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April 29, 2009

Panda spots market for free AV scan service

Offers no-charge cloud-based scan beta

By CBR Staff Writer

Following in the steps of AVG and McAfee, Panda Security SL today announced it would start to offer free anti-virus services alongside its licensed security software that consumers and small business pay for.

Madrid-based Panda said it would offer a service that is “based 100 percent on cloud computing” and will be available free for personal use when it comes out of beta. 

It said Panda Cloud Antivirus comes to market after three years of development to produce a system with a very small footprint, that uses few client resources.

Panda uses something it calls its Collective Intelligence system to turn every Panda user into a sensor for new malware, sending statistical data about malware prevalence back to the cloud, to identify new malware almost in real time. 

Apparently, in exchange for using consumer data to constantly update its Collective Intelligence database, Panda will offer the Panda Cloud Antivirus for free.

PC users on Windows XP and Windows Vista PCs can download a small pop-up from Panda that then links them into the cloud security service.

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AVG is arguably the best known supplier of free anti-virus software. That company claims to have its free anti-virus product installed on 85 million PCs, and sees the value of seeding the market with free product as helping build brand awareness and produced up-sell opportunities.

Lately McAfee has started to offer a free malware scan service, and Microsoft is expected to start offering free basic antivirus protection later in the year as part of the programme called Morro. 

Available in the second half of 2009, the Microsoft service will provide protection from malware including viruses, spyware, rootkits and Trojans and will come at no charge to consumers. 

Retail sales of its Windows Live OneCare subscription service will be discontinued at the end of June 30.

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