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The Internet Security IT

AVG Backs Down From Flooding the Internet 297

Simon Wright writes "As a website that is featured heavily in many Google Australia search results, Whirlpool (Australia's largest technology forum) has been particularly affected by AVG's LinkScanner. We've seen a traffic increase as much as 12 hits per second from these bots. So we've actively and loudly campaigned against this move by AVG, encouraging all users of AVG 8.0 to uninstall the product. The discussion starts here. And AVG's backing down is posted here." From that URL:"'As promised, I am letting you know that the latest update for AVG Free edition has addressed and rectified the issue that [Whirlpool] 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.' — Peter Cameron, Managing Director, AVG Australia."
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AVG Backs Down From Flooding the Internet

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  • Are you sure? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 )
    Can it be shown that they have stopped doing this accross the board? Or only for the "high rollers"? It wouldn't surprise me if such a bunch of assholes as these only "whitelist" people that can sue them.
    • Re:Are you sure? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2008 @03:56AM (#24073217)

      See: http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1007329&p=13#r256

      The fix has been independently tested.

      Cheers WTW

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      One could always just turn the link scanner off. It requires the clicking of a button, if thats not to hard?

      • Re:Are you sure? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Heembo ( 916647 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @06:45AM (#24073741) Journal
        The problem is no so much the consumer experience... (although consumers experience was changed significantly as web searching became a lot more resource intensive).

        The problem is that the link scanning featured caused a great deal of traffic to sites - even sites that consumers did not visit. That's not cool.
      • "One could always just turn the link scanner off. It requires the clicking of a button, if thats not to hard?"

        Surely it requires getting everyone who might visit your website to click the button, which seems infinitely harder?

        • by robbak ( 775424 )

          No, it means everyone who might ever visit a page that includes a link to your page must have already turned it off. Just how to achieve that is left as an exercise for the reader.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

        Right click on your AVG icon and click on "Open AVG User Interface". Right click on Linkscanner in Overview and click Open. Uncheck "Enable AVG Search-Shield (need web browser restart)". (You do not have to restart your browser to disable it.)

        Now click on Overview on the left to go back to the Overview screen. Right click on Linkscanner and select "Ignore component State". It's shut off and AVG won't whine at you for turning it off.

  • Good Stuff! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IceDiver ( 321368 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @03:50AM (#24073189)

    I was looking at alternatives to AVG because of this. Good to know I don't have to keep looking.

    • Re:Good Stuff! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @03:54AM (#24073205)

      I was looking at alternatives to AVG because of this. Good to know I don't have to keep looking.

      Maybe you should keep looking. A company in the business that AVG is in should have seen this coming, what makes you think more of the same "quality" is not in the future? It shows a serious lack of foresight for a company that should have top-drawer management and programmers considering their business. Frankly, this kind of crap reflects badly on what consumers should assume for the quality of their product.

      • Re:Good Stuff! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by rbochan ( 827946 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @06:05AM (#24073607) Homepage

        Maybe you should keep looking.

        I don't disagree. Version 8 of their product is the most bloated thing I've seen in ages. Almost moreso than the consumer Norton/McAffee stuff. And to top it off, it's so naggy it's ridiculous.

        • Re:Good Stuff! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday July 06, 2008 @06:42AM (#24073725) Journal
          That is why after using AVG for years I switched to Avast. The whole point of AVG was that it WASN'T all bloaty and full of extra crap like Norton. Now they are just as slow,just as sluggish,and just as irritating. Oh and for the user that says turn it off? I don't know that it is still the case as I switched to Avast,but AVG would scream that it wasn't working if you disabled the bloat. So you would have to check the stupid thing because you had no idea if it really wasn't working because of an error,or if it was just bitching because you had turned off linkscanner. Anyway that is my 02c,YMMV
          • by Shabbs ( 11692 )

            I totally agree. I was so disappointed with the upgrade to AVG v8 and then I read about all this crap. I have moved to Avast as well and I am liking it so far.

        • Re:Good Stuff! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Jurily ( 900488 ) <jurily@g m a i l . com> on Sunday July 06, 2008 @08:13AM (#24074059)

          AVG took a serious wrong turn somewhere. It used to be a no-questions-asked-use-me-please virus scanner of the highest quality. I used to recommend it to everyone. I used to start fixing my friends' computers by uninstalling the bloated virus scanners they had and installing AVG.

