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AVG Fakes User Agent, Floods the Internet

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the way-to-go-guys dept.

Security 928

Slimy anti-virus provider AVG is spamming the internet with deceptive traffic pretending to be Internet Explorer. Essentially, users of the software automatically pre-crawl search results, which is bad, but they do so with an intentionally generic user agent. This is flooding websites with meaningless traffic (on Slashdot, we're seeing them as like 6% of our page traffic now). Best of all, they change their UA to avoid being filtered by websites who are seeing massive increases in bandwidth from worthless robots.

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F5 IRule (5, Informative)

Precision (1410) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044623)

For anyone that happens to run a site behind an F5 BigIP, here's a nice little IRule to nuke this horrible crap from orbit.

rule IRULE_block_avg-prefetch {
      when HTTP_REQUEST {
        set ::avg_useragents [list \
                "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1)" \
                "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1;1813)" \
                "User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1)" \
                "User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1;1813)" \
        ]

        if { ![HTTP::header exists "Accept-Encoding"] } {
                if { [matchclass [HTTP::header User-Agent] equals $::avg_useragents] } {
                        reject
                }
        }
}

Re:F5 IRule (4, Funny)

rvw (755107) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044771)

Another suggestion I read somewhere else is to redirect all traffic to the AVG website. That will teach them!

In Soviet Googlestan? (0, Offtopic)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044901)

In Soviet Googlestan, agents fake YOU!

Re:F5 IRule (1, Informative)

Snerdley (98439) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045057)

For the record, this is a REALLY bad idea.

It will block all traffic from legitimate IE6 users, and if you have a $20K router, you probably don't want to do that.

If you read the links in the article (and some comments further down), there are things you can do to block this, including blocking requests with these UAs that also have odd or missing headers, cookies, etc.

Re:F5 IRule (0)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045135)

I think if you check, those user agent strings are unique to AVG.

Re:F5 IRule (0, Troll)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045157)

Can anyone please tell me why we need to support IE6?

Re:F5 IRule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24045059)

I find it hilarious that they prefix the user-agent with "User-Agent: ". It's like they want it to be blocked. Anyway, that POS bot has a broken parser and keeps seeing URLs which are not actually there. The incompetence at that AVG outfit is staggering.

One Word (4, Informative)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044637)

Avira.

Re:One Word (3, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044913)

When the AVG Free forced upgrade came out, I went in search of another antivirus software product and picked Avira too, but it also seems to enjoy popping up useless dialog boxes, more so than even AVG ever did.

Is there a good AV software package that is free and up to date and doesn't suck ass?

Re:One Word (4, Informative)

TheLinuxSRC (683475) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045035)

I don't use windows on the desktop so I cannot really comment, however I do administer some Linux mail relays that use ClamAV with extremely good results.

I mention this because there is a windows client that uses the same FOSS engine -- ClamWin [clamwin.com] .

Re:One Word (0, Troll)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045179)

Are you really so strapped for cash that you can't fork over $60 for top of the line AV [eset.com] ? Renewals are $40. This is pretty basic, absolutely essential stuff we're talking about, here, and $60 really isn't too much to ask if you're employed. (I understand if you're still a student.)

How do you really feel? (5, Insightful)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044651)

Why don't you tell us how you really feel about AVG?

Re:How do you really feel? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24044717)

Ok. It's run by Jews in a secret conspiracy to take over the World using sharks with frickin' lasers and gorgeous fembots with a penchant for evil.

Re:How do you really feel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24045091)

imagine a beowulf cluster of them

I discovered this the hard way (5, Interesting)

brunascle (994197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044653)

A couple months ago, a random article on my company's site got around 20 times the number of hits that the top story of the day should be getting. I checked the logs, and saw legit-looking IE user agents, but they didnt look normal. None of them had any cookies, and none of them were downloading the CSS or image files that they should have been. The IP addresses were from all around the world. WTF?

I found out that Google was doing one of its things where it changes the google logo for some special occasion, and it links to a search. That article was on the first page of the results.

