Earlier the only well known cloud antivirus for Windows operating system was offered by the Panda Security Labs. But now Avira has also entered this field by launching their new product Avira Protection Cloud. It is a basic cloud antivirus that can scan the files in the cloud and find out if they are infected or not. It can also upload suspicious or unknown files to the Avira labs so they can analyze them. It does not upload all the files, but just generates their hashes and cross-checks the hash values with the Avira cloud to declare if the files are clean or infected.
You can download the Avira Protection Cloud from the Avira website. The download is in form of an installer of around 1.5 megabytes. The installation requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 which you can download from http://mcaf.ee/3gxo5 if you have not already installed it. After the installation, you can run Avira Protection Cloud from its Start Menu shortcut.
The program is very straightforward and simple. There are no menus or options to worry about. There is only one button labeled Cloud Scan which you have to click to start the scanning process. Not to mention that you need an active internet connection for the scanning to work, as the scanning is done in the cloud.
During the scan, it scans the key system areas for malware. It generates the hashes for all the files and checks them on the Avira cloud. The clean files are shown in the green color while the infected files are shown in the red color. If it stumbles upon a file for which it does not have a file hash entry in the Avira cloud, then those unknown files are uploaded to the Avira labs for further analysis. There are no options for you to prevent the files from being uploaded.
The sad part is that there is nothing you can do if it actually finds an infected file. All it shows you is the report. It does not offer you any tools to get rid of the infected files. You can either manually remove the infected files, install a full antivirus product or contact a security professional to handle the situation.
Avira Protection Cloud is still in the beta stage and at the time of writing this post only the technical preview release is available. This technical preview beta version is free to be used for everyone, but once the final version is released it will not be free anymore. I think Avira would either create a separate cloud antivirus product or merge the cloud antivirus with its existing internet security software suite.
You can download Avira Protection Cloud from http://www.avira.com/en/avira-protection-cloud.