AVG caves to Webmasters

Wanton link scanner cut down.

The deluge of false traffic triggered by the LinkScanner Search-Shield component of AVG anti-virus will dry up after the company axed its Web trawling function.

AVG was berated by furious Webmasters who likened the scanning functionality of Search-Shield to a Denial of Service (DoS) attack.

The component, built in to Version 8 of the popular anti-virus program, scans all results returned by Google for malware, effectively hitting at least 10 Web site pages for every search query.

The company came under fire after Webmasters reported a surge in zombie Web site hits, including broadband forum Whirlpool.net.au which claimed it was attacked with more than 700 hits a minute. The Web site urged users to remove the product and joined others in redirecting burdensome Search-Shield queries to the AVG home page.

IDG Australia, the publisher of Computerworld, was also hit by multiple requests.

Wikipedia-watch.org, self-appointed watchdog of Wikipedia.org, claimed a test of LinkScanner returned 600 complete pages without images in three minutes, including "230 downloads of the home page and 370 downloads of deep pages averaging 50Kb each".

Users said the technology was irresponsible, however effective, because it chewed up the bandwidth of legitimate Web sites to protect AVG users.

One user likened the methodology to smashing a nut with a sledgehammer.

In less than 11 weeks, the fake Web site hits caused by Search-Shield reached a number expected by AVG to be produced over 34 months. AVG reported about 5 million downloads of the AVG Free version 8.

The company has released an updated version of AVG, modified to prevent Search-Shield from scanning unvisited Web sites.

Local marketing manager Lloyd Borrett said the updated version is available for download now and will also be pushed out in a release cycle.

"Our number one support issue with respect to LinkScanner prior to this was Webmasters accusing us of falsely saying their web site was infected," Borrett said.

"Yet 99 percent of the time such accusations were raised, we've been right so far."

The scanner renders more than 1 billion verdicts a week, according to AVG, which includes one infected Web page per 43 searches.

"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," AVG wrote in a statement. "AVG will issue a product modification to address the spikes that a few individuals have seen with their Web traffic."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Darren Pauli

Computerworld

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?