Protecting over 200 million PCs, Macs, & Mobiles – more than any other antivirus

July 20th, 2009

Welcome and Why I Joined Avast

Welcome to the start of my “CEO’s Corner” Blog.  I am Vince Steckler and have just joined as the CEO (http://www.avast.com/eng/vince-steckler-to-lead-global-expansion-of-alwil-software.html). I wanted to first chat a little bit about what we do here, why we are different, and why I joined.  We also have a few other blogs going now so check them out also.

First, our product is called avast! and it is a fantastic antivirus/security product.  If you are reading this, you probably already know that.  If you don’t, go to download.com (http://download.cnet.com/Avast-Home-Edition/3000-2239_4-10019223.html?tag=mncol#userreview) and read the reviews from our users.  The company itself is called Alwil Software but don’t go to www.alwil.com as that is a completely different company.  Instead, go to www.avast.com. We will work on fixing that confusion in the future.  We usually use the name Avast to avoid confusion.

Myself, I joined Avast from Symantec—the World’s largest (in terms of revenue) consumer security/antivirus company.  For the last several years there I ran the world-wide consumer sales and e-commerce.  I started my career as a programmer nearly 30 years ago and think I have quite a good understanding of security and the security business. In future entries I will write about that some.  I am American and lived there for about 40 years. But I am now living here in Prague and before this, I lived in Singapore about 7 years.

The company is nearly 20 years old and was founded by Eduard Kucera and Pavel Baudis—they too will start some blogging soon.  We are here in the capital of the Czech Republic—Prague. We have been developing security and anti-virus products since the beginning and are thus one of the oldest such companies in the world.  We are also probably the largest security/antivirus company if one measures in the number of consumers that we protect.  We protect about 80 million consumers around the world.

It is this emphasis on protecting consumers that makes us different and convinced me to join the company.  Here at Avast we actually believe that computer users deserve very good free protection that does not annoy them.  So, we freely distribute our Home version.  From the reviews, you can see that it is a very, very good product.  Its capabilities are not crippled.  It does not find “fictitious” problems to try and get you to upgrade to the paid product.  And, it does not constantly annoy you asking for you to upgrade.  When I first saw Avast while I was at Symantec I thought the product was way too good to be free.  Maybe it is….but free it is and free it will remain.

The company succeeded because of the support of our community and we will continue to support that community.  Eda and Pavel grew the company from basically nothing to one that supports 80 million consumers with no marketing or sales.  Our users have done the marketing and sales for us—they have told their friends and colleagues; they have posted glowing reviews; they have told us what they like and dislike.

Eda and Pavel have always been focused on developing a great product and supporting the community of users.  They believed that by doing those two things the company would succeed.  And it did. I am honored to be able to continue that focus.

If you want to contact me….or suggest some topics….please comment or send an email to me using my last name at avast.com.

Cheers,

Vince

  1. spg SCOTT
    July 20th, 2009 at 14:31 | #1

    Hello Vince,

    Very good to hear from you, and Welcome to avast :)

    Will you also be active in the forums?

    -Scott-

  2. CharleyO
    July 20th, 2009 at 15:20 | #2

    ***

    Thank you, Mr Steckler, for posting in this blog and introducing yourself to us. I hope you fit in very well with avast and the avast community of users. I appreciate the insight you have provided us above.

    Take care,
    CharleyO

    ***

  3. July 20th, 2009 at 21:19 | #3

    Thanks Scott and CharleyO. It is great to be here. I have actually been helping here since early January. As you know, it is a great product and an even better company. But the best part is the community. It is so nice to be someplace where the users/community actually like and respect you. We will make sure we keep that going. I will definitely get involved in the forums where appropriate. Right now, I am a lurker. I read a lot of the forum entries and support desk tickets every day. So while you may not hear for me, rest assured I try to understand what our community is saying about us–good and bad. I am sure you can also figure out how to email me directly if you ever care to.

