What was the first antivirus software

The first antivirus software wasn’t created by Norton, McAfee or AVAST (heck, it wasn’t even developed by human beings). In fact, the first anti-virus software was created by two guys named Fred Cohen and Ross Greenberg in 1984. These two young dudes were looking to solve what’s called the “Doom Problem” which was outlined in a paper that was written on the topic by Ken Thompson which is available here.

There is a lot of discussion regarding antivirus software and if it really works or is truly useful. After I stumbled upon this question, I was in wonderment because I didn’t know the answer. 

The first antivirus software was developed by John McAfee in 1987. It was called McAfee Personal Firewall, and it was intended for use with the IBM PC.

The History and Timeline of the Evolution of Antivirus software for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

The first virus and antivirus were created in an isolated environment. In 1971, a computer scientist named Bob Thomas created an experimental program called the Creeper at the BBN Technologies, USA. The Creeper program moved across the Digital Equipment Corporation’s PDP-10 mainframe computers, which were running the TENEX operating system, and used the ARPANET network, which was a predecessor of the Internet.

The same year, another computer scientist named Ray Tomlinson, who was also the co-worker of Bob Thomas, wrote a new version of the Creeper, which replicated itself as it moved across the network instead of just moving. To remove the Creeper from the network, Ray Tomlinson wrote another program called the Reaper. The Reaper moved across the ARPANET network, detected and removed the self-replicating Creeper program.

The Creeper and the Reaper are considered to be the first virus and antivirus respectively.

Fast forward to 1987, when the things really started happening in the Antivirus industry.

The first removal of an “in-the-wild” computer virus called Vienna Virus was done by a German security expert Bernd Fix in 1987.

A Short History of the First Antivirus Software, Antivirus Companies, and the Antivirus Industry.

  1. McAfee
  2. G DATA
  3. ESET
  4. Avira
  5. Avast
  6. AhnLab
  7. Solomon’s Anti-Virus Toolkit
  8. Sophos
  9. Kaspersky
  10. F-PROT
  11. Symantec
  12. Panda
  13. Trend Micro
  14. VirIT eXplorer
  15. Norton
  16. AVG
  17. Dr. Web
  18. F-Secure
  19. Bitdefender
  20. ClamAV

1987 – McAfee

McAfee was founded by John McAfee in 1987 as McAfee Associates. McAfee released their first antivirus product called VirusScan in 1987.

John McAfee is the considered as the inventor of the computer Antivirus software. John McAfee’s PC was one of the computers infected with the “Brain” virus, which was released by two Pakistani brothers in 1986. John knew how to remove this virus but most people didn’t. So, he started travelling around the country and fixing computer problems. After some time, he decided to automate the virus detection and removal process by making a software. This software was McAfee VirusScan, the world’s first antivirus program.

1987 – G DATA

G Data was founded in Germany in 1985. It was founded by Kai Figge and Andreas Luning. They released their first antivirus called Anti-Virus Kit (AVK) in 1987.

1987 – ESET

ESET was founded by Peter Pasko, Miroslav Trnka and Rudolf Hruby in 1992. But they had already created an Antivirus.

The first antivirus by ESET called NOD was created in 1987.

1988 – Avira

Avira was founded as H+BEDV by Tjark Auerbach in 1986 in Germany. In 2006, H+BEDV and AntiVir become Avira.

H+BEDV launched their antivirus AntiVir in 1988.

1988 – Avast

Avast Software was founded as ALWIL Software by Pavel Baudiš and Eduard Kucera in the Czech Republic in 1988. In 2010, ALWIL Software became Avast Software.

They released their antivirus Avast antivirus in 1988.

1988 – AhnLab

Ahn Cheol-Soo launched his antivirus called V1 in 1988. He later founded the company AhnLab in 1995 in South Korea.

1988 – Dr. Solomon’s Anti-Virus Toolkit

In 1988, Alan Solomon founded S&S International in the United Kingdom. He created his antivirus called Dr. Solomon’s Anti-Virus Toolkit in 1988.

1988 – Sophos

Sophos was founded by Jan Hruska and Peter Lammer in 1985 in England. They demonstrated their Antivirus called Vaccine in 1988.

1989 – Kaspersky

Kaspersky was founded by Eugene Kaspersky, his wife, Natalya Kaspersky, and his collegues, Alexey De-Monderik and Vadim Bogdanov in 1997. Earlier in 1989, Eugene Kaspersky wrote his first virus removal tool to remove the Cascade.1704 virus from his work computer. Since 1991 to 1997, Eugene Kaspersky developed his antivirus program called AVP (AntiViral Toolkit Pro) for KAMI Corp., Russia. After founding his company, Kaspersky renamed AVP (AntiViral Toolkit Pro) to Kaspersky Anti-Virus. The current Kaspersky Anti-Virus has been in existence since 1989.

1989 – F-PROT

In 1989, Friorik Skulason created the F-PROT Anti-Virus. He later founded his company FRISK Software in 1993 in Iceland. In 1991, F-PROT launched their antivirus with world’s first heuristic behaviour scanner.

1989 – Symantec

Symantec was founded by Gary Hendrix in 1982 in the United States of America. Symatec made their first antivirus product for Macintosh called Symantec Antivirus for the Macintosh (SAM) in 1989.

1990 – Panda

In 1990, Mikel Urizarbarrena founded Panda Software, and created their first antivirus product called Panda Anti-Virus. Panda Software became Panda Security in 2007.

1990 – Trend Micro

Trend Micro was founded by Steve Chang, his wife, Jenny Chang, and her sister, Eva Chen in the USA in 1988.

In 1990, Trend Micro introduced their antivirus product called PC-cillin.

1991 – VirIT eXplorer

In 1991, Gianfranco Tonello created his antivirus software called VirIT eXplorer in Italy. He founded his company called TG Soft in 1992.

1991 – Norton

In 1990, Symantec acquired a company called Peter Norton Computing, which was founded by Peter Norton in 1982. At the time of acquisition, Peter Norton Computing was not developing any antivirus products.

In 1991, Norton AntiVirus 1.0 (NAV) was launched by Symantec.

1992 – AVG

AVG Technologies was founded as Grisoft Software by Jan Gritzbach and Tomas Hofer in 1991 in Czech Republic. In 2008, Grisoft became AVG Technologies. In 2016, Avast Software acquired AVG Technologies.

Grisoft launched their antivirus Anti-Virus Guard (AVG) in 1992.

1993 – Dr. Web

In 1992, Igor Danilov released the SpiderWeb suite, which consisted of three programs – Spider, Dr. Web and Scorpion disk checker. The standalone Dr. Web anti-virus was released in 1993.

Igor Danilov founded the company Dr. Web in 2003 in Russia.

1994 – F-Secure

F-Secure was founded as Data Fellows in 1988 in Finland. In 1999, Data Fellows became F-Secure.

The Data Fellows antivirus was launched in 1994.

F-Secure was the first company to develop the Anti-Rootkit technology. They released their anti-rootkit program called BlackLight in 2005.

1996 – Bitdefender

Softwin, the parent company of Bitdefender antivirus, was founded in Romania in 1990 by Florin Taples, and his wife, Mariuca Taples. Softwin released their first antivirus product called Antivirus eXpert (AVX) in 1996.

Later in 2001, Florin Taples founded Bitdefender. The Antivirus eXpert (AVX) antivirus was replaced with Bitdefender line-up.

2001 – ClamAV

In 2001, Tomasz Kojm released an Antivirus for GNU/Linux called ClamAV.

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