On a recent visit to the Czech Republic, CNET editor Seth Rosenblatt toured the AVG offices to see how antivirus protection gets made. See some of what he saw in this slideshow.
AVG in Brno
The city of Brno in the Czech Republic is a place where people go to learn. Situated about 130 miles southeast of Prague, its 11 universities host about 80,000 students, many of whom are computer engineers. So it's no surprise that while AVG's corporate offices are headquartered in Prague, its Brno that hosts the lifeblood of the company: its virus lab.
The only indication that you've arrived at the virus lab area of the office is the raft of warnings plastered to the door. Yellow caution tape and printed fliers emblazoned with the biohazard icon make the lab stand out from the rest of the conference rooms and offices.
Virus lab analysts work in a space not much different from anybody else. AVG's sit in high-backed chairs at Dell computers running Windows 7, and except for what's being displayed on their screens, the scene again returns to one of abject normality.
AVG's chief scientist, Karel Obluk. "The cyber criminals go for profit; it could equally be the whole economy or one country's profit. When there were several spearheaded, targeted attacks against Boeing infrastructure, was that industrial espionage or cyber warfare?"
Pavel Krcma heads up AVG's virus lab. "We see an incredible amount of new virus samples. Our goal is to identify how those [viruses] work, analyze the sample, and create a signature to push to users and to the cloud."
AVG's Brno office is located in a complex that also hosts TrustPort, another computer security vendor, as well as a home appliance manufacturer. In most ways, the AVG offices could be the offices of any software company. There's a small library with muted lighting; a playroom for the children of AVG employees; and relaxation spaces designed to resemble places not often seen in the heart of central Europe, like beaches festooned with hammocks. The walls of one of the eating areas has been painted to resemble a Starbucks, complete with a massive Starbucks logo.
Here, AVG evangelist Tony Anscombe plays table hockey with CBS Interactive's Peggy Yu in the company's game room.