I did a search for the exact user agent and discovered it was AVG. When you go to a Google search, AVG downloads each result looking for malware. Hooray for falsified user agents.

Though, I suspect the reason they use a legit-looking IE user agent is because malware sites could sniff the AVG user agent and serve up an innocent page for them, and malware for everyone else.

Re:I discovered this the hard way (4, Insightful)

jsailor (255868) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044795)

I did the same and for the same reasons.
Not sure how this practice justified the poster calling them slimey.
I've been relatively happy with AVG. Perhaps, someone could elaborate on how they are slimey. This appears to be an attempt to protect people.

Re:I discovered this the hard way (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044877)

Perhaps, someone could elaborate on how they are slimey. This appears to be an attempt to protect people.

Ok, think of the /. effect. Now take that on almost any website who's servers aren't as strong. This is basically a huge DDoS attack on many websites by AVG that has a reason behind it. But it is still a DDoS attack.

Re:I discovered this the hard way (4, Insightful)

Clover_Kicker (20761) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044935)

They might be dumb instead of slimy...

Re:I discovered this the hard way (2, Insightful)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045009)

I could agree with it being called a DDoS attack if the intent was to actually deny service. It's not--the intent is to index pages for malware as part of their version of McAffey's SiteAdvisor.

If one wants to call such a thing a DDoS attack, then one must also condemn Google every time they index the website.

Re:I discovered this the hard way (2, Insightful)

initdeep (1073290) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045045)

not really.

in order to "cause" the "attack" the website must come up in a search.

all this does is "pre-crawl" the pages in a search result to look for malware.

so unless everyone is searching google for the same thing, it really doesn't do a ton.

unless of course you run some pos server and have somehow gotten your result for whatever to be top ranked and of course it's a popular search string.

but then, i would blame the company, not avg, since they've gone to the trouble to probably cause this themselves.

Re:I discovered this the hard way (1, Insightful)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045149)

Perhaps, someone could elaborate on how they are slimey. This appears to be an attempt to protect people.

Yes, it's a very well-intentioned DDoS attack.

Re:I discovered this the hard way (2, Funny)

whencanistop (1224156) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044997)

and none of them were downloading the CSS or image files that they should have been.

So they don't load anything that could possibly install a virus on your computer when doing these checks?

Sounds to me like this is a bit of really useless functionality that will just eat up your bandwidth.

Thanks AVG. You've just confirmed to me that all antivirus software is pants.

Slashdot Justice (1)

mrbcs (737902) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044665)

Can we not link this from here, Fark and Digg and maybe give them some of their own medicine?

This is sleazy, too bad they have a good free antivirus.

Re:Slashdot Justice (2, Interesting)

Billhead (842510) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044945)

Except that it's not good.
That is, of course, unless you consider it deleting legitimate programs for being "Generic Trojans" a good thing.

Re:Slashdot Justice (1)

initdeep (1073290) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045073)

i find it to be very good.

and it has far fewer false positives in testing than some of the "top end" programs you pay for.

I turned it off (5, Informative)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044669)

I use AVG on a couple machines. I didn't really think about the traffic tracking piece of this when I saw it working, I just thought about it slowing me down, increasing bandwidth use, etc. and I turned it off.

I know most people don't mess with defaults - and I'm not defending them as far as the agent thing and all that - but it was easy to do.

On the negative side my avg icon in the systray has a big exclamation over it like something is really wrong - when I know it's just because I turned off a piece of functionality I don't want to use.

Re:I turned it off (5, Informative)

funfail (970288) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044803)

If you are using Firefox, just disable the AVG addon within Firefox addon manager. You won't get the big exclamation mark.

Re:I turned it off (5, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044805)

There is a solution to the exclamation:

http://grandstreamdreams.blogspot.com/2008/04/taming-avg-free-version-8.html [blogspot.com]

In short, run "avg_free_stf_*.exe /REMOVE_FEATURE fea_AVG_SafeSurf /REMOVE_FEATURE fea_AVG_SafeSearch" from a cmd box or the run box.

