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Norton and Avast are merging into an $8 billion antivirus empire

Norton and Avast are merging into an $8 billion antivirus empire


The deal comes just as ransomware is becoming a big issue

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

NortonLifeLock and Avast are merging in a deal worth more than $8 billion. The deal will see NortonLifelock acquire all of Avast’s shares, and create a much larger cyber security firm. “With this combination, we can strengthen our cyber safety platform and make it available to more than 500 million users,” says Vincent Pilette, NortonLifeLock CEO. “We will also have the ability to further accelerate innovation to transform cyber safety.”

The combination should lead to antivirus products that include the benefits of Avast’s focus on privacy and NortonLifeLock’s experience in identity, all at a time when cyber security is critical for both consumers and businesses.

Ransomware is on the rise, with new high profile cases occurring on what feels like a weekly basis. Gigabyte was hit by a ransomware attack earlier this week, and a large ransomware attack affected customers of Kaseya’s remote IT management software last month.

These attacks can often lead to supply chain attacks, ransomware incidents, or malware that affects regular consumers, too. Hackers managed to hide malware inside system cleaner utility CCleaner in 2017, and consumers are often the victims when databases of credit cards and personal information are leaked.

Avast, which was founded in the Czech Republic, has been creating software for consumers and small businesses for 11 years, and acquired AVG five years ago. NortonLifeLock is the former consumer side of Symantec, which was left behind after Broadcom acquired Symantec’s enterprise security business two years ago. Norton antivirus has existed in various forms since 1991, and has remained a popular option for consumers for 30 years.