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Avast responds to Symantec's jaded criticisms of free antivirus

Last month, Symantec Product Manager David Hall ruffled some feathers when he blasted free antivirus software. Avast's Vincent Steckler has since had a look at the interview, and believes Hall "erroneously concludes that free products cannot be trusted, are not sufficient, etc."

He continues, "But then again why should a firm that makes a billion dollars a year off of paid anti-virus conclude that a free anti-virus product is good..." Many of you echoed that sentiment in the comments.

Steckler has plenty of good counterpoints, which you would expect from a guy that works for a free AV provider.

Hall slammed free programs for lacking targeted indentity theft protection. Not so fast, says Steckler. "Malware focused on stealing identity information is just malware." What about that "big gap" between the changing threat landscape and the defense provided by free apps? "[Hall] is wrongly assuming that antivirus products do the same as what they did 10 years ago," but they don't.

Yes, Mr. Symantec, Even free antivirus like Avast and AVG now use much more sophisticated methods to thwart potential threats.

And what about the expense of maintaining research staff to keep definitions current? There's just no way a free provider can compete on that front, said Hall. Steckler, however, points out that Avast isn't pouring millions of dollars into marketing as Symantec does. "While those firms may have hundreds of people in their marketing and sales organizations, we have just a few." He's confident their research resources are comparable to those of pay-only providers.

In closing, Steckler offers further reassurance for those who choose free protection:

"Our paid version does have some additional features-but the core security protection is very similar. Our upcoming Version 5 will also have additional features. But we do believe all users should have access to top notch security even if they can't or won't pay for it. That is why we have the free product.

So, don't worry that paid security companies claim your free protection is not good enough. It is."

I'm inclined to agree. What about you?

Tags: avast, free-antivirus, freeware, malware, norton, propoganda, spyware