Sort of a ridiculous contortion to get to an option that should be more available, but it works.

Re:I turned it off (1)

hansonc (127888) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044827)

I turned it off too but the stupid exclamation point annoyed me more than the stupid check marks on Google searches.

Now that I know what they're doing though I'll shut it off again.

Re:I turned it off (1)

The Gaytriot (1254048) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045129)

I remember those AVG check marks showing up on my google searches as well. However, when I upgraded to Firefox 3 the plugin was not compatible and I didn't bother updating it.

Re:I turned it off (1, Insightful)

initdeep (1073290) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044839)

if you google it, you can install with command line switches to not even install this part of the program.

and thus you dont need to disable it, and thus you dont get the "somethings wrong" icon (which i just autohide anyway).

and as to AVG being slimey, get real.

The SLIMEY bastards in the anti-malware, anti-virus world are symantec and macafee.

both install horribly bloated piles of horse dung which attempt to hijack everything a user does, and prevents themselves from being disabled easily for testing purposes.

AVG provides a product that for the most part is ABSOLUTELY FREE.

thus if you dont like it, dont use it.

and as for the user agent strings, i'd be willing to agree with the poster above about them being legit looking IE strings to prevent possible redirection based on them if they used their own, by malware laden and virus laden sites.

Re:I turned it off (1, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045143)

AVG provides a product that for the most part is ABSOLUTELY FREE.

They're not a non-profit; they give away the base version because they sell more paid versions that way. Considering that "anti virus" software is all snake oil by definition, I think slimy fits. But then, some people still buy rabbit's feet, toss salt over their shoulder, refuse to break a chain letter, flip out if someone opens an umbrella indoors...

Insightful ?????? (5, Insightful)

BasharTeg (71923) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045177)

How exactly do the websites getting slammed with this bullshit traffic "not even install this part of the program" and "if you don't like it don't use it"?

Did you miss this part: (on Slashdot, we're seeing them as like 6% of our page traffic now)

So how does Slashdot "just not use" the AVG product and recover that 6% of their page traffic again?

The complaint is that they are "spamming the internet with deceptive traffic". That's a server/hosting complaint, not a user complaint about some user who can't figure out how to disable that feature.

Kudos on getting a "4 Insightful" for a ridiculously inapplicable and nonsensical response though!

Re:I turned it off (2, Informative)

sbeacom (1225868) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044853)

You can choose when installing AVG under the custom install not to install the search protection at all. Your AVG icon won't show that there's an error and you don't get the ridiculous slow down while searching.

Re:I turned it off (5, Informative)

thundercleese (656445) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044881)

You can install AVG 8 without LinkScanner which returns AVG to it's previous functionality(just anti-virus).

From the FAQ:

If you wish to install AVG 8.0 Free Edition without the LinkScanner component, or uninstall this component from your program, please proceed as follows:

        * Download the AVG 8.0 Free Edition installation package from our website.
        * Run the installation with the parameters /REMOVE_FEATURE fea_AVG_SafeSurf /REMOVE_FEATURE fea_AVG_SafeSearch. One way to achieve this is to:
                    o save the AVG Free installation file directly to disk C:\
                    o open menu Start -> Run
                    o type
                        c:\avg_free_stf_*.exe /REMOVE_FEATURE fea_AVG_SafeSurf /REMOVE_FEATURE fea_AVG_SafeSearch
        * The installation will be started, and AVG will be installed without the LinkScanner component.

Ditto (0, Redundant)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044883)

I did the same thing as it was definitely running slower, and now I too have an exclamation point on my icon. Whoever thought up that part of the software is an idiot.

Hooray (5, Funny)

genner (694963) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044673)

Hooray look at all the hits I'm getting.

ACID (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24044681)

I bet AVG would score higher on ACID than IE...

Oh Boo Hoo (1, Offtopic)

JamieKitson (757690) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044693)

Everybody knows that web stats are worthless. And if people want to keep their bandwidth low they should clean up their sites. I for one welcome our... etc.

