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Panda Offers Cloud-Based Antivirus

Earlier today, Panda Security--publisher of Panda Antivirus and Panda Internet Security--announced the global beta release of the industry's first free cloud-based antivirus "thin-client" solution. Called Panda Cloud Antivirus, the company said that the new technology offers 50-percent less impact on PC performance when compared to installed signature-based antivirus programs. Currently the service is still in its beta stage, however consumers can download a free, "thin" client from the official website; the service will remain free to use once the service leaves the beta stage.

According to the company, the new service uses Panda's "proprietary" cloud computing technology called Collective Intelligence. Cloud computing, at least in this case, could be defined as "grid" computing, utilizing thousands, even millions, of user-based PCs to create one very big computer. Panda's technology takes advantage of its global community (consisting of "millions of users) to identify and classify malware strains. Each file received by Collective Intelligence is automatically classified in under six minutes; the servers currently receive and classify over 50,000 new samples every day. The overall result is an online, real-time database that stores the majority of signature files in a virtual "cloud" rather than places them on end-user PCs. For this reason, because of the level of end-user input, Panda decided to offer the service for free.

 "Every Panda user is a sensor for new malware, sending statistical data about malware prevalence back to the cloud," the company said. "This new approach reduces bandwidth consumption on customers’ PCs and provides faster and more comprehensive up-to-date protection."

Why is this better? Because installed antivirus programs--typically from Symantec, McAfee, CA--inserts multiple programs into the operating system that intercept files at different layers and scans them with various components. This not only consumes unnecessary amounts of memory, but can bog down the CPU to the point of utter annoyance, or as Panda states, "negatively impacting performance." The Panda Cloud Antivirus client doesn't install multiple tentacles, consuming an average of 17 MB of RAM; the downloaded client itself weighs only around 18 MB, and installs around 50 MB onto the hard drive. Thus, the system provides a lightweight way to detect viruses, malware, rootkits, and heuristics in a non-intrusive way.

The biggest advantage however, is being constantly updated with the latest virus definitions from the cloud, rather than locally on the system.

“We truly believe that Panda Cloud Antivirus represents a quantum leap in protection over the traditional approach to antivirus architecture,” said Juan Santana, CEO for Panda Security. “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. We’re excited to make it available today for free, which is Panda’s way of paying back to the community and growing our Collective Intelligence network so that we can deliver even greater protection to all customers.”

According to Pedro Bustamante, senior research adviser at Panda Security, the Cloud Antivirus program will continue to work even if the PC isn't connected to the Internet. "The model we've implemented is to break down the traditional antivirus to client and server, so when the user is not connected they keep a local cache copy of Collective Intelligence, including detections for what Collective Intelligence sees is spreading through the community," he told CNET. He also stated that the service would remain in beta for a while as it builds its user client base, however he hopes that it will leave the beta stage by the end of the summer.

Currently Panda Cloud Antivirus can be used on Windows XP and Windows Vista platforms, and will also be compatible with Windows 7 when the operating system eventually ships. Come, join the Collective. Resistance is futile.

  • thedipper
    WTB Win7 support. It's just a simple switch that's denying it installation on Win7 machines, and it won't run in Compatibility mode.

    I know it's pre-release, but many people are using it, and CloudAV is a great concept.
    Reply
  • sanctoon
    I still prefer ESET NOD32, but not the security suite, just plain vanilla anti virus
    Reply
  • jeraldjunkmail
    I see this being useful on netbooks and other low powered windows machines. This is a win win for everybody, and might make me try it out for a while. I am protected with Avira free AV...
    Reply
  • SamanuelMC
    Just downloaded and tried to install only works on Vista/XP 32-bit. Shame really wanted to try this. Website has a funky intro movie stating to evolve to a new age of anti-virus. It seems they've forgotten to evolve to a new age of Operating System.
    Reply
  • mman74
    What happens if the virus has disabled your internet connection? What then?
    Reply
  • i0n
    mman74: There is a local cache that is defaulted to when an internet connection is not present.
    Reply
  • i0n
    SamanuelMCJust downloaded and tried to install only works on Vista/XP 32-bit. Shame really wanted to try this. Website has a funky intro movie stating to evolve to a new age of anti-virus. It seems they've forgotten to evolve to a new age of Operating System.This is just the first beta. The 64bit/Windows 7 version is currently in QA from what I hear.
    Reply
  • i0n
    thedipperWTB Win7 support. It's just a simple switch that's denying it installation on Win7 machines, and it won't run in Compatibility mode. I know it's pre-release, but many people are using it, and CloudAV is a great concept.
    Cant just release something without rigorous QA testing.
    Reply
  • thesmokingman14
    I love the "Come, join the Collective. Resistance is futile" remark. Also, if this is everything they say it is, it's going to catch on like wildfire. But, what prevents the cloud from getting compromised and sending out huge viruses to its clients?
    Reply
  • tenor77
    Hmmm, link milllions of computers together. No that doesn't sound like a hackers wet dream or anything. Obviously I haven't seen their exact setup but I can definetly see a flaw in the logic. All it would take is to find a hole in the CI and it's game over man, game over!
    Reply