Exclusive Interview with Philipp Wolf from Avira - Developer's Spotlight
Profile | Avira
With a huge user base numbering over 100 million, Avira Operations GmbH & Co. KG. (better known as Avira) is a force to reckon with in the virus protection industry. This global security specialist has been providing security solutions, both for commercial and private usage, for more than 25 years and it is no wonder that you have heard its name from many of its successful products such as Avira Free Antivirus (reviewed) for personal usage to one of its latest offerings – Avira Endpoint Security for business users.
Avira is also a vibrant company that has received multiple high-recognition awards in its niche. What we love about this enterprise is its focus on adapting to the changing landscape in worldwide virus protection as well as the changing mindsets of its users.
Users have often praised the efficiency of Avira's customer service support system and give huge credits to the wide numbers of their worldwide partners in helping them access Avira's products. It is easy to speculate that this company will continue to dish out innovative security solutions in the future and will always remain on the pioneer list for virus protection products.
Profile | Philipp Wolf (Vice President, Avira Protection Labs)
We are honored to be able to interview Philipp Wolf who is recognized as an active contributor in Avira's "behind the scenes" work as he has spearheaded many initiatives to bring out the best in performance from the company's products.
A Quick Look At Phillip's Involvement In Avira
- He leads Avira together with the rest of the management board and the CEO by setting the right strategy for the company.
- He heads the special department "Avira Protection Labs" that has more than 100 staff members working in 3 different locations and time zones all over the world. His team's main responsibilities are to keep Avira's users free from any malware and other unwanted software all around the clock.
- In the Avira Protection Labs, the main duties that Philipp and his team take charge of include developing Avira's back-end services such as Avira Protection Cloud (APC), researching new malware detection techniques as well as ensuring the quality of detection and avoiding "false positives", enhancing Avira's product portfolio with new features to help repair infected machines, and building new product prototypes such as the Avira Browser Safety. He is also tasked with the job of recruiting new talents in the field of C, back-end, front-end, Java-Scrip development, AI research, malware analysis and reverse engineering, DevOps and more.
Today, we digitally sat down with Philipp to understand more about Avira and its vision for the future. What's more, we also found out exclusive things about Philipp that you might not have known before!
Describe Avira in under 50 words.
Avira provides IT-security protection to computers, smartphones, servers and networks, delivered as both software and cloud-based services. Avira is a company with over 100 million customers and more than 500 employees. With 28 years of experience, the company is a pioneer in the security field.
What gives Avira the competitive edge over its competitors?
More than 100 million consumers and small businesses depend upon Avira’s security expertise and award-winning antivirus software, making the company the number-two market share leader globally. Avira is ranked #1 in technology innovation according to ABI Research; recommended by Consumer Reports for its free antivirus software; cited by OPSWAT as the #1 fastest-growing antivirus vendor in 2012 and the #2 largest vendor worldwide in 2011; and has received a nearly unbroken string of Virus Bulletin VB100 awards for the past decade.
In your work, what are some of the challenges faced and how do you overcome them?
Avira’s ongoing challenge is to remain one step ahead of the bad guys. We do this by developing the most sophisticated and cutting edge detection technologies with the help of a very bright, experienced and smart team.
What motivates you and drives you on?
Knowing that I fight on the right side of the security battle and help more than 100 million users worldwide to remain safe on the internet – enabling them to live free. That’s very satisfying.
Outside of your work, what inspires or excites you the most, and why?
I love to be out in the nature. I do mountain biking, sailing and snowboarding, and often try to challenge myself to become even better at them. I also spend free time with my close friends, travel, and enhance my horizons on a personal as well as professional level.
Besides nature and people, I love to listen to music and play music myself - DJ’ing is one of my hobbies for over 10 years.
Where do you get your information about technology? If possible, name some of your favorite websites.
I’m talking a lot to key people that are the experts in their field of technology. This has proven to be the most efficient and direct access to information. Those people are within my team, my company but also outside of that, even among competitors.
It is crucial to be always on the heartbeat of technology, as the Anti-Malware products get more and more sophisticated. While it was enough to have local detection a few years back, today cloud technologies, crowdsourcing and big data are all technologies you have to be familiar with if you want to deliver a state of the art Anti-Malware product.
Besides people that I know personally, blogs, forums and news portals are also a great source of information, while I do not necessarily have “a favorite website”.
If you could build something revolutionary personally, what will it be?
An algorithm that can decide between good and bad (malware and clean) with 100% accuracy. Besides that, cold fusion is still not fully solved.
Personally, which product(s) do you think is/are the most brilliant from Avira?
Our free product for computers, Avira Free Antivirus, continues to be our most popular product. This product can be downloaded on PCs, Macs and most recently is available on iOS and Android devices, enabling Avira to protect users on any device they use. Our most recent product, Online Essentials, allows users to manage their Avira products from one location on multiple devices.
What kinds of changes do you foresee that will affect the virus protection industry?
The switch towards new devices (mobile phones, tablets) and new operating systems is changing the anti-malware industry because offering protection for them is now a core competence. While most companies have been focusing a lot on Windows, the user’s behavior to use new devices has increased the need to protect those devices. Another change might be the fact that more and more users do not want to pay for software anymore and want it to be free. For some antivirus vendors that do not offer a free solution yet, this might become a huge challenge as they would have to completely switch their current business model. Avira realized a long time ago that offering protection for free for all operating systems was a solid business model.
What are some of the visions or ambitions Avira has for the future?
Avira is committed to providing the best antivirus and security products for consumer and business users month after month, day after day. We will keep pushing updates for our products on a continuous basis so our users don’t have to wait for a new product each year, but will enjoy the best protections immediately after we create the updates.
Download3k | Editor's Thoughts
It was really engaging to learn so much from Philipp about Avira and it was fun to know that a top technology guy in the anti-virus protection niche also enjoys DJ'ing as a hobby! Avira has always been an enormous force to be reckoned with in the anti-malware technology and from the numerous positive product reviews from users globally, we cannot help but admire their long list of contributions as well as acknowledge that Avira's products will continue to serve the world in combating security issues.
We at Download3k think that with Avira's big focus on improving themselves consistently, we can definitely look forward to Avira's new products to take the world by storm. Who knows? Maybe Philipp will come up with that revolutionary algorithm tomorrow!