AVG malware scanner accused of bandwidth hogging

By Justin Mann on June 13, 2008, 5:36 PM
When software chews up website bandwidth for reasons other than people actually viewing content, the owners of those sites get a little upset. Many companies understand this, so web-crawlers are often respectful and don't abuse sites when snooping around for information Ė and they also make themselves well known. That's why a recent surge in traffic on some sites had piqued the curiosity of many webmasters. Apparently, a relatively new security tool owned by AVG has been identified as a huge bandwidth hog and a generator of false web traffic statistics.

The software works pretty simply. When someone runs a search through a search engine, it automatically takes the results (perhaps the first 10 results) and visits them, scanning them for malware before the user has a chance to see them. The idea is that it can protect users from malware before they ever even have a chance to visit the site. A good idea on the surface, but it seems that the owners of affected websites aren't as happy with it. The bigger issue at hand is that the AVG software attempts to mask itself as a real user, which can complicate things if trying to filter it out. Bad for the bad guys, but also bad for the good guys.

This is an interesting look at robots on the web today. AVG's stance is that they do what they do in the name of security Ė and are unlikely to change the behavior of their software.

User Comments: 5

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kitty500cat said:
I would imagine that I'm not the only one who dropped AVG after getting fed up with the toolbar and LinkScanner in version 8.0
howzz1854 said:
WHAT!!... what are people complaining about. be glad that it's free!
windmill007 said:
Ya AVG is dead. I have since moved on. Avast doesn't seem that bad. I feel bad for all the people that I turned onto AVG. I should of know they would go the way all these companies do. I even tryed to turn off all the crap in AVG and it stil didn't work very well. I would rather have nothing than have programs that eat away at your system resources. Link scanner....who ever thought of that needs there head examined. First time I saw it I was like WTF has AVG done?!?!
nirkon said:
I have been using AVG for years now, what I liked about it was the speed at which it does things, doesn't slow down my computer, navigation, internet etc... and the AV is good, people say it isn't, but I know from experience!but now.. with AVG 8... it feels heavy and whenever I click on a folder it takes the computer some time because AVG is scanning the folder before I go into it...I think i'm gonna switch to Avast
tmaster said:
Those who do not understand the problem may wake up one morning with your ISP having terminated your account for violation of its abuse rules.This bot visits every site including pay per click links you see on a search page.Take note. Thatís ALL the sites so if your at work and even if you did not visit a porno site your computer did and it will show up on the web logs. Worse yet this bot can not even read error pages so it gives a green check even when web sites block it. Malware sites can just feed it a clean page so its worthless for anything but lamer malware sites.The bot can not remember anything it scans so it visits the same site over and over and over and over again as you change search pages. This forces websites to use bandwidth to serve users that will never even visit the site. The sites can not make money off advertising to cover the bandwidth because you never even visit the site.Users running the software have slower computers and increased bandwidth. Some users have stated they donít care but as more and more users run this malware the webmasters only option is to start tracking the users who do not care and report them for violation of ISP abuse rules.Users running this bot are easy to track as the websites see the computers when they come online and start a google search making your computer a easy target for hackers .Some users have reported that google locked them out with a message that a bot was detected.Other websites may soon detect and block users with messages asking you to uninstall this abusive bot.AVG knows this is a bandwidth hog thatís why they donít serve the bandwidth themselves they want websites to serve up the bandwidth to serve users who are not even our visitors. Its one thing to scan a website as you visit it. Its another to scan a website you are never going top visit. And then hammer it with repeated scans.Users who don't think this extra bandwidth is abuse had better wake up!
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