If you want to keep your computer secure but don’t want it clogged up with bloated security software, there could be a solution. A firm named Panda Security has launched an anti-virus package which runs from the Web rather than your desktop.
The free Panda Cloud Antivirus service, available for XP and Vista, offers a “lightweight thin-client agent and real-time scanning-from-the-cloud”. That means the actual software running on your machine is much smaller as most of the work is carried out on Panda’s servers. The company says that this allows it to run continuous scans of the files running on your machine while using just 17MB of RAM, much less than traditional anti-virus programs. Overall, Panda estimates the strain on computers will be 50 percent less than with a desktop program.
The other big advantage of the Panda system is that it is constantly updated, unlike most packages which only get details of new threats once a day or even less often in some cases. This allows the firm’s virus database to be updated continuously, meaning that if one customer gets a new infection, the system can identify it and begin work on removing it from other customers in as little as six minutes.
The system is currently in beta testing, but will still be free to use in its final form. It appears Panda’s business model is based on getting enough free users so it can gather enough details on viruses to make its database much more accurate; this database can then be used to power premium security products such as corporate network antivirus software. The firm already has 10 million users connected to the database, mainly in Europe and Asia.
Panda also says its looking at ways to extend the system to devices such as smartphones. That could be problematic as phone pricing usually makes it impractical to keep devices constantly connected to the internet in the same way as a broadband PC.