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Intel Enters Anti-Virus Market 191

Jack writes "ITO holds a story on latest Intel investment: "Intel is branching into anti-virus security with a $16 million investment in Czech anti-virus software vendor Grisoft. Grisoft's AVG anti-virus is used on more than 25 million computers worldwide, according to the company."
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Intel Enters Anti-Virus Market

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  • Intel buying an anti-virus software could work out well for the company, especially if they share the success that Microsoft had when buying Giant's Anti-Spyware program and taking over it's development. Intel has the ability to take a good product and make it even better, and possibly even implementing hardware-based virus detection into future processors as well.

    If an Intel processor could be made to have hardware-based virus detection, integrating with this software-based virus detection, the team could be a very powerful deterrant to any future virus outbreaks. Imagine the hardware and software components working side by side to protect systems, giving future virus writers another hurdle to be cleared, when developing new virus infestations.

    Hopefully the virus software can be made more efficient as well, so that running virus software on a system won't bog it down, hogging system resources like crazy, making people want to not run virus software in the first place. This has long been the bane of the majority of software packages, as the slowdown they cause for certain users, especially gamers, has made them desire to not run the software packages on their systems, resulting in these systems being more vulnerable to a virus outbreak.

    Another added benefit that I can see from Intel buying this software, is that eventually if they integrate software and hardware aspects into a cohesive package that is well-implemented and able to fight viruses at a better efficiency then other programs, this will cause Intel based processors to stand out as well, as these days, virus protection and spyware protection are very important to the majority of users out there.

    If Intel does this right, this can raise the bar for future processing efforts. Soon there will be more to consider when buying a new system then processing speed and cache size, might have to start considering integrated software as well in the not so distant future...

    Good luck on this one Intel...

    • by Red Pointy Tail ( 127601 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @09:56PM (#13505535)
      Not quite 'buying over the company' as partnering with a local Czech VC to buy over a majority stake from another Czech VC firm.

      From the press release on Grisoft's website:

      Grisoft announces investment by Intel Capital and Enterprise Investors

      Prague, Czech Republic - September 6th, 2005 - Grisoft, one of the leading providers of anti-virus security software, announced today that Enterprise Investors (EI), the largest private equity firm in Central and Eastern Europe, and Intel Capital, Intel Corporation's venture investment fund, have made a substantial investment in the company.

      The $52 million investment in Grisoft by Enterprise Investors and Intel Capital will result in a new ownership structure of the company, with a majority stake being acquired from current owners Benson Oak Capital. As a result of this strategic transaction, the two new investors will own a 65% stake in Grisoft.
    • if your intrested in tech like that you need to look at DEP .. is seems to me better than a hardware virus scaner as it makes their methods of invasion almost useless the new intel chips support hardware DEP and server 2003 & XPSP2 support it (although it isnt' set to the most picky level in XP which makes it pointless)
    • by krappie ( 172561 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @10:22PM (#13505702)
      Microsoft seems to have a good strong competative pattern that they've been doing. I don't know if Intel can compete. Microsoft's pattern is:

      1. Create an Operating System
      2. Look at what software is successful and making money on that Operating System.
      3. Create Microsoft version of same software
      4. Integrate said software into the OS and use Windows leverage to force OEM's and manufacturers to bundle preinstalled on most computers.

      So far, this has pretty much worked and usually kills whatever piece of software was successful on Windows. I think its about to happen with antivirus software. I dont know if Intel or the other antivirus companies can compete with this. What do you think?
      • Well, depending on the kind of spyware, many don't actually use security exploits to do their work. They tell you what they're going to do on page 532 of the EULA, and then do it. Perhaps it's slightly gray as Microsoft has no incentive to prevent spyware, but all in all the user is free to put the gun to his own foot.

        With anti-virus software, Microsoft is playing both sides of the table. They deliver the problem, and then the solution. I don't think Microsoft wants to move into the traditional anti-virus m
      • Microsoft seems to have a good strong competative pattern that they've been doing. I don't know if Intel can compete. Microsoft's pattern is:

        1. Create an Operating System
        2. Look at what software is successful and making money on that Operating System.
        3. Create Microsoft version of same software
        4. Integrate said software into the OS and use Windows leverage to force OEM's and manufacturers to bundle preinstalled on most computers.