  4. Tech
    July 20th, 2009 at 22:22 | #4

    Welcome aboard!
    For sure the community like and respect the product makers. We feel free to post with good criticism and try to help avast get better.
    It’s good to see that Eduard will enter the forum also. He does not appear there for a long time. Pavel is a bit more frequent.
    Success with your new deals. Keep the good work and welcome again.

  5. July 20th, 2009 at 22:29 | #5

    Thanks for the welcome. We are working on getting Eda and Pavel to contribute frequently. They have so much history having started this firm 20 years ago. I am sure we will get a posting now and then. Feel free to criticize or suggest what real we can do better. You all are our window on the real world. Without criticisms and suggestions, we cannot make our products better. So we welcome them. You won’t need to register to comment (that may not be implemented yet but I decided that today). Of course if a posting is off topic, slanderous, etc., we may just delete it. But you all are great so I am sure that won’t happen unless we get some interlopers…..

  6. July 20th, 2009 at 22:50 | #6

    @spg SCOTT
    Hi Scott. I will make an apperance on the forums when it makes sense. I have been a lurker now for ages. I love the evangelist forums; we get so much useful data. I tend to lurk as I suspect I get better information if folks don’t know I am reading. But do assume I read all the evangelist postings and many of the others–I do.

  7. Addict!
    July 21st, 2009 at 15:37 | #7

    Hello and thanks for avast! antivirus^^

    Really waiting for the most anticipated antivirus of the year 2009, Avast! 5^^

    hep hep hurayyy for avast team^^

    -AnimeLover^^

  8. July 23rd, 2009 at 00:00 | #8

    Bienvenue chez Avast, continuez à nous faire un bonne antivirus.

  9. Scott
    July 23rd, 2009 at 00:49 | #9

    I have been been loading Avast for about 2 years now. Since I built 30-50 custom PC’s per year so I needed a good anti-virus program I could find free. This was mainly to keep the cost of the build as low as I could at first. Funny thing there were a few people I built new computers for that insisted on the Norton or Mcafee product they had bought. Believe it or not I have to say 3 out of 5 of those customers brought their pcs back within a year of build with viruses. I can honestly say not one of the computers I loaded Avast on were infected within the same time frame. This has a lot to say for the Avast team and their dedication to making a great care free program. To add I work for the largest cable company in the US you can guess the name. I install broadband internet every day as well as trouble shoot non connection issues. The Norton 360 and System Works product have an over complicated firewall. So at least once a week I get a call because that product has stopped all internet connection. These customers have wasted their cash on a product because the software developer made it too complicated for the standard end user. Thus we completely delete that product from those PCs. Again great job to the Avast team and hope you guys are around forever.

  10. July 23rd, 2009 at 01:00 | #10

    What ALWIL stands for?

  11. Gary S. Eubanks
    July 23rd, 2009 at 01:05 | #11

    This is a comment of praise and satisfaction.
    I was directed to AVAST by my computer builder after AVG 7.5 went to 8.5, which promptly ate MSN Outlook Express, along a great many other users according to MSN Tech Support. You guys make Norton and McAfee look like grade school stuff, and you’re freeware. You don’t coast on your laurels like so many others, but updates are far more frequent and ambitious, and many unique new features are added that no one else has. In addition, the program is a much smaller foot print on the RAM than any previous experience. How can you guys do all this stuff as a freebie? In addition, I read your blog, and can see that version 5 is a big step up, and an automatic update requiring no effort on the user’s part to access, plus it’s still on the house.
    One aspect of your program is down right fun; Any incoming threat detection gives very apparent visual and audible warnings that are similar to what was in the cockpit of my fighter in Nam telling and showing me that somedody was shooting missiles at me! That’s pretty cool. No danger of getting shot down, but the computer is now like Eliot Ness and is untouchable… I’ve gone out of my way to tell EVERYBODY about you guys, and they all switched to AVAST from paid or freeware programs and just love it.

    A very satisfied user,Gary S. Eubanks allthecats2001@yahoo.com Reno, Nv.

