Avast's $1.3B AVG deal signals move toward SMBs and IoT

Czech security software firm Avast Software agreed to buy AVG Technologies for $1.3 billion in an all-cash transaction.
Czech security software firm Avast Software agreed to buy AVG Technologies for $1.3 billion in an all-cash transaction.

Czech security software firm Avast Software agreed to buy AVG Technologies for $1.3 billion in an all-cash transaction. Avast plans to use the acquisition to grow into new geographies and expand its user base; the two companies combined have about 400 million users, including about 160 million mobile security users, according to a statement announcing the transaction.

Avast also plans to use to acquisition to expand in new offerings, including security for IoT devices and solutions for small and medium businesses. AVG Security Evangelist Tony Anscombe told SCMagazine.com earlier this year that the company has been focused on providing consumers with an ability to manage multiple devices. “Consumers are fast becoming more like an SMB,” he said, noting that he considered AVG's “sweet spot” to include companies employing 250 employees or fewer.

The deal may represent a soft landing for AVG, as the Netherlands-based antivirus firm has been beset by a series of embarrassing security incidents. In September, the company unveiled a privacy policy that allowed the company to use customer data for its own purposes and share data with third-party vendors.

Then, in December, AVG Internet Security 2015 was found to be vulnerable to a coding flaw that allowed attackers to use the anti-virus product as a gateway and inject code into the Windows system. The same month, Google Project Zero discovered a flaw in another product, AVG Web TuneUp, a Chrome extension that forcibly installs when users install the AVG antivirus software.

Avast has experienced its own security missteps. In February, Google Project Zero discovered a serious flaw in Avastium, Avast's Chromium fork designed to protect users' data. The browser vulnerability could allow a hacker to read cookies, email and potentially interact with online banking.
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