        So far, this has pretty much worked and usually kills whatever piece of softwa
    • If an Intel processor could be made to have hardware-based virus detection,

      Ever heard of memory protection?

  • I wonder.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    how many of those are AVG free?
    • Re:I wonder.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Mahou ( 873114 ) <made_up_address_@ h o t m a i> on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @10:46PM (#13505851) Journal
      more important: will intel still allow avg free to exist?
      • Yes, that is a very important question. AVG Free works really well. Also, it is still obscure enough to be ignored by hackers who expect to encounter Norton or McAfee, and know how to disable them. It would be very bad if Intel killed AVG free edition.
    • Whats the difference? I mean I use AVG at home and guess which one I'll be first to recommend if my Boss asks me?
    • Re:I wonder.. (Score:2, Informative)

      by Molochi ( 555357 )
      Well I can tell you I've installed AVG free on >300 computers this year. Me. By myself. Basicly if I run into a homeuser client with an expired licence of some AV software that came with their computer they get a copy of AVGfree... 5 so far, this week. I'm numb to the mindless use of computers. Everybody gets AVG, MS-AS, and a real freakin firewall.

      I hope Intel understands the value of AVG being free cause these morons would rather be plague carriers than pay for something other than a quick fix.

    • Well, there's always Avast, which is what I'm currently running since AVG started having bizarre problems that I couldn't be bothered to debug.

      I used AVG for the last couple years and it worked fine until it started turning off the email scanner for no known reason. Not that big a deal, but irritating enough for me to dump it and switch to Avast, which so far is performing admirably.

      AVG isn't the top scorer in AV tests, but it works fine for home users. I always install it on my clients who don't have AVs o
      • I alternate between AVG and Avast, depending on the system.

        Usually, I go for Avast, because it's got a great feature set, and they don't bury their free version.

        You have to actually know EXACTLY where the free version is on the Grisoft site to get AVG Free. However, I go for them whenever I'm dealing with a REALLY old PC - lower resource consumption.

        My normal combo is Avast, MSAS (on 2K/XP), (for a bad infestation or a 9x/ME system) AdAware+Spybot, (for a REALLY bad infestation) CWShredder+HijackThis, and a

        • Check out Kerio Personal Firewall for a firewall. I don't use the 4.x version since it's fairly intrusive, but the older 2.1.5 version can still be found on the Net. I prefer it over ZoneAlarm since it's simple and lightweight and effective.

          I also add Spyware Blaster to the mix since SpyBot even recommends it in their own software.
  • by PipOC ( 886408 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @09:47PM (#13505484) Homepage
    Does this mean that they're no longer going to release AVG updates?
    • by PIPBoy3000 ( 619296 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @09:59PM (#13505561)
      There's always ClamAV [], though it doesn't have real-time virus scanning and it's not as easy to use (a Windows install requires Cygwin). Still, it's an open source option.
      • ClamAV isn't really a replacement for AVG or other Desktop virus scanners. The ClamAV engine could be adapted to the task with a suitable wrapper app, but as it is it's gear more towards scheduled scans.

        On the other hand, FreeBSD mail gateway that I run at work where ClamAV works beautifully. It's all about using the right tool ;).
      • Get Clamwin (Score:4, Informative)

        by msaver ( 907214 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @11:55PM (#13506263)
        Don't bother with Cygwin just for AV. Clamwin [] is pretty sweet. No real-time scanning, but installation and configuration is fairly straight-forward -- and the database is updated several times a day.

        The biggest problem it faces may be that it's so plain and easy to use that people have trouble accepting that it's as good as all the colorful commercial offerings they see. I wonder if Intel's gonna keep AVG's viruses. []

        Use it as a second scanner if you already have another AV program-- Clamwin is not a resource hog.

