avg

Popular security provider AVG has announced and released an update for its Family Safety app, which now supports Windows Phone 8. If you've not already used the app before, it's been available on Windows Phone 7 since last year, providing a protective solution for those who have children surfing the web on mobile devices. It's a free app that acts as a web browser, blocking known threats using the AVG Linkscanner technology. Anything relating to violence, drugs, weapons, pornography and more is blocked.

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AVG has taken to their blog to respond to the recent criticism of their Windows Phone 7 security suite. The app has been claimed by 3rd parties to collect and send your GPS information along with any identifying information e.g. email, device make, model, etc. Since the controversy, the app has been temporarily removed from the Marketplace by Microsoft until an investigation is complete.

AVG in their response write a lot but say very little. In short, they state their motivations for entering the WP7 ecosystem--something we don't begrudge them for, even if our security seems "tough enough". They then go on to say they worked with Microsoft on the app, including training, app feedback and suggested changes. Finally they claim that:

  • We do not share or otherwise disclose your data to anyone without your permission.
  • We do not mine your data for patterns.
  • We do not use your data to target ads.
  • We do not access your location data without your permission.

Regarding the scan engine, they have this to say:

"Having the security engines implemented in the product, we believe we can respond to security threats targeting the Windows Phone 7 platform to protect our users, whenever such threats arrive –as we have with Android — and we are committed to continuing to develop this security product to reflect the constantly changing threat landscape."

Fair enough. Honestly, at this point we don't really believe AVG was being malicious here but rather perhaps a little naive. Still, we'll wait for Microsoft to weigh in on the issue before coming to a final conclusion. Read the whole response here.

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Just a quick update to our story yesterday regarding the AVG antivirus app, which is claimed to be spyware by Justin Angel, Rafael Rivera and others. Evidently, the app has been pulled by Microsoft until further notice.

That doesn't mean they've necessarily found anything that violates the Marketplace, but they are erring on the side of caution.  Brandon Watson gave an update via Twitter stating:

"AVG app pulled from marketplace. Doing some investigations, but want functionality certainty. Thanks for headsup."

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Needless to say, AVG has a pretty bad PR problem now to overcome.

via: WPHome; Thanks, Sander G., for the link

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We broke the news the other night about AVG releasing an antivirus suite for Windows Phone. The app seemed harmless enough (and borderline useless to boot), only being able to manually scan photos and music files, while also offering "safe URL" web surfing.

Having a useless app is one thing, having an app that can potentially do some mischievous shenanigans is another. Its the latter that AVG is being accused of. Yes folks, AVG's app for Windows Phone may be spyware--that's irony.

Justin Angel broke down the app, did some analysis on it and found it is improperly using the Geo Location (GeoCoordinateWatcher) to track the phone and send all possible identifying information (phone make, model, your email address, location) onto AVG. For what purpose? Over at Centurion's Blog, he breaks it down to four possible uses:

  • Quality assurance
  • Info is sent to their Android app
  • Geo info is used for location based search
  • Collected data is used for marketing purposes

Whichever the reason, nonee of them benefit you, meaning that this app has gone from questionable value to not-recommended at all. Furthermore, Microsoft's Brandon Watson is taking a look at the app too to see if it violates any of the Marketplace guidelines. Stay tuned...

Source: Justin Angel; via Mobility Digest, Centurion's Blog; image credit @ailon

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AVG has been around for quite awhile and have recently entered the growing mobile space (we hear Android is gangbusters for a/v scanners). They've now released a free "suite" for Windows Phones, combining an earlier product (Safe Search) with an actual virus scanner:

"Free Security Suite from AVG Mobilation – security software for Windows Phone™. Keep your device safe with just one click"

  • Safe Web Surfing - Stay safe from phishing and malware while surfing the web
  • Safe Search - Allowing you search the web avoiding malicious web sites

In addition, the virus scanner portion will scan over your music and images. Surprisingly, the scan is pretty fast though we do have to wonder about other vulnerabilities such as PDFs, docx and of course programs. We imagine though when it comes to the latter, AVG can only do so much within the siloed limitations of the Windows Phone OS. So how much of a threat could there be from music or images? We're not too really to sure but we're more concerned about side-loading XAP files from untrusted sources--something which this app doesn't cover.

Still, for being free, it's not bad. It can update/download new AV definitions and the Safe Search/Web Surfing is not bad if you're worried about going to a malicious site. Worth the download? Perhaps--at 5MB, it sure won't kill your device and giving it once-over (under 30 secs for most of you) may not be a bad idea. Read more at http://www.avgmobilation.com/ and pick the app up here in the Marketplace.

Update: Rafael Rivera has broken down the app to see what exactly it does. As of now, since there are no known threats to WP7, it scans for EICAR (test file) and the word עברית (Hebrew) but has no generics capability, meaning there's very little that this will actually scan for.

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