Avast! Free Antivirus
|Developer(s)||AVAST Software s.r.o. (formerly ALWIL Software a.s.)|
|Stable release||2014.9.0.2021 / 26 June 2014|
|Operating system||Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/Windows 8 (32/64-bit), Linux, Macintosh, Palm OS, Windows Server Edition, Android|
Avast! (styled avast!) is an antivirus computer program available to Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux users, with a user interface available in 41 languages. The name Avast came from "Anti-virus – Advanced Set," a program developed by the company's founders.
Founded in 1991, the company was officially established under the newly free market of then-Czechoslovakia. The developer, AVAST Software a.s. (formerly known as ALWIL Software a.s.), is headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic, with offices in Friedrichshafen and Munich, Germany; Austin, Texas, and Redwood City, California; and Hong Kong and Beijing, China 
AVAST Software s.r.o. currently produces a range of security freeware and shareware programs for both personal and commercial use on PCs, Macs, and Android devices; as of 2013, more than 200 million devices worldwide used avast!. In June 2012, Avast had 17.4% of the worldwide security vendor market share.
The software has received a number of awards from Virus Bulletin for close to 100% detection of "in-the-wild" viruses and won the Secure Computing Readers' Trust Award. The central scanning engine has been certified by ICSA Labs and West Coast Labs' Checkmark process.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (July 2014)|
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, and in 1991 Baudiš and Kučera were able to register ALWIL Software as a joint-partnership company.
Current CEO and former CTO Ondrej Vlček joined ALWIL in 1995, when he was still a student, and wrote the company’s first antivirus program for Windows 95. 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. 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 worldwide 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 again doubled, to 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 Symantic, 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. 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 devices worldwide were protected with Avast! programs. AVAST acquired the German company secure.me and the U.S.-based start-up Jumpshot that same year and was awarded "Best Employer 2013" for the Czech Republic in the category of large companies. 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.
AVAST's products work by utilizing the 200 million protected devices to act as sensors, finding and reporting threats from anywhere in the world. The threats are then automatically analyzed in the cloud, and SMS-sized updates are issued approximately every 6 minutes; the protected devices are thus kept up-to-date. Avast! programs are only available online and are available in 43 languages. The latest stable Windows version is 9.0, released on 15 October 2013. Apart from business-grade security solutions, the Avast! product range includes the following:
Avast! Free Antivirus 2014 — freeware for personal, non-commercial use only
Avast! Pro Antivirus 2014 — for both personal and commercial use
Avast! Internet Security 2014 — for both personal and commercial use
Avast! Premier 2014 — for both personal and commercial use
A comparison of the four products can be found below.
|Free Antivirus||Pro Antivirus||Internet Security||Premier|
|Automatic Software Updater||No||No||No||Yes|
Avast! Mac Edition — An antivirus solution for Apple Macintosh machines running Mac OS X based on a central virus-scanning daemon; it includes a mail scanner, an on-demand scanner and an on-access scanner controlled through a simple user interface. Although designed as a solution for individual desktops, and priced accordingly, the level of performance is comparable to that of server security software. The Mac+PC Edition is for Mac users who have both the Mac operating system and MS Windows installed on the same machine. It comprises both the Mac Edition and Professional Edition.
Avast! Server Edition — Shareware for businesses running Windows Server - may be extended by additional modules for MS Exchange Server 2000/2003/2007, MS Proxy/ISA Server, SMTP Server, MS Sharepoint Server (Portal Server 2001/2003, Windows Sharepoint Services 2003 and MS Office Sharepoint Server 2007)
Avast! Distributed Network Manager — allows network administrators to manage the Avast! antivirus product line across the whole enterprise.
Avast! Small Business Server Edition — Shareware for Windows Small Business Servers, including an Exchange server or ISA server
Avast! for Linux/Unix Servers — Shareware designed to run on Linux and BSD servers running x86 kernels only. Packages are available as RPM, Debian or in Tarball form.
Avast! Mobile Security — Freeware for use on Android devices.
Awards and certifications
- In 2006, Avast! Antivirus won SC Magazine’s Readers Trust Award for best antivirus.
