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Panda launches world’s first free cloud-based antivirus

Panda Security, the global IT security vendor, has announced the global beta release of Panda Cloud Antivirus, the industry’s first and only free cloud-based antivirus. The product has 50% less impact on PC performance compared to the industry average. Consumers can download the free product from CloudAntivirus.com.

“We believe that Panda Cloud Antivirus represents a quantum leap in protection over the traditional approach to antivirus architecture,” says Jeremy Matthews, head of Panda’s sub-Saharan operations. “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.”

With Panda Cloud Antivirus, Panda Security is introducing a new protection model that utilizes a thin-client agent and server architecture which processes and blocks malware more efficiently than locally installed signature-based products. By moving the entire malware scanning and evaluation process to the cloud and applying non-intrusive interception techniques on the client architecture, Panda Cloud Antivirus provides advanced protection against new and unknown viruses with a lightweight thin-client agent that barely consumes any PC resources.

Traditional antivirus products for PCs rely on multiple locally installed technologies which intercept each file at different layers (entry vector, file system and execution) and scan them using various techniques (antivirus, heuristics, intrusion prevention, behavioural analysis, etc.). This process results in heavy usage of local PC memory and CPU resources, negatively impacting performance. The Panda Cloud Antivirus thin-client agent introduces a new philosophy for on-access asynchronous cloud-scanning. It combines local detection technologies with real-time cloud-scanning to maximize results while minimizing resource consumption. This optimized model blocks malicious programs as they attempt to execute, while managing less dangerous operations via non-intrusive background scans.

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.

Utilizing Panda’s proprietary cloud computing technology called Collective Intelligence, Panda Cloud Antivirus harnesses the knowledge of Panda’s global community of millions of users to automatically identify and classify new malware strains in almost real-time. Each new file received by Collective Intelligence is automatically classified in under six minutes. Collective Intelligence servers automatically receive and classify over 50,000 new samples every day. In addition, Panda’s Collective Intelligence system correlates malware information data collected from each PC to continually improve protection for the community of users.

Check out Panda Cloud Antivirus here.

Panda supports Windows 7

Panda Security, the global IT security vendor, has launched a beta version of Panda Antivirus Pro 2009 compatible with Windows 7. Now all users of the beta version of Microsoft’s new operating system will be able to install the best protection against malware at no cost and with minimal resource consumption. This beta version can be downloaded here.

Windows 7 is a new operating system from Microsoft which is set to replace Windows Vista. This new system includes a series of improvements in performance and efficiency, an improved interface and better information management.

Panda Antivirus Pro provides greater protection against viruses, spyware and hackers, and includes a new engine against identity theft. Similarly, it prevents hackers from getting into the computer, thanks to its built-in Panda firewall.

The beta of Panda Antivirus Pro 2009 for Windows 7 includes, in addition to the award-winning Panda Security scan engine, a powerful heuristic engine for detecting new malware variants and a heuristic system specialized in combating banker Trojans and identity theft malware.

The beta also includes new ‘cloud’ detection technology called Collective Intelligence which Panda Security has been building into its products for more than a year, allowing it to rapidly detect new malware. This technology is particularly important in today’s climate, where most infections are caused by viruses that are less than 30 days old. It is therefore crucial to detect these new threats within the first month of their existence and this is why Panda is able to better protect users through Collective Intelligence.

“With the traditional protection model, IT security companies have to receive a new example of malware, analyze and classify it manually then create and distribute the vaccine. This simply takes too long. Collective Intelligence lets us automate these tasks, thereby speeding up the process. Protection from the cloud, on the other hand, lets us provide malware vaccines to our users as soon as we have generated them, protecting them in real-time,” says Jeremy Matthews.

For more information and to download the beta version of Panda Antivirus Pro compatible with Windows 7, click here.

Conficker worm ravages six percent of world’s computers

Panda Security study reveals scale of security crisis

The number of computers infected by the Conficker worm continues to surge, according to data provided by Panda Security, the global IT security vendor. A study carried out by Panda’s malware detection laboratory revealed that almost 6 percent (5.77%) of computers worldwide are infected by this worm.

The study, involving almost 2 million computers, show that the infection, which originated in China, has now extended across 83 countries, and is particularly virulent in Spain, the USA, Taiwan, Brazil and Mexico. In Spain, Panda has identified more than 36,000 infected computers, although the real figure could be much higher.

“Of the 2 million computers analyzed, around 115,000 were infected with this malware, a phenomenon we haven’t seen since the times of the great epidemics of Kournikova or Blaster”, says Jeremy Matthews, the head of Panda Security’s sub-Saharan operations. “This is no doubt an epidemic and the worst may still be to come, as the worm could begin to download more malware onto computers or to spread through other channels.”

Panda’s researchers have also turned up new data on this dangerous worm. Some variants are launching brute force attacks to extract passwords from infected computers and from internal networks in companies. The frequency of weak passwords (common words, own names, etc.) has aided the distribution of this worm. By harvesting these passwords, cyber-crooks can access computers and use them maliciously.

“This highlights the need for users to establish strong passwords both on personal computers and corporate networks as, otherwise, an infection could spread across an entire company leaving computers at the mercy of attackers,” says Matthews.

This worm also uses an innovative system of social engineering to spread via USB devices: in the Windows options menu that appears when inserting a USB device, it has disguised the option to run the program (activating the malware) as the option to open the folder to see the files – so that when users simply want to see the contents of a memory stick, they will actually be running the worm and infecting their computers.

You will find more information about this and other malware in the PandaLabs blog.