Eugene Kaspersky: Free AV Vendors Are Cheats

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Kaspersky CEO says free antivirus firms are taking the fruits of others’ hard work without asking

Eugene Kasperksy has lashed out at free antivirus vendors, saying they are “cheaters” who just use a “copy and paste” method to offer protection.

In comparison to those AV companies that “do the job” and invest in their own detection technologies, free AV providers just use competitors’ findings to block threats, the Kaspersky CEO told TechWeekEurope.

Time to legislate?

“There are other companies which just install competitors and they scan incoming stuff by other products. And if it is detected, they detect it as well. Free antivirus products, just look at their financial results, they have fantastic performances simply because they don’t invest in their R&D,” Kaspersky said.

“They just copy and paste detection. They don’t ask, they just take.”

Should there be legislation that stops free AV vendors from doing this? Maybe, Kaspersky said, admitting it was harming his company’s business “a little bit”. “It’s cheating. They don’t do the work,” he added.

Kaspersky would not go into detail about which companies he was referring to as cheats. A number of big-time players are playing in the freemium AV space, including Avast, AVG, Avira, and the market’s most recent entrant and enterprise security giant Check Point. All offer paid-for versions of their software, however.

As for what plans Kaspersky has to up its own game in the security space, the company chief revealed a play in the increasingly-busy Security Information and Events Management (SIEM) space could happen within the year. “Let’s speak in a year,” he added.

Kaspersky was speaking at the InfoSecurity 2012 conference, where he also had some harsh words for Apple. He claimed the company was 10 years behind Microsoft in the security space and the iPhone maker had still not recognised the threat facing its systems.

However, the CEO also admitted that if Apple allowed antivirus vendors like Kaspersky to offer AV on iOS devices like iPhones and iPads, it would also open the door to hackers too.

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