          Now they've gone corporate (for lack of a better term).

          Anyone know of an alternative to fill the role?

      • by xtracto ( 837672 ) * on Sunday July 06, 2008 @07:55AM (#24073979) Journal

        . A company in the business that AVG is in should have seen this coming, what makes you think more of the same "quality" is not in the future?

        No, I certainly won't be looking. There are just a handful of companies which *listen* to its customers. There fewer that listen to the users of their product which use it for free.

        AVG shown that at least they do listen to their users, and are likely to rectify when they screw up. Similar to what happened with Netflix.

        A bad company is not one which makes wrong choices, we all make wrong choices. But when the company is not able to acknowledge their errors and rectify, is when you should start looking for someone else to make business with.

        I use AVG Free and recommend it to all the people who come to ask me for an Antivirus. The truth (in my opinion) is that such a thing should be provided with Microsoft Windows for free, after all it is the fault of their crappy Operating System that the computers get all infected.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hairyfeet ( 841228 )
          But what about the bloat? I often have to work on computers that are a few years old. AVG went from using a little over 14Mb with all the bells and whistles on to over 59Mb,and that is even after using the command line to install ONLY the resident shield! No email scanner,no link scanner,just the AV and spyware detection. I need something that isn't going to slow down those computers who max out at 512Mb down to a crawl,so after trying Avast ( didn't really care for it and heard it has a poor detection rate
          • by Holistic Missile ( 976980 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @09:32AM (#24074389)
            You do realize that ClamWin currently does not have an on-access scanner, don't you? That means a zero detection rate unless files are manually scanned. Right now, your 'clueless users' are unprotected.
        • by Machtyn ( 759119 )
          xtracto said:

          The truth (in my opinion) is that such a thing should be provided with Microsoft Windows for free

          Sure, but which A/V product? Grisoft's AVG, Comodo, Avast!, or ClamWin to name a few.

          I'm really loving Comodo's firewall, and the fact they give all their PC security software away for free, even for business use, is just plain cool.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by sconeu ( 64226 )

            For those of us using Win2K until it's pried out of our cold, dead CPUs, not a choice. Comodo BSODs on Win2K. In fact, after trying Comodo (and I couldn't find anything that said 2K was a bad idea), my system was so borked that I had to reinstall for the first time in 7 years.

    • Re:Good Stuff! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by XaXXon ( 202882 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [noxxax]> on Sunday July 06, 2008 @04:03AM (#24073239) Homepage

      You might want to keep looking. Companies that do this kind of thing once don't usually stop at 1.

    • Re:Good Stuff! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by shellbeach ( 610559 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @05:17AM (#24073473)

      I was looking at alternatives to AVG because of this. Good to know I don't have to keep looking.

      If you have a look at the Whirlpool page, you'll see that every page in the forum is headed by an orange banner, that not only references the AVG problem and suggests users uninstall the software, but also recommends and has direct links to "superior alternatives" such as Avast and Avira.

      I can't think of a better way to quickly change a company's mind than this sort of strategy :)

      • Another reason (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mangu ( 126918 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @07:51AM (#24073963)

        every page in the forum is headed by an orange banner, that not only references the AVG problem and suggests users uninstall the software, but also recommends and has direct links to "superior alternatives" such as Avast and Avira.

        That's a good one, but there's also this suggestion from TFA:

        one web master advocates redirecting AVG scans back to AVG's site. "Many webmasters simply tell LinkScanner to scan AVG's site instead, so their site gets marked as malware free every time - while AVG gets handed the extra bandwidth cost," says the webmaster of TheSilhouettes.org.

    • Re:Good Stuff! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2008 @06:57AM (#24073779)

      There are (or at least there were) other motives to dump AVG.

      1) I installed it - just once, long ago, and threw it out of the window as soon as I found out that it was adding a spam footer advertizing itself in each e-mail I sent. Didn't even try to find if that could be turned off: garbage belongs in the garbage bin, not on my PC, and certainly not in my outgoing mails without my knowledge.
      Don't know if they're still doing it, or if it's still on by default, and I'm not interested in finding out either.