  12. Ronaldo Aquino
    July 23rd, 2009 at 01:15 | #12

    Good morning.

    I just wanted to know why IE pop-up when I clicked on the the link for this blog ? I hardly use the browser since I installed Chrome. How can I stop this ?

    Just to let you know I’m very thankful and happy with avast! Haven’t had any infection (knock on wood) since I installed it. I wish your work ethic and design approach spread throughout the IT world. More power.

    Regards,
    Ronaldo

    • July 23rd, 2009 at 19:03 | #13

      Hi Ronald. Sorry for the IE popup within Chrome. Unfortunately our messaging system can only use IE. Hopefully we will be able to change that someday. Glad you like Chrome; I have just started playing with it myself.

  13. Gary S. Eubanks
    July 23rd, 2009 at 01:17 | #14

    Your blog says that the update to version 5 upcoming is automatic, but if any unanticipated glitches arise during the beta process,( and that is quite, maybe anticipated understandable) and a manual process is required by the user for access, simply prompt me at the proper time, and I’ll be eagerly anticipating the step up.
    You guys are as motivated as the NASA team!

  14. Leonam2006
    July 23rd, 2009 at 01:20 | #15

    About Avast 5 (beta), It Will work by any Windows System?
    I use avast home many time and It is working very very well and I did many indications to my friends, so I hope the upgrade for Avast 5.
    Tanks a lot to the Avast team.
    Congratulations.

  15. Charles Eilber
    July 23rd, 2009 at 01:34 | #16

    This looks to be a useful service that I will read frequently, but I am having some discomfort in reading the light-orange color of much of the font. My eyes are pretty good and my 19″ LG flat panel monitor shows a full range of colors beautifully. Nevertheless I need to sit closer and squint a bit to read the orange font. That’ tiring. Have any other readers had similar observations?
    Charles

    • July 23rd, 2009 at 19:01 | #17

      Hi Charles. Several others have also commented…I have similar issues and have to wear reading glasses even for a big LCD these days. We will take a look at the scheme.

  16. Rajkumardhi
    July 23rd, 2009 at 01:51 | #18

    What a great product!!! Thanks for making this free…It has helped me a lot
    and I have my friends using avast!!!

  17. rudy D.ganuelas
    July 23rd, 2009 at 02:16 | #19

    To AVAST team,
    congratulation to your new most awaited AVAST 5{beta} software.its anew version that i can introduce to my friends.KEEP UP for the GLORY of GOD….
    regards.

  18. B. Lowery
    July 23rd, 2009 at 02:50 | #20

    Vince, thank you for the post and best of luck in this new endevor.

    At onetime, not so long ago, I would only trust my machines to Symantec. Even though I was constantly purchasing their subscriptions or upgrades and sometimes those upgrades would tangle my system to the point of having to reinstall my OS and programs, I was a firm believer in the product. Then I had to build a system for a friend who is on a limited income and I didn’t really want to spend my own money for a Symantec license, for her machine. After looking at the other programs that were available I decided to try !Avast. I sure am glad I did. I am now a Pro user and promote !Avast to everyone I know.

    To all you users of the free program, which is, for sure, a great and fully functional security program, try to come up with the money to go Pro. It’s not that the Pro version offers any more security, it’s that by purchasing the program you will support the people that are working hard to keep your computer secure.

    Kudos to the entire Alwil team! You guys and gals are awsome.

  19. Nelson
    July 23rd, 2009 at 04:09 | #21

    Thanks for a great antivirus, and free por home use. When other people ask me about antivirus, I recommend AVAST ever.

  20. TERRY
    July 23rd, 2009 at 05:23 | #22

    I just bought a refurbished computor, that has no anti virus. Would a USB drive be good to download onto, to install avast on the refurbished computor? Terry > tpjanzen61@hotmail.com

  21. Soubramany Segar
    July 23rd, 2009 at 06:16 | #24

    Nothing else to say except “SIMPLY ROCKING”

  22. Leon
    July 23rd, 2009 at 06:47 | #25

    Thank you for making Avast! free,especially for people like us who can’t afford to pay so much for Anti-Virus.Hope this company prosper more in future.All the best!

