The AVIEN (the Anti-Virus Information Exchange Network) group arose out of discussions following a presentation by Robert S. Vibert at a Virus Bulletin Conference in 2000. Antivirus and security specialists from several major companies agreed on the need to implement a forum where they could freely share information concerning AV companies, products, and upcoming malware and other threats, as subsequently set up by Robert S. Vibert. One of the primary aspects of this cooperation and information sharing was its email-based Early Warning System (EWS).

All members of AVIEN were individuals rather than companies, but those individuals were required to be responsible for the security of organizations with a minimum of 1,500 PCs. Antivirus vendors were specifically excluded from membership. In 2002, however, AVIEN’s sister organization AVIEWS (the Anti-Virus Information and Early Warning System) was launched. The new organization included all members of AVIEN but security vendors and others such as journalists were also encouraged to participate. While some sectors of the security industry were initially suspicious of AVIEN, the industry in general was quick to appreciate the advantages of interfacing with the more knowledgeable representatives of its customers.

A number of projects were undertaken including a couple of online conferences, and in 2007, the AVIEN Malware Defense Guide for the Enterprise was published by Syngress. The book was edited by David Harley and included contributions by members of AVIEN and AVIEWS, thus representing the views of both the security industry and the industry’s most knowledgeable customers.

AVIEWS and AVIEN merged in 2008 under the leadership of Andrew Lee (CEO) and David Harley (COO).In 2011, following his taking up the role of CEO at ESET North America, Andrew Lee announced that he was leaving the running of AVIEN to David Harley. However, changes in both the threat landscape and the relationships between security vendors and other researchers meant that many of the ideas that first emerged in discussions on AVIEN mailing lists became firmly established in other sectors of the security community, and there was little will among the members to launch other projects. The organization declined to a low-traffic mailing list. However, the site, maintained by Lee and Harley, remains as a specialized information resource focusing mostly on ransomware and on tech support and associated scams.

David Harley

Updated 12th February 2017


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