      2) Visit the forum TFA links to, find the post by the guy who upgraded to Avast and immediately discovered a pile of bad stuff on his system that AVG had apparently missed. Instead of scanning sites you don't visit, it sounds like they'd better start doing something about the quality of the scan on those you DO visit.

      I'm sure #2 hasn't always been as bad as it sounds here. But protection is a process, not a goal, and it smells like they're lagging a bit behind right now.

      • Many virus scanners, including AVG, are a little over zealous. They report some things as bad that aren't. Ones that commonly get flagged are trainers for video games. Reason is they do things like monitor the keyboard and hook in to other processes. However they are doing it to let people cheat in games, not for nefarious purposes. However you'll find that some virus scanners get all worked up about them, while others don't.

        Just because you switch scanners and the new one goes off, doesn't mean your old on

  • by DigitAl56K ( 805623 ) * on Sunday July 06, 2008 @03:54AM (#24073203)

    I fail to see what Grisoft ever thought LinkScanner would acheive above the scanners that are becoming common in competing products that simply intercept http and pop3 traffic as it comes over the network. To me it seemed unnecessary to actually fetch every single search result. It also would obviously interfere with web analytics, and is potentially a security risk to people using AVG, not in terms of desktop security, but in terms of your real-life personal security. For example, I recall a recent article where the FBI had arrested people [slashdot.org] merely for clicking links to a porn site they had set up. Are you really safe from such operations and the general tendency of Government agencies to monitor activity these days when your computer is in effect programmed to click links for you?

    I don't see information at the links in the summary of what changes were actually made to AVG now. Does anyone have details?

  • Way to go! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by djce ( 927193 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @03:56AM (#24073211) Homepage
    The site complains to AVG that its load has increased, so in response in gets a /.ing. Nice!

    Anyway, the statement that "We've seen a traffic increase as much as 12 hits per second" is meaningless without knowing the overall traffic levels - for example, is +12/sec an increase of 100%, or an increase of 1%?. It's referred to as a "significant drain" on resources, but quoting one number without the other is pointless.
    • Re:Way to go! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2008 @04:04AM (#24073249)

      Simon has state that the server normally deals with 50 queries / second.

      So 12 more / second is quite a bit of load.

      Cheers WTW

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hankwang ( 413283 ) *

      It's referred to as a "significant drain" on resources, but quoting one number without the other is pointless.

      Well, I'm not sure how efficient Coldfusion is for handling large web forums, and how fast their database back-end is (16 million posts), but if each request takes 0.1 second of CPU time, it means it's enough traffic to keep a whole extra server busy. Approaching it differently: there are typically about 1000 users online, which open maybe one page per minute each. That means about 20 page requests

      • Re:Way to go! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Now15 ( 9715 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @06:40AM (#24073721) Homepage

        The single web server that powers Whirlpool is typically handling 30 to 40 non-cached template requests per second. We've got over 15 gigabytes worth of user posts online, and receive hundreds of referrals from Google every minute.

        Given that it's running on a 4-year-old web server (in tandem with another 4-year-old MySQL box), I think ColdFusion is doing pretty well for itself.

        Simon Wright

  • by deft ( 253558 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @03:56AM (#24073213) Homepage

    I use AVG... and was watching this.

    I'm sure they thought it was a good idea, and sometimes good companies make bad moves.... I got AVG because leo laporte reccomended it, and dammit, i like leo.

    But things change over time... is AVG still a good free AVG prog? And I dont mean just because of this controversy, they made good on it and responded. I mean the long haul.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by derfy ( 172944 ) *

      I too use AVG and have for a long time, mostly cause Norton / McAffe sucks. I would like to know if there are any other good free AV programs out there nowadays.

      I know that the good people of /. will help guide me to a good solution with a minimum of ranting and flaming.


      No seriously, any suggestions?

      • by i.of.the.storm ( 907783 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @04:10AM (#24073285) Homepage
        I dunno, I use Avast, it's pretty good and free as well. I like the UI a bit better and it seems to get definition updates pretty frequently. Much less of a resource hog than Norton/McAfee too, although so is AVG.
        • I use avast, but when intentionally bullshitting around and doing things I shouldn't have been doing it let a couple things through that it wasn't able to clean up. NOD32 picked up the mess, but unfortunately after the trial it costs $ compared to avast. I'll probably just stop trudging through the cesspool of the internets and keep using avast.

