AVG Anti-Virus Free 8.0.100 - it's worth upgrading, now!
Given that Firefox 3 beta 5 is still a beta product, which I am using, with Firefox 2 actually uninstalled from my computer, it’s not surprising to find that the LinkScanner feature doesn’t work properly.
It tries to work, but keeps asking for a component to be authorised, and never quite gets there. What I had to do was to go to 'Tools', then 'Add-ons' and disable the plug-in. If you're a Firefox 3 user, you can disable this the first time Firefox 3 starts.
Also - AVG puts a new toolbar into Internet Explorer and Firefox. Because I value my screen real estate, and because the Search-Shield function works without the toolbar being present, I deselected the toolbar in IE7, and would do the same in Firefox.
The toolbar also has a Yahoo search box. Given that I use Googe, and have set my search box in IE7 to Google, with the search box in Firefox already set to Google, it's yet another reason to deselect the toolbar. Keep it if you want it - it wasn't for me.
Now, plenty of other previously Firefox compatible add-ons don’t work with Firefox 3 either, so this is not a big deal right at this very moment, and I’m sure that AVG are working on a compatible add-on as soon as Firefox 3 becomes officially available as a complete, finished product.
So, let’s move on. What is LinkScanner? Well, according to AVG’s own information, it consists of two features, AVG Active Surf-Shield and AVG Search-Shield.
Unfortunately, the AVG Active Surf-Shield is only available in paid versions of AVG 8.0. What it does is to prevent you from “accidentally becoming infected by drive-by downloads and other exploits, ensuring the web pages you visit are safe at the only time that really matters - when you are about to click the link”.
Of course, what I think they meant to say was that it protects you WHEN you click a dodgy link – but as I am using the free version I am, as yet, unable to fully test this out. That said, I would expect it to work as advertised, and it’s a clever tactic to both scare – and encourage – some users into upgrading, something that is eminently worthwhile, but most certainly not compulsory by any means.
What does work – in IE7 and Firefox 2, at least, is the new AVG Search-Shield. When you search the web using Google, Yahoo or the MSN search engines, you get a a real-time safety verdict on all search results, including search ads, with an icon displayed “to show the safety rating for each site.”
These ratings are compiled by AVG themselves, and when performing a test search, in Google, on the term ‘spyware’, all the links – but one – came up with a green tick.
One link came up with two orange exclamation marks, and hovering the mouse over the icon showed that AVG considered the site a risk for malware distribution.
This technology isn’t new – McAfee’s ‘SiteAdvisor’ – which also comes in free and paid versions – has done this for some time, as have other security suites.
But it is the first time that AVG has included it in its own free product, and seeing as so many home users rely on AVG for protection, it’s great to see that they have made the ‘search-shield’ part of the LinkScanner equation a standard part of the AVG Free solution.
So... what is the pop-up that AVG 7.5 users all over the world have been getting in relation to AVG 8.0? Should you click on it, or go to the AVG 8.0 Free download site manually? Please read onto page 3.
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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks, including stints as presenter of Ch 10’s Internet Bright Ideas, Ch 7’s Room for Improvement and tech expert on Ch 9’s Today Show, among many other news and current affairs programs.