        Oh yeah -- it's frequently used as an email scanner in networks of all sizes... don't worry about it's virus database!
        • The biggest problem it faces may be that it's so plain and easy to use that people have trouble accepting that it's as good as all the colorful commercial offerings they see.

          I'm really not being a brat, but I have to point out that that their biggest problem is actually that it's NOT as useful as the flashy commercial offerings.

          I hate bloated AV software as much as the next guy, but on access scanning is a deal breaker for me. I usually prefer the "enterprise" style clients which can run silent and chew up
        • Re:Get Clamwin (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I use ClamWin, because I don't really need an antivirus (I don't click every exe I encounter, I'm behind NAT, and I don't use IE or OE, and I keep my box updated).

          I use it sometimes for the odd exe I don't trust. What I don't like about it:
          -it's slow, very slow.
          -it gives too many false positives (don't know about false negatives, I don't have a virus collection). It saw the notepad plus plus installer (got it from sourceforge) as a virus. It also wrongly accused some old .com intro's of some abandonware as
        • There are other windows free AV products: BitDefender []
          is a very good one, and came really highly rated in a recent comparison (posted on slashdot I think)

          Avast is another one, but that proved difficult to get rid of once installed. I can't remember why I wanted to uninstall it....
    • Why would a cash injection stop them from releasing stuff for free? Surely they'd be more likely to go completely pay-for if they were running out of money...
  • Crap. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spauldo ( 118058 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @09:49PM (#13505493)
    I hope there remains a free version of AVG. That's what I install on the few windows machines I maintain for people. It's a lot easier to convince people to run antivirus software when they don't have to pay for it.
  • Intel??? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xiaomonkey ( 872442 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @09:52PM (#13505506)
    Any clue on why this might be a good strategic move for Intel?

    I mean, it seems a bit random in that it's miles away from their 'core competencies' in chip design/manufacturing.
    • Windows is very much associated with Intel (ie. the term "Wintel" systems, for instance). Each time a virus, worm, etc., damages or destroys a massive number of Windows systems, Intel ends up looking very bad. In general, Intel PCs are known to be susceptible to malicious software, even though that is mainly due to the widespread use of Windows, and not directly related to the Intel chips.

      So it greatly benefits them to improve the image of their chips, security-wise. This is something that others should be
      • by commo1 ( 709770 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @10:17PM (#13505670)
        I..... don't agree. Viruses are not generally written in machine or machine-specific code, they do the same as most Windows software does: call APIs that have flaws in them because MS does not write them robustly enough nor is there peer review to point out flaws that an originating team optimizing for flawless interoperability with another team's APIs and other code. In essence, open-source development is so sucessful in a security sense because such review (ie: how could a virus exploit this?) has already taken place in the development process in the wild.

        A virus written for a Windows XP machine has at least a 90% chance of hitting a similarly protected Alpha running XP (OK, OK, let the flames begin....). Does the above comment infer that when Mac OS moves to i386 it will be more suceptible? This may be the case, for one or both of two reasons: 1) by then the focus will have moved from MS Windows attacks to Mac OS attacks because of market penetration, plus the added bonus of being a novelty like Windows virii have become. 2) the virus developers have learned tricks for machine calls and stops only pertinent to i386s; see the missing 10%.
        • Viruses are not generally written in machine or machine-specific code, they do the same as most Windows software does: call APIs that have flaws in them because MS does not write them robustly enough

          But how do they exploit those flaws? If a flaw is, for example, an overflow of a buffer on the stack, do they exploit it by writing some code onto the stack and then overwriting the return address on the stack, so that a return from the routine with the offending buffer jumps to the code on the stack? If so,

        • ...Viruses are not generally written in machine or machine-specific code,...

          not anymore. the first viruses were and they were amazing feats of art written in assembly. today's viruses are utter crap made by no talent hacks compared to them.

          A virus written for a Windows XP machine has at least a 90% chance of hitting a similarly protected Alpha running XP (OK, OK, let the flames begin....)

