AVG Responds to and Resolves LinkScanner Issues

Czech Republic, 5 July 2008 — AVG has recently been made aware of the increased web traffic that the new Search-Shield component of our AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 8.0 product is causing in an attempt to notify users about infected web sites. We have actively listened to the web masters who have brought this to our attention, and as a company we have reacted quickly to solve them.

In working with the web master community, AVG has responded immediately and on Tuesday, 8th July 2008, AVG will issue a product modification to address the spikes that a few individuals have seen with their web traffic.

We have modified the Search-Shield component of the product to only notify users of malicious sites. Search-Shield no longer scans each search result online for new exploits, which was causing the spikes that web masters addressed with us. However, it is important to note that AVG still offers full protection against potential exploits through the Active Surf-Shield component of our product, which checks every page for malicious content as it is visited, but before it is opened.

We’d like to thank our web community for bringing these challenges to our attention, as building community trust and protecting all of our users is critical to us.

AVG’s primary concern is protecting our customers. In order to do this, we have actively provided our customers with cutting edge technology. There are 20,000 to 30,000 unique pieces of malware being submitted to anti-virus labs around the world each day, and the vast majority of these will be delivered via web based exploit and social engineering tricks from hacked and rogue websites.

Nearly all of these pieces of malware are designed to steal financial and personal information from victims. In order to protect our customers, and the world in general, we released technology in our free product that is designed to discover and block these sites. As a result of this, we included real-time, dynamic scanning in our free product that we recently released to customers.

Because of the unique nature of our technology — we scan web links before our customers open them to ensure they are safe — we anticipated that we would see a spike in the number of sites that were analysed, however, we underestimated the popularity of our product and the resulting number of verdicts that came back to us. As a result, we did not anticipate seeing the volumes we have seen in two months for another 24-36 months.

Today we are rendering over 1 billion verdicts per week that result in the identification of 1 infected URL per 43 searches which equates to rendering a red verdict to 1 in every nine 9 users. While this has affected web traffic analysis and marketing analytics on a handful of sites, we are dedicated to protecting our users with the best technology on the market today while at the same time not being disruptive.


UPDATE: 5 July 2008 — AVG Technologies has released an update to AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 8.0, build 138, to resolve the LinkScanner Search-Shield issue.

The file name you require is:
avg_free_stf_en_8_138a1332.exe (or later)

If users don't want to wait for the update process to roll-out to their PC, or they're doing a new installation, then the up-to-date version is now available for them to download at www.avgfree.com.au.


UPDATE: 8 July 2008 — AVG Technologies has released an update to the AVG 8.0 commercial product range, build 138, to resolve the LinkScanner Search-Shield issue.

AVG was recently made aware of the increased web traffic that the new safe search LinkScanner Search-Shield component of our AVG 8.0 products was causing as it worked to notify users about infected web sites.

We have modified the LinkScanner Search-Shield component to only notify users of poisoned web sites by marking known bad sites only. LinkScanner Search-Shield no longer scans each search result online for new poisoned web sites. This will minimise the web traffic when searching using Google, Yahoo! and MSN Live Search.

Users of AVG 8.0 commercial products can wait for the automatic update process to roll-out to their PC, or click on the "Update now" tab in the AVG program interface to force the update to happen immediately.

Users doing a new installation can download the up-to-date program files at AVG Software Downloads.

When updated and/or installed correctly, the program will report that it is on AVG version 8.0.138, or later.

The safe surf LinkScanner Surf-Shield component of commercial AVG 8.0 products still provides full real-time protection against malicious web exploits being delivered from compromised web sites. LinkScanner Surf-Shield checks every web page clicked on for malicious content as they are visited.


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