AVG security software – insecure out of the box?

It’s fairly well known at Kamazoy that we’re not a fan of AVG software, so let’s just get that bias out of the way first. We often advise people that yes, you get what you pay for, yes, your computer is probably slow because of the free antivirus, and yes, you should really invest some money in your security, especially if you want your security to actually protect your business from going under just because you caught a virus.

In fact, I once worked quite closely with a managed service provider in Birmingham that provided AVG for its customers and frequently had to deal with virus infections that its customers nevertheless contracted. But anyway.

It gives me great pleasure to reiterate the fact that, by choosing a “free” antivirus product, you will be unnecessarily exposing yourself to even greater risks.

AVG Link Scanner

AVG Link Scanner

As highlighted by IT news website The Register, AVG continues to install its Link Scanner feature by default. That’s the thing that embeds itself into your Google search page and scans the websites that you might want to visit.

In theory, having every page you’re about to visit get scanned for safety sounds like a great idea, but there’s three reasons why it isn’t:

  1. It’s slowing down your computer by scanning sites you’re not going to.
  2. It’s exposing what you’re doing to AVG so that they can get the listings of what’s on your screen.
  3. It’s hammering the websites that you’re not going to go to.

Add to this mix the fact that AVG’s Link Scanner is installing software on your machine that you probably didn’t ask for, that’s another thing that a potential hacker could take advantage of to launch malicious software on your computer, disrupt your business and cost you time and money.

Will Dorman

Will Dorman

There’s also the issue of how AVG makes its money. As shown in this screenshot to the right, AVG looks like it might be bundling less-than-desirable software along with its products, and then using misleading tactics in order to get you to install them. Most people know that they have to click the “Accept” button to install what it is that they want to install, but rarely check what it is that they’re clicking “Accept” to.

It still confuses me why people aren’t prepared to spend money on security. If you were to hire a builder, would you hire the free one or the decent one to make changes for your house? Even if the builder were to put an advert up outside your house saying “free building work” – that wouldn’t carry the cost of running a successful business. So that either means he’s not very good at what he’s doing, or he’s doing something shifty to pick your pocket in other means… doesn’t it?

What to do about it

As people also know, we don’t whine on about a problem and not suggest a solution. So here’s what you should do:

  • Head on over to the ESET Smart Security page on our website
  • See how the software compares to your current provision in terms of size, cost, footprint and features
  • Get a free online scan of your PC to see if ESET Smart Security has found anything that your current antivirus provision has missed
  • If it has, purchase yourself a copy of it and get yourself protected!