  23. July 23rd, 2009 at 06:53 | #26

    hi

  24. July 23rd, 2009 at 07:07 | #27

    Hello,
    I’m using free Avast! since last century – I found it myself, after making a lot testing/comparison sessions. And I recommend Avast! every time in forums on both of my native languages (not english, sorry ;)
    So thank you very much guys and keep rockin’!

  25. July 23rd, 2009 at 07:37 | #28

    Hi There Vince
    Wow, what an incredible story! I am so happy that you are not with Symantec as in my country, South Africa, Symantecs products have a very bad name and reputatation. At one stage it was only their products that people were buying and loading onto their computers but the prices went up so much, the product became inferior to some of the cheaper / free products and so most people I know have left them and gone over to AVAST.
    I always believe in the biblical concept of sowing and reaping. I don’t care how its done but somehow your company has supplied millions of people globally with a free all-round antivirus protection and by that you sowed into the lives of these people in an area of need (I know I have a need for a antivirus protection that works). And so it’s only just that you guys will reap incredible success and tremendous growth as the company goes into the next decade and beyond!
    I wish you well in your endeavours and I so look forward to hearing more from you.
    Keep well
    Warren

  26. DEBIESSE
    July 23rd, 2009 at 09:56 | #29

    Bonjour

    FELICITATIONS pour ce blog !

    Est-il possible de l’avoir en langue française ?

    MERCI

  27. Omovie
    July 23rd, 2009 at 10:20 | #30

    I love Avast. Since i started using the Anti-virus i have not have any causec for alarm. Even when my friend had to format his latop becuase of spyware that had affected his system, maenwhile we use the same USB to tranfer file. I just want to say thanks to Avast
    Omovie
    Nigeria

  28. July 23rd, 2009 at 10:42 | #31

    sir,u gave a big help to people like me 60 years old with out job gaving a free anti virus for home use.i appreciated so much your free product and hope you can help more people like me, thank you so much.

  29. peter
    July 23rd, 2009 at 13:37 | #32

    Hi Vince i just wanted to say what a great product Avast is and i reccommed it to every one.I think the programme is so easy to use and great for anyone even anyone that’s not so computer savvy ‘set it and forget it’ that’s what a lot of people need and want and don’t want to keep having to remember to change settings and update and NO annoying nag screens like other antivirus softwares., and light on resources, that don’t hog and slow down your P.C again unlike some other a/v softwares.
    Bust Best of all it’s free ( home version).
    I did want to ask a question…

    is it possible to have some extra/new themes or skins for the control panel.

    thanks

    • July 23rd, 2009 at 18:42 | #33

      Hi Peter. Unfortunately we are doing away with the skins in V5……but look at the screen shots in Ondrej’s blog entry. I am sure you will like them.

  30. peter
    July 23rd, 2009 at 13:46 | #34

    HI Vince
    another quick question

    Will Avast work with Windows 7 ( Beta and full versions – when released in October)

    thanks

  31. peter
    July 23rd, 2009 at 13:47 | #36

    will Avast work with Windows 7 when it’s released…?

  32. peter
    July 23rd, 2009 at 13:48 | #37

    Avast and windows 7, whats the latest news..?

  33. July 23rd, 2009 at 14:20 | #39

    Waw…
    Good blog yeah?
    Can i join to this blog to contribute?

    :D

  34. July 23rd, 2009 at 14:21 | #40

    @TERRY
    A USB key is fine to transfer the setup files to another computer. As a Support Specialist I never leave home without the latest Avast on my USB key and have used this method for installing Avast on many many client’s computers.

    @Vince
    Congratulations on your CEO post at Avast, I hope you have many happy years there.

