Avast Software

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Avast Software s.r.o.
Formerly called
Alwil Software
Private (s.r.o.)
IndustryInternet security
Program optimization
Internet privacy
Founded1988; 33 years ago (1988)
HeadquartersPrague, Czech Republic
Area served
Key people
Number of employees

Avast Software /əˈvɑːst, -æst/ is a Czech security software company headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic, that develops antivirus software and internet security services. It was founded by Pavel Baudiš and Eduard Kučera in 1988 as a cooperative and is a private company since 2010. Avast holds the biggest share of the world market for antivirus applications[2] and its portfolio includes a wider array of security-related products targeting both consumer and corporate markets, such as Avast Antivirus, Avast SecureLine (virtual private network), Android app Avast Antivirus & Security with over 100 million users on Google Play,[3] and browser extensions.

As of 2015, Avast controls 21.4% of the global security software market[4] – and according to a company statement, it protects more than 30% of all consumer PCs in the world outside China.[5] Avast's products are available in 45 languages and used by 220 million users worldwide.[6]

Avast has over 650 employees based in the Czech Republic,[1] with offices in the United States, Germany, China, South Korea and Taiwan.[7] In July 2016, Avast Software announced its agreement to acquire AVG Technologies for US$1.3 billion.[8]

History[edit | edit source]

1988–2000: Founding and company beginnings[edit | edit source]

After coming across the Vienna virus in 1988, researcher Pavel Baudiš of Prague’s Mathematical Machines Research Institute set to writing a program that would be able to successfully remove it. He then shared the program with his colleague, Eduard Kučera, and later that year the pair started ALWIL Software, which released the first Avast antivirus. Because of restrictions on forming a company in then-Czechoslovakia, ALWIL Software was founded as a cooperative. The Velvet Revolution, however, brought with it the introduction of the free market. In 1991 Baudiš and Kučera were able to register ALWIL Software as a joint-partnership company.[9]

Current COO and former CTO Ondrej Vlček joined ALWIL in 1995 as a student at the Czech Technical University[10] and wrote the company’s first antivirus for Windows 95.[11] The following year, Avast antivirus was one of the first three antivirus programs worldwide to win Virus Bulletin’s VB100 awards in all testing categories.

In 1997, ALWIL Software licensed the Avast antivirus engine to McAfee for use in its own line of McAfee VirusScan antivirus products.[9] Within the next seven years, the company reached the 1 million user mark for its Avast product, following the launch of a free antivirus solution for home (non-commercial) use in 2001.

2001–present: Avast Free Antivirus and global growth[edit | edit source]

ALWIL partnered with SanDisk in 2005, leading to language localization for all of SanDisk’s markets. In 2006, Avast reached 10 million users by the beginning and ended the year with 20 million; it also swept the SC Awards categories of Best Antivirus,[12] Anti-Malware (European) and Readers’ Choice (USA). The following year, ALWIL Software became a joint-stock company, and the number of registered Avast users reached 40 million, despite the company having just 38 employees. By 2009, there were more than 100 million users [13] and 100 employees; Vincent Steckler, formerly of Symantec, also joined ALWIL as CEO that year.

ALWIL Software changed its legal name to AVAST Software in 2010, and Summit Partners invested $100 million for a minority share of the company.[14] Over the next two years, Avast launched its Business Protection line and Avast Free Mobile Security, which became the best-rated security app on Google Play. In 2012, Avast Free Antivirus became the most-downloaded software on Download.com.

