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Today, Avast announced that it had expanded its flagship product Avast One with a number of new features designed to protect users from online scams, fraud and other privacy threats

The solution, which already included an antivirus, VPN and data breach monitoring services, now includes new features including Email Guardian, an anti-email phishing solution, Online Safety Score, which monitors the cyber hygiene of devices, and Privacy Advisor, a step-by-step guide to show users how to optimize their privacy settings on social media. 

While there were many new features launched, Avast has placed a significant focus on addressing phishing and social engineering scams. For enterprises, these new features have the potential to offer additional protection against cyber attacks that rely on manipulating users into clicking on malicious links via email and SMS messages. 

For instance, Email Guardian, one of the new features announced, is designed to combat phishing threats by blocking malicious attachments to emails received in email apps installed on the desktop. 

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Similarly, Scam Protection for Android notifies the user when they receive a potentially malicious SMS, social media or messaging app message. Secure links are opened automatically in the browser, while dangerous links generate a notification to warn the user so they can decide whether to continue or not.  

Dealing with manipulation and phishing attempts 

The announcement comes amid an alarming increase in phishing and smishing threats (scam messages via SMS messages), with 83% of organizations reporting they experienced a successful email-based phishing attack in 2021, while 74% of organizations reported facing smishing attacks that same year.  

“We know scams are a cause for concern for a lot of people so our goal with the new additions to the Avast One Suite was to help them regain confidence and peace of mind when using the internet and their devices,” said Vita Santrucek, chief product officer at Avast.

“Not only are scams and other forms of online fraud more pervasive, they’re also more sophisticated, to the extent it’s really hard to differentiate between content that’s benign and content designed to exploit. Scammers take advantage of current affairs to reel people in; for example, two years ago we saw a spike in COVID-related scams, and in February and March this year we saw scams related to the Ukraine war.” 

Avast One’s new features are designed to address this challenge by helping users to identify insecure attachments in emails, and insecure links in SMS or chat messages, so they don’t have to catch threats manually. This approach reduces the likelihood that the user will click on anything malicious. 

The all-in-one security market  

Offering a diverse set of solutions, Avast One sits across many segments of the global cyber security market, valued at $139.77 billion in 2021 and anticipated to reach $376.32 billion by 2029. 

The provider is competing against a range of “all-in-one” security providers, which offer a mix of antivirus, VPN and data breach scanning capabilities. 

One of Avast One’s main competitors is McAfee, which offers users an antivirus and a VPN, which was purchased last year for $14 billion by a consortium of six investment firms. 

Another competitor is Bitdefender, which offers users a combination of browser protection, data breach scanning and a VPN, which protects over 500 million systems and 38% of the world’s security solutions.

According to the AV-Test Institute’s data, the antivirus capabilities of Avast, McAfee and Bitdefender on Windows are comparable, with each scoring a 6 on protection, performance and usability. 

However, with the introduction of new features to help users defend against email and SMS-based phishing attempts, Avast is attempting to differentiate by providing more comprehensive coverage against social engineering and phishing scams. 

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