          • Yeah I've heard NOD32 and Kaspersky are good for-pay AV softwares, but I tend to not pick up viruses anyway so I don't feel like actually paying for antivirus.
        • by BagOBones ( 574735 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @05:18AM (#24073483)

          The and Update system in AVG 8.0 is vastly improved.

          I was using Avast and and installed it for several family members only to have one of them get a HORRID spyware infection.

          Interestingly AVAST did not detect it at all, Spybot and Ad-aware could not completely remove it, but after installing AVG 8.0 it cleaned everything up.

          After checking several reviews it seems AVG 8.0 has one of the best Virus and Spyware detection rates among current products.

      • by number11 ( 129686 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @11:46AM (#24075023)

        Well, yes but.. (you've seen the complaints).

        Other decent free ones are:
        Avast [avast.com] is popular.
        AVira [avira.com] seems good, you get one popup ad per update.
        Comodo [comodo.com] permits business use.
        BitDefender [bitdefender.com] has a free version.
        I'm not including ClamAV because it's just a scanner, no realtime protection.

        Posting AC because I've moderated,

    • by FilterMapReduce ( 1296509 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @04:23AM (#24073335)

      I second your question. I used AVG Free for a long time and uninstalled it very quickly when I heard the news. But I'm having choosing a replacement cost-free anti-virus program for Windows. Here's are the factors I've been considering...

      AVG Free [avg.com] Pro: seems pretty effective and runs inobtrusively (at least locally). Con: has DDoS'd websites in the past and perhaps still shouldn't be trusted.

      Avira [avira.com] Pro: no track record of DDoS'ing websites. Con: obnoxious pop-ups "reminding" me about the premium version; apparently [wikipedia.org] got some poor reviews for infection treatment.

      Avast [avast.com] Pro: no track record of DDoS'ing websites. Con: requires manual re-registration.

      I'm using Avira now but I'm considering switching again because of the pop-ups. Any advice? (And yes, I already run Linux but still need Windows for some things, and no, I'm not interested in paying for anti-virus software, since 99% of virus protection is common sense.)

      • AVG also now has annoying nagging pop-ups, it's been around for a month or so. So that leaves Avast. How much hassle is the manual registration? I'm using AVG now, and the pop-ups are far too much. This debacle with DDOSing site is proof of a disturbing change of management and I want that software off my machine for good. There WILL be a next time with these assholes in charge.

        Seriously, you'd thing that companies would learn from Real Player. If you get too greedy you end up with no customers.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 )

          Manual reregistration is once a year, which is a pain in the neck. If you can handle that it's OK. Oh and you have to disable the sound otherwise it screams 'VIRUS DATABASE HAS BEEN UPDATED!!' at full volume about twice a day (I *really* wish they'd give an option to just switch that off and leave the other sounds on).

      • by Fex303 ( 557896 )

        Since you're asking, I'd suggest Avast. I used it for a few years when I still used a PC and found it to be excellent. The registration process was simple enough to be painless, so my biggest complaint would be the horribly skinned main interface window (which they may have gotten rid of by now).

        Just my 2c.

    • by onefriedrice ( 1171917 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @04:43AM (#24073387)
      Here is a secret for you: You do not need AV software.

      Actually, let me clarify that statement. You might need AV software if you are a very uninformed user who likes to open email attachments from unknown people or download lots of useless software from questionable sources. However, if that person I described is not you, then you do not need AV software, and it is just taking system (and apparently network) resources.

      The reason you don't need AV software is because there are only two ways to get virus on your computer: 1) Network-related software you use is exploited. 2) You willingly (although accidentally) run the bad software yourself. Yes, I'm simplifying things, but it is hardly any more complicated than this. Since you are an informed user, you have learned not to run bad software, so #2 doesn't apply to you; and since you patch your system regularly (right?), #1 is very unlikely.

      However, there may be a tiny window between the time that an exploit is found and the patch being made available where you could potentially be vulnerable. Theoretically, AV software can 'protect' you in this scenario since virus definitions are made available sooner than patches. The solution here is, again, to be an informed user. If a piece of software you use becomes vulnerable to a new exploit, you should know about it and take the necessary precautions yourself during the time before a patch is released, in order to protect your system. This will protect you much better than any AV software will, and it's not difficult since there are not many pieces of software which could even be exploited (the main ones are your browser and other internet-related apps).

