AVG today launched the latest version of its family of free and paid-for internet security products. AVG Anti-Virus 9.0 is available now at £39 for a one-year licence. AVG Free 9.0 will be available in mid October 2009.

Speaking to PC Advisor today, AVG's Paul Burke said that the major focus of the AVG 9.0 release could be summed up in the words: "faster, safer, easier". He said that more sophisticated caching and memory use had allowed for a 50 percent reduction in scan time, compared with the previous version. Burke said that boot times had also been reduced in AVG 9.0, by around 10 to 15 percent.

Product installation has also been rationalised, Burke added, with fewer, more graphical screens.

So much for faster.

Burke commented that one of the biggest improvements in AVG 9.0 would be that greater ease of use would lead to better security. As an example, Burke quoted the personal firewall. According to AVG, the firewall now uses cloud-based white-listing to reduce the amount of user input required to secure a PC.

"The simpler we make it, the better security you get," Burke said.

Indeed, following current trends for cloud-based layered protection, Burke added that one of the biggest improvements in AVG 9.0 was the way that the various layers of protection AVG provides (such as LinkScanner, and anti-rootkit protection) now work together in a more intelligent way. This means that the product should be able to weed out net nasties in a more efficient way - if one layer finds something bad, none of the others have to do any work. And the user has to make fewer decisions.

See also: How to build a free, multilayered security setup

AVG now also includes additional protection against identity theft in the physical world, the AVG Identity Theft Recovery Unit (ITRU).

AVG 9.0 is Windows 7 compatible. It is available in 23 languages. AVG has a userbase of around 80 million.

Speaking about today's launch, AVG CEO JR SMith said: "AVG 9.0 will provide home computer users with a more powerful and more streamlined solution that adds protection without impacting user experience, taking us back to our core strength of low impact, high performance security.

"We've always believed that everyone has the right to a safe online experience. With AVG 9.0, we are providing first-class assistance to our users in their development of tools and measures for their safety from all of the threats posed by cybercriminals and identity thieves, whether they're working, playing, banking or shopping on the web."

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