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Panda introduces free, cloud-based antivirus for Windows

Panda has been working on Cloud Antivirus for nearly three years, and it's now available to the public in beta form.

The application aims to leverage the power of the cloud to better and more quickly detect and analyze new threats as they appear - which can be done in as little as six minutes, according to Panda. Called "Collective Intelligence," Panda's system utilizes anonymous data from users running the application and processes about 50,000 new threats each day.

In exchange for your participartion in Cloud, you're given totally free virus protection for your personal computer (sorry, no commercial use). That's a pretty good deal for a tool that is able to provide near-realtime detection and analysis. Temporarily off the 'net? No problem. Cloud maintains a local cache to keep you protected when you're apart from the Collective, Locutus.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to take Cloud Antivirus for a spin on my personal laptop. Not only is it not available as a native 64-bit application, but it won't even install on Windows 7 or Vista x64. I had to snag the screencap above via TeamViewer on my XP Pro system at work.

While running the scan, Cloud's processes consumed about 90Mb of memory total on my system, but CPU utilization was very light - rarely spiking above 10% and humming along at 4-6% most of the time. CNet reported much lower RAM use, but their number may have been referring only to Cloud's main process. (update: my system is now reporting about 20Mb idle).

If you're running a 32-bit version of Windows, Cloud Antivirus is a good, lightweight option.

[via webware]

Tags: antivirus, cloud-computing, freeware, heuristics