2016.0.7294 / 1 December 2015
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows, Windows Phone, Android, iOS, and OS X|
|Type||Security software, antivirus software|
|License||Freeware, proprietary software|
AVG AntiVirus (previously just AVG, abbreviation of Anti-Virus Guard) is a family of anti-virus and Internet security software marketed and developed by Avast Software. It was previously developed by AVG Technologies, a publicly traded Czech company formerly known as Grisoft, that was acquired by Avast in 2016. It is available for Microsoft Windows, Windows Phone, Android, iOS, and OS X.
The brand AVG comes from Grisoft's first product, "Anti-Virus Guard", launched in 1992 in Czechoslovakia. In 1997, the first AVG licenses were sold in Germany and UK. AVG was introduced in the U.S. in 1998.
The AVG Free Edition helped raise awareness of the AVG product line. In 2006, the AVG security package grew to include anti-spyware, as AVG Technologies acquired ewido Networks, an anti-spyware group. That same year, Microsoft announced that AVG components would be available directly within the Windows Vista operating system. AVG Technologies acquired Exploit Prevention Labs (XPL) in December 2007, and incorporated that company's LinkScanner safe search and surf technology into the AVG 8.0 security product range released in March 2008. In January 2009, AVG Technologies acquired Sana Security, a developer of identity theft prevention software. This software was incorporated into the AVG security product range released in March 2009.
Versions for Windows desktop clients
AVG Technologies provides a number of products from the AVG range, suitable for Windows 2000 onwards. In addition to this, AVG Technologies also provides Mac OS X versions of the software. AVG Anti-Virus 9.0 is available in free and commercial editions. AVG 9.0 has identity theft protection through a partnership with Intersections Inc., AVG 9.0 also adds white listing, behavioral protection and cloud operations to their signature-based blocking. The software adds the Resident Shield, firewall, and identity protection modules. The LinkScanner component has been improved to cut phishing threats further. Version 9 was the last version compatible with Windows 2000.
For desktop protection of PC's running Windows, the AVG solutions include:
- AVG Internet Security is a full suite which brings together the AVG Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, LinkScanner, Anti-Rootkit, Web Shield, Security Toolbar, Firewall, Anti-Spam, Identity Protection and System Tools protection components.
- AVG Protection is subscription-based AVG Internet Security product integrated within Zen platform
- AVG Protection FREE is the AVG AntiVirus FREE software integrated within Zen platform
- AVG Identity Protection was a discontinued product providing protection against identity theft and unknown malware threats using behavioral monitoring.
- AVG Anti-Virus Plus Firewall was a discontinued version providing the Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, LinkScanner, Anti-Rootkit, Web Shield, Security Toolbar and Firewall protection components.
- AVG Anti-Spyware was a rebranded version of ewido Anti-Spyware, that was integrated into AVG Anti-Virus as of version 8.0. A free version was also available, having now been merged into AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition
- AVG Anti-Rootkit was a free anti-Rootkit program that was discontinued as of late 2006. Like AVG Anti-Spyware, it has now been merged into AVG Anti-Virus
- AVGADMIN was a discontinued a remote administration tool, which allows the software to be managed centrally on networks.
- AVG AntiVirus provides the Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, LinkScanner, Anti-Rootkit, Web Shield, and Security Toolbar protection components.
- AVG Search a search engine by AVG which provides less risk in internet searching.
- Like other security products, AVG disables Windows Defender.
- AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition provides basic, Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware protection, plus the full AVG LinkScanner safe search and surf technology. There are some limitations with AVG AntiVirus Free Edition compared to the commercial versions of AVG products and other free antivirus. These limitations include:
- Less protection – AVG AntiVirus Free Edition provides the same anti-virus and anti-spyware scanning engine as the commercial product; however, it lacked anti-rootkit protection until 2010. The older 7.5 Free Edition is perfectly capable of finding and disabling rootkits based on signatures, but cannot scan for rootkit-like activity. The 8.5 version of AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition version lacks any anti-rootkit capability. While there is no official protection for files from messaging sources, the Resident Shield component automatically scans files before they are opened or copied.
