Fix for free anti-virus generating fake traffic
The freeware version of Antivirus software AVG 8 was released with a feature called LinkScanner at the end of May that was found to create massive amounts of fake traffic, enraging webmasters, and skewing site rankings.
Today, AVG Technologies has at last pushed a solution. Peter Cameron, the Managing Director of AVG Australia/New Zealand, published a statement this weekend saying that the problem had been fixed.
LinkScanner's feature called SearchShield was intended to check search engine query results for malware by automatically "clicking" and downloading each indexed result. It would therefore be able to warn the user of security threats contained within links before actually navigating there.
From the point of view of analytics software, the effect was the same as if the user clicked on a site, irrespective of whether he had actually visited it.
Many sites reported inexplicably huge spikes in traffic because of this, and some complained LinkScanner had hit their sites so much, that great chunks of bandwidth were being consumed by what is essentially a spider.
One group was so outraged, that they set up AVG-Watch, an Anti-LinkScanner site which gives the instructions on how to turn the AVG 8 freeware into a denial of service attack.
AVG 8 has reportedly been downloaded over 20 million times, with over 5 million downloads in its first week of availability.