Sunday, July 06, 2008

switching antivirus software

For a couple years, now, I've been using AVG Free edition. And for the last month or two, they've been pressuring me to upgrade to version 8. When I install new software, I often skim the End User License Agreement. In this case, here's what I turned up in the EULA for AVG Free 8.0:

6. Miscellaneous.

. . .

b. Privacy.

i. You acknowledge that AVG Technologies collects certain information regarding the users of the Software, including certain personally identifiable information. You hereby consent to AVG Technologies' collection and use of such information, and agree that AVG Technologies' collection and use of such information will be governed by AVG Technologies' Privacy Policy, currently published at www.avg.com, as AVG Technologies may revise the same from time to time.

ii. BY PROCEEDING TO INSTALL THE TOOLBAR, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND ACCEPT THAT, UPON ITS INSTALLATION, THE TOOLBAR WILL MODIFY VIA THE SETTINGS OF YOUR BROWSER THE "DNS ERROR PAGE" AND "ERROR 404 PAGE". . . .
I'm not too thrilled with the idea of my antivirus software communicating personally identifiable information back to the manufacturer based on a privacy policy they can change at any time. Based on the language in this agreement, I don't see any restrictions that would prevent them from changing the privacy policy in such a way that they could return any contents of my hard drive that they chose to. I also don't really like the idea of a toolbar redirecting DNS and Error 404 pages. The intent is probably to allow them to redirect to a "we didn't find your web page, but here are several similar pages" search engine that provides revenue to AVG, but (a) they don't make that explicit in the agreement, and (b) I don't know what effect such a redirection would have on Firefox, especially in odd situations like running a search while there's no wireless network connection, something that happens fairly frequently when our wireless cuts out.

Net upshot: I'm giving Avast Free Edition a try, instead. I've been running it on a desktop machine that I use occasionally for games, but this'll be the first time on the laptop I use frequently. The only difficulty I ran into is that Avast doesn't automatically uninstall AVG, so you need to do that manually via Add/Remove Programs (off the Control Panel). Also, Avast has a spinning logo in the tool tray, which is cute (the logo spins while it's doing its thing), but I find the movement distracting. However, the EULA was clean. Now we'll see how the program works.

2 comments:

douchrti said...

I used Avast for years on my XP machines with great results.
Good luck.

WEb said...

I guess, it's good to read the fine print... I've used Clam AntiVirus which is open source, but I don't think it will pickup all the spyware. Mostly a Mac user, but otherwise using Symantec AntiVirus on my Windows machine. Also by using virtual machines (VMware) comes in handy for easily restoring a virus-infected computer.