ball.

  9. Jean

    I bought a new computer this passed January, have had troubles with since then. Solphos was installed as protector, but have had problems. I also in installed Malwarebytes to keep my computer clean. As of a couple weeks ago “NORTON” downloaded a trial for 60 days. I am still trying to figure out how it downloaded without my permission. When this happen I had several programs disappeared, I cannot get back into Solphos. For some reason it wiped out. So I am using the trial from Norton and also malwarebytes, but that is only on a trial bases. Although it updates just about everyday and also scans for malware and etc. I am going to take this computer back to Staples and either they fix it or give me a new one to replace. This is very aggravating! Malwarebytes does pick- up on Pups. Hope to get this solved by the end of this week.

  10. Jean

    I have a two year warranty, I hope I don’t have a problem getting it fixed.

  11. Sean who runs fast on the trail in the night

    I’ve installed avast! and ran the cleanup tool, then the full system scan. Found 2 exe files in the browser temp and deleted them. Then I tried the full boot time scan.
    The next day I could not run Netflix because it did not find Silverlight. Ok, I though, maybe the protection is too paranoid. So I tried to switch off all these shiny browser protection features. Then I removed SL and reinstalled it.
    Strange I thought, so I uninstalled avast! and picked Norton, then I’ve noticed that more than a dozen programs are missing. While full scan only showed 2. I’m still in a process of reinstalling all the missing applications. 🙁

  12. Chris

    I have told many to switch to avast when I started use it 6 or so years ago. Now it seems to be more of a virus in itself. Constantly popping up telling me there is more wrong with my computer and if I buy this program they’ll fix it. I took it off and put on AVG also free and it use to be inferior to avast but not any more. It found several high end threats that avast was missing.

    1. infoave Post author

      AVG is a browser and search engine hijacker — it also failed to meet bare minimum standards in at least one independent anti-virus test in the past year. Also, we have cleaned up large amounts of malware from computers with AVG installed, leading us to believe its malware detection is very flawed. It seems everyone wants something for nothing, but can you really afford to get what you pay for with AVG or AVAST — you miss even basic malware protection.

      Additionally AVG has a very high (unacceptably high) rate of false positives. This too should be unacceptable to you. Our guess that what AVG is finding that AVAST missed are most likely false positives.


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