Sharmine Ishak's Blog
Sharmine Ishak male Senior Tech Writer
A man trapped between the realms of being geeky (which he thinks is the new cool) and being chic. A YouTube junkie who secretly believes Lady Gaga to be his mother, Sam enjoys watching people (like a stalker), discovering new tech and putting his plans for world domination into action. But first -- retail therapy.
Choosing the right antivirus (AV) for your computer can be a tough choice, especially when you need to weigh in your decision based on your needs as a user. Whether you are just browsing the web, doing online banking or downloading your favorite movies and music, you can never be too careful to make sure that your computer is well-protected from malicious programs lurking on the Internet.
That’s why it is important to have a strong, capable antivirus backing you up while you’re connected to the rest of the world. Backdoors, Trojans and worms are just some of the threats hiding behind the websites we surf and programs we interact with each day – waiting to exploit a flaw in our system – as hackers prey on our naivety and ignorance. All it takes is a visit to an unsecured website or the execution of a program for our computers to be compromised; credentials stolen and PCs put at risk of possible permanent damage. Personally, the experience of falling for one of those Internet scams has made me much more wary of such offers; having had my computer data completely wiped out and laptop almost destroyed.
Luckily, I managed to get away fairly unscathed (save for the deep hole the error made in my pocket) and my laptop was salvageable. God forbid the idea of losing my entire notebook to a con offering free store credit. Rule #1: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You’ll never catch me looking for store credit code generators online anymore.
But I digress. The truth is that we should always be prepared for such occurrences, and having the right protection is always essential for those who spend their time on the web. Of course, this comes at a cost. For those with new computers, you might already find yourselves registered to a year’s subscription of some of the best antiviruses money can buy, while some of you might be long-term paid subscribers to a particular AV.
While paid AVs are the way to go for those who want to invest in a good security program, this is not to say that there aren’t any free software that can offer you the same top quality protection. On the contrary, there are some very good antiviruses out there that don’t cost a single sen. Simply google ‘Free Antivirus’ and a selection of the world’s most popular AVs will pop up at your disposal. For those keen on looking for a free and trusted solution, however, there is avast! which has a reputation for providing free antivirus with features that can rival fully-fledged programs.
Now, you're probably wondering how is it that avast! is as secure or as effective as paid solutions, but hear me out and you'll see why.
Recently, we were able to speak to Vincent Steckler – AVAST Software CEO, who tells us about the Czech company’s business model and strategy in the provision of free yet powerful security software for all. Headquartered in Prague, the company has over 200 professionals working on the development of its products, which includes avast! Free Antivirus for home users and top-of-the-line solutions for business clients. Its success, however, is mainly attributed to one major driving factor: the users.
With over a 150 million worldwide user base – 90% of which are revealed to be using its free solutions – AVAST Software relies heavily on its products’ users as viral sensors for the variety of malware and malicious programs all around the world, which gives them a greater detection rate. Through user infections, AVAST Software is able to create safe and secure solutions that can help protect the devices and computers of other users', which also includes users of its paid products.
“It is part of our philosophy that we don’t make a huge difference between the free and the paid product,” said Steckler. “We’re not positioning the free product as a basic or light product. It’s a full-featured product, and the only distinction is what you use your computer for. If you’re using your PC for banking or using your credit cards online, the paid product is obviously the one you need, as it enables you to perform your transactions in a safer environment.”
Due to the nature of AVAST Software’s products, its users have also formed a strong, close-knit community that collaborates and works together to provide tech support and language translations whenever the product is released in another region. The result is a sustainable business model that will ensure revenue earned is spent in research and development instead, giving back to the community for product improvement and continued provision of free AV solutions with features that rival paid software.
“The community angle works really well for us. Most of the tech support comes from the community because it’s very collaborative. We’re giving them a really good product for free, we treat them with respect and thus they do a lot of things to help out. In the business, the major cost does not come from developing the software, but rather it’s the distribution, advertising and paying for support," he explained.
That is the idea behind AVAST Software, which goes to show that some of the best things in life are indeed free. Of course, there’s never a free store credit code generator, but that's another story for another day.