Avast Safe Zone.

Discussion in 'other anti-virus software' started by JerryM, Aug 28, 2012.

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  1. JerryM

    JerryM Registered Member

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    I guess it is not unique to Avast, but the Safe Zone would seem to be a great asset when using unsecured WIFI and financial transactions.

    The Norton Safe Web is not the same. Do many here use something like Safe Zone? I have found that sandboxes are troublesome. I know Sandboxie is a favorite, but the few times I have tried a sandbox it has caused problems, but I do like the Safe Zone of Avast.

    Jerry
     
  2. dawgg

    dawgg Registered Member

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    Just had a look at Safe Zone as I've never heard of it before.

    Where does it say it protects from unsecure WiFi connections? A secure connection is needed for this - the few sites I've seen about Safe Zone look more like an isolated desktop rather than secure connection.


    I know Kaspersky has the Online Banking mode which opens the web-browser with extended security to isolate it from trojans when entering secure information.
     
  3. BoerenkoolMetWorst

    BoerenkoolMetWorst Registered Member

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    SafeZone is for Online Banking, it is an isolated desktop protected from keyloggers, screenloggers etc with a modified Chromium browser. So far the browser is the only thing you can run in SafeZone, though there were plans for more appications. I think(not sure) that it uses Avast's own DNS server but if you're on insecure WiFi I would recommend a VPN.
     
  4. JerryM

    JerryM Registered Member

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    What is a VPN?

    I just assumed that the Safe Zone would offer protection on an unsecured WIFI. I have posed that question on the Avast forum.
    Jerry
     
  5. ams963

    ams963 Registered Member

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    The avast! SafeZone is a special web browser in avast which allows you to browse the web in a private, secure environment, invisible to the rest of your system.

    If you do your banking or shopping on-line, or other security-sensitive and financial transactions, you can be sure that your personal data cannot be monitored by spyware or key-logging software. Unlike the avast! Sandbox, which is intended to keep everything contained inside so that it cannot harm the rest of your system, the SafeZone is designed to keep everything else out.The SafeZone includes some other security features in addition to the basic "inside out" sandbox, such as vpn service,secure DNS etc.

    avast! SafeZone browser utilizes Chromium engine, but it's an internal component of avast internet security. It doesn't require to be updated separately, the updates are included in standard avast! updates.

    And afaik if you live in the United States, you also get avast! CreditAlert.
     
  6. JerryM

    JerryM Registered Member

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    Thanks Amit.
    Here is the reply from PK on the Avast Forum.

    "as for unsecured wifi, SafeZone uses own DNS servers (through an encrypted HTTPS connection) so infected user on your WiFi network can't redirect your requests. For example, If you go to myaccount.bank.com and someone on Wifi is infected with DNS Changer variant, he wont see your web request and change your final web address."

    Best,
    Jerry
     
  7. BoerenkoolMetWorst

    BoerenkoolMetWorst Registered Member

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    A VPN is a Virtual Private Network. If you use a VPN then all your network traffic is sent through an encrypted tunnel to your VPN provider so no one can see or edit your network traffic. There are a lot of VPN providers that you can choose from, both free and paid.
     
  8. JerryM

    JerryM Registered Member

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    Thanks.
    Jerry
     
  9. ams963

    ams963 Registered Member

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    Welcome.
    Exactly.

    And don't forget
     
  10. TheWindBringeth

    TheWindBringeth Registered Member

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    FWIW, I was under the (now somewhat dated) impression that Avast SafeZone uses MailShell's (http://www.mailshell.com) DNS servers and VPN was separate (optional) from SafeZone. Can anyone verify the situation?
     
  11. JerryM

    JerryM Registered Member

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    I think the Avast and Safe Zone are winners!
    Thanks, All, for the help.
    Jerry
     
  12. ams963

    ams963 Registered Member

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    I'm not sure if the DNS servers are from mailshell or not but vpn is not optional or separate.
     
  13. TheWindBringeth

    TheWindBringeth Registered Member

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    May I ask how you know that SafeZone will route your traffic through Avast's VPN even if you don't have Avast SecureLine? I'm not asking because I doubt you, I'm asking because I wanted to read more but I can't find anything that says SafeZone has such a feature hard coded in. It wouldn't surprise me but on the other hand I would expect it to be clearly stated somewhere. Can't find it ><

    Was that stated in a post you saw? Have you checked your IP address (http://whatismyipaddress.com/) from outside and inside SafeZone and seen that they are different? Sniffed your network? How did you learn this?
     
  14. ams963

    ams963 Registered Member

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    When I was using Avast IS 2 years ago, I was very curious as to how SafeZone worked and if it really was a strong protection to rely on. So I had opened several Support Ticket at Avast and continuously bombarded their Engineers with all sorts of questions. As you would know, I do not stop until my thirst for knowledge is filled.

    One of the Engineers said Avast Safezone uses dns service and vpn service in effect making transactions safer.

