Inside AVG's virus lab (photos)

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.

Seth Rosenblatt
1 of 10 Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

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.
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The 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.
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A secure door

The virus lab is restricted, although computer viruses are not a biohazard. Yet.
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Just like you and me

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.
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Map of attacks

AVG wouldn't let us show you screenshots of precisely how they take down a virus, but here's the threat map that their analysts see.
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You can call him 'Chief'

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?"
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Leading the lab

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."
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Building the self-defense weapon

Jiri Bracek is AVG's director of security engineering. "[AVG's] Resident Shield is a fully native process, which means that it starts very, very early in the boot phase."
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The view: Spilberk Castle

AVG's offices look out toward Brno's Spilberk Castle, which dates back to the 13th century.
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AVG's rec room

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.

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