Slimey ? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24044707)

please, providing millions of people with an anti-virus for free is not exactly "slimey"
if you want the definition of Slimey see Symantec/Mcafee/MicrosoftOneCare

while this doesnt excuse their behaviour, trying to protect people (a lot of them for free) is not Slimey but insulting them on the front page of Slashdot is

pathetic

Sending the bills to them. (-1)

jriding (1076733) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044709)

This is a great thing. After I send AVG the bill for the excess bandwidth that it has caused me. This would also fall under the "Hacking laws" which states "Unauthorized access" entails approaching, trespassing within, communicating with, storing data in, retrieving data from, or otherwise intercepting and changing computer resources without consent. These laws relate to either or both, or any other actions that interfere with computers, systems, programs or networks."
http://www.ncsl.org/programs/lis/CIP/hacklaw.htm [ncsl.org]
And for any of the websites I run I do not remember giving them permission to access those sites...
Time to post a specific statement on all websites stating that AVG does NOT have consent to access or "visit" these websites.

just my 2 cents

and no IANAL but I play one at home.

Re:Sending the bills to them. (3, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044885)

And for any of the websites I run I do not remember giving them permission to access those sites...

You need explicit permission to access a public website now? Shit! I'd better get offline and write an apology to CmdrTaco - I've been using /. without permission for the best part of a decade!

Time to post a specific statement on all websites stating that AVG does NOT have consent to access or "visit" these websites.

That's a bit like putting up a 'No Trespassing' sign inside your cellar, and expecting it to prevent people coming over your fence.

Re:Sending the bills to them. (5, Insightful)

initdeep (1073290) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044949)

no your not a lawyer, but i'm pretty sure your not smart enough to be one either.

you didn't give them permission to access your publicly available site?
really?
are you sure?
because you know, if you make something publicly available on the public internet, I'm pretty sure by definition, you've therefore given them permission to access it.
Just like everyone else "in the public".

Did you give Google permission?

how about every other search/index site?

as to the "extra bandwidth" since it is by definition, caused by your websites being found via search providers, maybe you should be sending the bill for linking to them and thus causing the "extra bandwidth" to Google/Yahoo/MS and see how far that gets you.

Re:Sending the bills to them. (1, Interesting)

jriding (1076733) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045043)

As I do agree with both of the responses the interesting part is that is how the law is written.
It works just like the IT policies at work. You are not allowed to use work IT for personal.. Everyone uses it from time to time for personal. They only pull out the policy when the want to fire someone and do not have just cause.
Even I think its a stupidly written law, but it is one. And yes as stated in the law you do need permission to access any computer or network. So when you use the internet and the FBI shows up yes they can use this law against you.

interesting isn't it??

Re:Sending the bills to them. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045145)

Stop with the amateur dramatics already, you big girl's blouse.

"as like" (5, Funny)

DaHat (247651) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044721)

> on Slashdot, we're seeing them as like 6% of our page traffic now

Come on Taco... proper English (or at least something seemingly like it) isn't that hard... is 6% exactly, around 6% or really just 'like 6%'

I honestly like, do not recall like the last time I like, saw someone use 'like' in that long standing improper way in like text, it's always like, been for me, like only something a person like, verbalizes.

Re:"as like" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24044799)

I honestly like, do not recall like the last time I like, saw someone use 'like' in that long standing improper way in like text, it's always like, been for me, like only something a person like, verbalizes.

stfu. no one thinks you're smart.

Re:"as like" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24044993)

I do

This is not AVG itself (2, Informative)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044723)

This is not AVG doing this, it is the AVG IE toolbar. And since this is running in the IE context it is debatable if it should not use the IE user agent.

If you use Firefox or disable the toolbar it is a non issue. The issue to me is I can't figure out how to install AVG without this toolbar, or how to remove it.

Re:This is not AVG itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24044817)

Why would an antivirus program have an IE toolbar? I'm confused enough about the need for a yahoo toolbar and a google toolbar (turn that crap off whenever something installs it, I can search well enough from the adress bar, don't need a search box for every individual search engine), but an AVG toolbar?