- Infrequent updates – AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition receives updates via a lower priority service. Priority updating via high-speed servers is only available for the commercial versions of AVG products.
- No telephone or e-mail technical support – There is no telephone or e-mail technical support provided by AVG for users of AVG Free Edition products anywhere in the world. AVG Free Edition users have access to support via the self-help AVG Free Forum.
- Less customization – Scheduling options in AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition are very limited (only one scheduled update per day). However, the AVG Resident Shield configuration allows exclusions. The on-demand/scheduled scanner allows advanced testing options such as heuristics and reporting of password-protected archives reporting. Process priority for on-demand/scheduled scans can be dynamically adjusted over three different configurations.
- No server support – AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition cannot be installed on server operating systems (such as Windows Server 2003), except for AVG 2011 Free Edition, nor can it be used for the scanning of network drives.
- AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is only licensed for home and non-commercial use on a single computer.
AVG Free Edition has previously been responsible for popup ads advertising the non-free versions of AVG Anti-Virus and AVG Internet Security, which claim to provide more comprehensive levels of protection. AVG Anti-Virus 8.5 Free Edition users are now also subject to a daily pop-up advertising campaign for a "recommended upgrade" to AVG Internet Security. A "manager" on the AVG free version forum states that this advertisement appears once per day for one month each year.
AVG paid license version will intermittently display popup ads advertising additional AVG products such as AVG's Quick Tune product. This advertising cannot be disabled.
The AVG license agreement includes a clause (Section 9) authorizing AVG to collect, from your computer, any Non-Personally Identifiable Information they desire and to share it with their business partners anywhere in the world. It also authorizes AVG to track your computer usage.
All versions of the AVG products, excluding AVG Anti-Rootkit Free Edition (now discontinued), are compatible with the 64-bit edition of Windows.
Versions for servers
AVG Technologies also sells AVG anti-virus and Internet security solutions for web/file servers or email servers running Windows.
- AVG Internet Security Business Edition provides centrally controlled protection for workstations and file servers, e-mail server and Microsoft SharePoint server protection, plus e-mail server based anti-spam protection.
- AVG Anti-Virus Business Edition provides centrally controlled anti-virus and anti-spyware protection for workstations and file servers.
- AVG File Server Edition provides anti-virus and anti-spyware protection for file servers.
- AVG E-mail Server Edition provides anti-virus and anti-spyware protection for e-mail servers, plus e-mail server based anti-spam protection.
Antivirus & Protection
- AVG AntiVirus FREE for Android Smartphones
- AVG AntiVirus PRO for Android Smartphones
- AVG AntiVirus FREE for Android Tablets
- AVG AntiVirus PRO for Android Tablets
- AVG Cleaner
- AVG Image Shrinker
- AVG PrivacyFix
- AVG Vault for Android (Discontinued)
- AVG Family Safety
- AVG PrivacyFix
- AVG Safe Browser
- AVG Vault for iOS
A joint project of AVG and Israeli start-up Zbang, Multimi is a free Windows desktop and iPad app for organizing and sharing content between multiple inboxes, social networks, calendars, and media albums.
AVG PC TuneUp
AVG PC TuneUp is an application designed to speed up the computer by removing files that may slow down the operating system and optimizing some of its settings. If a user does not purchase this product when purchasing the anti-virus product, then AVG will intermittently display popup ads to entice one to purchase the product.
AVG Driver Updater
AVG PC Driver Updater is an application designed to scan and easily update outdated device drivers on Windows computers.
AVG features most of the common functions available in modern anti-virus and Internet security programs, including periodic scans, scans of sent and received emails (including adding footers to the emails indicating this), the ability to "repair" some virus-infected files, and a quarantine area ("virus vault") in which infected files are held.
