Avira

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Avira Operations GmbH & Co. KG
Type Kommanditgesellschaft
Industry Computer software
Founded Germany (1986)
Founders Tjark Auerbach
Headquarters Tettnang, Germany[1]
Key people Travis Witteveen – CEO
Products Antivirus software
Employees 500+ [1]
Website www.avira.com

Avira Operations GmbH & Co. KG is a German multinational and family-owned antivirus software company. With an estimated 9.6% of market share according to OPSWAT, and over 100 million customers, Avira was considered the sixth largest antivirus vendor in 2012.[1][2]

The company supports the Auerbach Stiftung, a foundation created by the company's founder Tjark Auerbach. It promotes charitable and social projects as well as the arts, culture and science.[1]

History[edit]

Avira timeline[3]:

1986 – Electrical engineer Tjark Auerbach and a partner started IT company H+BEDV Datentechnik near Lake Constance, in Tettnang, Germany. The ‘H’ and ‘B’ were the initial letters of their wives’ first names.

1988 – H+BEDV launched the protection program AntiVir, one of the first antivirus programs, to combat some of the first dangerous computer viruses that were already spreading at a phenomenal rate. AntiVir protected and repaired infected Microsoft DOS systems. The company also launched business security solutions at this time.

1990 – With only six employees, management incorporated the company, giving H+BEDV Datentechnik Germany’s “GmbH” status.

1991 – DOS system infections continued to rise, and thus AntiVir continually underwent improvements to counter new threats.

1994 – The product range extended to include AntiVir for Windows 3.x and AntiVir for Novell NetWare.

1995 – Launches included AntiVir for Windows 95/NT (Workstation and Server), AntiVir for Linux (Workstation and Server, free to consumers) and AntiVir for OS/2.

1996 – AntiVir FDBlock, one of the few memory-resident DOS antivirus programs, was introduced to stop boot-sector viruses from spreading.

1997 – The company continued to develop increasingly sophisticated software that included: integrity monitoring with different check sum algorithms, an automatic Update Wizard, the quarantine directory, the ability to define the level to which archives were unpacked, emailed alerts, negative classification of boot and master boot sectors, and heuristic macro virus detection.

1998 – Launches included AntiVir for Windows 98 and the ‘campus license’: schools and universities and other educational institutions could obtain AntiVir at a major discount via an "AntiVir for the computer room" campaign.

1999 – The Personal Edition antivirus for private, non-commercial use was made available to download for free, making it one of the pioneers of the ‘freemium’ business model. The company presented a global first in AV Guard, the first resistant virus guard under Linux, and Secure AntiVirus Application Programming Interface (SAVAPI) virus protection as a component. With SAVAPI, third-party manufacturers had the option to include virus protection functionality in their products, and Watchdog and MIMEsweeper were among the first to use it.

2000 – AntiVir for Windows ME was launched, and MailGate for Linux joined the product family to offer email protection.

2001 – the company made virus protection available for Windows XP at the same time the OS was launched, setting a milestone in speed and customer orientation. AntiVir for OpenBSD/FreeBSD was introduced.

2002 – the AntiVir Rescue System offered a rescue tool that booted and scanned for virus infections without using an external OS. In cooperation with a partner, the company developed virus protection for DSL networks software (AntiVir for AVM KEN!). The newly developed data access control module Dazuko scanned files in real time upon opening, closing, and execution. AntiVir received accreditations from many sources, including ICSA Labs, and the AntiVir online shop was launched.

2003 – launches included proxy server protection AntiVir WebGate for Linux, FreeBSD and OpenBSD, AntiVir Milter for Sendmail, AntiVir Lotus Notes/Domino, AntiVir ISA Server, and AntiVir Exchange for Servers 2000/2003. Partnerships formed with SuSE, Red Hat, Group Technologies, Clearswift (AntiVir MAILsweeper, AntiVir WEBsweeper), Pyramid Computers, and Central Command.

2004 – the company established a main branch office in Bucharest, Romania. Protection from Internet dialers was integrated in AntiVir and a 'convenience package' was introduced: customers got a bootable CD-ROM (with updates made available by mail), a printed installation manual, free support, and a command-line scanner. AntiVir for FreeBSD was equipped with an on-access scanner. Other launches included the Security Management Console, the SPAM filter AntiVir eXpurgate, AntiVir for Sun Sparc Solaris, AntiVir SmallBusiness (the first full-protection bundle for businesses), and AntiVir for Windows 2000. Annual sales rose to over 8 million euros, with just over 120 employees.

