Panda Cloud Antivirus is a free antivirus software for the Windows operating system that comes as a free and professional version which differ in functionality. Both versions offer antivirus protection that includes protection against trojans, viruses, rootkits and spyware and behavioral blocking against new and unknown threats.
The pro version adds on top of that behavioral analysis of running processes on the PC and automatic USB vaccination.
Cloud Antivirus uses a so called thin-client architecture offering several advantages over conventional antivirus solutions. Only the core files are installed on the system and local detection technologies are combined with cloud-based scanning to reduce PC resource usage.
One of the main pillars of Panda Cloud Antivirus is its real-time use of Panda Collective Intelligence, which is an online from-the-cloud system that automates the entire malware protection cycle; collecting new samples, analyzing, categorizing, creating detection and disinfection routines and delivering the protection to each node.
Thanks to this approach users do not need to worry about updating signature files anymore. In fact, detection of millions and millions of different malware variants is no longer limited by the size of a signature database, as Collective Intelligence can hold literally unlimited number of detections without consuming any memory on the users’ PC.
The interface of Panda Cloud Antivirus is best described as minimalistic which is a welcome change to the often overladen interfaces of comparable antivirus solutions.
The cloud based approach takes much of the usual updating process out of the user's hand. The virus definitions are updated in the cloud taking that off the user's back. When Panda Cloud Antivirus is started it will always make use of the latest definitions and data providing an Internet connection is available.
The antivirus software displays the status screen on startup which gives the user information about security problems if found on the PC. The button bar at the top leads to the scan menu, report window and recycle bin which contains previously neutralized files.
The only other option is the settings button at the lower left corner which leads to connection settings, autorun and USB vaccination and advanced settings for expert users.
It is possible to scan the whole system, an optimized scan that only looks at core files of the operating system and a custom scan that scans a specified local directory or drive of the computer.
Panda Cloud Antivirus runs in the background all the time protecting the PC with behavioral analysis. Files that are currently analyzed in the cloud are automatically blocked on the system for a maximum of 30 seconds. That's ample time to receive the information from the cloud. The advanced settings offer to change that limit and other settings.
It is here for instance possible to add file exclusions which are then ignored by the antivirus software. Other options include the generation of an advanced log and disabling behavioral analysis and blocking.
Panda Cloud Antivirus Pro disables autorun on the computer by default which some users may want to change. The setting is available in the options. The same menu holds the option to automatically vaccinate USB drives which protects them when they are connected to other PCs and computers.
Interested users can download Panda Cloud Antivirus from the official website.
Update: Panda released new versions of Cloud Antivirus regularly and added new features to both versions. Both versions support a process monitor and web filtering options now. The pro version on top of that ships with a community firewall, protection in public WiFi networks, a virtual keyboard, and application control feature.
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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.