    I do not have that link. Nor do I remember the name of that Engineer. It was a long time ago. And I have used so many apps over time having countless such discussions with so many Support Teams that it's very hard to remember one particular case.

    But if you want to really know more then just open a Support Ticket at Avast and ask them about SafeZone or whatever you want to know. They will tell you in more detail.:)
     
  15. TheWindBringeth

    TheWindBringeth Registered Member

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    OK, well thanks for the replies Amit and kudos for trying to understand how your software works. Perhaps someone who is running the latest and who isn't using Avast's SecureLine VPN service will...

    Have you checked your IP address (http://whatismyipaddress.com/) from outside and inside SafeZone and seen that they are different?
     
  16. ams963

    ams963 Registered Member

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    You're welcome. I wish I could have been more helpful but I just do not use Avast now.
     
  17. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    A VPN is a dedicated network which encrypts the connection between the PC and the VPN server. When the VPN is active all traffic between the PC and the internet is encrypted (to the point of the VPN server). It sounds like Avast Safezone encrypts the DNS communication by using SSL, like OpenDNScrypt. Connecting to a secure website, such as Amazon or your bank, is relatively safe under these circumstances, but I don't know that it's as safe as a fully encrypted VPN tunnel.

    More generally I don't think it can be considered a "best practice" to do financial transactions over an open wifi network. When possible just avoid that situation and do your business over a wired or WPA2 protected wireless network.
     
  18. dawgg

    dawgg Registered Member

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    I think a secure connection/VPN is better than a protected wireless network as the network can also be spoofed and you're assuming the secure network provider is not logging data transfer (unlikely, but still).
     
  19. JerryM

    JerryM Registered Member

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    I agree that it is best to avoid unprotected networks, but when on a trip there may be no choice to do some financial transaction in airlines or other things you have to do.
    If you do have to do such it is better to have some sort of protection level above what the normal AV provides. Accordingly, I have been trying to learn which AVs have something like the Safe Zone of Avast. I am wanting to find out if Norton 2013 will have such a capability. If not I will probably switch.

    Jerry
     
  20. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    For encrypted DNS try OpenDNScrypt. It's free and encrypts all DNS traffic. There are also free VPN options such as SecurityKISS. I used the free version of SecurityKISS and it's 300meg/daily bandwidth was enough to do email and browsing. In a pinch I would use it to do financial transactions over unsecured wifi.
     
  21. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    Agreed, but security is relative. Using a WPA2 secured wireless network is exponentially more secure than open wifi. Yes you have to trust the wireless provider, but you wind up trusting someone you don't know regardless of what modality you use including VPN.
     
  22. catilley1092

    catilley1092 Registered Member

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    I can vouch for Avast's Safe Zone, as I installed Avast Pro Antivirus on Windows 8 CP on 02/29 for this sole feature. Originally I was going to install Avast Internet Security, but there were issues with the Firewall, so I went with Pro Antivirus.

    Being a Beta OS, I felt it necessary to have this feature, as I don't depend on Windows Defender, which by chance, lets a lot get by.

    It's great to have to make secure transactions, even if a keylogger is planted onto your computer, Avast's Safe Zone bypasses this. Of course, it's best to remove any keyloggers if found.

    In fact, here's an offer for Avast Pro Antivirus for $9.99 for 1PC/1 Year, with 31 days left on the deal. I've never seen this product at this price anywhere else.

    http://store.downloadcrew.com/p27298-avast_pro_antivirus_7

    Cat
     
  23. TheWindBringeth

    TheWindBringeth Registered Member

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    Given the context perhaps we need to consider the scope of the VPN (what is and what isn't going to be routed over it)? I'm not sure how difficult it would be to implement, but it seems to me possible that the client side scope of the VPN could be *just* a protected environment running on the PC. Such that PC traffic in general would not be carried over this VPN... only the traffic for applications running within the protected environment would be carried over it. Do you think that possible?

    The descriptions I read did refer to the DNS traffic being secured. IIRC, the surface appearance was that Avast was making use of Mailshell's DNS SDK via linking to a Mailshell provided DLL that supports both HTTP and HTTPS lookups. It wasn't clear to me whether the secure connections came from Avast using the Mailshell HTTPS API or whether they came from that traffic be tunneled over a SafeZone specific VPN. I was/am inclined to think the former but was hoping someone would check so that guesswork could be eliminated and updated.
     
  24. JerryM

    JerryM Registered Member

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    I am just not knowledgeable enough to do much more than install the factory item and run it. I don't doubt that the suggested applications will work, but I don't want to go to that much trouble.
    I do appreciate the suggestions, and help. I seldom have to use an unprotected WIFI.

    Regards,
    Jerry
     
  25. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    Possible? Maybe, but who knows? We need more detailed information from Avast. "VPN" has a specific, technical definition and it would be good if we could figure out whether it's being used accurately here. Avast Safe Zone sounds useful, but it's important with any security feature to understand exactly what it does and doesn't do.
     
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