Re:This is not AVG itself (1)

hansonc (127888) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044873)

It does it in Firefox too.

It runs in Firefox as well (4, Informative)

Animaether (411575) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044931)

LinkScanner, the component they're talking about, works in Firefox as well - so no, using Firefox does not 'keep you safe'.

Nor is this about the users of the thing in the first place - either they like its functionality (security theatre-advance warning blabla) and leave it on, or they don't and they switch it off.

This is about the poor, poor admins who are suddenly seeing bogus traffic and omgosh it's spoofing user agents at that!
*changes his user agent to 'cry more, Taco' in FF and hits F5 .. repeatedly*

(P.S. Not in Firefox 3) (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24045033)

hate replying to myself, but didn't notice this before - it works in FF2, not in FF3.

Disabling it FF-side: Tools > Add-ons > AVG Safe Search > Disable /nokarma-anon

Re:It runs in Firefox as well (1)

initdeep (1073290) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045127)

thats funny.
maybe we should all do that.

Re:This is not AVG itself (1)

ljgshkg (1223086) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044947)

In my memory, there is a checkbox during installation process that asks you if you want to have IE bar or not. Unfortunately, they enabled it by default. So, read before you click next. (Note: I'm using AVG free edition)

Re:This is not AVG itself (2, Informative)

j79zlr (930600) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045069)

You are prompted if you want the toolbar during installation. That is not the problem. It is the LinkScanner for AVG Safe Search that is causing this. You can also install AVG without it: Instructions [avg.com] . You can also disable the add-on in both Firefox and IE7, I do not know how to disable it in IE6.

Re:This is not AVG itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24045103)

To install AVG without LinkScanner or remove it afterwards, run the setup file with the following switches:

avg_free*.exe /REMOVE_FEATURE fea_AVG_SafeSurf /REMOVE_FEATURE fea_AVG_SafeSearch

Alternative Anti-Virus Software? (4, Interesting)

sjbe (173966) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044725)

So if AVG has turned to the dark side, what free/cheap non-bloatware options are out there worth trusting? I know of a few but it's a little hard to know who to trust.

Seems like every anti-malware software maker these days bloats their software into a 50+MB beast of a package that accomplishes little more than to slow your computer down. I have more trouble with their software than I do with actual mal-ware.

Re:Alternative Anti-Virus Software? (5, Informative)

LMacG (118321) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044791)

Avast.

It's not just for Talk-Like-A-Pirate Day any more!

Re:Alternative Anti-Virus Software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24045137)

avast! is the best AV in my opinion too. I've been using it for years and it works great.

Re:Alternative Anti-Virus Software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24045173)

Yarr! I be agreein' with ye.

Nagware alert! (4, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045185)

avast! antivirus Home Edition is FREE to use but it is necessary to register before the end of the initial 60 day trial period. To register, click here. Following registration you will receive by E-mail a license key valid for a period of 1 year. After you have downloaded and installed the program, the license key must be inserted into it within 60 days. The registration process is very easy, and it will take you only a couple of minutes.

Also Avira has been getting more and more annoying over the years, it's practically adware now.

So now it looks like it's either AVG with the browser plugins removed or MoonAV (which is FOSS):

http://www.moonsecure.com/ [moonsecure.com]

(It used to have a problem where you'd need to remove the Windows service manually after uninstalling, they might have fixed it though.)

Re:Alternative Anti-Virus Software? (1)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044925)

BitDefender is my AV of choice.

Spybot is my anti-malware of choice.

This won't last (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24044737)

With the trend of consumer broadband lines becoming metered (people paying per gb), this sort of stupidity will go the way of the dodo in a hurry

Apache Rewrite Rules! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24044743)

Try this on Apache servers:

#Here we assume certain MSIE 6.0 agents are from linkscanner
#redirect these requests back to avg in the hope they'll see their silliness
Rewritecond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ".*MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1.$" [OR]
Rewritecond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ".*MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1;1813.$"
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} ^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP:Accept-Encoding} ^$
RewriteRule ^.* http://www.avg.com/?LinkScannerSucks [R=307,L]

Brought to you by These guys [pixelbeat.org] .

