Thecus announced a partnership with McAfee at CeBIT 2012 to bring antivirus technology to their lineup. On April 16th, Thecus announced that that Thecus NAS systems would start shipping with McAfee antivirus technology. We also covered the release of Thecus's TopTower lineup, where it was briefly mentioned that McAfee's anti-virus module would be part of the shipping firmware. Today, we have more details.

Antivirus Technology in NAS Systems - A Brief History

NAS vendors have realized that anti-virus technology is fast becoming one of the must-have features in their firmware and antivirus vendors have only been too eager to spread out their reach. Users of some of Netgear's ReadyNAS solutions have been able to run the open source ClamAV antivirus since 2008, but it has never been an official feature.

Symantec, one of the leading antivirus vendors, has restricted its offerings to enterprise NAS systems, leaving the fast-growing SMB and SOHO NAS markets free for other vendors to enter. Trend Micro was one of the first to have an antivirus solution for SMB NAS systems. Buffalo Technology adopted them for some of their NAS models. QNAP was next with the open source ClamAV solution becoming part of the TurboNAS v3.5 firmware. Last month, Synology delivered the first Antivirus Essential pack for users running firmware version DSM 4.0 or later. Antivirus Essential internally uses the ClamAV engine. Thecus is the latest to join the list of NAS vendors with an antivirus solution as part of their firmware.

Thecus and McAfee Join Hands

Thecus's partnership with McAfee brings a host of things to the table.

As per the press release, the following features are worth mentioning:

  • Comprehensive detection so threats are isolated before they can spread
  • Removal of viruses, worms, and other malicious code
  • Reliable and accurate detection, without a costly false-alarm problem
  • Effective scanning of compressed, archived, and packed files
  • Support for a wide range of platforms
  • Scan engine SDK for easy integration into third-party applications

Of course, AnandTech readers are interested in the aspects which are not mentioned in the official PR. We contacted Thecus for some clarifications, and got the following information:

  • Despite the fact that Thecus advertises all NAS systems shipping after April 16th as having the McAfee antivirus module, it is only Intel-based NAS systems with firmware version v2.02.x and above that will support it. In terms of bundling, only the N6/8/10 series will have it as part of the firmware. The McAfee module will become available for users of other supported NAS systems to download towards the end of this month.
  • Unlike Buffalo Technology's subscription based model for the Trend Micro engine and antivirus definitions, the McAfee antivirus is offered free of charge to Thecus's customers. However, virus definition updates are available only for 3 years per bundled system.
  • Thecus assures us that the McAfee module has very limited impact on NAS performance as specific folders can be targeted for scheduled scanning. It is not clear whether this means that real time protection is unavailable.
  • Compared to ClamAV v0.96, Thecus claims that the McAfee module on a similarly spec-ed NAS system is 12x more efficient in terms of time spent in scanning a given file. A higher virus recognition rate (99% to ClamAV's 68%) is also claimed. Thecus also indicated that the McAfee module could scan files of upto 8 GB in size, while ClamAV could scan files of upto 2 GB in size only (though I haven't been able to confirm independently whether ClamAV's StreamMaxLength parameter is restricted to 2 GB only).

On the whole, the tie-up between Thecus and McAfee is quite interesting. It remains to be seen whether McAfee would be interested in getting their engine ported over to other NAS platforms (ARM / PowerPC based) and vendors. The fact that McAfee is now part of Intel might play a role, but that also provides some scope for deeper integration with Intel's NAS platforms in the future.


Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • FaaR - Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - link

    ...this sounds like a pretty bad idea to me. IMO, virus scanning belongs on the host system only for some simple reasons.

    One, you're looking for a file (or a program you run does, doesn't really matter), only it's not there anymore. It's been quarantined by your NAS, which thinks it's a threat. Now, where is that file? How do you find it again?

    Two: a file on your NAS has been damaged after McAfffee misdiagnosed it as a threat and cleaned it.

    I'm sure there's more.

    Also, I love how they pat themselves on the back for being free....for thre years only. :P

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now