The Fastest Growing Anti-Virus Software Developer You’ve Never Heard Of

5/7/09Follow @bvbigelow

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that the current (June 2009) issue of Consumer Reports ranks Eset’s “Smart Security” as the best overall subscription-based security software package for PCs, although at $90 it also is the priciest to download.

Zajac attributes the company’s success to the innovative approach Eset has taken to defeat malicious software. He says conventional anti-virus products defend against Internet worms, viruses, spyware, trojans, and other malware by identifying the known signatures of such nasty bits of code—a technique that requires knowing the malware’s signature in order to look for it. While Eset’s products also use signature scanning to compare against known threats, Zajac says the main feature relies on “advanced heuristics” that use intelligent search strategies to recognize elements of malware in new code.

“The idea was to create a product that doesn’t need continual updates,” Zajac says. Eset’s products also use heuristics functions to run samples of executable code in a way that’s isolated from the PC operating system, in what Zajac called “a mockup version of your PC created within your PC.” In testing whether malware code samples might be dangerous, Zajac said this “ThreatSense” engine also communicates with Eset’s Web-based threat center, “so on a daily basis, the center gets between 100,000 and 300,000 new files that are malicious.” In effect, the concept distributes some of the malware screening process to the machines of every Eset customer.

Zajac said he is particularly proud of the fact that Eset’s first anti-virus product was certified in 1998 for detecting 100 percent of “in-the-wild” computer viruses with no false alarms by Virus Bulletin, a British online virus newsletter. Since then, Zajac says Eset products have made the VB certification list 55 times, along with many other security software industry awards.

“When we started, Zajac said, “a new virus would appear every one or two months. Only a few teenagers who wanted to be famous would create malicious code. Now we get hundreds of thousands of viruses a day that are being created by organized crime.”

It’s the sort of problem that has helped drive Eset’s exponential sales growth, and as Zajac noted, that has also helped the company build its brand awareness.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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