Incremental Updates

by Andy on November 21st, 2008 in Lavasoft Products, Researcher Comments.

As the volume of malware increases, the more signatures we add into Ad-Aware's Detection Database. Naturally, with the huge increase in bad stuff out there, the size of definition files will increase in line with the amount of malware detections we add.

The only problem with a big signature database is its size. The bigger the file size, the longer it will take to download the definition file update. As of definition file 0141.0000, we deployed a new database structure that reduced the size of the definition file. This resulted in a smaller definition file that actually contained more signatures than the previous definition file (0140.0000).

Even though the file size was reduced, it was still reasonably large. Of course, not everyone has access to a high speed internet connection. Rather than downloading the entire Detection Database every time you update Ad-Aware, it made sense to provide you with just the updated signatures.

To address this, we have started to release definition file updates that contain just the latest additions to the Detection Database - we're calling them 'incremental updates'. These incremental updates will be kilobytes in size, rather than megabytes.

When you download the incremental update, you're downloading the newest updates which are then merged with the 'core' definition file already on your machine. This means that the download time for updates will be significantly reduced. Those of you on lower bandwidth connections will benefit the most from the change.

On Ad-Aware's Status Screen you will be able to see the latest definition file you have on your machine. In the image, below, the definition file version is 0141.0002. This means the core file is "0141" and it has had 2 incremental updates added to it.
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We will periodically release a new core file, but the implementation of incremental updates means a reduction in definition file update size. Overall, that means that we are able to provide updates that don't put too much pressure on your Internet connection.