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Avast Free Antivirus
Developer(s)AVAST Software s.r.o. (formerly ALWIL Software a.s. and AVAST Software a.s.)
Stable release2015.10.0.2208 / 7 November 2014; 2 months ago (2014-11-07)[1]
Operating systemWindows 2000/XP/Vista/7/Windows 8 (32/64-bit), Linux, Macintosh, Palm OS, Windows Server Edition, Android
TypeDesktop antivirus software, Mobile security application
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"Avast" redirects here. For other uses, see Avast (disambiguation).
Avast Free Antivirus
Developer(s)AVAST Software s.r.o. (formerly ALWIL Software a.s. and AVAST Software a.s.)
Stable release2015.10.0.2208 / 7 November 2014; 2 months ago (2014-11-07)[1]
Operating systemWindows 2000/XP/Vista/7/Windows 8 (32/64-bit), Linux, Macintosh, Palm OS, Windows Server Edition, Android
TypeDesktop antivirus software, Mobile security application

Avast (styled "avast!") is a name brand for a set of antivirus software developed by AVAST Software s.r.o. for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Android and Linux users. The software products have a user interface available in 45 languages. The name Avast came from "Anti-virus – Advanced Set," a program developed by the company's founders.[2]

Founded in 1991, the company AVAST Software s.r.o. was officially established under the newly free market of then-Czechoslovakia. Formerly known as ALWIL Software a.s. and later AVAST Software a.s., it is headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic, and has offices in Friedrichshafen; Munich; Austin, Texas; Redwood Shores, California; Hong Kong; and Beijing.[3]

AVAST Software s.r.o. currently produces security freeware and shareware programs under the Avast brand for personal and commercial uses on PCs, Macs, and Android devices, and as of 2013 more than 200 million devices worldwide were reported to have used Avast products. In January 2014, Avast had 15.9% of the worldwide security vendor market share.[4]

The software brand has received a number of awards from Virus Bulletin for close to 100% detection of "in-the-wild" viruses[5] and won the Secure Computing Readers' Trust Award.[6] Its central scanning engine has been certified by ICSA Labs[7] and West Coast Labs' Checkmark process.[8]


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; he had joined the company when he was a student and wrote the company’s first antivirus program 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 (noncommercial) use in 2001.

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 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.[9]

In October 2014 it was claimed[10] 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 [11] point-by-point in an Avast Community forum post made by Ondrej Vlcek, Avast's Chief Operating Officer in response to the article.

How avast! works[edit]

Avast products work by utilizing the 230 million devices protected worldwide to act as sensors, finding and reporting threats from all over the globe. Threats are then automatically analyzed in the cloud, and SMS-sized updates are issued approximately every 6 minutes; the protected devices are thus kept up-to-date.


Avast programs are only available online and are available in 45 languages. The latest stable Windows version is 10.0, released on October 21, 2014. Apart from business-grade security solutions, the Avast product range includes the following:[12]

Avast Free Antivirus 2015 — freeware for non-commercial/home usage, and is nothing but an antivirus/anti-malware package with no added features. Requires registration and includes advertisements.

Avast Pro Antivirus 2015 — suitable for both home and business use and includes all features of the Free edition with a few extras. Does not require registration.

Avast Internet Security 2015 — for both personal and commercial use and includes all the features of Pro with more, and also does not need registration.

Avast Premier 2015 — the same as Internet Security, with the addition of a data shredder and automatic application updater (not for avast!, but for other programs such as Google Chrome). Does not require registration.

A comparison of the four products can be found below.[13]

 Free AntivirusPro AntivirusInternet SecurityPremier
Network securityYesYesYesYes
Browser cleanup toolYesYesYesYes
Hijack protectionNoYesYesYes
Automatic application updates (for programs other than avast!)NoNoNoYes
File shredderNoNoNoYes

Other versions[edit]

Avast Mac Edition — An antivirus solution for Apple Macintosh machines running Mac OS X based on a central virus-scanning daemon; it includes a mail scanner, an on-demand scanner, and an on-access scanner controlled through a simple user interface. The Mac+PC Edition is for Mac users who have both the Mac operating system and Microsoft Windows installed on the same machine. It comprises both the Mac Edition and Professional Edition.

