AOL on Monday launched a new antivirus program called Active Virus Shield for all of its users to access at no cost.
Powered by Internet security solutions titan Kaspersky Lab, Active Virus Shield offers detection technology designed to stop viruses, spyware, malware and Trojans before they attack, as well as real-time scanning of files and e-mail.
The software automatically updates every hour to help users protect themselves from the thousands of new Internet threats created each month. That could save AOL users some grief, considering that 56 percent of participants in a study released last December by the ISP and the National Cyber Security Alliance said they either had no antivirus protection or had not updated it within the last week.
“The consumer PC security experience is long overdue for re-invention. With so many consumers online with inadequate security safeguards, it is time to make things like virus protection a fundamental right, not a risk,” said John McKinley, President of AOL Digital Services.
A Simple Value Proposition
McKinley called Active Virus Shield a key product in AOL’s lineup of free safety and security offerings, which range from free protection and diagnostic tools like Active Security Monitor to all-in-one security services.
“To us, it’s a simple value proposition — AVS is a great free antivirus solution for today’s online households and is one of the most advanced offerings in the market,” McKinley added.
The Kaspersky-powered Active Virus Shield uses a combination of traditional signature-based detection technology with in-depth scanning to protect against a broad range of known and new viruses.
The program also touts real-time file protection to scan individual files, catalogs and disks upon access and has the ability to focus solely on critical areas of the operating system or new and modified files. E-mail protection scans both incoming and outgoing mail.
Once installed, the program regularly notifies users of their current protection status and provides recommendations to handle security threats.
A free Internet Explorer security toolbar accompanies Active Virus Shield to include a real-time update on a computer’s security status via what’s called “Active Security Monitor.” The toolbar also includes a password manager, pop-up blocker, and a link to the Whois domain registration database where users can seek more information about suspicious Web sites.
While more portals are beginning to offer free security tools, Basex CEO and Chief Analyst Jonathan Spira said that free security tools may not be enough for users to solely rely on to protect their computers. The AOL solution is robust, but not all free tools are powered by security heavyweights like Kaspersky.
“It’s nice to have additional virus protection through a portal, but it doesn’t take the place of safe computing, which would include antivirus and anti-spyware tools at a minimum,” Spira told TechNewsWorld. “When you have less sophisticated users, it’s important that they understand the threats and the level of protection needed to protect against them.”