You probably encounter more shortened URLs these days. These links, while convenient, are also a great way to hide a link to a malicious site. You can blame Twitter for their proliferation. With only 140 characters, tweeting a full link is impractical. Now AVG is stepping up to the plate to offer a method of protection.
AVG’s LinkScanner security product now fully supports shortened URLs. AVG says the LinkScanner system is more reliable than other methods because it tests links in real time. Whether or not it's the best, it is free.
The free malware scanner, Ad-Aware, has also added new features. The new enhancements are aimed at detecting and removing rootkits. A rootkit is a piece of malware that specializes in getting deep into the operating system to avoid detection. Ad-Aware uses heuristic detection to search for these nasty bits of software. It is also able to stop certain types of malware from restoring themselves after a reboot. Ad-Aware is a free download [warning, attempted upsell], and well worth having a look at.
AVG Technologies today announced the newest version of "the world's most popular free anti-virus software," AVG 9. For several years, AVG freebie security software had been a favorite in the enthusiast community (and among several Maximum PC staffers), but many -- us included -- felt that version 8 was a step in the wrong direction. In our antivirus roundup from a year ago, we noted that AVG Internet Security 8.0 (the full fledged paid security suite) consumed more RAM and dragged down system performance more than any other AV program we tested.
Performance shouldn't be a problem with AVG 9.0, at least according to AVG's claims. The AV maker says version 9.0 runs 50 percent faster than the previous version, while also improving performance and ease of use.
"AVG 9.0 will provide home computer users with a more powerful and more streamlined solution that adds protection without impacting user experience, taking us back to our core strength of low impact, high performance security," said J.R. Smith, CEO, AVG Technologies. "We've always believed that everyone has the right to a safe online experience. With AVG 9.0, we are providing first-class assistance to our users in their development of tools and measures for their safety from all of the threats posed by cybercriminals and identity thieves, whether they'r working, playing, banking, or shopping on the Web."
AVG cited scan optimization as a top priority for its latest release. Taking a page from Norton Internet Security 2009/2010 and a handful of other AV programs, AVG skips safe files in subsequent scans to improve performance unless the file structure changes. This is what accounts for the up to 50 percent faster speed, as well as improvements of up to 10 to 15 percent for boot times and memory usage, AVG says.
AVG 9.0 paid versions are available now. The freebie version will be made available within the next two weeks.
Social networking sites are all fun and games until you contract a nasty virus and lose your data, or worse yet, lose your identity to the highest bidder in a seedy underground market. But that's the risk the average social networker is taking by failing to perform basic security measures, suggests a new study by AVG and the CMO Council.
The study surveyed a random sampling of 250 consumers. According to the poll results, 86 percent of the respondents participate in a social network at home or at work. Almost half of those surveyed said they have been victims of malware attacks, 55 percent said they have seen phishing attacks, and nearly 20 percent have experienced identity theft.
Despite past experience, barely a third of respondents change passwords on a regular basis, while 57 percent said they infrequently or never adjust privacy settings.
"The fact that users understand the risks, and yet are failing to take the basic steps to protect themselves presents an interesting challenge to companies, like AVG, that are working to create a safer cyber community," said Siobhan MacDermott, head of Public Policy, Corporate Communications and Investor Relations, AVG Technologies.
See all of the results here, as well as some basic security tips that should be second nature to most power users.
Some Apple iTunes users who have AVG installed were in for a bit of surprise last weekend when the antivirus app alerted them to the presence of a Trojan in their music software and blocked it from loading. If you're one of those users, rest assured it was a false positive.
"Unfortunately, a recent virus database update resulted in iTunes being detected as a Trojan by AVG security products," the company explained in a statement. "We can confirm that it was a false alarm. AVG immediately released a new virus database update (definition file 270.13.29/2260) that corrected this issue."
The update came just five hours after the false positive was first reported and was "automatically released to all users by 5:30AM CET," AVG says. Prior to the update, AVG had placed several iTunes DLL files in quarantine, which prevented the music service from working.
If for some reason iTunes still isn't working after applying the update, AVG suggests restoring the deleted iTunes files from the AVG Virus Vault. To do this:
Open the AVG user interface
Choose "Virus Vault" option from the "History" menu
Locate the iTunes file that was incorrectly removed and select it (one click)
Thanks to a borked update, some PC users running AVG's free antivirus were in for a long and frustrating weekend. The virus definition update, which was released on Saturday, erroneously detected the "user32.dll" file for the Trojan Horse PSW.Banker4.APSA instead of recognizing it as a critical Windows component. Once the scanner went active, users found their AVG software recommending that they delete the quarantined file. Doing so caused systems to either stop booting or enter into a continuous reboot loop. Whoops!
The misinformed update affected both AVG 7.5 and AVG 8.0 installations on Windows XP. Vista users appear to be in the clear, though a spattering of user comments around the web have indicated otherwise. In any event, another update has corrected the error. For those who already deleted the critical system file, AVG is providing step-by-step instructions on how to restore your system back to a working state. Whether or not it restores your faith back in the program is another question altogether.
Hit the jump and let us know what security software you're using.
Set a new world's record by downloading Firefox 3 today, find out how a malware scanner can be a website administrator's WFF (worst friend forever), and discover how to turn a PlayStation Portable into a Google-enabled search tool.
Today (June 17) is the official Firefox 3 Download Day, and you can help set a new world's record for the most software downloaded in a single day by pledging to download it...Firefox is pulling out all the stops to spread the word, including social network sites, website buttons, and much more.