- In 2010, Avast! was the second most-downloaded software on CNET Downloads.
- In 2010, Brothersoft.com named Avast! Free Antivirus among its 10 "Editors Pick" selections.
- In April 2010, Avast! Server Edition won the Readers' Choice award from WindowSecurity.com.
- In April 2011, TechDeville.com gave Avast! its "Best Antivirus 2011" award.
- In July 2011, Filecluster.com gave Avast! its full five-star "Excellent" rating.
- In March 2012, CNET Download.com gave its Editors' Choice Award for that month to Avast! Free Antivirus version 7.
- In July 2012, AV-Test.org reviewed and certified Avast! Free Antivirus 7.0 for Windows 7 (SP1, 64 bit).
- In March 2013, AV-Test.org reviewed and certified Avast! Free Antivirus 7.0 for Windows 8 (RTM, 64 bit).
- In November 2013, AVAST Software was selected as the Czech Republic's Best Employer of 2013, in the category of large-sized company.
Softpedia.com has reviewed Avast! and given its highest 5-star "Excellent" rating in several reviews:
- Avast! Home Edition (August 2006)
- Avast! Free Antivirus 6.0 (February 2011)
- Avast! Free Antivirus 7.0 (March 2012)
Independent testing AV-Comparatives has multiple times awarded Avast! its highest "Advanced +" rating in various categories:
- Performance Test (October 2008)
- On Demand Detection Test (August 2009)
- Retrospective / Proactive Test (November 2009)
- Performance Test (December 2009)
- On Demand Detection Test (February 2010)
- Performance Test (Suite Products) (July 2010)
- On Demand Detection Test (August 2010)
- On Demand Detection Test (August 2011)
- On Demand Detection Test (March 2012)
- "avast! - Release History".
- "Avast Software is the new company name". Archived from the original on 24 December 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-16.
- "Contact Us". AVAST Software. Retrieved 2012-03-19.
- OPSWAT. "Market Share Report June 2012". Retrieved 30 July.
- "Virus Bulletin VB100 Awards". Archived from the original on 24 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-23.
- "Secure Computing Readers Trust Awards". Retrieved 2009-02-23.
- "ICSA Labs Certification". Retrieved 2009-02-23.
- "Avast! AntiVirus - Anti-Virus Desktop". Checkmark Certification. West Coast Labs. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- "avast! antivirus Downloads".
- "avast! 9 - Editions Comparison Table".
- "Top 10 Windows downloads of 2010". CNET.com. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
- "Brothersoft Winners 2010: List of Editors Pick Windows Software". Retrieved 2012-07-13.
- "avast! Server edition - Voted WindowSecurity.com Readers’ Choice Award Winner - Anti Virus". Retrieved 2012-07-13.
- "Best Antivirus 2011 – Avast Antivirus 6". Techdeville.com. Retrieved 2012-07-13.[dead link]
- "Avast!: The silver bullet against viruses and other threats". Filecluster.com. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
- "Avast Free Antivirus". CNET.com. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
- "Avast! Free Antivirus Product Review and Certification Report – May-Jun/2012". AV-Test.org. Retrieved 2013-12-11.
- "Avast! Free Antivirus Product Review and Certification Report – Jan-Feb/2013". AV-Test.org. Retrieved 2013-12-11.
- "Best Employers Study: Czech Republic". Retrieved 2013-12-11.
- "Avast! Home Edition". Softpedia.com.
- "Avast! Free Antivirus 6.0". Softpedia.com.
- "Avast! Free Antivirus 7.0". Softpedia.com.
- "Performance Test (October 2008)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
- "On Demand Detection Test (August 2009)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
- "Retrospective / Proactive Test (November 2009)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
- "Performance Test (December 2009)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
- "On Demand Detection Test (February 2010)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
- "Performance Test (Suite Products) (July 2010)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
- "On Demand Detection Test (August 2010)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
- "On Demand Detection Test (August 2011)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
- "On Demand Detection Test (March 2012)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
- "Avast! AntiVirus - Anti-Spyware Desktop". Checkmark Certification. West Coast Labs. Retrieved 2012-03-17.