          IF you had XP for alpha (good trick! your warez skillz are impressive!) then you would be right. Microsoft is intent on
  • AVG (Score:5, Informative)

    by wviperw ( 706068 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @09:52PM (#13505509) Homepage Journal
    AVG download page []

    I've used the free version of AVG for a few years now and it has been very good to me. I just hope that with this infuse of money Grisoft doesn't become too "corporate."
  • ... makes for consistent revenue, makes stable companies.

    I can imagine some guy at Intel has been screaming "diversify" - wide-eyed, panic-stricken, for a while now.
  • Didn't Intel used to sell LanDesk AV software?
  • Great Product (Score:5, Informative)

    by JPM NICK ( 660664 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @09:55PM (#13505529)
    AVG is great for me because it barely uses any system resources. I run a small company with older hardware and it runs great on there. Much better than something like Norton which can really bog down one of those machines
    • Re:Great Product (Score:4, Informative)

      by krunk4ever ( 856261 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @11:47PM (#13506213) Homepage
      just wanted to say AVG isn't FREE for everyone.

      from []

      Is AVG Free right for you?

      AVG Free Edition is for private, non-commercial, single home computer use only. Use of AVG Free Edition within any organization or for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited. The AVG Free Edition is absolutely not for use with any type of OEM bundling with SW, HW component or any service. Your use of AVG Free Edition shall be in accordance with and is subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the AVG Free Edition License Agreement which accompanies AVG Free Edition.

      i'm pretty sure a small company computer doesn't constitute as a non-commercial, single home computer.

      just my 2 cents. the software works great, and i recommend it to everyone who wants a good free av software, but their clause does state that any type of commercial use requires the purchase of a license.
      • by chill ( 34294 ) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @12:26AM (#13506413) Journal
        Not bad, you can read! Now point out the part in the post you replied to that said they used the free version...

        Take your time...

      • Re:Great Product (Score:4, Informative)

        by JPM NICK ( 660664 ) on Thursday September 08, 2005 @07:31AM (#13507905)
        I never said I used a free version. we pay for all our copies, plus having it on our server. I do use the free version at home and recomend it to a lot of people
      • Re:Great Product (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Petaris ( 771874 )
        I run AVG for Networks in a small school district where I am the IT Coordinator. Education gets a 50% discount and the product has always preformed well.

        I hope that Intel doesn't turn it into a monster like Norton or McAffee, and hopefully they will keep the same price scheme. It would be a shame to loose my favorite windows anti-virus software.
      • I've been an authorized AVG reseller for over two years. I was so impressed with the free version that I signed up. Now all of my managed sites run AVG in some form, Network Edition (which is centrally managed) or SoHo Edition. It's light-weight and easy to manage.

        Granted, the free edition does do the job, but there are a couple of caveats. Firstly, the licensing says that it MUST be used for private use. Secondly, whenever there is a major virus outbreak the free edition is almost impossible to update
    • I did thorough testing before we went with an Antivirus Solution for our 150 Windows Machines and the results were astonishing !

      Mainly I used NetBench because we were having problems with the network speed which were not related to hardware - at the time we used Norton AV Corporate.

      Normally with no Antivirus, Spyware, etc. the test should run at ~5.5 Mb/sec per machine. On Windows NT, this dropped to under 3 Mb/sec with Norton AV Running. When tested on Windows XP, it improved some to just over 3.5 Mb/sec
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @09:59PM (#13505554)
    Virus Found: AdvancedMediaDestruction.worm

    Threat: 5
    Ease of Removal: 3

    Symptoms: Unit performs well in games and does not get nearly as hot under normal operation.

    Removal Instructions:
    1) Unplug computer and peripherals.
    2) Take off side panel.
    3) Locate large heatsink/fan and remove from chasis.
    4) Remove the underlying chip (Warning: May cause demonic possession if not removed violently enough).

    After which, you must replace the motherboard to fully alleviate all issues.