      Now, I'm a user and developer of Mac OS X, Linux, BSD, and Windows. I have been running Vista for almost a year without a hitch by being an informed user. Actually, I also usually install patches long after they are available because I turned off the automatic download/install feature (I like to know what's using my internet connection), and for some reason it doesn't even notify me of the availability of patches so I often forget. Nevertheless, I've never been compromised mainly because I don't run questionable software or read unknown emails, and the security of the software (and patches) has been good enough.

      In my opinion, AV software is a scam. It might be useful for grandmas and other clueless users who open email attachments indiscriminately, but I cannot see how anyone informed enough to be on /. cannot also manage his own security. Not that /. users are at the pinnacle of being-informed-edness, but I should think that you should be informed enough to be able to live without AV software quite easily. Bottom line: run a firewall (preferably a hardware firewall), patch often, be informed, and ditch the AV software.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2008 @05:23AM (#24073497)

        You have a point, but I received an infected Word file from a customer just a couple years ago.

        When the contract is a few million bucks, you suck it up and run AV and don't tell them how to run their business.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2008 @05:29AM (#24073523)

        This is about the same amount of protection as pulling out is a form of birth control.

        Are you telling me:

        1. You never open links in search results to sites you have never been to?
        - If you are running windows using Firefox or IE there have been many cases of 0 day exploits

        2. Do you not use any USB storage devices?
        - Just this Christmas I purchases a digital photo frame for a family member that had built in storage. low and behold when I went to preload it with photos it was already infected with a virus that was set to use auto play to install.

        3. You 100% trust EVERY thing your friends or family send you? Document infections are still somewhat common. I suppose using Open office would get you around macro infections but you also might not be able to open company documents then.

        I would also imagine that ANYONE who is on slashdot and manages security also believes in the layered approach. Inbound only filtering from your firewall and using your gut to know what is safe or not is an easy one to work around.. Well unless you are a hermit that never gets any email.

        • by StormyWeather ( 543593 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @06:39AM (#24073713) Homepage

          Damnit! That's why I keep having kids.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Artefacto ( 1207766 )

          There are solutions for each one of those circumstances:

          1. You never open links in search results to sites you have never been to? - If you are running windows using Firefox or IE there have been many cases of 0 day exploits

          Run your browser with lower privileges (even if you are a not an administrator, which by itself thwarts most of the virus, which expect otherwise, run it with a constrained token). See http://blogs.msdn.com/nigelwa/archive/2005/07/29/445155.aspx [msdn.com]. Additionally, IE7 protected mode under Vista has an excellent record.

          2. Do you not use any USB storage devices? - Just this Christmas I purchases a digital photo frame for a family member that had built in storage. low and behold when I went to preload it with photos it was already infected with a virus that was set to use auto play to install.

          This one is straight-forward: just deactivate auto-run.

          3. You 100% trust EVERY thing your friends or family send you? Document infections are still somewhat common. I suppose using Open office would get you around macro infections but you also might not be able to open company documents then.

          This may be a bit more problematic, but macros are usually not set to be run by defau

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Mprx ( 82435 )

          1. Use NoScript
          2. Disable autoplay
          3. Run anything you don't 100% trust in a VM without network access

          • by Hemogoblin ( 982564 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @11:51AM (#24075055)

            3. Run anything you don't 100% trust in a VM without network access

            Which is easier to set-up for an average user: the above, or installing an antivirus? I consider myself fairly computer savy, but I have absolutely no clue how to set up a VM.

            • That's a moronic statement. It is along the lines of saying "Don't lock the door, just sleep with a shotgun next to your bed." Yes, I'll admit the shotgun would be far more useful at stopping a determined attacker IF (and only if) you notice the person and can act.

              AV programs are just another level in having good defense in depth, and being proactive about security. What that philosophy means is:

              1) You don't have a single point of security, you have multiple levels. There isn't one failure point. Thus if so

        • This is about the same amount of protection as pulling out is a form of birth control.

