Avast targets Facebook and VPN

Download.com's most popular software adds a new VPN service to their line of antivirus software, a day after acquiring Secure.Me.

Yesterday, Avast Software made news with its acquisition of privacy company Secure.Me, a small developer best known for its Facebook apps of the same name. Secure.Me protects users' Facebook accounts, monitoring all activity and photos, detecting malware links, and identifying content that is questionable or unsuitable for children.

Today, Avast makes news again with a minor update to its complete suite of Windows security applications--Avast Free Antivirus; Avast Pro Antivirus, Avast Internet Security, and the full monty, Avast Premier.

Avast version 8.0.1488.286 fixes some bugs in the interface, adds a progress bar to the Data Shredder tool, makes the software screen-reader compatible, and improves the Software Updater (allowing it to be turned off completely); but the main new feature is the integration of Avast SecureLine VPN, a paid service that runs $69.99 per year. SecureLine offers users portable VPN service that can be accessed anywhere they travel, providing extra security for public hotspots as well as the ability to access geo-restricted Web sites.

SecureLine was formerly a standalone product from Avast, and this update is likely the publisher's attempt to get the service in front of millions of eyeballs, but $69.99 per year may be a tough sell when many users seem fine with free, advertising-supported VPN clients like HotSpot Shield.

About Peter Butler

Peter has been working at Download.com since 2003, when trialware was shareware and toolbars were those large metal rods for smashing car windows. Currently, he wrangles the reviews, videos, newsletter, blog, and special collections for Download.com, as well as managing the program data throughout the software directory.

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