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.


Download AVG Anti-Virus Free 8.0.138a1332 from FileForum now.


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.

Several methods of eliminating this fake traffic from log files were devised, but many were still upset.

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.

"As promised, I am letting you know that the latest update for AVG Free edition has addressed and rectified the issue that Simon and other members of Whirlpool (and others) have brought to our attention. This update has now been released to users and has also been built into the latest installation package for AVG Free.

It typically takes several days for all free users to get updated so results of this change should be seen by early next week. A similar update for AVG's commercial users will be released on Tuesday as previously notified.
We thank you for your feedback. You can see that we do listen to you and take appropriate action as required. We are totally committed to providing maximum protection for our users and for the Internet eco-system as a whole without causing unnecessary disruption."

AVG 8 has reportedly been downloaded over 20 million times, with over 5 million downloads in its first week of availability.

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