AOL Offering Free Antivirus Software

AOL on Monday release a free software-based virus scanning service powered by technology from Kaspersky Labs. The software includes technology to enable real-time scanning of files and e-mail, and would update automatically each hour.

Called Active Virus Shield, the product is available for download starting today. It arrives as part of AOL's new initiative to provide its products at no cost to users. "With so many consumers online with inadequate security safeguards, it is time to make things like virus protection a fundamental right, not a risk," Digital Services president John McKinley said.

After installation, the application will continuously monitor for threats. Also, in an effort to make the process as invisible as possible, AOL has tuned the service to allocate more computer resources during periods of increased use. This way, the virus-scanning process would not interfere with system performance.

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In addition, Active Virus Shield also includes an IE toolbar that provides real-time data on security status, as well as provide a password manager, pop-up blocker, and a link to the Whois domain registration database.

"In today's environment of organized cybercrime and ever-changing online threats, it's more important than ever for consumers to have comprehensive virus and spyware protection that's continuously updated and easy-to-use," said Steve Orenberg, President, Kaspersky Labs.

Free virus protection may also help to solve the issue of so many users leaving themselves vulnerable by running no anti-virus software at all. According to a survey by AOL, 56 percent of computer users either had no protection, or had not updated their virus software in the past seven days.

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