Avira Scout: Avira’s Secure Browser – Updated Jan. 2017

Update January 2017

Our current development for Linux and Mac is frozen. Automated testing and our compile process are a complex thing and currently we cannot guarantee a good quality for all three systems in parallel. This is why we focus in Windows for now. As soon as our testers get bored, we can add more systems. 😉

Original Post

Avira offers more than just an anti-virus (AV). Features that go beyond AV got integrated years ago (does anyone of you remember specific anti-spyware programs ?). I prefer to define what we offer as an add-on-security solution … AV is shorter, but also less correct. Nonetheless shorter won.

Now we are about to stretch even further and integrate a browser into our eco system. And in case you are wondering: There are very good reasons for that.

Nowadays the top use-case for a computer is to access the internet using a browser. The infrastructure of the internet is run by different entities (routers, DNS, servers). The homepages contain executable code that is run in the browser. Manifold data formats are used in the net (HTML, JS, CSS, PNG, SVG, video formats, …). All in all it’s a well connected and extremely complex system. And it is used to access valuable data (online banking, shopping, medical research, looking for a new job, …) – a disaster waiting to happen.

The browser developers (Mozilla and community, Google and community and Microsoft) are putting lots of resources into securing those browsers. And they are doing a very impressive job.

But the threats online are not getting less. There are a lot of them: Phising, insecure Wifis, malware drive-by, trackers, … you name them!

This needs fixing.

Basically there are three points to secure:

  • The client (your PC and browser): Detect attacks and block them
  • The Internet infrastructure (like Wifis): End-to-End encryption fixes that
  • The server (like the site that is trying to phish you): Identify and block

This is our opportunity to improve the situation.

  • For the first time ever we can go beyond add-on and have more of an add-in. This means: More options to secure the system
  • While the browser vendors have to produce a one-size-fits-all we can center on a more security aware customer base
  • We have lots of backend databases knowing the dangerous places in the internet
  • While high-end security extensions (Noscript) focus on the skilled user, we will build a system with an auto-pilot, basing the security decissions on our backend databases and our experience
  • This auto pilot will also automate repetitive tasks away
  • Before you ask: Skilled users can take over the wheel and override it
  • You can install additional extensions. It is your browser after all

The whole project is based on extensions and chromium. Both are Open Source. We will pay for our ride: We contribute to them to guarantee a perfect browsing experience. Of course we will also integrate our Avira technology.

If you want to test it, the just head for the Avira Beta Center !

  • There you can get the debian package that runs very well on my Ubuntu 15.4
  • Or the Mac packages that runs on my boss’s Mac
  • Or the Windows installation files requested by management – because some of you run Windows

We will also be happy to listen to your ideas and experience, so feel free to share yout thoughts with us. We would really appreciate it.

Below you can also find a separate article descibing development process and tactics, feel free to check it out:

 

Please note: This article relates to the Windows, Mac and Linux version of the Avira Scout browser.

This post is also available in: FrenchItalian

I use science to protect people. My name is Thorsten Sick and I do research projects at Avira. My last project was the ITES project where I experimented with Sandboxes, Sensors and Virtual Machines. Currently I am one of the developers of the new Avira Browser