    Prevention: Use Intel.
  • that the AVG code will now be "optimised" to cras^H^H^H^H run-slowly on AMD CPU's?
  • The Story Is Wrong. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Cocteaustin ( 702468 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @10:13PM (#13505647) Homepage
    So, this isn't Intel entering the anti-virus market. It's Intel Capital (the company's capital investment arm) making an investment in an software company. They're not buying the company, they're just picking up a chunk of it -- it's just like you or me buying stock.
  • "Enters" (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dr. Evil ( 3501 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @10:14PM (#13505649)
  • I think this is great news, I love AVG anti-virus. I also end up working on pc's that are infected to the point where norton is too broken to work. AVG always seems to be able to remove the viruses that norton can't.
  • AVG does a pretty good job but Avast is better for normal scanning. I'm not sure which is faster when you scan everything on the machine. Avast though does a great job of keeping itself current.
  • Why? (Score:5, Funny)

    by slashname3 ( 739398 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @10:23PM (#13505710)
    Why is Intel getting into the virus writing business? Aren't there enough virus writers out there doing this for free? We don't need the virus writers to be payed for doing this work! Is this some misguided plan to force everyone to run Linux?

    Oh, wait, did it say anti-virus? Never mind. :)
    • Isn't there some slight overlap between anti-virus companies and virus writers? I think so. Your post may not be that far off.

      Remember: cuo bono?

      Sure, these days botnet renters and others besides anti-virus peddlers stand to benefit from viruses, but who knows? (/TINFOIL)
  • Lots of people are asking about integration of hardware virus detection into the CPU or mainboard. People seem to think it's cool

    But . . . .isn't this one of the legitimate promises of DRM?
  • by oskard ( 715652 ) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @10:45PM (#13505845)
    Was a beacon of hope in the freeware = spyware world. Guess we're gonna kiss that one goodbye too :\
  • Intel and Anti Virus (Score:3, Informative)

    by rodgster ( 671476 ) < minus poet> on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @11:01PM (#13505933) Journal
    IIRC Intel used to have an AV product namely Intel LanDesk manager. Then they sold it to Symantec which became NAVCE (Norton Anti Virus Corporate Edition) and now SAVCE.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @11:36PM (#13506153)
    BBSpot reported on this ages ago! rocessor.html []

  • I've opted for the commercial AVG network edition at my site due to the option of running the AV administration database (tcpserv) under Linux, using firebird db. This ties in nicely with our samba environment.

    Their tcpserv product gathers status data from all AVG "clients" on the network, including several hung off a 64kbps leased line - it's conservative on bandwidth. AVG for linux scans samba shares, and soon I will have AVG for sendmail monitoring mail in and out.

    The AVGadmin client can be used to v

  • This is just another sign that Intel is beginning to grow desperate in the face of AMD's superior CPU architecture.

    Can't win in your core competency? Diversify!

  • Grisoft & Intel (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TallCool1 ( 685482 )
    I would not be surprised if someone in management at Intel tried AVG Free and liked it enough to "buy the company". I would think that the free version would continue to be available.

    It's a good product; effective, low resource usage, and updated often. I have found Norton to be a TERRIBLE resource hog. McAfee is a bit better, but buggy (in my opinion).

    What I ESPECIALLY like is the reponsiveness of the company itself. Version 6 had a fixed installation location; I believe in installing security so
  • Now that Apple is moving to Intel chips and Intel chips only, it is clever of Intel to start writing viruses: They can join in with the other Apple fanpersons whose answer to these sort of problems is "buy a Mac, doofus". AMD machines get creamed, but of course the only ones that get hit are running Windows, not Linux or OS X.

    And you guys were wondering why Steve Jobs didn't stick with PowerPCs.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Years ago they already had their own antivirus, Landesk Virus Protect, wich was a very good product for corporate networks.
    Eventually they sold it around 1998 or 1999 to Symantec, where it became Norton Antivirus Corporate Edition (and now Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition).
  • Could this be what is coming next from Intel?

    I remember a time when there was some basic antivirus program in the BIOS of my old 486. I think it was called MWAV.

    So I guess its possible to do it again, it'll just take a heck of a lot more storage space though.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling