Avast Software

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Avast Software s.r.o.
Avast
Formerly called
Alwil Software
Private (s.r.o.)
Industry Computer software
Founded 1988; 29 years ago (1988)
Founders
  • Pavel Baudiš
  • Eduard Kučera
Headquarters Prague, Czech Republic
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Vincent Steckler (CEO)
Products Security software
Revenue US$714 million[1] (2016)
US$353 million[1] (2016)
Number of employees
1000+[2] (2017)
Subsidiaries AVG Technologies
Piriform
Website avast.com

Avast Software /əˈvɑːst, -æst/ 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[3] 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.[4] Avast has over 1,000 employees with offices in the Czech Republic,[5] and 15 other countries including United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, Russia, China, South Korea and Taiwan.[6] In September 2016, Avast Software acquired AVG Technologies for US$1.3 billion.[7] In July 2017, the company acquired Piriform, the developer of CCleaner.[8]

History[edit]

1988–2000: Founding and company beginnings[edit]

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.

2001–2015: Avast Free Antivirus and global growth[edit]

Avast Software logo used until 2016

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.[citation needed]

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.

2016–present: Investments and expansion[edit]

Avast announced on 7 July 2016, that it had reached an agreement to purchase AVG Technologies for $1.3 billion.[23] 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.[7] 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.[4] In July 2017, the company acquired Piriform, the developer of CCleaner.[8]

Products[edit]

Avast provides IT security products for desktops and servers, as well as VPN software, hard-drive cleanup tools and a passwords manager for browsers.[24] The Avast antivirus product includes a password manager, browser security, and network security features.[25] As of 2017, the Avast and AVG (acquired in 2016) antivirus products are expected to be kept separate.[25] The AVG antivirus product has four main components: antivirus, PC tuneup, VPN, and Web Tuneup.[26]

Reception[edit]

  • Avast Free Antivirus 2017 is PCMag.com's Editor's Choice for free antivirus protection.[27]
  • Avast Free Antivirus 2016 received the highest rating for malware detection accuracy from SE Labs.[28]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Record Revenue Puts Avast in Second Among Security Industry Leaders". Avast Software. 18 May 2017. Retrieved 11 June 2017. 
  2. ^ "More than just jobs, accelerate your career at Avast". Avast Software. 29 June 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  3. ^ Abhirup Roy. Avast worth 'upwards of $2 billion'; no IPO before 2017. Reuters. Published on 29 October 2015.
  4. ^ a b Avast not done with deal-making after AVG buy, but no rush. Reuters. Published on 30 September 2016.
  5. ^ Aleš Černý. Hodně místa, pěkný výhled a celý den jídlo zdarma. Avast se přestěhoval. idnes.cz. Mladá fronta DNES. Published on 22 January 2016.
  6. ^ News Desk. [1], Prague Post, Prague, 11 March 2015. Retrieved on 23 March 2015.
  7. ^ a b Avast Closes Acquisition of AVG Technologies. Business Wire. Published on 30 September 2016.
  8. ^ a b Sawers, Paul (19 July 2017). "Avast acquires Piriform, maker of popular system cleaning program CCleaner". VentureBeat. Retrieved 19 July 2017. 
  9. ^ a b 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 (19 November 2014). "Interview with Avast's COO Ondřej Vlček". Download3K. Retrieved 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 to Buy AVG for $1.3 Billion to Add Security Software". 
  24. ^ "Avast". Avast. June 16, 2017. Retrieved June 16, 2017. 
  25. ^ a b Rubenking, Neil J. (February 23, 2017). "Avast Free Antivirus 2017". PC Magazine. Retrieved June 16, 2017. 
  26. ^ Rubenking, Neil J. (January 13, 2017). "AVG AntiVirus Free (2017)". PC Magazine. Retrieved June 16, 2017. 
  27. ^ "Avast Free Antivirus 2017". 23 February 2017. Retrieved 13 July 2017. 
  28. ^ "Home Anti-Malware Protection January - March 2016" (PDF). SE Labs. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 

External links[edit]