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Scan your PC for malware with the new Avira Protection Cloud

20 July 2012, Mike Williams

Avira has released a first public “technical preview” of Avira Protection Cloud, a simple cloud-based tool for detecting malware.

And we really do mean simple. There are no menus here, no toolbars, no options, settings anything else: all you have to do is launch the program, click “Cloud Scan” and wait for the results.

Protection Cloud then scans running processes, startup programs, Windows services and other likely targets of infection, calculating a hash (a digital fingerprint) for each one and sending it to Avira’s server. If this matches any known malware you’ll be warned right away.

APC uploads files it doesn't recognise to the cloud for a quick security check

Occasionally the program will find an executable file it doesn’t recognise, though, and this will be uploaded for analysis. Which could take a while if there are a few, or you’ve a slow internet connection (and there’s currently no way that uploading can be disabled).

Protection Cloud displays the server’s verdict on each file as it arrives, though, so you’ve at least something to watch as time passes by. And fortunately the program remembers what it’s scanned previously, so if you run it again it’ll only upload new or changed files, greatly improving performance.

As malware tools go, this is plainly rather limited. There’s no real-time detection, no way to scan just a particular file or folder, and no malware removal options, either – if the program does uncover something nasty then you’ll have to figure out how to get rid of it for yourself.

Protection Cloud is also lightweight, easy to use and relatively fast, though (after the first scan, at least). The program’s simplicity means it should run happily alongside any other security tool. And so, if you think your system has been infected by something which your regular antivirus package has missed, Avira Protection Cloud could be a useful way to help you find out more.

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