52 antivirus software vendors – market overview

When I started to make a list of antivirus software companies, I never thought I would find so many. There are dozens of antivirus brands available, from multimillion dollar public US corporations to small private firms in Asia. There are also a number of companies that are not selling any consumer products but may be selling malware disguised as antivirus software.

A fast search in Google will bring you a lot of names. “Antivirus” is a very popular search term and a commodity product. Everybody needs it to protect their computers and a lot of people would like to earn money on the antivirus market.

How to start understanding the market? First of all, I found 52 normal antivirus vendors.

How is “normal vendor” defined?

Well, they should at least be trying to pass some independent certification. All the companies in this list send their products for testing to one of the three independent virus testing labs: AV-ComparativesAV-Test or Virus Bulletin.

Normally, all those independent testing labs conduct rigorous tests of any product that claims to be “antivirus”. They test the software against a battery of the newest viruses, and every month, like a Formula-1 race, one or another vendor reaches the finish line first. But even if an antivirus product has not won the race, the fact that it’s competing means a lot.
So if a company is submitting their product, they’re serious about delivering their service to their clients.

 

Who are all those guys?

If we look at company size, there are three obvious leaders in the antivirus market:

  • Symantec
  • McAfee
  • Trend Micro
  • (Kaspersky is aggressively reaching for 3rd place.)

The rest are much smaller. You can find more information about the biggest software companies athttp://www.softwaretop100.org/.

However, this doesn’t include so-called “free antivirus software”. This means a vendor is giving a basic version of their security software absolutely gratis and earns money on extended products or services. Free is a magic word, and according to some sources, free antivirus software is installed on 50% to 60% of all computers in the world! The leaders of the free antivirus protection industry are:

  • avast!
  • AVG
  • Avira

All of them start with A, and all of them are European (Avira is German, avast! and AVG are from the Czech Republic).

Microsoft stands a bit apart from all the vendors, because they give their products for free and only for free. The products perform relatively well in tests; however, somehow Microsoft hasn’t managed to kill the antivirus industry yet (like they did with the browser industry).

Then there are the rest. They’re different companies, some of them quite successful niche players, some of them really departments of much bigger IT companies, and others dedicated teams of engineers trying to create something new. There are very good products on the list. Some of them beat the industry leaders in tests time after time.

 

What do these vendors sell?

Several years ago, when Microsoft first started to make their free antivirus solution, the whole industry was in shock. Most other vendors started to diversify. They claimed that they were not “an antivirus company”, but rather “a security company”, meaning they’re making much more that just antivirus protection. What exactly do they sell, then?

The following are the categories of protection for a computer (from basic to extended):

  • Antivirus (plain vanilla)
  • Internet security
  • Total protection

There is an overview of different levels of anti-virus protection

Also, some companies have discovered markets other than virus-infested PCs:

  • Protection of Mac computers
  • Protection of mobile devices

Fake antivirus software

Fake antivirus software is a virus trying to deceive and mislead you into buying it. Normally, you download a kind of “demo” version of this “product” and this demo will ask you to buy a “full” version.

Neither the “demo” nor the “full version” of a fake antivirus product protects you from viruses. It doesn’t perform any meaningful action. However, some of them can infect your PC with spyware, credit card-stealers and even ransom ware.

Fake antivirus software providers don’t have to build their brands; they promote themselves via spam and trojan horses. They have hundreds of names like Antivirus Pro, Windows Tool, etc. Wikipedia has a list of these fake products.

If you have one of these, delete it immediately and go for a normal antivirus product. If you’re not sure whether you have a normal antivirus product or a fake one, try to find the name of the product on this list:http://www.virusbtn.com/vb100/latest_comparative/index If it’s not there, then most probably it’s a fake.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.