New (free) antivirus? (1)

Ren.Tamek (898017) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044749)

AVG has become more obnoxious recently than it used to be anyway, but I think this is the straw that broke the camels back for me. Can some nice slashdot user suggest a new (free) antivirus for me to use on my windows box?

Re:New (free) antivirus? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24044933)

AVG has become more obnoxious recently than it used to be anyway, but I think this is the straw that broke the camels back for me. Can some nice slashdot user suggest a new (free) antivirus for me to use on my windows box?

Use Linux and your antivirus paranoia will end.

Re:New (free) antivirus? (3, Informative)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045101)

I've been using Avast! Home Edition [avast.com] for a while now, no complaints.

My ex wife.... (5, Funny)

WwWonka (545303) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044753)

....used to fake user agents all the time. As a man I thought I was always properly connecting to her internet portal. guess not.

Re:My ex wife.... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24044995)

....used to fake user agents all the time.

You mean she called out other browsers' names during sex? Weird.

Once good (5, Informative)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044757)

AVG was once a good product. Then, it got bloated and started eating up kernel memory voraciously. It was impossible to play games with it running in the background, especially Crysis (skip the jokes, my system could handle it maxed once I replaced AVG with Avast!). Now, with this development, I'll be sure to replace AVG with Avast! on all of my machines, not just my gaming one.

Re:Once good (1)

Ken D (100098) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044871)

AVG began pissing me off when it kept insisting on not running after an update unless I rebooted.
I just booted the machine, I'm not rebooting just because you have an update.

Re:Once good (1)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044905)

I've experianced this problem with HL2 based games (team fortress) which has mostly lead to me disabling and closing AVG on boot.

Thinking about either avast or avira

Re:Once good (1)

illumin8 (148082) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045029)

AVG was once a good product.

I agree. AVG used to be a very good product. Their free virus scanner worked reasonably well, updated itself automatically, and the price was right. Lately they must have gotten new management because they've gotten really evil.

They started doing the following things that I noticed:

1. Hiding their free product and making it almost impossible to find. When you tried to download the free product, you would repeatedly be "upselled" to their pay version, and had to find the really tiny 6 pt. font at the bottom of the page to actually get the free version.

2. The free product now pops up continuously with banner ads asking you to purchase their pay product.

3. As of June 25th, 2008, it seems that they no longer even offer a free product. This is strange to me because it seems like my free versions are still downloading updates. Can anyone please clarify for me whether the free product still exists or not?

In short, they turned from cool, free AV provider, to spammy, pop-up spewing marketing company in the space of a couple years.

Can anyone recommend another free AV product for those of us stuck on Windows (due to gaming, or for other applications)? Is Avast pretty good?

Thanks in advance.

Re:Once good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24045153)

http://free.avg.com/ww.download-avg-anti-virus-free-edition

The free version is still there.

On the Up and UP. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24044773)

Smiley anti-virus provider? The integrity of Slashdot submissions just keeps going up and up! Nice example Taco.

Slow news day... (3, Informative)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044787)

Must be a slow news day...This story's been around for nearly 2 weeks. AVG will probably keep changing the useragent with every few updates to annoy Admins and stats sites...

DDOS (2, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044801)

With all the readers of Slashdot, I think it would be safe to bet we will see a DDOS of AVG servers.

Hopefully... (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044807)

People will stop using it once they realize it hogs their bandwidth.

Block MSIE? (-1, Flamebait)

ya really (1257084) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044831)

Until I saw it was using a Mozilla UA as well, I was gonna say, is it really a bad thing to just block MSIE 6? It shouldn't be allowed on the net to begin with.

Re:Block MSIE? (2, Informative)

brunascle (994197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045107)

The Mozilla part at the beginning is the standard IE user agent. IE has been falsifying their UA as Mozilla since the beginning, originally because Netscape was the top dog, and Microsoft wanted to make sure that it worked with sites that sniffed the UA only worked with Netscape.

