April 29, 2009

Panda Introduces First Free Cloud-Based Antivirus System

Panda Security has released the first-ever free Web-based computer antivirus service.

The Panda Cloud Antivirus service aims to solve the power-hogging issues of traditional software-based solutions from leading companies such as Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro.

Users download a pop-up dashboard from www.cloudantivirus.com, which connects their PC to Panda's security data center. The data center analyzes users' PC for malicious code, and will only take action if an unauthorized program launches.

"A virus is basically harmless until it's loaded into memory and executed," said Martin McKeay, author of the Network Security Blog/Podcast.

McKeay told USA Today that Panda's data center removes the need for power-hungry software, allowing that processing power and hard drive space to be used for other operations.

"By moving the entire malware scanning and determination process to the cloud and applying non-intrusive interception techniques on the client architecture, Panda Cloud Antivirus is able to provide advanced protection against new and unknown viruses with a lightweight thin-client agent that barely consumes any PC resources," Panda said in a written statement.

"Panda Cloud Antivirus includes local and remote antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-rootkit, heuristics and goodware cache, while only consuming an average of 17 MB of RAM and 50 percent of the PC performance impact as compared to the industry average."

"There is a nice symmetry to the cloud service," said Jonathan Penn, Forrester tech security analyst.

"Users get more up-to-date analysis, and Panda turns every customer into a sensor that feeds back data which they then can interpret to better identify emerging attacks."

Juan Santana, CEO for Panda Security, said the company intends to offer the antivirus program to users for free as it builds its reputation among consumers.

"Panda Cloud Antivirus offers consumers a truly install-and-forget solution that delivers the industry's fastest protection against the newest malware with literally half the performance impact," said Juan Santana, CEO for Panda Security.

Also on Tuesday, Panda rival McAfee began its Cybercrime Response Unit Web site that is aimed at helping consumers who believe they may be victims of cybercrime. The Web site offers users with a free infection-scanning tool.

"We're trying to give you some insight as to whether you're at a high or low risk for being the victim of a cybercrime," said Pamela Warren, McAfee's cybercrime strategist. "It's also to help inform consumers and small-business owners about how they can avoid becoming victims."


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