          In defense of the OP, he did offer what could be considered a reasonable set of comments. As for your counter arguments, it's worth pointing out that browsing to an "unknown site" is not synonymous with "all such browsing is subject to 0-day exploits", that the highly-publicised cases of devices being infected at the manufacturer are exceedingly rare, and that that the email attachment issue, to the extent it's relevant,

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by johannesg ( 664142 )

        I'm not sure why this guy is moderated flamebait, because he certainly has a point. I guess I'm the kind of user he describes, and how many viruses have I seen in the last 8 or so years? Zero. That's right, none.

        And is this because I don't bother to check? Hardly: I'm running Zone Alarm, SpyBot S&D, and Avira, and I make backups (to USB disk). I even rotate those backup disks to an off-site location (my parents house!). I have all my patches up to date. I watch the lights on my ADSL modem for activity a

      • by tmk ( 712144 )

        Your statements might have been nearly true some years ago, but the world is not as simple anymore.

        If the informed user does not run software that is exploited, he does not run any software at all. There are always some bugs that are actively used to compromise systems. You acknowledge the gap between the time a exploit is found and the patch being made. But you seem to believe that every vulnerability is at once public knowledge.

        AV software is not only to protect systems from being compromised, the identif

      • Uh, vector #1 includes basic Windows networking.

        Seriously, take an XP box and plug it directly into a home cable/ADSL modem.

        About a year and a half back, I did that for maybe a week. I'd kept all the crit updates in there, and yet the AV software would pop up every few hours announcing that a new gift had arrived on the PC. Installed a third-party firewall, and then put the thing behind a router/hardware firewall.

        Malware evolves rapidly, and we as individuals can't spend as much time combating it as the
      • I concour, completely.
        I've not used AV software for the last 6 years, and have never had so much as a spyware infection.

        However, I'm disciplined in my surfing habits. Spend 5 minutes watching others surfing, clicking 'Allow ActiveX Control' as fast as they can, and trawling torrent sites, and you know exactly why some people need AV.

        • by Dunbal ( 464142 )

          I've not used AV software for the last 6 years, and have never had so much as a spyware infection.

                How do you know you're not infected if you've never used the software?

                I've had a couple surprises myself over the years. But then again I have kids.

          • I've kept a subscription to Webroot Spysweeper, and will do a scan if the system ever feels sluggish :)

      • by Freggy ( 825249 )

        You do not need AV software.

        This nonsense if you are using Windows. Several years ago, when I was still using Windows, I received an executable file, developed by a friend for a computer science course. My anti-virus alerted me that the file had been infected. My friend was not even aware of this infection on his system, and I surely would be infected too if I did not have an anti-virus program. The file was coming from a friend who's an advanced computer user. The file was a self-written program, and I

        • And are you sure that it wasn't just a false positive? I've triggered a few of those myself over the years - and no, I did not have an infection. The problem with huristics and/or statistical analysis is that some things WILL fall outside the bell curve, or be incoreectly classified. That's just reality.
      • True this minute. However it was not true when the bagel worm and others were infecting everything they could find through open ports. It was not true when the spectacular stupidity of allowing arbitrary code inside images to run was a feature inside the entire Microsoft software range. While a firewall can protect you against the first it is instances similar to the second that can not be dealt with unless you have third party software to do so. We have a shambolic heap of MSDOS stuck to a incomplete V
    • I recently gave up on AVG. It was a nice free option until this version 8. Surely, Grisoft knew this was a big problem for a long time. They're not the only people who thought this approach of extra verification would be a good idea. MCAfee did it, Opera (I think) just linked up with one of the Microsoft spawns that tests everything and drags web use to a crawl. It's as poor an idea as "background" disk defragging which does nothing other than work the drives because it's not possible to sort a drive which is in flux.

      Avast! is frequently recommended as a free anti-virus. BUT...do some research and you'll see it's not that great at catching known junk. ESET does test very well but you only get 30 days of free use. Avir's free version does seem to offer full integration (in-line scanning, auto updates, etc.) which I don't remember being there a few years ago when freeware scanners only worked on-demand. http://www.free-av.com/ [free-av.com] It tests very well, actually, better than AVG and Avast!

      In their defense, if I remember correctly, AVG DID offer free fully integrated inline scanning first with a decent catch rate. Why did it take them so long to comprehend version 8 was a hog and would generate so much anger and resentment? Who knows. Maybe their time has past just line PKZip...

