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Avast Free Antivirus
Developer(s) AVAST Software s.r.o. (formerly ALWIL Software a.s. and AVAST Software a.s.)
Stable release 2015.10.2.2214 / 2 March 2015; 24 days ago (2015-03-02)[1]
Operating system Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/Windows 8 (32/64-bit), Linux, Macintosh, Palm OS, Windows Server Edition, Android
Type Desktop antivirus software, Mobile security application
License Freemium
Website www.avast.com

Avast (styled "avast!") is a brand of antivirus software developed by AVAST Software s.r.o. for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Android and Linux users. AVAST Software s.r.o was founded in 1991, and headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic.[2] It produces security programs for personal and commercial use.

In January 2015, Avast had 21.4% of the worldwide security vendor market share.[3] As of March 2015, Avast has 233 million users of its products and services worldwide. [4] The software products have a user interface available in 45 languages.

Avast has 500 employees; 90 percent of which work in the Czech Republic. Avast has 13 offices in Prague, Brno, Germany, China, South Korea, Taiwan, and the U.S. [5]


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. [6]

Current COO and former CTO Ondrej Vlček joined ALWIL in 1995; he had joined the company when he was a student and wrote the company’s first antivirus program for Windows 95.[7] 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. [8] 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.

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, 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 and 100 employees; Vincent Steckler, formerly of Symantec, also joined ALWIL as CEO that year.

ALWIL Software changed its name to AVAST Software in 2010, and Summit Partners invested $100 million for a minority share of the company. [9] 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 [10] and the U.S.-based start-up Jumpshot [11] that same year and was awarded "Best Employer 2013" for the Czech Republic in the category of large companies. [12] 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. [13]

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. [14] 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.[15]

In October 2014 it was claimed[16] 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 [17] point-by-point in an Avast Community forum post made by Ondrej Vlcek, Avast's Chief Operating Officer in response to the article.


Avast programs are only available to internet-connected devices, and are available in 45 languages. The Avast product range includes the following:[18]

Consumer desktop products[edit]

  • Avast Free Antivirus 2015 — Free for non-commercial (U.S. educational institutions and public libraries) and home usage. This product's features include antivirus with antispyware, streaming updates, hardened mode, DeepScreen, Secure DNS, Home Network Security scanner, Do Not Track, SiteCorrect, Antiphishing, AntiMalware, Smart Scan, Rescue Disk, and Software Updater (manual). Requires 1-year registration and includes advertisements for other Avast products.
  • Avast Pro Antivirus 2015 — For home and home office use. Includes all features of the Free version, with the edition of SafeZone and a Sandbox. Does not require registration, but does require a license or activation code.
  • Avast Internet Security 2015 — Includes all the features of Pro, with the edition of a silent firewall and antispam. Does not need registration, but does require a license or activation code.
  • Avast Premier 2015 — 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 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.
  • GrimeFighter - A PC cleaning tool and optimizer.
  • SecureLine VPN - A virtual private network for encrypted, anonymous communications and browsing via Wi-Fi.
  • EasyPass - Management software for multiple passwords.

Business products[edit]

  • 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.[19]
  • Endpoint Protection
  • Endpoint Protection Plus
  • Endpoint Protection Suite
  • Endpoint Protection Suite Plus
  • Email Server Security
  • File Server Security
  • Security Suite for Linux

Mobile products[edit]


Antivirus and Anti-Theft[edit]

  • Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus — Free app for use on Android devices. Includes a virus scanner, virus removal, protector, network meter, app manager, app lock, backup, and a firewall on rooted phones.
  • Avast Mobile Premium - Premium app for use on Android devices. 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 — Locates and tracks lost mobile phones and can control phones remotely via SMS or desktop. Remotely locks or wipes phone memory.