The patent pending LinkScanner technology acquired from Exploit Prevention Labs and built into most AVG products, provides real-time updated protection against exploits and drive-by downloads. LinkScanner includes: Search-Shield – a safe search component that places safety ratings next to each link in Google, Yahoo! and MSN search results; plus Active Surf-Shield – a safe surf component that scans the contents of a web site in real-time to ensure it's safe being opened. Concerns regarding web analytics have made LinkScanner a controversial component (see below "LinkScanner Concerns").
When AVG 8.0 was first released, its LinkScanner safe search feature was shown to cause an increase in traffic on web sites that appear high in search engine results pages. Since LinkScanner disguises the scans as coming from an Internet Explorer 6 browser when it prescans each site listed in the search results, web site usage logs showed incorrect and overinflated site visitor statistics. The prescanning of every link in search results also caused web sites to transfer more data than usual, resulting in higher bandwidth usage for web site operators and slow performance for users. AVG initially said site administrators would be able to filter the LinkScanner traffic out of their site statistics, leaving the problem of excess bandwidth usage still to be solved. Pay-per-click advertising was not affected by the increase in traffic.
AVG Online Shield
AVG Online Shield is a feature, designed to check files and ensure that they are safe. Only then it downloads them on your computer. AVG Online Shield also ensures your safety while you exchange files via instant messenger and VoIP clients like MSN and Yahoo! and ICQ.
In response to complaints, AVG announced that as of 9 July 2008 "Search-Shield will no longer scan each search result online for new exploits, which was causing the spikes that webmasters addressed with us", releasing a new build on that date that applies a local blacklist, then prefetches and scans only those links clicked on by the user.
In September 2015, AVG announced that it would start tracking users for profit, analyzing their data for sale to the advertising industry. This measure received criticism from consumers, the press and security industry, as many users intended to use the software in order to protect themselves from spyware and would not expect the functions of spyware to be "hidden" in security software.
As of 2014, there are numerous reports dating back to 2012 that the AVG SafeGuard Toolbar installs itself without the consent of the user, as a side effect of installing other applications. The toolbar program appears to cause significant RAM issues and can be considered an intrusive potentially unwanted program (PUP). Once installed, the AVG toolbar is virtually impossible to remove. The toolbar uninstaller does not function, instead re-installing the add-on if manually removed. Consequently, many discussions and blog posts have described complex procedures for removal of the AVG toolbar, each with very mixed results.
AVG published lab test results of AVG PC TuneUp. While AVG claim that Microsoft Hardware guidelines were used for proper testing, there are no provable references to such guidelines in the Performance Test Whitepaper. Given that there are no proven records of the Test being verifiable, the results can be considered unfair or fabricated.
In December 2015, the "AVG Web TuneUp" Google Chrome extension (automatically installed with AVG AntiVirus) was revealed to contain multiple critical security vulnerabilities. Most notably, Chrome users' browsing history could be exposed to any website, cookies from any site the user has visited could be read by an attacker, and trivial cross-site scripting (XSS) issues could allow any website to execute arbitrary code (as another domain).
The XSS vulnerability allowed a user's mail from "mail.google.com" to be read by any website, or financial information to be read from the user's online banking site. The AVG team fixed this by only allowing "mysearch.avg.com" and "webtuneup.avg.com" to execute these scripts. Despite this remediation, attackers could leverage any of these attacks if an XSS vulnerability was found on the AVG sites. As of April 2016, Web TuneUp was still not available for download from the AVG website.
AVG Anti-Virus was certified by ICSA Labs. AVG Antivirus Free 2012 was selected as PC Magazine Editors Choice in the free antivirus category. AVG AntiVirus FREE 2013 received a 5 out of 5 star rating on CNET's Download.com. AVG AntiVirus Free has been awarded as one of the best free antivirus of all time. AVG AntiVirus Free 2014 received a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on Download.com. AVG AntiVirus Free 2015 received a 4 out of 5 star rating and the Editor Choice badge of SoftChamp. Bear in mind these are all paid reviews.
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