      • Heh...I just realized the word "hog" for AVG 8 is pretty funny given they used to have a pig character to illustrate the bad stuff they would filter.

    • Yes, but it seems less appropriate for low end machines than the old 7.5 version. In particular, it seems to spike the CPU usage much more.

      Had a couple of BSOD's in pci.sys upgrading from 7.5 and removing 8.0 to try some other av products. 1 in a 100 - I had to re-install XP.

      Tried out Avira, but the resident is a PIG at around 70MB (and you can't slim it down like AVG). So right now I'm using Avast (just the std. provider) and RegProt rather than TeaTimer (from Spybot-SD) to track registry changes. Don

  • by ardle ( 523599 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @04:29AM (#24073361)
    I had already disabled LinkScanner.
    I followed instructions as posted recently here to remove LinkScanner: this resulted in a re-install of AVG (without LinkScanner). The first update this re-install wanted was LinkScanner plus plugins, there was no way I could cancel and just get virus definitions, no point in continuing.
    I have installed Clam. Now I can scan what I want when I want.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2008 @05:47AM (#24073573)

    Users of Zeus Technology's ZXTM could use the following TrafficScript rule to protect themselves from AVG's DDoS attacks:

    if( http.getHeader("Accept-Encoding") == "" &&
            http.getHeader("Referer") == "" )
          $ua = http.getHeader("User-Agent");
          if( $ua == "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1)"||
                  $ua == "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1;1813)"||
                  $ua == "User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1)"||
                  $ua == "User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1;1813)" )

    • If I understand that right, if those strings are unique to AVG, then it would be easy to adapt the script such that it sends a non-malicious copy of the page to the virus scanner.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2008 @06:03AM (#24073599)

    Thing about Whirlpool is that it's a custom CF package developed by the webmaster and it's a thing of beauty. The ugly thing about is that it's hosted on WebCentral.

    WebCentral [webcentral.com.au]... Whirlpool doesn't have to pay any money to WebCentral, they host it for free. The funky thing is that almost nobody on Whirlpool ever recommends WebCentral for webhosting. They recommend all sorts of other companies in Australia, except probably the most vocal one, WebCentral.

    The reason? I've got customers that have PHP and ASP websites with WebCentral and pay $40 a month for a massive 200 MB of storage and 1 GB of transfers. Which is nothing these days. And for that amount of money, you'd think that the sites would at least be quick... think again. They are slow because WebCentral really don't know what they are doing. They've only got IIS and the first access to a website always takes ages for the DLL of the virtual site to start up and do its stuff. All the subsequent accesses are pretty quick. 12 accesses per second for the biggest techie forum in Australia shouldn't be all that much extra and certainly shouldn't bring the server to its knees. Search on Whirlpool hasn't been working most of the time because WebCentral's servers just won't take it. Full-text search will never exist, not as long as it's on WebCentral anyways.

    WebCentral got bought out, not too long ago, by MelbourneIT, a registrar for .au domains, so you'd think that WebCentral had a clue when it came to DNS. They don't. I asked them to set up a new subdomain with a different IP address? What do they do? The redirect mail.something.com.au to point to the new IP address, with the hilarious consequence of a dozen people not being able to get any emails for a few days.

    And then there's the case of the $65 for 2 year domain registration. You'd think that would include DNS hosting, as asiaregistry.com do for $30 for 2 years. MelbourneIT offers a 1-page website for $140 for 2 years. Well, think again. The $65 only cover domain reservation. It means that you register a domain, pay them money, but that's it. They sell you a product that's more than twice as expensive than with a reasonable competitor, but you can't actually do anything with it. No, what you want is 'Domain Parking', there's no way to get DNS hosting apart from that. $240 for 2 years. We've had domain names with AsiaRegistry for years now, and they've been absolutely reliable, more so than WebCentral will ever be.

    I called them about that, they say that the advantage is them being a local business. That's the entire argument. A local business with shit webhosting and crap value. Don't ever do business with WebCentral.

    There's no way I'd ever post this on Whirlpool, because it'd get removed by WebCentral, one way or another, immediately. And there's no way you'll see Simon Wright responding to me, it's like everything is open for discussion on Whirlpool as long as it's on topic, except WebCentral. They do provide hosting for free and can make Simon's life a bit uncomfortable at least if WebCentral is all of a sudden open for discussion.

