AOL AV in adware alarm

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Aug 18, 2006

Free product offered by AOL accused of potentially unwanted tactics.

Recently released Active Virus Shield, the Kaspersky-based anti-virus product from web giant AOL, is coming under criticism, with allegations ranging from harbouring adware to actually being spyware.

According to a report from PC World, small print in the EULA attached to the product allows AOL to harvest data from users' machines, bars users from installing ad-blocking software, and reserves the right to send out spam to email addresses required by the sign-up process. The privileges demanded by the EULA would, if put to use, earn the product the label spyware, according to the StopBadware Coalition. AOL has announced that it will be revising the EULA, which has been removed from the download site (here).

'Access to our machines, our data and our email addresses are highly sensitive issues right now,' said John Hawes, Technical Consultant at Virus Bulletin. 'Firms need to be very careful about respecting privacy rights, especially when trying to move into the security arena.'

An optional toolbar included with the package has also been revealed to derive from software labelled as adware by Kaspersky's own products, and is alleged to have security vulnerabilities.

Posted on 18 August 2006 by Virus Bulletin

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