As of 2013, more than 200 million PCs, Macs and Android device users were protected with Avast programs. AVAST Software acquired the German company Secure.Me[15] and the U.S.-based start-up Jumpshot[16] that same year and was awarded "Best Employer 2013" for the Czech Republic in the category of large companies.[17] This was also the year that the Avast 2014 series, Avast SecureLine VPN, and Avast GrimeFighter were launched. In February 2014, CVC Capital Partners signed a binding agreement for a large-scale investment in Avast. Valuing the company at $1 billion, the investment was set to position CVC alongside Summit Partners and founders Baudiš and Kučera as Avast's shareholders.[18]

In July 2014, Avast released data about a study carried out on 20 used Android smartphones in regards to data security, during which it was discovered that Android's factory reset functionality did not delete all of the data from used phones; Avast found that it was able to retrieve 40,000 photos from used smartphones; news of this discovery made international headlines.[19] Avast then created a product called Avast Anti-Theft, which is able to wipe and overwrite all data from a phone.

That same month, Avast acquired a Czech-based mobile app company called Inmite, which has developed apps for mobile banking, mobile television, several applications for Google Glass, and a car-buying app for Škoda Auto.[20]

In October 2014 it was claimed[21] that since around December 2013, Avast had included its own shopping recommendation system, SafePrice, in its Online Security browser extension and had enabled it by default. The claims were rebutted[22] point-by-point in an Avast Community forum post made by Ondrej Vlcek, Avast's Chief Operating Officer in response to the article.

Avast announced on July 7, 2016, that it had reached an agreement to purchase AVG Technologies for $1.3 billion.[8] The transaction is expected to close between September 15 and October 15, 2016.[23]

Products[edit | edit source]

Avast programs are only available to internet-connected devices, and are available in 45 languages. The Avast product range includes the following:[24]

Microsoft Windows products[edit | edit source]

  • Avast Free Antivirus – Free for non-commercial and home usage. This product's features include antivirus with antispyware, Avast Passwords, Secure HTTPS scanning, streaming updates, hardened mode, DeepScreen, Home Network Security scanner, Do Not Track, SiteCorrect, antiphishing, anti-malware, Smart Scan, Rescue Disk, and Software Updater (manual). Requires 1-year registration and includes advertisements for other Avast products.
  • Avast Pro Antivirus – For home use. Includes all features of the Free version, with the addition of SafeZone Browser, Secure DNS, and Sandbox. Does not require registration, but does require a license or activation code.
  • Avast Internet Security – Includes all the features of Pro, with the addition of a silent firewall and antispam. Does not need registration, but does require a license or activation code.
  • Avast Premier – Includes all the features of Internet Security, with the addition of a data shredder, an "AccessAnywhere" service, and automatic software updater (for programs such as Google Chrome). Does not require registration, but does require a license or activation code.
  • Avast Cleanup – A PC cleaning tool and optimizer.
  • Avast SecureLine – A virtual private network for encrypted, anonymous communications and browsing via Wi-Fi.
  • Avast SafeZone Browser – A web browser that in installed with each Avast Antivirus product

Mac OS products[edit | edit source]

  • Avast Free Mac Security – An antivirus solution for Apple Macintosh machines running Mac OS X based on a central virus-scanning daemon; offers three shields, on-demand scanning and WebRep clients which are automatically (optionally) installed to Safari, Chrome and Firefox browsers.
  • Avast SecureLine – A virtual private network for encrypted, anonymous communications and browsing via Wi-Fi.

Android products[edit | edit source]

  • Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus – Freemium app for use on Android devices. Free version includes a virus scanner, virus removal, protector, network meter, app manager, app lock, backup, and a firewall on rooted phones. Paid version includes the features found in the free app plus app locking, geo-fencing, remote SMS, data recovery and identification, and extended backup.
  • Avast Anti-Theft/Anti-Theft Rooted – Locates and tracks lost mobile phones and can control phones remotely via SMS or desktop. Remotely locks or wipes phone memory.
  • Avast Battery Saver
  • Avast SecureLine – proprietary VPN
  • Avast Wi-Fi Finder
  • Avast Passwords
  • Avast App Locker

iOS products[edit | edit source]

  • Avast SecureLine – Proprietary VPN for iPhone and iPad
  • Avast SecureMe – Free VPN for WiFi
  • Avast Wi-Fi Finder
  • Avast Photo Space – Cloud Photo Storage
  • Avast Passwords

