Bilbao, Spain-based Panda Security has released Panda Cloud Antivirus Free 2.2, a major new version of the company’s cloud-based antivirus tool. Version 2.2 adds a number of notable new features, including protection against data theft through malware infection and parental control tools.
The new version also bundles a bootable rescue creation tool and also adds support for access in Safe mode, ensuring it’s more capable of dealing with stubborn malware that proves hard to shift or even cripples the user’s PC entirely.
The most visible new feature in Panda Cloud Antivirus Free 2.2 is the Data Shield, which is enabled by default. It’s designed to prevent malware from accessing the user’s personal data, even if it’s able to infect the PC. By default, Data Shield protects all Documents folder on the user’s PC, and this can be extended to any folder of choice via the configuration panel, while users can also specify which file types are protected and which applications are allowed access to protected folders in normal use.
Also added is a Parental Control module, which allows users to block access to websites based on 59 different categories. Users can also monitor children’s activity through a dashboard that can provide a summary filtered by date, website or category.
The third new feature is a Rescue Boot option, which is joined by the ability to both install and use Panda Cloud AntiVirus in Safe mode. The rescue option allows users to create a rescue boot option on their hard drive, or create a bootable rescue USB stick that can be used to try and restore access to a PC that has been crippled due to malware. The bootable version of Panda interacts with the company’s Cloud Cleaner technology online to remove infections using the latest, up-to-the-minute virus signatures.
Users also gain access to a new Community Labs Area where new experimental features can be tested for free before they’re rolled out into final versions. They can now also password-protect the Panda Cloud Antivirus settings section to prevent unauthorised access from other users.
The update also comes with the promise of improved protection, with a particular focus on enhanced behavioural technologies in both the anti-exploit protection and actions against Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs). It’s rounded off with the usual performance tweaks and bug fixes.
Panda Cloud AntiVirus Free 2.2 is available now as a freeware download for PCs running Windows XP SP2 or later. Users can upgrade to the Pro Edition for €29.99 a year, which includes a community firewall, protection when using public Wi-Fi networks and automatic USB vaccination.
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