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AVG chokes fake traffic spew

LinkScanner to quit scanning links

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Updated After howls of protest from countless web masters, AVG has promised to quit spewing fake traffic across the internet.

Earlier this year, the Czech-headquartered security company paired its new anti-virus engine, AVG 8, with a real-time malware scanner that vets search engine results before you even click on them. If you search Google for "depressed tigers", for instance, the AVG LinkScanner automatically visits each link that appears on the results page.

Downloaded by more than 20 million people worldwide, the tool has caused considerable traffic spikes on sites large and small, and because it attempts to hide itself behind the user's IP address, web masters are struggling to filter this fake traffic from their log files - if they're even aware it's fake. Meanwhile, some site owners complain the tool is forcing them to pay for extra bandwidth.

But in a recent post to Whirlpool - an Australian tech discussion forum - AVG says that on July 9, it will roll out a new version of the tool that does not pre-scan search results. And a similar message was fired to Daniel Brandt, the man behind protest site AVG Watch.

According to these missives, the paid version of LinkScanner will continue to scan links after users click on them.

Stay tuned for more. LinkScanner has promised us a chat. ®

Update

In a statement over the weekend, AVG said it would push out an updated version of its Search-Shield software that will "only notify users of malicious sites" and will no longer scan every search result. This patch is already available to users of the free version of the software, and will be rolled out to paying customers on July 9. See this article's comments page for further details.

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