Avast Steps Up To Protect Digital Freedom For All
New mission to further digital rights and reset digital citizens’ relationship with the internet for a healthier online world; delivers new Avast One free protection platform for users worldwide
September 16, 2021 – Avast (LSE:AVST), a global leader in digital security and privacy, today unveiled its new brand identity and expanded purpose to protect digital freedom for all online citizens. Avast is committed to furthering digital rights, especially in the critical area of privacy, with a new digital freedom strategy that includes policymaker engagement, philanthropy, and innovation. The new brand look and tone reflects Avast’s wider purpose, a new and innovative approach to total digital protection with Avast One, and a call to action for people to reset their relationship with the internet for a healthier online experience.
In a world now transformed by the pandemic, Avast has identified how online harms have expanded beyond security issues to include serious threats to personal privacy and identity. Research* published by Avast today in its Digital Citizenship Report found that while six out of ten people acknowledged the increased importance of the internet during the pandemic, security and privacy concerns have prevented 65% of people worldwide from doing something online, including 63% of New Zealanders; women (66%) and those aged 18-24 (72%) were the most concerned demographics in New Zealand.
Ondrej Vlcek, CEO Avast, said, “The digital world has reached a crossroads. Over 4.8 billion people are online today - over half the world’s population – and ensuring people have the ability to access a safe and secure internet is increasingly a fundamental digital right. It’s not enough to simply trust online providers to always have our best interests at heart, and people are looking for help to address the inequality in their relationship with the internet and protect their safety and privacy. We believe as a digital protection company that we can do more to improve online security and defend against covert surveillance through unwanted tracking and monitoring. Avast is therefore committed to fight for digital freedom and to protect the privacy of digital citizens online today and those who will join us in the future.”
As part of the company’s new purpose-led strategy, Avast is today announcing:
- Avast One, a new digital protection service: Avast pioneered free antivirus 20 years ago and is committed to providing the best free protection products for all of its users. Avast’s new hero product combines the company’s award-winning antivirus technology with a firewall and software updater feature to protect people from using outdated software and supply chain attacks, extensive privacy protection in the form of a Virtual Private Network for regular browsing use, and identity protection through our data breach monitoring service, all for free with the Avast One Essential version.
- The new Avast Foundation program: the company’s charitable Foundation celebrates its first year this year, and has debuted a new program tackling digital freedom issues and supporting vulnerable people. We envision a more equitable and inclusive digital future in which everyone has access to the tools and opportunities to reach their full potential.
- Shaping policy on security and privacy technologies: Avast believes that protecting people’s privacy needs to go beyond product innovation and that it has a role in helping shape policy on technology adoption and use. Avast advocates for digital freedom with political stakeholders worldwide by serving as a resource. Avast is proactively engaging on critical topics such as online surveillance, privacy, AI and encryption technologies, educating and ensuring people-first policy-making.
Digital Citizens are waking up to concerning internet issues
The Avast Digital Citizenship Report reveals that for 34% of people globally and 35% of New Zealanders, the internet has made the pandemic more bearable by enabling social contact, new experiences, access to important services, and inspiration. In New Zealand, 44% used the internet to keep in touch with loved ones, with 11% saying they used video calling for the very first time in their lives. For 25% of internet users in New Zealand, the internet empowered them to experience and learn new things.
However, the report also shows that whilst people enjoy the internet, they do have concerns about their safety and privacy. This confirms what customers have told Avast - that it’s simply the price they have to pay for using it. The majority of digital users in New Zealand (84%) say the protection of their data is very important to them, however, less than half (47%) say they have strong trust in data protection laws.
Uncertainty about security and privacy can also inhibit people online, with many deciding against certain online activities, for example, 39% of New Zealanders chose not to register for certain online accounts requiring personal details, 14% decided against online banking, and 30% refrained from using public Wi-Fi.
Avast One: next level protection for today’s digital life
Avast One provides digital citizens with a single solution to online security, privacy, identity and performance issues, keeping people and their data safe and their devices running smoothly. With built-in personalisation capabilities, Avast One adjusts to people’s and their family members’ individual needs.
With the free Avast One Essential offering, users get protection from cyber threats such as ransomware, spyware and phishing attacks; security from malicious incoming connections via its firewall; and a generous VPN allowance of 5GB per week, which is highly competitive. Given the reasonable concerns people have about public Wi-Fi, using a virtual private network (VPN) can help users keep their personal information safe while connected.
The paid Avast One Individual and Avast One Family products include additional features including protection from Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) spoofing, DNS hijacking, and webcam spy attacks. It also offers data breach monitoring to allow people and their families to see if the passwords of their online accounts have been exposed, and provides them with unlimited VPN services. Avast One users can also improve their PC performance with a Disk Cleaner that allows them to find and clean redundant junk files to keep their device clean.
Avast One is available from today in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia, and will roll out to New Zealand and non-English speaking markets soon.
*Avast survey regarding global digital citizenship trends among 16,147 online users in 17 countries around the world conducted by YouGov and Forsa. Avast commissioned the survey to the research institution YouGov who ran the survey from June 15th to June 27th in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States, and to the research institution Forsa in Austria, Germany and Switzerland (German-speaking population only). The survey was run as a representative survey among over 1,000 people in each region, apart from Austria and Switzerland where Forsa surveyed over 500 people each. The global data points in this report are covering results of all regions, apart from data points that show results by age groups or gender, where results from German speaking markets are excluded..