Panda Cloud Antivirus has been released today after months of being available as a beta version.
The antivirus software, which has been offered as a public beta since April 2009, received more press coverage than conventional free antivirus software programs thanks to its cloud based approach.
This approach moves some of the virus scanning from the local computer system to the cloud, a location that Panda calls Collective Intelligence.
The benefit of this approach is obvious: instead of having to update the local antivirus database all the time with new virus information most of the updates are happening on the security servers in the Internet. It also means that information from all computer systems that run Panda Cloud Antivirus are automatically shared with all other users.
Bandwidth could be an issue but it is in fact not. Why? Because files do not necessarily have to be uploaded to the cloud if they are already known. And new files usually are known pretty quickly thanks to the millions of users that use Panda Cloud Antivirus. Privacy is ensured by scanning some file types locally including Word and Excel documents.
And version 1.0 introduces additional improvements over the beta versions and conventional antivirus software.
Panda Cloud Antivirus 1.0 introduces further improvement to its 100% cloud-based architecture protection model, which processes and blocks malware more efficiently than locally installed signature-based products, while minimizing the impact on PC performance. The 1.0 version boasts both improved bandwidth and performance impact over its already lightweight beta version. Traditional antivirus solutions consume approximately 15% of a PC’s resources (memory, disk space, etc.) while Cloud Antivirus 1.0 consumes a mere 3%.
Users who are interested in trying out Panda Cloud Antivirus can download it for free at the Cloud Antivirus website where it is available for most Microsoft Windows operating systems. Panda Cloud Antivirus was recently rated best free antivirus software at blocking known malware over at PC World.
Update: Panda cloud Antivirus is now known as Panda Free Antivirus. The cloud is still a big part of the program and it is used in similar fashion as before. As the name suggests, the program is free to download and use.
Please note however that it will make changes to the default home page and default search provider on the computer system it is installed on, if you don't block this from happening during setup. Make sure you block the setting of Panda Safe Web there if you don't want this to happen.
Panda Antivirus suggests to create an account on first start. You can close that prompt without creating one.
The main interface of the program looks like this in its latest version.
It displays the status of the antivirus protection and a scan button. You may add devices at the top, and click on my protections to bring up additional options.
This highlight that the program's USB Protection and Process Monitor are active. There is also an option to create a rescue disk to boot an infected PC and run Panda Antivirus to remove the infection.
The settings provide you with interesting options. You may disable the news section of the application. These show Panda and security news by default.
If you switch to antivirus, you can enable the scanning of compressed files, add file, folder and extension exclusions, and enable the "ask before neutralizing virus" mode. Over on USB Protection, you may enable the automatic vaccination of USB drives on top of the regular USB Protection.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.