New digital threats are emerging all the time. To fend them off, antivirus programs need to be fully up-to-date. The information about malicious software required for detection is saved by Avira in VDF files on the end device being protected. VDF stands for Virus Definition File. The VDF is produced by the Avira virus lab and is included in almost all of Avira’s solutions. VDF updates are carried out regularly – several times a day.
The VDF concept is now being modernized to create space for more antivirus information, to consume fewer resources on end devices, and to speed up the VDF update process. In the future, a new generation of virus definition files will therefore be able to update faster as they will be smaller. Even though the number of threats continues to increase, Avira does not therefore require too much space or performance from the end device.
Faster virus protection – nVDF becomes xVDF
The previous nVDF generation had 32 container files. This meant that some of the stored VDF data frequently had to be downloaded unnecessarily during updates. It has also taken more and more time for VDFs to load over the last few years given the volume of detection information involved. xVDF – e(x)tended Virus Definition File – is the high-speed solution:
Firstly, the xVDF mechanism recently developed by Avira minimizes the amount of data involved in updating the VDFs, keeping the update small. Secondly, resource consumption on the main processor is reduced when loading the VDF data, which further improves the time needed to load the VDF.
Faster loading time for virus scans
While the update on the user’s PC is still taking place, newly downloaded xVDF update files are merged by the engine to produce just one locally stored VDF (local.vdf). In the past whenever the program or a scan was started, the scan engine had to combine all 32 containers into one data block, but now a complete VDF is available right away.
xVDF technology is Avira’s answer to the ever growing number of digital threats. It also saves time and resources.
Development of the Avira virus definition file
Initially the VDF was just one file, the monoVDF. Whenever updating, users downloaded the complete file, even if there were only minor changes. To remedy this, Avira launched the iVDF, comprising four separate container files, soon followed by the nVDF with 32 containers. Changes were limited to one specific container, making the download smaller and faster.
The next step, xVDF, is currently designed for 256 containers, but can be easily extended. Updates are now as small as possible, significantly improving resource efficiency given that there may be up to eight updates a day.