Avast Server Edition — Shareware for businesses running Windows Server - may be extended by additional modules for MS Exchange Server 2000/2003/2007, MS Proxy/ISA Server, SMTP Server, MS Sharepoint Server (Portal Server 2001/2003, Windows Sharepoint Services 2003 and MS Office Sharepoint Server 2007)

Avast Distributed Network Manager — Allows network administrators to manage the Avast antivirus product line across the whole enterprise.

Avast Small Business Server Edition — Shareware for Windows Small Business Servers, including an Exchange server or ISA server.

Avast for Linux/Unix Servers — Shareware designed to run on Linux and BSD servers running x86 kernels only. Packages are available as RPM, Debian or in Tarball form.

Avast Mobile Security — Freeware for use on Android devices.

Avast Anti-Theft - Locates and tracks your lost phone, Controls your mobile phone remotely; remotely locks or wipes phone memory to keep data safe.

Awards and certifications[edit]

Softpedia.com has reviewed Avast and given its highest five-star "Excellent" rating in several reviews:

Independent testing AV-Comparatives has awarded Avast with its highest "Advanced +" rating in various categories on multiple occasions:

Related products[edit]

Avast also offers anti-spyware technology, also certified by West Coast Labs' Checkmark process,[35] as well as anti-rootkit and self-protection capabilities.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "avast! - Release History". 
  2. ^ "Avast Software is the new company name". Archived from the original on 24 December 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-16. 
  3. ^ "Contact Us". AVAST Software. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  4. ^ OPSWAT. "Antivirus and Threat Report: January 2014". Retrieved 2015-01-04. 
  5. ^ "Virus Bulletin VB100 Awards". Archived from the original on 24 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  6. ^ a b "Secure Computing Readers Trust Awards". Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  7. ^ "ICSA Labs Certification". Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  8. ^ "Avast! AntiVirus - Anti-Virus Desktop". Checkmark Certification. West Coast Labs. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  9. ^ By Ruth Reader, Venture Beat. “Malware buster Avast buys up mobile app maker in move to be mobile friendly.” July 24, 2014. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
  10. ^ http://www.howtogeek.com/199829/avast-antivirus-was-spying-on-you-with-adware-until-this-week/
  11. ^ https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=157693.msg1140066#msg1140066
  12. ^ "avast! antivirus Downloads". 
  13. ^ "avast! 10 - Editions Comparison Table". 
  14. ^ "Top 10 Windows downloads of 2010". CNET.com. Retrieved 9 April 2011. 
  15. ^ "Brothersoft Winners 2010: List of Editors Pick Windows Software". Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  16. ^ "avast! Server edition - Voted WindowSecurity.com Readers’ Choice Award Winner - Anti Virus". Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  17. ^ "Best Antivirus 2011 – Avast Antivirus 6". Techdeville.com. Retrieved 2012-07-13. [dead link]
  18. ^ "Avast!: The silver bullet against viruses and other threats". Filecluster.com. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  19. ^ "Avast Free Antivirus". CNET.com. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  20. ^ "Avast! Free Antivirus Product Review and Certification Report – May-Jun/2012". AV-Test.org. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  21. ^ "Avast! Free Antivirus Product Review and Certification Report – Jan-Feb/2013". AV-Test.org. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  22. ^ "Best Employers Study: Czech Republic". Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  23. ^ "Avast! Home Edition". Softpedia.com. 
  24. ^ "Avast! Free Antivirus 6.0". Softpedia.com. 
  25. ^ "Avast! Free Antivirus 7.0". Softpedia.com. 
  26. ^ "Performance Test (October 2008)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  27. ^ "On Demand Detection Test (August 2009)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  28. ^ "Retrospective / Proactive Test (November 2009)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  29. ^ "Performance Test (December 2009)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  30. ^ "On Demand Detection Test (February 2010)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  31. ^ "Performance Test (Suite Products) (July 2010)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  32. ^ "On Demand Detection Test (August 2010)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  33. ^ "On Demand Detection Test (August 2011)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  34. ^ "On Demand Detection Test (March 2012)". AV-Comaratives.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  35. ^ "Avast! AntiVirus - Anti-Spyware Desktop". Checkmark Certification. West Coast Labs. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 

External links[edit]