We do not have a lot of companies specialising in IT security in the Lake Constance area, so we went on a field trip to Tettnang on the other side of the lake to visit one of the larger companies, a bit more than an hour to drive. Around 30 students from the bachelor/master security classes taught this semester by my colleague Jürgen Neuschwander and me went with us. We attended several presentations, discussed content and strategy, and met former students now working at Avira.
The day started with Freemium business models in IT security. Free base products are provided to customers that are enticed to pay for additional features. The challenge for anti-malware vendors is that customers expect a high level of protection already in free product versions. Business customers are less concerned about price and focus more on long-term availability and integration of products.
Another activity at Avira is the development of a modified Chromium browser. The idea is to include several plug-ins and to configure the browser in a more secure way. In addition, malware detection is integrated into the browser, making it possible to stop malware earlier and using the cloud-based detection mechanisms available in the Avira backend.
Two presentations explored internal software development processes and the issues developers face in the protection of anti-malware products in hostile execution environments.