Cylance debuts consumer version of its AI based antivirus software

Consumer version to have identical functionality to the enterprise edition

Cylance, one of a new breed of developers of antivirus software that relies on artificial intelligence and machine learning for its functionality, has begun offering a consumer version of its product in New Zealand and Australia.

Previously its software has been available only for enterprise customers.

Unlike traditional AV software that relies on being updated with the signatures of the latest viruses, which it then looks for on the host system, the Cylance software has been ‘taught’ what abnormal files look like. Thus, Cylance claims, it is effective against zero day attacks that would elude traditional AV software.

The company claims a 99 percent success rate and says also that its software imposes a much smaller load on the host CPU than traditional AV. The consumer version will run on Windows 7, 8, and 10 and Mac OS Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, Sierra, and High Sierra.

When the company introduced its enterprise version into the region in early 2016, regional director Andy Salterbeck told Computerworld that Cylance had developed it algorithm by examining every possible file type it could get its hands on and applying machine learning techniques.

“Each file has a few thousand useful attributes and each of those attributes has a bunch of different settings: that adds up to millions of different combinations. What we have done is develop an algorithm that can look at those attributes and say if a file is good or bad.”

Christopher Bray, Cylance’s SVP Consumer, told Computerworld NZ that the consumer version would have identical functionality to the enterprise edition but a much more consumer-friendly user interface.

However individual consumers will have to wait until 2018 to buy the product: it has been made available initially, through Cylance’s channel partners, only to Cylance’s enterprise customers for providing to their employees. Employees will be able to buy it themselves later this year.

“Before the end of the year we will make it available as a product that you can purchase yourself if you are an employee of a Cylance enterprise customer, and next year we are going to make that available to the general public, Bray said.

Read more: NCSC’s advanced cyber threat protection saves organisations millions

In New Zealand, Cylance sells its software through distributor Arrow and a number of channel partners including Aquion and VMtech.

The direct to consumer product will be available as a download.. Bray said pricing had yet to be determined, but would be competitive, transparent and fair.

 “We want to take a fresh tack to pricing,” he said. “What is common in the consumer world is to offer a steep discount for the initial purchase and then there is a bit of a sticker shock on the renewal, which is automatic because they have your credit card on file.

“Our aim is to be more transparent so people will understand what they are paying up front and what they are paying on renewal.”

He said that, to promote the consumer edition, the company planned to leverage its enterprise customers, telcos, ISPs, PC OEMs and hardware manufacturers.


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