2005 – AntiVir version 7 was launched and the company reached its 10 millionth user. AntiVir Mobile Security for PDAs and smartphones was introduced. AntiVir Virus Scan Adapter (for SAP Solutions) became the first virus protection solution to be SAP certified. The company began to offer security consulting to commercial businesses, received numerous VB100 certifications, attained Microsoft-Gold partnership level, was accredited by Germany’s Association for Technical Inspection (TÜV), and began close cooperation with the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI).

2006 – Avira GmbH was formed when the original H+BEDV Datentechnik GmbH and its sister company AntiVir PersonalProducts GmbH merged. Avira GmbH opened a new branch office in Austria.

2008 – a major update was made to the scan engine, which increased scanning speed by 20%. The company reached 200 employees, became officially SAP certified, became a founding member of IT SMIG (IT Security Made in Germany), and launched a French version of Avira Free Antivirus.

2009 – Avira opend branch offices in Switzerland, Japan, and Malaysia and celebrated 10 years of its freemium software offerings by reaching its 100 millionth user – all with around 300 employees.

2010 – in addition to opening new branch offices in Beijing and Hong Kong, Avira obtained an office in the Netherlands when it acquired the company CleanPort, to help bring managed security services “in the cloud” to the Avira portfolio. A new Virus Lab was opened in Kuala Lumpur.

2011 – Avira launched both its SafeSearch toolbar and a freemium version for Mac OS X. Reaching 500 employees, the company built a new HQ building in Tettnang, Germany, and opened a branch office in the USA’s Silicon Valley. The company also partnered with Qihoo in China.

2012 – Avira acquired Social Shield network protection, to help parents protect their children from questionable social-network content. The company launched Android Anti-theft, Avira Answers (user forum), and Avira Cloud protection technology, and it began partnerships with Baidu and Tencent in China.

2013 – Co-founder Tjark Auerbach stepped down as CEO, but remained the majority shareholder of Avira. Travis Witteveen replaced Mr. Auerbach as CEO at the beginning of H2 2013. Avira expanded its Android security offering and launched both iOS security and its Online Essentials solution.

Technology[edit]

Virus definition cleanup[edit]

Avira periodically "cleans out" the virus definition files, by replacing specific signatures with generic ones, resulting in a general increase in performance and scanning speed. A database clean-out with the size of 15 MB was made on 27 October 2008, causing problems to the users of the Free edition because of its large size and slow servers of the Free edition. To solve the problem, Avira improved the updating process by reducing the size of the individual up-datable files, resulting in the delivery of less data in each update. Nowadays there are 32 smaller definition files that are updated regularly in order to avoid peaks in the download of the updates.[4]

Firewall[edit]

Avira has removed their own FireWall Technology in Version 2014 and replace it with the management of Windows Firewall (started with Windows 7 and after), because in Windows 8 the Microsoft Certification Program forces developers to use interfaces introduced in Windows Vista.

Protection Cloud[edit]

Avira Protection Cloud (APC) was first introduced in version 2013. The aim of APC is improving detection with less impact on system performance due to the use of cloud computing. APC was initially released as a sneak technical preview to selected testers.

After the initial preview, Avira implemented this technology in all paid 2013 products. When APC was first implement in Version 2013, its only used when the users perform a manual quick system scans. Lately,this technology has been extended to the real-time protection, which subsequently improve the Avira's score in the AV-Comparatives September and later Report. [5]

Partners[edit]

Avira offers its antivirus engine in the form of a software development kit to implement in complementary products. Strategic and technology partners of Avira include Canonical, CYAN Networks, IBM, itelligence AG, Microsoft, novell, OPSWAT, Synergy Systems and others.

On September 4, 2014, Avira announced a partnership with Dropbox, to combine Avira's security with Dropbox's "sync and share" capabilities.[6]

Consumer products[edit]

Avira Internet Security
Avira Internet Security 2012.png
Avira Internet Security 2013 in Windows 7
Initial release 1988
Stable release 14.0.6.570 (August 21, 2014; 29 days ago (2014-08-21)) [±][7]
Operating system Windows 7, Vista and XP
Available in Multilingual
Type Antivirus, firewall, parental control, MailGuard, AntiPhishing, backup system
License Proprietary

Avira offers three security products and tools for Microsoft Windows:

  1. Avira Free Antivirus: This edition is free of charge. It runs as a background process which checks every file opened or downloaded. Like many antivirus programs, it can run a full or custom scan to check the computer for malware in order to remove them. It updates its virus definitions automatically every day by default using the Internet. Contains popups-ads.
  2. Avira Antivirus Premium: The Premium edition includes all features of the Free edition plus:[8]
  3. Avira Internet Security: The Internet Security edition includes all features of the Premium edition plus:[8]
  4. Avira offers a set of free tools including a "Rescue System" utility used to write a bootable CD which can be downloaded as an EXE or ISO file. It has its own Linux-based operating system so it does not depend on the one on the host PC. It can be used to clean an unbootable PC, and is able to find malware which uses the host's operating system to hide (e.g., some rootkits). The tool contains the antivirus program and the virus database current as of the time of download. It boots the machine into the antivirus program, then scans for and removes malware, also restoring normal boot and operation. It is updated frequently so that the most recent security updates are always available.[9]

Consumers products for other platforms[edit]

Avira offers Avira Free Android Security for Android v2.2 and later, as well as Avira Free Mac Security for Mac OS X.

Avira used to offer "Avira Free Unix/Linux" for Unix or Linux Platform, but has discontinued the product as of 30 June 2013. New licenses are no longer available, but existing customers will receive updates until 30 June 2016.[10]

Reviews[edit]

AV-Comparatives awarded Avira AntiVir Premium with the highest score, the "Advanced+" distinction, in February, May, and August 2008, earning it the 2008 "AV Product of the Year" award. This large-scale comparative test saw Avira achieve an "excellent" score for its proactive detection performance. In the "Speed" category, Avira made it to the winner’s podium. In the "Summary Report 2010" it received the Silver award for 99.5% detection rate.[11]

In January 2008, Avira AntiVir was given a rating of 6.5 out of 8 in tests for detection and removal of rootkits and 71% for proactive virus detection by Anti-Malware Test Lab; both scores qualified for "gold" status, the highest award.[12] Avira achieved the highest Malware Detection rate, along with G-DATA Antivirus, 98%, and was one of five products that achieved a 90% or higher spyware detection rate in the latest AV-Test performed in February 2010.[13] AV-Comparatives also awarded Avira with an Advanced+ rating (the highest) in their latest test.[14] Avira had the highest signature and proactive detection rates in all major independent antivirus tests.[when?] In April 2009, PC Pro awarded Avira Premium Security Suite 9 six out of six stars and a place on its A-list for Internet security software.[15] In August 2009, Avira AntiVir Personal Antivirus achieved a 98.9% percent overall malware detection rate, and was the fastest for both on-demand scans and on-access scans conducted by PC World, who ranked it first on its website.[16] Neil J. Rubenking from PC Magazine gave version 10 3.5 out of 5 stars.[17]

Avira was among the first companies to receive OESIS OK Gold Certification.[18] This shows that both the antispyware and antivirus components of several of their products have achieved the maximum compatibility score with widespread network technologies (like SSL/TLS VPN and Network Access Control) from Juniper Networks, Cisco Systems, SonicWALL and others.

Avira has also received VB100 awards.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "About Avira". Avira.com. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  2. ^ OPSWAT. "Market Share Report June 2012". Retrieved 30 July. 
  3. ^ "Avira History". Avira.com. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "AVIRA News – Free version: Avira optimizes update system". Avira.com. 17 November 2009. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  5. ^ [1], AV-Comparative RealWorld Test September Fact Sheet.
  6. ^ "Avira Partners with Dropbox to Bring Secure Sync and Share to Millions Globally". Avira.com. 
  7. ^ "Avira Internet Security - Download". www.avira.com website. Avira. 27 September 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  8. ^ a b "Avira Products". Avira GmbH. Retrieved 28 October 2009. 
  9. ^ "Avira AntiVir Rescue System". Avira.com. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "Discontinuation of Antivirus solutions for Linux systems on June 30th 2016". Avira.com. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Summary Report 2010". av-comparatives.org. 
  12. ^ "Anti-Malware Test Lab". Anti-malware-test.com. Archived from the original on 19 November 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  13. ^ "AV-Test release latest results" (2 September 2008)
  14. ^ "AntiVirus Programs Test". Av-comparatives.org. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  15. ^ "Avira Premium Security Suite 9 review" at PC Pro (27 July 2010)
  16. ^ "Avira AntiVir Personal" by Erik Larkin, PC World (24 August 2009)
  17. ^ "Avira AntiVir Personal 10" by Neil J. Rubenking, PC Magazine (26 March 2010)
  18. ^ "Awards for Avira products". Avira.com. Archived from the original on 14 November 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  19. ^ "Virus Bulletin: VB100 results – Avira". Virusbtn.com. Retrieved 17 April 2011. [dead link] (free registration required)

External links[edit]