Business products[edit | edit source]

  • Avast for Business – Free for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). It is a cross-platform solution that includes antivirus protection, Web threat scanning and integrated browser protection, and a cloud management console.[25]
  • Endpoint Protection/Protection Plus/Protection Suite/Protection Suite Plus
  • Email Server Security
  • File Server Security
  • Security Suite for Linux

Awards and certifications[edit | edit source]

Independent testing[edit | edit source]

  • Avast Free Antivirus 2016 has a detection rate of 99.5% in AV-Comparative’s real world protection test in April 2016.[26]
  • Avast Free Antivirus 2016 scored 98.8% protection against 0-day malware attacks in AV-Test’s Product Review and Certification Report – Mar-Apr/2016 [27]
  • Avast Free Antivirus 2016 received the highest rating for malware detection accuracy from SE Labs.[28]
  • Avast Free Antivirus received certification by satisfying the requirements for the Desktop Server AV Detection module from ICSA Labs Anti-Virus Certification Testing Laboratory.[29]
  • Avast Free Antivirus placed #1 in the May/June 2015 Performance test by AV-Comparatives.[30]
  • Avast received an Advanced rating in the Real-World Protection Test conducted August to November 2014.[31]
  • Avast received an Advanced rating in the Performance Test conducted October 2014.[32]

The Performance Test evaluates the impact of antivirus software on system performance compared to other Internet security products. It does not tell about the effectiveness of the protection and product provides. The test is performed on an up-to-date Windows 8.1 64-bit system. The awards are based on the observed test results and range from Advanced Plus, Advanced, Standard, and Tested.[33]

  • Avast Free Antivirus received the July/August 2015 AV-Test Certified badge for protection, performance, and usability.[34]
  • Avast Free Antivirus scored 100% in AV-Test's May/June 2015 'Detection of widespread and prevalent malware' test.[35]
  • Avast Free Mac Security scored 100% in malware detection in an April 2015 Mac AV-TEST.[36]
  • Avast home user products were marked as "AV-Test certified" in AV-Test's January and February 2015 test-round.[37]
  • Avast Mobile Security received an "AV-Test certified" in AV-Test's January 2015 test-round.[38]
  • Avast Free Antivirus received the VB100 certification in the December,2014 comparative anti-virus test.[39] Virus Bulletin is a security information portal, testing and certification body.

Download sites ratings[edit | edit source]

Download.com is the software download portal of CNET.

  • Avast Free Antivirus 2015 received a four and half star "Outstanding" Editor's Choice Award in an October 2014 review.[40]
  • Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus for Android received a four and half star "Outstanding" Editor's Choice Award in a March 2013 review.[41]
  • Avast Free Antivirus 2015 received a five-star "Excellent" rating from Softpedia in October 2014.[42]

Other acknowledgements[edit | edit source]

