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Monday, October 5, 2009

AVG 9 Launches With Smarter and Faster LinkScanner, Free ID Protection Service

avg_logo_oct09.pngThe latest outbreaks of Twitter and Facebook worms have once again shown that while antivirus and malware protection often focuses on dealing with threats once they have already landed on a user's computer, proactive protection is really the way to go on the net. The paid and free versions AVG 9, which launched today, include an enhanced link scanner that can handle shortened URLs and analyze a site in real time.

Other new security features include improved rootkit protection, which is also included in the free version, and 'cloud protection,' which will block phishing sites. The AVG firewall has also gotten an update and now makes most of the obvious decisions for the user. In earlier versions, AVG's firewall would often ask users questions that had pretty obvious answers and, similar to Vista's User Account Control, users would simply get complacent and just click the warning away. Thanks to its 'behavioral technology,' the software can also figure out if a certain program is acting suspiciously, even if the file isn't infected with a known virus.

avg_scanner.pngAVG's CEO J.R. Smith told us last week the the company focused on a number of key issues in this new version: keeping pop-ups down, improving the scanning speed and keeping memory usage to a minimum so that the app would also run well on netbooks. In our own tests, AVG 9 was faster than the previous version, though we can't quite corroborate AVG's claim that the new version scans 50% faster.

Identity Theft Protection

Another interesting new service AVG launched today is its Identity Theft Recovery Unity. A free 800-number for users of the paid and free versions will provide information about identity theft and guide users through the process of restoring their credit scores if they become a victim of identity theft.

Mac Versions?

We also asked AVG if the company planned to release any products for the Mac. While the company doesn't have anything to announce right now, it was interesting to hear that AVG has been talking to Apple about phishing protection on the iPhone - a feature that would only work if Apple gave AVG access to some of the deeper layers of the iPhone OS.

Microsoft, of course, also released its own anti-virus software, Microsoft Security Essentials, a few days ago, though while it's a very capable antivirus package, Security Essentials is still a rather basic product compared to solutions from AVG, Avira, or Symantec.

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