What happened is a year and a half ago an avast! Pro license, sold to a small firm in the United States, got leaked online. Since then, users in over 200 countries have taken advantage of the leak. Even the Pope got in on the action: Two computers in Vatican City installed the illegal avast! Pro. (Avast has already replaced the license for the legitimate Arizona business that legitimately owned the leaked license.)
According to Avast’s CEO, “There is a paradox in computer users looking for ‘free’ antivirus programs at locations with a known reputation for spreading malware.”
Interestingly, Avast is not simply sinking the pirates – rather trying to use this as an opportunity to turn them. Avast recently started showing popup messages to the 3/4 million users; messages that ask the users to either use the free version of avast! or legitimately purchase the paid version. With this unorthodox marketing campaign, Avast has been able to flip some pirates into customers. New corporate strategy, anyone?
If you were one of the users hit by the devalidation, try one of the four most popular free antivirus options from dotTech’s original antivirus showdown article.