    I have been removing malware for a number of years now both at work and voluntarily in the free forums. Until reading your blog post I would have said that the distinct lack of Avast users seeking malware removal help in the forums was attributable partly to Avast’s market share of users. I now realise that is solely down to a great product(which I never doubted).

    Now that I am prompted into this thought process, I can say that the offline clients who have had Avast installed by me have NEVER returned to me for Virus support. In these times of the Credit Crunch it might be tempting to some to stop installing Avast in order to receive more support calls but I would much rather have a non-returning happy customer than a frustrated, irate customer who continually phones for paid support.

    @The Avast team
    Keep up the great work. We all love you for it!

    @anyone who doesn’t have Avast
    Get your bums over to the download page Vince mentioned. You won’t regret it! P.S. Did anyone mention it’s free for home use?

    P.P.S I do not receive payment for speaking highly of Avast. I can (but don’t) receive payment from other AV vendors for speaking highly of(and installing) their products. As I’ve already mentioned, installing other AV products would generate my offline business a lot of extra paid work. The fact I snub all this extra revenue to use and recommend Avast should speak volumes on the quality of Avast.

  35. Pichet
    July 23rd, 2009 at 20:09 | #41

    welcome Avast5

  36. July 24th, 2009 at 08:25 | #42

    live 4 avast!!!!!

  37. July 24th, 2009 at 12:57 | #43

    Dear Mr.Steckler,
    I am using Avast for more than 5 years now and find it a great asset as Viruses do not come even near my system. I am from India where an old man like me can not get a credit card though I am eligible for one considering my income. I would like to buy the Avast Professional Edition and renew it every year, but unlike Symantec(Norton) or Mcafee, Avast Professional is not available off the shelf in my country.Moreover, I know a lot of business users who would love to use Avast, but cannot buy it off the shelf. an you do something about it?

  38. July 24th, 2009 at 13:03 | #44

    I simply recommend Avast to all my friends who are Home Users, since it is the best anti-virus you can ever see. I am eagerly waiting for Avast5.

  39. Björn Lundahl
    July 24th, 2009 at 14:18 | #45

    Hi Vince and welcome to Avast. I hope you will be very satisfied with your new work and I wish you all luck.

    I have been using Avast for four years and it has been hassle free. I often write reviews about the program, especially at download.com. I always gives it five stars.

    The new interface is splendid and that it will be loaded with heuristic capabilities is a very good thing too (even if it unofficially has that capability already).

    The new default interface will attract those who do not like the radio player. They usually have the idea that an antivirus should not look like a radio player. They feel that the program is no good with such a interface, Silly really, but you know, customers are customers. Some of us like the radio player and think that your skins makes the program less dull and together with all its features something special. Would it not be a good thing if the users still with the new version could download different skins? The new version would have this new and nice interface as a default skin but that users could change it if they wanted to?

    I think that it is very important that the new interface will be the default skin as it will attract many people, especially those who today dislike the radio player, but I think it is also important to attract those who would like to change it. Skins to download should also be cool with new professional interfaces but you should also keep the “old” radio player.

    I think that some people do not use Avast because of the registration. I do not mind to register because I am motivated but you have those who do not like to do it and they use for example AVG instead. Some people are lazy and will not either register when the subscription expires. I guess you would get many more users if you would skip this procedure. Is this registration important for you? It is a tool for you, I believe, to keep an eye on market changes and trends about your users.

    Best regards

    Björn Lundahl
    Gothenburg, Sweden

  40. brad
    July 24th, 2009 at 17:53 | #46

    hey avast is great with one flaw it didnt detect malware very well
    i had to download malwarebytes to take that one out
    other than that its cool for viruses it compliments my other protection software very well thanks for making it free too!

  41. Björn Lundahl
    July 25th, 2009 at 14:14 | #47

    @brad

    Hi, malware is a name for destructive code, in other words malware can be viruses, spyware, adware etc.

