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March 2, 2009

AVG adds identity theft prevention

Software detects potential ID-stealing malware

By CBR Staff Writer

A recent product acquisition helped trigger an across-the-board upgrade of the AVG business security suite from AVG Technologies, the company probably best known for its free and hugely popular PC anti-virus software.

AVG Identity Protection was the headline feature of a launch today of security software for home and small business users, as a way AVG’s programmes would now prevent PC key-logger malware from siphoning off passwords, bank account details, credit card numbers and the like.

It was the takeover in January of Sana Security that provided AVG with the software algorithms needed to do it. 

Sana developed programmes that can distinguish normal application behaviour from unusual malware-prompted behaviour, by tracking the code paths that develop as desktop and web applications interact with each other. 

Wrapped into the company’s Internet Security suite, the new AVG Identity Protection or IDP system effectively detects malware and system vulnerabilities by checking over applications that follow unexpected paths.

AVG said its product will look for unexplained changes in a PC’s behaviour and prevents loss by triggering an alert or isolating the activity, along with any associated files and configuration changes, into a quarantine area. AVG IDP runs alongside existing anti-virus software.

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Anti-virus alone can’t give users the level of security people need. Computer users need to be confident that when they’re banking and shopping online, they won’t become a victim of identity theft, AVG’s CEO JR Smith said.

Improvements to the small business line also centred on the company’s Exchange Server products, which gain a long-awaited upgrade to centralised anti-spam protection that will make life much easier for those tasked with managing e-mail.

AVG’s free product, which is run by the majority of its 80 million users, also gets a boost with the arrival of Active Safe-Surf.

The vendor said Active Safe-Surf will check the web page behind every link for hidden threats just as a user is about to click on that link.

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