Interview with James Kok, marketing team leader for AVIRA
Do you make use of antivirus and anti-malware solution for security on your PC? VR-Zone had a recent interview with James Kok, team leader of marketing for Avira, and Aaron Neo, product manager of Aurica, the official distributor for Avira's security solutions in Singapore, to find out how how the company can provide users with ample protection from the ever-increasing threat of malware today. Read on.
Q: Avira is one of the world's most widely used antivirus software. Can you give our readers a general overview of Avira's history, as well as explain what makes the company's security solutions so popular among users and reviewers?
A: Avira stands for extreme reliability and internet freedom around the globe. The company was founded 25 years ago on Tjark Auerbach's promise to "make software that does good things for my friends and family". As we all know that, Avira is award-winning antivirus software because of our intelligent technologies. Under the motto “More than Security”, Avira offers solution-oriented advice and individual support from our experts. We are proud to say that today we have more than 100 million consumers and small businesses free of spyware, phishing, worms and other internet based threats. The company delivers IT-security protection to computers, servers and networks both directly and in the cloud.
Q: The current version of Avira's security software products is version 10, which was originally released back in May last year. What kind of benefits can consumers expect to receive in Avira AntiVir 10, and how will it affect their daily computing needs? Also, most of the competition have started rolling out updated versions of their software in preparation for 2011. When can consumers expect to see an Avira AntiVir 11, and what are some of the new features users can expect when it comes?
A: There will be no Avira AntiVir 11. We plan to release a service pack in mid-year and a new version closer to the end of the year. Until now, we don’t talk about new planned features though. Users can expect a high-performance solution as usual, both protection- and resource-usage-wise.
Q: Key to Avira's success is the Luke Filewalker scanning engine used in all of Avira's products: how has the Luke Filewalker engine been improved to keep up with the needs of computer users in the past few years?
A: Several improvements to the engine have been made over the past few years. For example, we went from a monolithic scan engine to a modularized one. This means that with much less efforts and smaller update-size we can add new detection modules and thus detection techniques and mechanisms into the engine. Before this change, adding a behavioral blocker / HIPS component would have been impossible. We improve those modules quite often to add new detection mechanisms for new malware types, for example new packers or new file formats and exploits.
Q: Avira has been offering its consumer-centric security solutions in three different SKUs; the free AntiVir Personal, followed by the paid Avira AntiVir Premium and Avira Premium Security Suite. What is Avira's reason for doing so, and is this practice expected to change any time soon?
A: Avira is committed to continuing the three tiers of products for consumers and small businesses. One of the strong pillars of our brand is: “Security = Freedom”, expressed by this sentiment: “When you feel secure, safe and protected, you have a certain peace of mind and freedom, which allows you to do the things you want to do and be who you want to be without the stress of worry and fear.” It is important that Avira continue to provide security free of charge to whoever wants/needs it. We will also continue providing the paid products which shall give you the all-around protection. This is particular important, when the system is used for a commercial interest.
Q: Like most security software available in the market today, Avira AntiVir 10 features an option which allows the larger user community to take part in Avira's malware gathering efforts. Is this limited only to gathering samples of suspected malware, or is it part of a wider umbrella which includes through analysis of the file's contents, complete with information about the file's origin and reputations? Will the community effort offer protection against undocumented/zero-day malware signatures by leveraging on community-contributed reputations?
A: Until now, we only ask for currently unknown, suspicious files for a deeper, more thorough analysis. This will lead to detection for new, zero-day malware in a very short timeframe. But as those malware samples finally will stack up, even more generic heuristic detections can be developed by this approach, leading to an even better protection for our consumers.