Lavasoft

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Lavasoft
Private limited company
Founded Germany (1999)
Headquarters Montreal, Canada
Products Ad-Aware
Lavasoft Digital Lock
Lavasoft File Shredder
Ad-Aware Web Companion
Lavasoft Privacy Toolbox
Website www.lavasoft.com

Lavasoft is a software development company that produces spyware and malware detection software,[1] including Ad‐Aware. Lavasoft software is often bundled into third-party installers, thus reaching unwilling users in the same way used by the malware they claim to fight.

The company offers a free, downloadable version of Ad‐Aware titled Ad‐Aware Free Antivirus+ and three commercial versions called Ad‐Aware Personal Security, Ad-Aware Pro Security and Ad-Aware Total Security.[2] Other Lavasoft products include Ad-Aware Web Companion, Lavasoft Digital Lock, Lavasoft File Shredder, Lavasoft Privacy Toolbox and Lavasoft Registry Tuner.

Lavasoft’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 Ad-Aware product. In 2011, Lavasoft was acquired by the Solaria Fund.[3]

History[edit]

1999–2002[edit]

In the late 1990s computer users were beginning to encounter new variations of spyware and malware not covered by existing antivirus products. Users were faced with pop-ups, decreased computer performance and frequent interruptions. In response to the shifting online landscape, Nicholas Stark and Ann-Christine Åkerlund established Lavasoft AB and launched the company’s flagship product, Ad-Aware.

The company launched the first anti-spyware product commercially and was the first to provide a no-strings-attached free security product for home use. Lavasoft was a founding member of the Anti-Spyware Coalition, a trade organization focused on best practices in the anti-spyware and anti-malware industry.[4]

In 2002, they moved the company headquarters to Gothenburg, Sweden.

2002–Present[edit]

In 2011, Lavasoft was acquired by the Solaria Fund and moved its headquarters to Montreal, Canada. The company has continued to expand on its free antivirus solutions and added malicious URL filtering products, ad blockers, and a secure web browser to its product line.[5]

In October 2013, Lavasoft released Ad-Aware 11. The new version of its flagship product incorporated BitDefender’s award winning antivirus engine and combined it with Lavasoft’s existing anti-malware technology. The partnership signaled a new direction for the company, finding and licensing the best \ technology solutions for use within its existing suite of products.[6]

In 2015, Lavasoft partnered with Avira and licensed their cloud-based malicious URL (MURL) database and program classification service (AUC). The cloud-based malicious URL list was used as part of the company’s Web Companion malicious URL filter. Avira builds its own MURL lists by analyzing samples collected through automated sandboxes and the malicious sites encountered by the 100-million-users of Avira Antivirus. Avira further applies advanced heuristics in real time to assess new threats submitted to the Avira cloud.[7]

At present time, Lavasoft’s flagship commercial application, Ad-Aware, has been downloaded over 390,000,000 times on Download.com [8]

Products[edit]

Malware products: Ad-Aware[edit]

  • Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+
  • Ad-Aware Personal Security
  • Ad-Aware Pro Security
  • Ad-Aware Total Security

Ad-Aware Web Companion[edit]

Lavasoft AdBlocker[edit]

PC tune-up products[edit]

  • Lavasoft TuneUp Kit
  • Lavasoft PC Optimizer
  • Lavasoft Driver Updater
  • Lavasoft Registry Tuner

Data security products[edit]

  • Lavasoft File Shredder
  • Lavasoft Digital Lock
  • Lavasoft Encryption Reader

Lavasoft Privacy ToolBox[edit]

- contains File Shredder, Digital Lock, and Encryption Reader

Controversies[edit]

The company was acquired in January 2011 by the Solaria Fund, a private equity fund.[3] It was soon discovered that the fund was actually a front for the entrepreneurs (Daniel Assouline and Michael Dadoun) behind UpClick and Interactive Brands.[9] SC Magazine discovered that Lavasoft had been acquired by the same entrepreneurs who have been accused of selling software that is available for free (such as the free version of AVG antivirus) to unwitting users under the guise of premium support.[10] Assouline and Dadoun used to sell the free version of Lavasoft's security program prior to acquiring the company itself. This has been well-documented by security consultants such as Dancho Danchev.[11]