Slimey? (4, Insightful)

Flaystus (887453) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044859)

Is many years I've never heard AVG referred to as "Slimey" I don't think the toolbar is a good idea either but... slimey? AVG is awesome.

Re:Slimey? (2, Interesting)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045027)

Yes, the intentions were good, but flooding webservers with traffic was probably the wrong way to implement this. Personally, I noticed that this particular feature was slowing my browser down significantly - I ended up disabling the plugin in Firefox to fix the issue. This should be optional IMO, not installed by default.

Re:Slimey? (1)

Flaystus (887453) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045125)

An excellent point. I've had no issues with the product and I use the pay version. Standard install minus the firewall and the tool bar because I don't need 'em. 80% of these post are just more examples of nerd rage

Sorry, but no. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24044879)

I wish, however, they would take business needs into account before launching software that makes life even more difficult for the people trying to do the analytics

AVG is for the consumer. I want them to keep my machine free of bullshit. And we all know there's tons of bullshit out there. And with AVG, I'm becoming a little less paranoid with websites, but I'm still giving all of them bogus information because I trust no website with any of my information. Sorry webmasters and site owners, as far as this web surfer and consumer with the money that you want is concerned, you are all crooks out to plant something on my machine, grab my email address to spam me, and possibly do something I've never heard of - unless proven otherwise.

Don't like it? Tough shit! It's the cost of doing business. So suck it up and just shut up and do your jobs and work around this "problem".

payback (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044923)

(on Slashdot, we're seeing them as like 6% of our page traffic now).

Not so fun when it happens to you, eh?

Re:payback (5, Informative)

jamie (78724) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045131)

It's not really the load -- it's throwing off our internal metrics so we don't know what readers are actually interested in. We like numbers, and messing with our stats annoys us.

Thank you, version 8, NOT (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044959)

This is easily the worst feature of the new AVG Version 8. Not only does it flood the net with bogus traffic, but the load on the user's PC can grind things to a halt. I deactivated that feature, and now AVG constantly alerts me that I'm in danger because not all aspects of AVG are functioning... The Horror!

HOWTO install AVG without Search Crawling (5, Informative)

bheer (633842) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044961)

You can actually install AVG 8 without the 'Safe Search' feature that crawls websites (it's essentially a BHO/Firefox extension). Even if you already have AVG 8, you can uninstall it and reinstall:

At a Command Prompt window, type
c:\downloads\avg_free_stf_xxxxxxxxxx.exe /REMOVE_FEATURE fea_AVG_SafeSurf /REMOVE_FEATURE fea_AVG_SafeSearch

where c:\downloads\avg_free_stf_xxxxxxxxxx.exe is the full path of your AVG 8 installer.

AVG 8 is dog slow (5, Informative)

street struttin' (1249972) | more than 6 years ago | (#24044975)

Has anyone else noticed that AVG 8 is also DOG SLOW on their PC? My computer is from 2001 and ran fine with 7.5, but 8.0 is unusably slow. Every time an application is opened it takes forever for AVG to scan it and let the app open. This combined with this linkscanner bullcrap has caused me to switch. I doubt I'll ever go back.

Not only that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24044983)

...but it screws up the <base> tag parsing, hogging servers with garbage requests such as ...someserver.com/somepage?id=1/scripts/scripts/scripts/...(scripts/)+somejavascript.js

If it stays around (1)

porkface (562081) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045041)

They're trying to do an honest service to their anti-virus users, and if they could truly masquerade as real users it might work.

So far however, it's trivial for the bad guys to work around their efforts.

If they could make it work right, it might make sense for some sort of pseudo-protocol addition where each AVG client notifies a site AFTER a series of visits that X number of visits that day were of the fake variety.

AVG (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045075)

Will someone tell me why AVG is "slimy", and what I should use instead of it that is also free?