    • by Now15 ( 9715 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @10:15AM (#24074577) Homepage

      As the owner of Whirlpool, please moderate the parent as uninformed.

      While I'm not in a position to provide an unbiased opinion of WebCentral, they do cater to a very important market -- people who need a premium quality service. If my experience with the $0 service they provide Whirlpool is any indication, WebCentral are not just technically excellent, their support system is outstanding and reactive. I can only imagine how much better they treat the customers who pay them.

      Just because you only want the bargain service, doesn't mean everyone does.

      And the only reason Whirlpool isn't blazing fast, is because we're running with a bunch of WebCentral's spare hardware. We're a community service, not a business.

      Simon Wright

  • by NorQue ( 1000887 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @06:08AM (#24073611)
    ... contains some kind of overflow bug? I guess hundreds of thousands of AVG equiped PCs will get infected instantly?

    A programm that fetches each and every link it comes across *can't* be a very good idea. Certainly a feature invented by people without a security mindset [schneier.com]?
    • All antivirus programs suffer from this problem to various degrees. The on-demand scanners for AV programs scan everything, not just code that will be executed. Furthermore, they often recommend doing periodic system-wide scans which will open all files on the machine. It's quite possible that there's a bug in the scanner that can be exploited simply by storing a file on disk. Thus, if you can get your file fetched via a web browser (e.g. embed it in a .js file or something), you don't even need a browser e

  • by Masa ( 74401 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @06:36AM (#24073703) Journal
    I already switched from AVG to Avast. One thing I noticed, is that under Vista, the "AVG safe search" doesn't get uninstalled from the Internet Explorer. Mind you, I use Firefox, but after uninstalling the AVG, I realized that I haven't checked if the IE also has this piece of software in it. Well, it does, and now I have no idea how to get rid of it without fiddling with the registry. IE doesn't let me delete the component even with Admin privileges. Any ideas how to get rid of it? Google turned up only similar questions but no solution.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      You can disable the safe search plug in pretty easily in IE. Just go to Tools, Internet Options. Take the Program tab, and push the Manage Add-Ons button. Find AVG Safe Search in the list and click it, then select disable. Hit OK, then OK again. Done.
  • by Enleth ( 947766 ) <enleth@enleth.com> on Sunday July 06, 2008 @06:43AM (#24073729) Homepage

    Goddamned sales-speak, full of lies and deception, as always. There was no "issue" to "addres and rectify" after being "brought to attention". Of course they knew it would work like that, they desgined it to. They just thought they would get away with it. The world would be a better place if it were to be criminal to tell such cattledung as an official statement.

  • They will be back. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @06:54AM (#24073775)
    Bad ideas like this one seem to have a life if their own in marketing departments.
  • by catwh0re ( 540371 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @08:30AM (#24074149)
    news just in, whirlpool hit with a new torrent of traffic due to posting on slashdot... mmm irony.
  • AVG 8.0 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShakaUVM ( 157947 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @10:13AM (#24074563) Homepage Journal

    I actually bought AVG 8.0 (been using the free edition for years and felt guilty), then immediately uninstalled it.

    The problem? Crashing my machine left and right. I could reliably crash winamp by opening small files, and other programs acted very very oddly.

    Uninstalled, and the problems went away.

  • by Newer Guy ( 520108 ) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @02:02PM (#24075961)
    I had AVG 7.5 on my wife's computer. It kept bugging me to install AVG 8 by saying there would be no more virus definitions after June 30th. So, I tried to upgrade-THREE TIMES! Every time its installer crashed. I even uninstalled 7.5 and it STILL crashed. Then I went to DSL Reports and read all the complaints about AVG 8.0, so I put Avast! on her computer. It works GREAT!
  • Fasterfox (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nicopa ( 87617 ) <nico.lichtmaier@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Sunday July 06, 2008 @11:31PM (#24079945)

    Was this AVG thing deemed evil? Bad for the internet? Fasterfox it's a very popular Firefox extension that's even worse. Fasterfox downloads every link, not only from a Google search, but from every page you visit. And this thing is offered by Mozilla addons site at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1269 [mozilla.org] (though it still hasn't bee updated for Firefox 3). I hope someone follows this article's example and remove this thing from the Mozilla's site.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972