Wednesday, November 7, 2007

State Trojan stirs up fear of a police state

Online survey of Avira: around 70 per cent of users are against surveillance by the authorities
Tettnang, 7 November 2007 Internet and email monitoring by the state is causing considerable concern among computer users – this is the conclusion of the current Avira security survey. The German security expert asked 2,959 visitors to in “this month’s big question” during October: “Tell the truth, are you afraid that the state could be monitoring your computer without your knowledge, for instance with a Trojan?”

The vote is clear: 69 per cent of the participants in the survey think that with a state Trojan, Germany on the way to becoming a police state. However, 13 per cent of those asked took a slightly different view of the situation, they accept the actions of the federal government on condition that the state spyware is only used very specifically. Around nine per cent of Internet users are not at all worried, as their motto is: “I have nothing to hide, so I have nothing to fear”. A further 4 per cent do not understand what all the fuss is about – they regard the state Trojan as media hype and not a threat. Only 5 per cent of those asked were in favor of online surveillance by the state. They told Avira that the state Trojan was a long overdue measure in the fight against terrorism.

As Tjark Auerbach, the founder and CEO of Avira explains, however, the state Trojan does not automatically lead to a transparent Internet: “A Trojan is and remains spyware. Even the state has no choice but to integrate typical malware components in a functioning state Trojan with mass impact. The heuristic detection of a virus scanner carefully scans email attachments and downloads for such suspicious properties. If characteristic functions have been implemented, this is reported in advance by a reliable virus scanner and the user is warned. As a result of this technical process, all Trojans are treated the same by anti-virus software.”

As a member of the initiative IT Security Made in Germany (ITSMIG), Avira gives its users certainty: the virus protection provider from Tettnang recently signed a voluntary agreement in which the company expressly declares that the anti-virus software Avira AntiVir does not contain hidden access codes or access mechanisms, neither for professional nor for private use, which enable third parties access to the computer system beyond the control of the customer or which disable security-related functions.

About Avira

Avira is a worldwide leading supplier of self-developed security solutions for professional and private use. With more than twenty years of experience, the company is one of the pioneers in this field.

The security expert has several locations in Germany and partnerships in Europe, Asia and America. At its headquarters in Tettnang near Lake Constance, Avira is one of the region’s largest employers with more than 180 employees. Worldwide more than 250 persons are employed and their work regularly wins awards. Avira AntiVir Personal, used by millions of private users, represents a significant contribution to security.

Avira’s national and international customers include renowned corporations listed on the stock exchange but also educational institutions and public authorities. In addition to protection of the virtual environment, Avira also provides for more protection and security in the real world by supporting the Auerbach Foundation. Established by the founder of the company, the Auerbach Foundation promotes charitable and social projects as well as the arts, culture and science.

Press Contact:

Elisabeth Rothbart
Baierbrunner Str. 15
D-81379 München
Telefon: +49 (0) 89 1730 19 33
Telefax: +49 (0) 89 1730 19 99

About Avira

Avira protects people in the connected world – enabling everyone to manage, secure, and improve their digital lives. The Avira umbrella covers a portfolio of security and performance applications for Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS. In addition, the reach of our protective technologies extends through OEM partnerships. Our security solutions consistently achieve best-in-class results in independent tests for detection, performance, and usability. Avira is a privately-owned company that employs 500 people. Its headquarters are near Lake Constance, in Tettnang, Germany, and the company has additional offices in Romania, India, Singapore, China, Japan & the United States. A portion of Avira's sales support the Auerbach Foundation, which assists education, children, and families in need. For more information about Avira visit