Return the love! (2, Insightful)

ohell (821700) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045095)

Well, I submitted this 3 days ago but I guess CmdrTaco wanted to write an original post. One of the suggestions I had: if you have AVG 8 installed on your machine, why don't you search this [google.com] a few times, so AVG can taste their own medicine:

WTF. (1)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045119)

Seems that for a company that makes its living from the net deciding to piss off web masters, website and (in the end) users is one slightly strange business tactic. In this field people have long memories and this stink will hand around.

What if all the websites decided to post up a warning like "Hello Visitor, we detect that you are using AVG - were you aware that this program is known to cause problems like this, and this and that you can find freeware with almost all the same functionality here, here and here".

Of course AVG could simply attempt to block that kind of traffic, but they are treading on thin ice here. If the net community as a whole decided it would be better off without such crummy tactics I'd bet there are numerous ways they could hurt AVG for this.

Grisoft dropped the ball with AVG v8.0 (5, Informative)

GogglesPisano (199483) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045121)

I'm a longtime user of AVG. Version 7 was reasonably lightweight, effective and (most importantly to me) unobtrusive.

Unfortunately, version 8 is a different story. After Grisoft forced me to upgrade in May, suddenly AVG became a nagging resource hog. Nightly scan times rocketed from about an hour to over six hours - a scheduled scan that started at 2am would still be going at 8:30am. I have been able to reduce this time somewhat by changing the scan settings (e.g., don't scan inside compressed archives), but it's still slow.

Most annoyingly, their new "LinkScanner" and "SafeSurf" features slowed my browser to a crawl. I didn't want these, since I already use FireFox with the AdBlock and NoScript extensions. I tried to simply disable LinkScanner, but then AVG constantly bothered me with nagging warnings that my computer "was not fully protected". After a little digging, I found that it was possible to uninstall the feature entirely with the following command:

avg_free_stf_xxxx.exe /REMOVE_FEATURE fea_AVG_SafeSurf /REMOVE_FEATURE fea_AVG_SafeSearch

(Substitute "avg_free_stf_xxxx.exe" in the above command with the name of your setup file.)

This improved my browser performance, and eliminated the warnings.

I'm still (grudgingly) using AVG, but I will switch if/when I find a better alternative.

Used AVG for 4+ years (1)

ddbsa (526686) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045139)

And never had any virus, privacy, stability issues...

Not a single issue in 4 years...

Hopefully, they will stop whatever shait they are doing now so I can keep them in high regard.

You'd have to fake the user agent (4, Insightful)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045155)

When probing for sites that serve malware, wouldn't you have to make the probe look identical to a legitimate user?

Otherwise the malicious site could just serve innocuous content to the probe and malware to everyone else.

Awwww, so sorry for all the webmasters (0, Troll)

gorehog (534288) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045163)

Actually, I am sorry for the webmasters. They have to deal with this. OTOH it IS part of the job.

I don't know what you folks expected. The web is infested with all sorts of malicious code. Are users not supposed to protect themselves in the interests of the website? After we manage to make the browsing experience safe for "teh n00b" then this won't be a problem. So all we have to do is get all webpages standardized, sanitized, and secured. That includes all the people using IE.

Another option is that we could stop promoting the Internet as a good tool for consumer level financial transactions. Then there won't be ANY need for privacy and security. Then we might not have jobs either.

It is yellow journalism to report this story in this way. Another way to put it would be "AVG forces issue of PC Security versus bandwidth usage." Then they look like heroes instead of villains. You're just putting spin on the issue because this is affecting your cost/income ratio.

Since AVG is producing something that helps end-users do you really want to be seen as a promoter of the problem? Since the problem of malware sites is not going to go away and since AVG is effective more antivirus software will start using these techniques. Unless you have something better to suggest?

Frankly, as an end user, I don't give a damn about your costs and stats. I don't care about it for amazon, ebay, myspace, or paypal. I do care that if I follow a link to an unsavory site that I am protected.

Here is another question. Do you want a userbase that is populated by malware infected computers? Is that preferable to figuring out a way to work with AVG new technique?

Dont throw your users under the train. They have a right to their security and peace of mind.

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