avast! Virus Lab… I once went to their floor accidentally, thinking it was my floor – it was dark and scary, and so I quickly turned and ran out. These folks are like mad scientists, practicing alchemy in white laboratory coats that are stained with hard-drive smoke and smell of burnt ones & zeros. They’re mostly nocturnal – like cyborgian vampires – and yet they’re always awake, online and available for ‘chat’ or email, even in daylight.
Or at least that’s partly the stereotype I had when I started at AVAST. After meeting and talking with a few “virus guys” at a company party, I realized they’re like every other department here… but just a little more reclusive… and thus maybe a ‘typical’ IT crowd. See here for yourself, as this interview is with a guy whose blog posts get a lot of traffic (even though someone of my IT ‘capabilities’ rarely understands anything he writes about). –Jason Mashak
1. You started at AVAST about 6 years ago, while still attending university – what was it like already working for a top antivirus provider while still a student?
I was a young chemistry student (which seems removed from IT, but even AVAST co-founder Pavel Baudis studied the same subject, at the same university ) with no previous job experience or references. Most of the aspects of IT (including reverse engineering, programming in various languages, cryptography, etc.) were my hobby, and thus it was no problem to work for ALWIL [former name of AVAST Software, until 2010]. I had no clue what the business was about – it took me roughly a year to fully understand how a two-person project could become a successful company Read more…
The Virus Bulletin comparative test from last Friday was the first to include our latest version 6.0 and compare it to other security solutions. AVAST submitted as always our avast! Free Antivirus version against other companies’ paid-for security suites and even business solutions, to endorse our vision that when it comes to malware, free security can and should be delivering the same protection as paid-for alternatives.
All together there were 69 products in the test which – I have to say – is a bit of surprise to me because one keeps thinking there can’t be that many. If woken in the middle of the night I would be able to name 5 brands. Right now I could summon 14 names. Of course there is a little bit of inflation with some brands testing more products (like Kaspersky for example). And then there are a number of products that use the scanning engine or multiple-engines of other vendors. Several multi-engine products scored as always very high on detection (G-Data, Trustport, and others) but of course using more than one engine has an impact on the scan speed and use of computer resources.
So how did avast! compare to the others? Excellent indeed! Read more…
Again and again and again… That’s what comes to my mind every time when I see a new variant of the Kavo family and, most recently, also the Hilot family. These malware samples are machine-generated and their authors can develop a “completely new” set of samples based on a simple change made to the generator itself. What’s the problem here? These changes are not random as we earlier thought, they’re precisely targeted against the most popular AV engines.