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AVG: That World of Warcraft hack? RIDDLED with malware

Freebie scanner firm drapes arm 'round defenceless PC, smartphone users

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A new cross-platform security product that covers desktops, smartphones and tablets is likely to be a key area of development for desktop freebie virus-scanner firm AVG during 2013.

AVG is best known for its free anti-virus scanner for Windows PCs, but over the years it has broadened its range to include more functional PC security software suites for consumers as well as paid-for and freebie security products for smartphones.

Separately, AVG released research on Thursday that AVG found 90 per cent of game hacks are infected with malware. World of Warcraft, League of Legends, Runescape, World of Tanks and Minecraft gamers are also targeted by cybercrooks pushing malware posing as game hacks, such as easy access to advanced in-game weaponry and other premium items. It warned punters: "Next time you are sick of grinding on Azeroth and thought about downloading gold hacks to save time or if you’ve been tempted to download the latest title from a torrent or file sharing site to save money, think again."

Free Windows Phone 'Family Safety' scanner

The canny AV firm now appears to be following its users from PC onto mobile. AVG launched a Family Safety mobile application for Microsoft Windows Phone 8 devices on Thursday. The application uses data from AVG’s Linkscanner technology to block blacklisted websites. By using URL filters the suite prevents access to inappropriate content, such as pages featuring violence, drugs or pornography.

The software - aimed at protecting children while they surf the web - was released through the Windows Phone marketplace and comes at no charge - in common with security products from AVG previously only available for Apple devices and Windows Phone 7.5.

John Giametteo, chief operating officer at AVG, said that mobile has become the biggest growth driver for the firm. AVG had 26 million active users on mobile by the end of 2012 out of a total user base of 146 million active users. Giametteo said AVG wanted to give customers a "common user experience" across PC, tablet and smartphone.

One way to deliver this might be through a cross-platform product that offers a mix-and-match approach, so that users would be able to select AVG for Android and PC, or the equivalent product for Apple Mac and iPhone, all through the same portal and myAVG account.

The idea, an extension of existing offers to AVG users to try its latest mobile security products, is still in the early stages of development - and thus subject to change or cancellation. What isn't in doubt is AVG's interest in offering products that defend against the growing wave of Android malware.

Giametteo said that as an open-source platform Android was "particularly susceptible" to malware, while arguing that privacy concerns and safe web browsing were an issue for any smartphone use. Hence AVG's decision to develop mobile security products for iPhones and Windows Phone 8.

Even Android users, who are on the frontline of mobile malfeasance, are often unaware about mobile security and privacy threats, according to Giametteo. ®

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