Performance apps[edit]

  • GrimeFighter
  • BatterySaver
  • SecureLine VPN
  • Ransomware Removal


  • SecureLine VPN

Awards and certifications[edit]

  • In March 2012, CNET Download.com gave its Editors' Choice Award for that month to Avast Free Antivirus version 7.[20]
  • In March 2013, AV-Test.org reviewed and certified Avast Free Antivirus 7.0 for Windows 8 (RTM, 64 bit).[21]
  • In November 2013, AVAST Software was selected as the Czech Republic's Best Employer of 2013, in the category of large-sized company.[22]

Softpedia.com has reviewed Avast and given its highest five-star "Excellent" rating in several reviews:

  • Avast Home Edition (August 2006)[23]
  • Avast Free Antivirus 6.0 (February 2011)[24]
  • Avast Free Antivirus 7.0 (March 2012)[25]

Independent testing AV-Comparatives has awarded Avast with its highest "Advanced +" rating in various categories on multiple occasions:

  • Performance Test (October 2008)[26]
  • On Demand Detection Test (August 2009)[27]
  • Retrospective / Proactive Test (November 2009)[28]
  • Performance Test (December 2009)[29]
  • On Demand Detection Test (February 2010)[30]
  • Performance Test (Suite Products) (July 2010)[31]
  • On Demand Detection Test (August 2010)[32]
  • On Demand Detection Test (August 2011)[33]
  • On Demand Detection Test (March 2012)[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Avast - Release History". 
  2. ^ "Contact Us". AVAST Software. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  3. ^ OPSWAT. "Antivirus and Compromised Device Report: January 2015". Retrieved 2015-03-11. 
  4. ^ Mares, Michael. "Rekordní rok Avastu v číslech. Antivir teď dají zadarmo i firmám", Forbes, Prague, 11 March 2015. Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  5. ^ News Desk. [1], Prague Post, Prague, 11 March 2015. Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  6. ^ Swartz, Jon. "Avast emerged from Communism to shine in security", USA Today, Prague, 23 October 2013. Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  7. ^ Neacsu, Mihai. "Interview with Avast's COO Ondřej Vlček", Download3K, 19 November 2014. Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  8. ^ Swartz, Jon. "Avast emerged from Communism to shine in security", USA Today, Prague, 23 October 2013. Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  9. ^ Wauters, Robin. ", TechCrunch, 23 August 2010 Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  10. ^ Fiegerman, Seth. "Avast Buys Secure.me to Boost Security on Facebook", Mashable, 2 May 2013. Retrieved on 23 March 2013.
  11. ^ Calnan, Christopher. "Software maker Jumpshot acquired by Czech company", Austin Business Journal, Austin, 24 September 2013. Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  12. ^ "Best Employers Czech Republic 2013", Aon Hewitt, Prague, 14 November 2013. Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  13. ^ Board, Laura. "CVC Capital Partners Takes Slice Of Avast", The Street, New York, 5 February 2014. Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  14. ^ Tufnell, Nicholas. "Naked selfies extracted from 'factory reset' phones", BBC, London, 11 July 2014. Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)". howtogeek.com. 
  17. ^ "Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)". avast.com. 
  18. ^ "Avast antivirus Downloads". 
  19. ^ Kovacs, Eduard. "Avast Launches Free Security Solution for Businesses", Security Week 24 February, 2015. Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  20. ^ "Avast Free Antivirus". CNET.com. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  21. ^ "Avast! Free Antivirus Product Review and Certification Report – Jan-Feb/2013". AV-Test.org. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  22. ^ "Best Employers Study: Czech Republic". Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  23. ^ "Avast! Home Edition". Softpedia.com. 
  24. ^ "Avast! Free Antivirus 6.0". Softpedia.com. 
  25. ^ "Avast! Free Antivirus 7.0". Softpedia.com. 
  26. ^ "Performance Test (October 2008)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  27. ^ "On Demand Detection Test (August 2009)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  28. ^ "Retrospective / Proactive Test (November 2009)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  29. ^ "Performance Test (December 2009)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  30. ^ "On Demand Detection Test (February 2010)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  31. ^ "Performance Test (Suite Products) (July 2010)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  32. ^ "On Demand Detection Test (August 2010)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  33. ^ "On Demand Detection Test (August 2011)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  34. ^ "On Demand Detection Test (March 2012)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 

External links[edit]