Panda To Give Away Cloud Antivirus For Free

Panda Wednesday unveiled a beta of Panda Cloud Antivirus, a free security offering that uses client software and cloud-based scanning to protect PCs from viruses, spyware, rootkits, and other online threats.

Security software has traditionally required users to download huge malware signature files, but that puts a crimp on performance. Panda Cloud Antivirus takes a different approach by gathering malware samples from users worldwide and using this to detect and classify threats as they emerge.

Combining this cloud-based intelligence with thin client software offers customers better performance and protection, says Juan Santana, CEO of Panda Security. "This gives us much more detection because all the processing power stays in the cloud and doesn't impact the PC," he said.

While security software from industry competitors has around a 52-megabyte footprint on average, Panda Cloud Antivirus is around 17 megabytes, and Santana says that will be cut to between 12 and 15 megabytes once the product is finalized.

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Panda Cloud Antivirus will come in free and paid versions, with the latter coming packaged with security services, according to Santana, who declined to offer specifics on what the services will entail and how much they'll cost.

Founded in 1990, Panda has made a name for itself in Europe, but hasn't made much of a dent in the U.S. security market. By giving away Panda Cloud Antivirus for free, Panda hopes to build brand recognition and customer awareness of what its hybrid client-cloud approach can accomplish, Santana said.

"It's a way to pay back our community of users and also get our technology adopted on a massive scale," said Santana.