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Company typePrivate limited company
FoundedGermany (1999)
HeadquartersMontreal, Quebec, Canada
ProductsAdaware antivirus
Lavasoft Digital Lock
Lavasoft File Shredder
Ad-Aware Web Companion
Lavasoft Privacy Toolbox
ParentAvanquest (Claranova)[1][2]

Adaware, formerly known as Lavasoft,[3] is a software development company that produces spyware and malware detection software,[4] including Adaware. It operates as a subsidiary of Avanquest, a division of Claranova.[2]

The company offers products Adaware Antivirus, Adaware Protect, Adaware Safe Browser, Adaware Privacy, Adaware AdBlock, Adaware PC Cleaner and Adaware Driver Manager.[citation needed]

Adaware's headquarters are in Montreal, Canada, having previously been located in Gothenburg, Sweden since 2002. Nicolas Stark and Ann-Christine Åkerlund established the company in Germany in 1999 with its flagship Adaware antivirus product. In 2011, Adware was acquired by the Solaria Fund,[5] a private equity fund front for entrepreneurs Daniel Assouline and Michael Dadoun, who have been accused[6] of selling software that is available for free, including Adaware antivirus prior to acquiring the company itself.

Adaware antivirus[edit]

Adaware antivirus
Initial release1999; 25 years ago (1999)
Stable release
12.4.930.11587 [7] / June 27, 2018; 5 years ago (2018-06-27)
Written inC++, Visual Basic .NET
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows
Available inMultilingual[8]
TypeAntivirus software, Adware, Spyware
LicenseProprietary, Freeware

An anti-spyware and anti-virus software program, Adaware Antivirus, according to its developer, supposedly detects and removes malware, spyware and adware, computer viruses, dialers, Trojans, bots, rootkits, data miners,[citation needed], parasites, browser hijackers and tracking components.[9] Adaware Web Companion, a component of the Adaware antivirus, is frequently packaged alongside potentially unwanted programs. Adaware accomplishes this by striking deals with malware operators and site owners to distribute its software in exchange for money. Adaware Web Companion is known to collect user data and send it back to remote servers.


Adaware antivirus was originally developed, as Ad-Aware, in 1999 to highlight web beacons inside of Internet Explorer.[citation needed] On many websites, users would see a tiny pixelated square next to each web beacon, warning the user that the computer's IP address and other non-essential information was being tracked by this website. Over time, Ad-Aware added the ability to block those beacons, or ads.

In the 2008 Edition, Lavasoft bundled Ad-Aware Pro and Plus for the first time with an antivirus scanner,[10] which used the Avira engine[11] and this arrangement continued for a few years.[12] Starting with Ad-Aware version 10, the Bitdefender antivirus engine was used instead.[13][14][15]


According to PC World Magazine, an older version of Ad-Aware, the Anniversary Edition, could locate only 83.6% of malware in a comparative test carried out by the security firm AV-TEST.[16] However, it stated that no such tests have been run on the newest version. Neil J. Rubenking at PCMag performed a lab test on version 8.3, where Ad-Aware scored 9.2 points, beating the previous top score of 9.1.[17]

Market share[edit]

In July 2013, Adaware Antivirus Free was listed as having been downloaded a total of 450 million times from the Lavasoft site, including over 387 million times from as of December 2014.[18] According to OPSWAT, in January 2015, Ad-Aware had less than 1% of market share globally.[19] Paid versions of the product are being competed from low-cost or free products, such as Microsoft Security Essentials.[16]


The company was acquired in January 2011, as Lavasoft, by the Solaria Fund, a private equity fund,[5] front for Daniel Assouline and Michael Dadoun, key people of UpClick and Interactive Brands.[20] SC Magazine reported that Lavasoft had been acquired by the same entrepreneurs who have been accused of selling software that is available for free to unwitting users under the guise of premium support,[21] including the free version of Lavasoft's security program prior to acquiring the company itself.[6] Security consultant Dancho Danchev has documented this controversy.[22]

Additionally, Danchev has reported in 2013 that Lavasoft was used to hide hard-to-uninstall programs into third-party software to trick the users in installing them, like in the K-Lite Codec Pack, and the Lavasoft Web Companion changed your browser without the user's permission. Although the company shields itself behind the complete legality[clarification needed] of bundled software and claims that their software is only used to fight malware, there are users who have branded their products as malware.[23]

In February 2015, it was reported by CERT Coordination Center, that a new security feature in Ad-Aware Web Companion was implemented with Komodia SSL Digestor, one of Komodia's public SDKs, the company behind the Superfish security incident in Lenovo machines.[24][25][26]


  1. ^ "50.1% Stakes in Upclick Inc. and Lulu Software, Inc. and Adaware: Private Company Information". Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "A major new Internet player in Montreal". March 26, 2018. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  3. ^ "adaware facebook page, about section". Facebook. Archived from the original on March 16, 2018. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  4. ^ "The adaware story". Adaware. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Solaria Fund acquires software business from Lavasoft - Mannheimer Swartling". January 18, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Bradbury, Danny. "Lavasoft owners ran dodgy websites". iTnews. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  7. ^ "Release notes - Adaware". Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  8. ^ "Ad-Aware Free Tech Specs - Lavasoft". Lavasoft. Retrieved November 9, 2007.
  9. ^ "Ad-Aware User Manual" (PDF). Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  10. ^ Hopkins, John A. "Ad-Aware 2008 - Free software downloads and software reviews - CNET". Retrieved November 9, 2010.
  11. ^ "Page 3 - Ad-Aware Pro Anniversary Edition Review: Computer Security Articles at". May 4, 2010. Retrieved November 9, 2010.
  12. ^ "Ad-Aware v8.1, Powered by People Anti-Malware Protection". July 19, 2010. Retrieved November 9, 2010.
  13. ^ "Ad-Aware Product Comparison". Lavasoft. January 22, 2014. Archived from the original on January 22, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014.
  14. ^ "Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ Review". Yahoo! News. December 8, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  15. ^ "Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ 11". PC Magazine. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  16. ^ a b "Editorial Review of Ad-Aware Pro". PC World. October 13, 2009. Archived from the original on November 24, 2009. Retrieved October 31, 2009.
  17. ^ Rubenking, Neil J. "Ad-Aware Pro Internet Security 8.3". PC Magazine.
  18. ^ "Ad-Aware Free". n.d. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  19. ^ "Antivirus Market Share Report January 2015 | OPSWAT". Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  20. ^ "Daniel Assouline - SC Magazine". August 5, 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
  21. ^ Danny Bradbury (March 3, 2006). "Money for nothing | Media". The Guardian. London. Retrieved May 25, 2012.
  22. ^ Danchev, Dancho (March 20, 2008). "Dancho Danchev's Blog - Mind Streams of Information Security Knowledge: Cybersquatting Security Vendors for Fraudulent Purposes". Retrieved May 25, 2012.
  23. ^ Danchev, Dancho. "How to Remove Redirect Virus from your computer?(Removal Guide)". Frances. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  24. ^ "Lavasoft Information for VU#529496". Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  25. ^ Blue, Violet. "Zero Day Weekly: Superfish attacks, FBI GameoverZeus bounty, Komodia in Lavasoft | ZDNet". ZDNet. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  26. ^ "Gefährliche Adware: Mehr als ein Dutzend Anwendungen verbreiten Superfish-Zertifikat" [Dangerous Aware: More than a Dozen Applications spreading Superfish Certificate]. Heise Security. February 24, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2018.

External links[edit]