|Headquarters||Prague, Czech Republic|
|Vincent Steckler (CEO)|
|Revenue||US$714 million (2016)|
|US$353 million (2016)|
Number of employees
Avast Software /, - / is a Czech multinational cybersecurity 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 has been a private company since 2010. Avast holds the biggest share of the world market for antivirus applications and its portfolio includes a wide array of security-related products targeting both consumer and corporate markets, such as Avast Antivirus and Avast SecureLine (virtual private network) for Android, Microsoft Windows, iOS and macOS platforms.
As of 2016, Avast had 400 million users and 40 percent of the security software market outside of China. Avast has over 1,000 employees with offices in the Czech Republic, and 15 other countries including United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, Russia, China, South Korea and Taiwan. In September 2016, Avast Software acquired AVG Technologies for US$1.3 billion. In July 2017, the company acquired Piriform, the developer of CCleaner.
1988–2000: Founding and company beginnings
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.
Current COO and former CTO Ondrej Vlček joined ALWIL in 1995 as a student at the Czech Technical University and wrote the company’s first antivirus 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.
2001–2015: Avast Free Antivirus and global growth
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 legal 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 device users were protected with Avast programs. AVAST Software 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.
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. 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.
In October 2014 it was claimed 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 point-by-point in an Avast Community forum post made by Ondrej Vlcek, Avast's Chief Operating Officer in response to the article.
2016–present: Investments and expansion
Avast announced on 7 July 2016, that it had reached an agreement to purchase AVG Technologies for $1.3 billion. In September 2016, Avast acquired a majority stake of AVG and both operate as a single company since 3 October 2016. The company continues to offer both the AVG and Avast branded products for the foreseeable future. Following the acquisition, Avast had 400 million users and 40 percent of the consumer computer market outside of China. According to Reuters, Avast would de-list AVG shares and offer its own shares in the future. In July 2017, the company acquired Piriform, the developer of CCleaner.
Avast provides IT security products for desktops and servers, as well as VPN software, hard-drive cleanup tools and a passwords manager for browsers. The Avast antivirus product includes a password manager, browser security, and network security features. As of 2017, the Avast and AVG (acquired in 2016) antivirus products are expected to be kept separate. The AVG antivirus product has four main components: antivirus, PC tuneup, VPN, and Web Tuneup.
- Avast Free Antivirus 2017 is PCMag.com's Editor's Choice for free antivirus protection.
- Avast Free Antivirus 2016 received the highest rating for malware detection accuracy from SE Labs.
- Internet Security
- Antivirus software
- Comparison of antivirus software
- Comparison of firewalls
- Comparison of computer viruses
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