We have covered our share of tips and tricks to help keep your system safe, secure and malware-free. Sam has written a couple of times about one of my favorite tools, the excellent Malware Bytes product, which does a tremendous job of cleaning up after a spyware or scareware infection. But wouldn’t it be great to prevent this sort of thing before it happens?
Anti-virus vendor AVG Technologies is hoping that by releasing its LinkScanner technology as a free, standalone product it’ll be able to help protect us from an expanding online threat.
I had the chance to speak with AVG CTO Karel Obluk, who shared some really interesting (and disturbing) information about the shift in the way cyber-criminals are distributing malicious code.
Since most email is protected by ISPs and users are getting smarter about using anti-virus software and firewalls, most malicious code is now distributed by web site visits. A computer can be infected by a so-called “drive-by download” just by visiting an infected site.
Some vital stats via Obluk:
On any given day, some two million web pages are poisoned by hidden threats.
60 percent of malicious web sites appear for less than one day.
Real-time scanning is critical as relying on a database of known URLs isn’t sufficient protection.
AVG Link Scanner isn’t new, but previously you could only get it as part of the AVG Anti-Virus or Internet Security products. You can now add this functionality to your security toolbox, even if you use other security products.
At the heart of the LinkScanner is technology that analyzes web links in real time and determines if they pose a threat. If so, it prevents you from downloading those pages. It also works in conjunction with major search engines to give you a visual indicator on the safety of the links returned in the search results. Green check marks indicate you are safe to click through.
You may remember when AVG 8.0 was released that there were some slow browsing issues reported, related to LinkScanner. Since then, optimizations have been put in place to minimize that side effect, including a fix to resolve an issue with Windows Vista (s msft). I’ve had it installed since they released it, and in two days of normal working I haven’t noticed any perceptible slowdown.
LinkScanner runs on both Windows XP and Vista (32 & 64) and is a free download for non-commercial use.
What do you use to protect your machine from malware?