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AVG Launches Free Protection Against Online Threats

April 20, 2009 by  

Web Hosting ToolsAmsterdam – AVG Technologies, developers of the world’s leading free anti-virus software, is today launching AVG LinkScanner as a free standalone product to protect users against random, invisible online threats. On any given day, some two million web pages are poisoned by hidden threats. And every day, 60 percent of those threats shut down or move to a different destination on the web – which makes real-time link scanning crucial. Any type of site can be affected, from a small business to a government department to a major brand-name company. If a user simply visits one of these poisoned web pages they don’t even need to click on anything to get into real trouble, to lose their credit card details, their ID or other valuable information or files. Regular anti-virus software alone cannot protect against this type of threat.

AVG LinkScanner gives users an additional real-time layer of protection on top of their existing security software. It works by looking at the web page behind a link or a web address typed into a browser and analyzing whether it harbors a threat. If it does, then AVG LinkScanner stops the user from downloading that page. This means that, for the first time, Windows XP and Vista users can truly know whether it is safe to click on a link at the only time that matters – when they click on it.

“It’s our belief that every computer user has the right to basic security protection, regardless of the ability to pay,” said J R Smith, AVG Technologies’ CEO. “These dangerous web pages threaten to disrupt the very fabric of the internet as well as how we view and use it; posing an even bigger threat to users than viruses. Our 80 million users are already protected by AVG LinkScanner, which has been an essential part of our suite of security products for some time. So now we’re making it available to users of other major security software brands, who just don’t have the same degree or protection. Now any PC user can surf and search the web with confidence and without fear of losing their ID, bank account information, credit card details, valuable files and information to cybercrooks.”

AVG LinkScanner also applies this targeted analysis of web pages to search results from Google, Yahoo! and MSN. Whenever users search using these search engines, they will see safety rankings for all ‘organic’ search results. In addition, the AVG LinkScanner will scan your bookmarks as well as links contained in instant messages and emails before you open them to ensure they are safe.

AVG LinkScanner’s unique ability to analyze web links in real time enables AVG to deliver far more accurate and relevant protection than other safe-surfing solutions. Checking the safety of a page at the precise time the user is about to click to it is crucial in today’s world of transient threats. Relying on information about a web site’s relative safety days or weeks in the past cannot protect users against threats that remain in one place for less than 24 hours; and so AVG has rejected the traditional approach of relying on information about sites previously found to have been poisoned.

Unlike other solutions, AVG LinkScanner analyzes individual pages on a web site to generate a rating for those pages. Imagine that one or two pages on a vast site like Facebook or MySpace are being used to spread malware. If a safe-surfing solution only rates entire sites based on what it finds on a couple of pages, a bad rating on those one or two poisoned pages would result in blocking users’ access to any of their friends’ pages on that site.

“The Web has become the primary distribution mechanism for viruses (and other malware), drive-by downloads and other stealthy web threats which represent vast majority of attacks,” said AVG Technologies CTO Karel Obluk.“So we’ve evolved our product range to put greater emphasis on combating this more insidious and dangerous form of attack. AVG LinkScanner is at the front line of this additional protective layer. It’s our goal, by making this layer freely available, to give users the confidence to always feel safe when they go online.”

AVG’s “neighborhood watch” approach to AVG LinkScanner research also increases the product’s ability to provide relevant protection to users – putting the protection where users actually go and when they go there, rather than trying to map and secure the entire Internet. The LIVE Intelligence Network has for the past five years focused solely on this area of evolving threats through the combined resources of:

– a global team of expert human researchers and a network of ‘hunting pots’
– an intelligent filter for known and suspected threat distribution sites and mechanisms
– automated threat encounter feedback, ensuring focus on real-world threats that affect real users

AVG LinkScanner aggregates intelligence gained through these three channels, correlates it in real time, and integrates it back into the threat analysis process to continually improve user protection.

Other tricks are being developed all the time, and users should not assume they are safe if some other pop-up appears while they’re surfing the web or downloading files. Running AVG LinkScanner will protect users against new as well as existing forms of social engineering trickery.

For more information about AVG LinkScanner visit www.linkscanner.avg.com.

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