    I think you can not tell that Malwarebytes finds more malware than Avast just because it found one. First of all it might be a false positive and even if it was a malware it is not possible to make such a conclusion that the program is better in detecting malware than Avast. If you for example skipped Avast and uninstalled it and used Malwarebytes for a longer period of time and then installed a antivirus software like Avast, it too might find something that Malwarebytes did not find. This because they use different signature bases and no program can to 100% detect all malware. I for instance, sometimes scan my pc with NOD32 online scanner. Not because I think that NOD32 is better but because I want to check my hard disk against another signature base than Avast uses. If I had NOD32 installed in my pc I would try to find a online scanner to check my pc as well. I would, though, believe that Avast does a better job in detecting and removing malware than Malwarebytes as I have never seen any objective and serious test that proves its detection capabilities.

    See for yourself how effective Avast is:

    http://www.virusbtn.com/news/2008/09_02

    and it also has a lot of features which the other programs lack.

    Björn Lundahl
    Gothenburg, Sweden

  42. Suraj Sarva
    July 25th, 2009 at 15:27 | #48

    Hello Vince,

    Very good to hear from you, and Welcome to avast

    Will you also be active in the forums?

    -Scott

  43. pOsiTiVe viBraTiOn
    July 25th, 2009 at 18:07 | #49

    For me avast! still the bestanti virus(sampoi…wa cakap luu..)

  44. Vince
    July 25th, 2009 at 18:23 | #50

    Hello Vince,
    Welcome and thank you! AVAST Home is an excellent program Ive been using for years and has caught everything! Stuff the others never did. I make sure Every computer I repair for anyone goes back with AVAST on it! (Registered in their name of course) AVAST is the backbone of a smooth running PC!
    Thanks again, Vince

  45. Garry
    July 26th, 2009 at 03:39 | #51

    Hi Vincent:I have to say I am quite impressed not only with the new Avast5 GUI but with you as well.I myself have been in previous management positions and can say this.When a CEO takes the time to introduce himself and give Avast users a brief history on his past is almost unheard of.All I can say is good luck to you and hope to read more in the future.I do not need to tell you how good Avast products are as you probably already know this by now.I Myself/Family and Friends would use no other,”Period”!Just two quick questions if you would be so kind.Will Avast5 Boot time scan be supported in Windows7 64-bit?Is the realease of Avast5 in October in any way related to Microsoft’s Windows7 OS available to all October 22/2009? Thanks in advance and again good luck!

  46. emile
    July 27th, 2009 at 00:29 | #52

    bien vouloir nous montrer le site de téléchargement de avast 5 free, ça nous permetrais de l’utiliser et de mieux le connaitre.

  47. John
    July 27th, 2009 at 06:21 | #53

    Hello Vince

    Will Avast 5 provide keyboard shortcuts, similar to those of 4.8 when one doesn’t use a skin?

    Thanks for a great product.

  48. ash
    July 28th, 2009 at 06:05 | #54

    I love Avast, its the best free antivirus software ever.

    I used many different antivirus software in the past, but you cant go wrong with Avast. It’s the best!!!!

  49. José ARAUJO
    July 28th, 2009 at 22:35 | #55

    Oi pessoal da equipe AVAST, prazer em contato para agradecer-los e parabenizá-los pelo belo e seguro sistema de segurança que tenho agora e espero continuar a ter com a vinda do Avast 5. Quem venha! com certeza continuará nos dar uma Tranquilidade e segurança na hora de usar nossos PC.

    Votos sinceros de muito sucesso, paz e saúde para todos vc.

    Abração deste usuario E.U.A. e que simplesmente adora o AVAST.

  50. Amit Raina
    July 29th, 2009 at 01:15 | #56

    Hello Vince
    i love ur avast it is the best antivirus
    plz tell me avast is compatible or not with the internet explorer 8,Firefox 3.5 and Yahoo Messanger 9.When i click on-Acess protectioin icon of avast then there are several
    option like script blocking and instant messaging.they are not scanning means script blocking and instant messaging shield i think does not work with ie8 and firefox.plz tell i am safe or not

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