Lavasoft is now 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 changes your browser home page without asking first. Although the company shields itself behind the complete legality of bundled software and claims that their software is only used to fight malware, several users are starting to brand their products as malware.[12]

Awards and certifications[edit]

2016[edit]

  • AV-Comparatives Advanced+ Three Star Rating – File Detection Test March 2016 [13]
  • AV-Comparatives Advanced+ Two Star Rating – Performance Test April 2016 [14]

2015[edit]

  • Virus Bulletin VB100 Certification [15]
  • Cyber Defense Magazine – Editor’s Choice Anti-Virus Solution 2015 [16]

2014[edit]

  • DownloadCentral.dk Award [17]
  • DownloadCentral.no Award [18]
  • FindTheBest Smart Choice Award – Antivirus Software [19]
  • AV-Comparatives Advanced+ Three Star Rating – File Detection Test March 2014 [20]
  • AV-Comparatives Advanced+ Three Star Rating – File Detection Test September 2014 [20]

2013[edit]

  • Virus Bulletin VB100 Certification [21]
  • Five Star Rating – Giga Software [22]
  • programosy – Five Star Rating [23]
  • Softpedia – Excellent Rating/Five Stars from Editor’s Review [24]

2012[edit]

  • Ad-Aware Free Antivirus 11.10 - Download3k [25]
  • New Free Ad-Aware Surfaces - Softpedia [26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About Lavasoft". Lavasoft. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  2. ^ "Ad-Aware - Antivirus software with virus and spyware removal". Lavasoft. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  3. ^ a b "Solaria Fund acquires software business from Lavasoft - Mannheimer Swartling". Mannheimerswartling.se. 2011-01-18. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  4. ^ "Anti-Spyware Coalition publishes spyware guidelines". Anders Bylund. Retrieved 2016-01-13. 
  5. ^ "Solaria Fund acquires software business from Lavasoft". Mannheimer Swartling. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  6. ^ "Lavasoft Announces Release of the All New Ad-Aware 11". Business Wire. Retrieved 2013-10-09. 
  7. ^ "Lavasoft And Avira To Deliver Ad-Aware Web Companion". Euan Viveash. Retrieved 2015-10-09. 
  8. ^ "Ad-Aware Free Antivirus +". Tuong Nguyen. Retrieved 2014-12-08. 
  9. ^ "Daniel Assouline - SC Magazine". Scmagazineus.com. 2011-08-05. Retrieved 2012-07-14. 
  10. ^ Danny Bradbury (2006-03-03). "Money for nothing | Media". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  11. ^ Danchev, Dancho (2008-03-20). "Dancho Danchev's Blog - Mind Streams of Information Security Knowledge: Cybersquatting Security Vendors for Fraudulent Purposes". Ddanchev.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  12. ^ Danchev, Dancho. "How to Remove Securesearch.lavasoft.com Redirect Virus from your computer?(Removal Guide)". Frances. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  13. ^ "File Detection Test of Malicious Software" (PDF). av-comparatives. Retrieved 2016-04-14. 
  14. ^ "Performance Test" (PDF). av-comparatives. Retrieved 2016-05-23. 
  15. ^ "Last ten VB100 tests for Ad-Aware Free Antivirus +". Retrieved 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  16. ^ "Cyber Defense Awards 2015". Retrieved 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  17. ^ "Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+". dlc.dk. Retrieved 2014.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  18. ^ "Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+". downloadcentreal.no. Retrieved 2014.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  19. ^ "Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+". Software Insider. Retrieved 2014.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  20. ^ a b "List of Awards - AV-Comparatives". Av-comparatives. Retrieved 2014.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  21. ^ "Last ten VB100 tests for Ad-Aware Free Antivirus +". virus bulletin. Retrieved 2013.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  22. ^ "Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+". giga software. Retrieved 2013.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  23. ^ "Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ 11.10.767.8917". programosy. Retrieved 2013.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  24. ^ "Ad-Aware Total Security 11 Review". Softpedia. Retrieved 2013.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  25. ^ "Ad-Aware Free Antivirus 11.10". download3k. Retrieved 2012-04-25. 
  26. ^ "New Free Ad-Aware Surfaces". softpedia. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 

External links[edit]