  • Avast Free Antivirus 2016 is PCMag.com's Editor's Choice for free antivirus protection.[43]
  • In November 2013, AVAST Software was selected as the Czech Republic's Best Employer of 2013, in the category of large-sized company.[44]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Aleš Černý. Hodně místa, pěkný výhled a celý den jídlo zdarma. Avast se přestěhoval. idnes.cz. Mladá fronta DNES. Published on January 22, 2016.
  2. Abhirup Roy. Avast worth 'upwards of $2 billion'; no IPO before 2017. Reuters. Published on 29 October 2015.
  3. "Antivirus & Security – Android Apps on Google Play". Retrieved 3 January 2016. 
  4. OPSWAT. "Antivirus and Compromised Device Report: January 2015". Retrieved 2015-03-11. 
  5. "Press Center". AVAST Software. Retrieved 2015-04-02. 
  6. Mares, Michael. "Rekordní rok Avastu v číslech. Antivir teď dají zadarmo i firmám", Forbes, Prague, 11 March 2015. Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  7. News Desk. [1], Prague Post, Prague, 11 March 2015. Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Avast to Buy AVG for $1.3 Billion to Add Security Software". 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Swartz, Jon. "Avast emerged from Communism to shine in security", USA Today, Prague, 23 October 2013. Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  10. "Avast About us | About Avast Software". Retrieved 3 January 2016. 
  11. Neacsu, Mihai. "Interview with Avast's COO Ondřej Vlček", Download3K, 19 November 2014. Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  12. "Best Antivirus for Windows 10". windowsable.com. 
  13. Avast, Official Newsletter. "100 million users", Stackler, 10 December 2009. Retrieved on 26 May 2015.
  14. Wauters, Robin. [2], TechCrunch, 23 August 2010 Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  15. Fiegerman, Seth. "Avast Buys Secure.me to Boost Security on Facebook", Mashable, 2 May 2013. Retrieved on 23 March 2013.
  16. Calnan, Christopher. "Software maker Jumpshot acquired by Czech company", Austin Business Journal, Austin, 24 September 2013. Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  17. "Best Employers Czech Republic 2013", Aon Hewitt, Prague, 14 November 2013. Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  18. Board, Laura. "CVC Capital Partners Takes Slice Of Avast", The Street, New York, 5 February 2014. Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  19. Tufnell, Nicholas. "Naked selfies extracted from 'factory reset' phones", BBC, London, 11 July 2014. Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  20. By Ruth Reader, Venture Beat. "Malware buster Avast buys up mobile app maker in move to be mobile friendly." 24 July 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  21. "Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)". howtogeek.com. 
  22. "Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)". avast.com. 
  23. "Avast acquires antivirus maker AVG for $1.3BN to gain scale and dive into IoT security". TechCrunch. 2016-07-07. https://techcrunch.com/2016/07/07/avast-acquires-antivirus-maker-avg-for-1-3bn-to-gain-scale-and-dive-into-iot-security/. 
  24. "Avast antivirus Downloads". 
  25. Kovacs, Eduard. "Avast Launches Free Security Solution for Businesses", Security Week 24 February 2015. Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  26. "Factsheet April 2016 Real-World Protection Test" (PDF). http://www.av-comparatives.org/. Retrieved 2016-06-13.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  27. "AV-TEST Product Review and Certification Report – Mar-Apr/2016". https://www.av-test.org/. Retrieved 2016-06-13.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  28. "Home Anti-Malware Protection January - March 2016" (PDF). https://www.selabs.uk/. Retrieved 2016-06-13.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  29. "ICSA Labs". https://www.icsalabs.com/product/avast-free-antivirus/. Retrieved 2015-11-11.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  30. "Anti-Virus Comparative Performance Test - AV-Comparatives" (PDF). http://www.av-comparatives.org/. Retrieved 2015-08-07.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  31. "List of Awards - AV-Comparatives". http://www.av-comparatives.org/. Retrieved 2015-03-27.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  32. "List of Awards - AV-Comparatives". http://chart.av-comparatives.org/. Retrieved 2015-03-27.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  33. "Anti-virus Comparative Performance Test" (PDF). av-comparatives.org/. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  34. "AV-TEST Product Review and Certification Report". http://www.av-test.org/. Retrieved 2015-11-11.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  35. "AV-TEST Product Review and Certification Report – May-Jun/2015". AV-TEST.com. Retrieved 2015-08-07. 
  36. "Mac OS X under attack – 10 security packages put to the test". AV-TEST.com. Retrieved 2015-05-14. 
  37. "The best antivirus software for Windows Home User". AV-TEST.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  38. "The best antivirus software for Android". AV-TEST.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  39. "VB100 comparative review on Windows 7 SP1 64-bit". virusbtn.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  40. "Avast Free Antivirus 2015". download.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  41. "Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus for Android". download.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  42. "avast! Free Antivirus 2015 Review: Fresh Interface and New Features". Softpedia.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  43. "Avast Free Antivirus 2016". Retrieved 2015-11-11. 
  44. "Best Employers Study: Czech Republic". Retrieved 2013-12-11. 

External links[edit | edit source]