back to article AVG nukes stalking ads at press of BIG SHINY BUTTON

AVG is adding active “Do Not Track” technology to its security suites in a move designed to give consumers more control over their online privacy. AVG's new Do Not Track icon lets users keep an eye on stalkers... (click to enlarge) The technology – available as a free service pack to AVG's free and paid-for consumer …

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  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    Sounds interesting. Might give it a try on the windows machine at home.

  2. JetSetJim Silver badge
    Windows

    Question from the ignorant?

    How is this different from the Ghostery plugin for FF (apart from being browser independent)? It seems to block all that shite already.

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Question from the ignorant?

      Intriguingly, following the link to their blog and Ghostery blocks no less than 8 tracking sites:

      AddThis (x4)

      Disqus

      Facebook Connect (x2)

      Facebook Social Plugins

      Google +1

      Google Analytics

      LinkedIn Widgets

      Twitter Button

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Question from the ignorant?

        Does Ghostery have any way of making sites still work even if some of the ad / tracking calls are blocked? I blocked Google and Google Analytics, only to find that about a number of sites simply no longer loaded because they were dependent on these third party sites to work. If Ghostery or AVG have a way around that, then they may well be worth a look.

        1. Steve Renouf
          Thumb Down

          Re: Question from the ignorant?

          It depends on whether the webmaster/website coder has made the loading dependent on the cookie being set (which is a pretty naff way of coding IYAM).

    2. Irongut Silver badge

      Re: Question from the ignorant?

      Sounds like it copies Ghostery's functionality exactly so active protection is available already despite what AVG say. I'll be sticking with my little blue Ghost thanks.

      BTW Ghostery is pretty much browser independant itself. It runs on Firefox, SeaMonkey, IE, Chrome, Opera and Safari (OSX & iOS) these days.

    3. Anonymous Vulture
      Thumb Down

      Re: Question from the ignorant?

      1. AVG comes with all sorts of bloated crap in the background

      2. It works about half as well as any other AV suite out there

      3. They blanket you with ads even after you've purchased the software to the point where friends and family regard it as worse than the malware AV popups

      It's a total pile. Ghostery at least works, although I'm waiting for them to come up with something for IE - not everyone in a corporate environment can load whatever they want.

  3. Benjamin 4

    Ad-Block Plus

    Would you not still be better off with something like Ad-Block Plus which removes the adverts entirely. Interestingly it was the registers stupid adverts for office 365 which kept randomly expanding and contracting that forced me to install it in the first place, and I haven't looked bak since.

    1. mike cupcake

      Re: Ad-Block Plus

      The default Adblock lists don't block tracking scripts or social buttons.

    2. Wize

      Re: Ad-Block Plus

      I started to block ads back when adverts started using animated gifs by a few lines in my hosts file. Then they started making them flash with sound, so I moved up to Adblock, still manually adding the ones that annoyed.

      Now its adblock-plus that gets them all automatically for me. Its the ad-men's own fault.

      I would have left the ads alone if they had been text/static images. but make them too annoying and people want to block them.

      But it won't stop all of the tracking.

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Well at least it's an add-on pack

    Perhaps AVG realise they're pushing the limits for bloat and their customers don't want to be forced to upgrade to a Core i7.

    1. Richard 116
      Thumb Up

      Re: Well at least it's an add-on pack

      Indeed. AVG used to be a great alternative to the likes of Norton and McAfee but now for bloat and 'hey I'm here, protecting you and keeping you safe' annoyance it's just as bad as they are.

      1. M Gale

        Re: Well at least it's an add-on pack

        Believe it or not a friend of mine actually likes that. He deliberately keeps the voice announcements on so he knows his kids haven't been arsing about and disabling things to make some "ooh free stuff" malware site work.

        Though granted, I find it annoying as all hell.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OR (personal choice here)

    Adblock, noscript, Cookie disabling, better privacy (and HTTPS everywhere for good measure)

    For a general configuration, use OpenDNS and block ad sites (And analytics sites). This then covers all your devices on the network (regardless of browser or OS)

    1. frank ly

      Re: OR (personal choice here)

      I'd add Request Policy to that list. It prevents web pages even loading anything from outside the main domain. So, it does need tweaking intially to allow some useful stuff to get through.

      I never see Facebook and Twitter sourced buttons anymore, and I don't miss them.

      1. Steven Roper

        @frank ly

        Most definitely it would need tweaking, since a lot of sites these days fetch data from CDNs that aren't part of the primary domain. For example, Youtube won't play videos unless you allow ytimg.com as well as youtube.com.

        You and I might not have a problem with this, but from personal experience I know Johnny Sixpack has issues with it. When I installed Firefox with Adblock and NoScript on my parents' machines, I had to help them quite a bit while they were training NoScript to allow the various CDN domains these sites use.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pardon me, but isn't that a bit rich?

    Coming from an outfit that stiffs you with a pre-ticked install for Yahoo bloody search engine and even more bloody Yahoo Tool bar?

    1. Elmer Phud
      WTF?

      Re: Pardon me, but isn't that a bit rich?

      What, you don't untick the boxes first?

      There's a lot of good free stuff that comes with opt out tick boxes.

      If I don't want Chrome or various toolbars or search defaults then I untick.

      Hardly being 'stiffed' is it?

    2. Wize
      Flame

      Re: Pardon me, but isn't that a bit rich?

      It boils my piss having every bloody program want to install its toolbar. At least the Java update has stopped doing it.

      Yes, its easy to untick, but then you have to wait for that screen to pop up rather than hitting the button to just install the main program.

      And there are all the machines you have to fix for family and friends because they are surfing through a letterbox with all the sodding toolbars installed on their machine.

      Give me a nice big advert with an opt-in click and I'll think about it, but I hate having to use opt-out.

  7. mike cupcake

    Look forward to someone finding time to compare this in detail with Do Not Track +, Ghostery, etc.

    I suspect I'll stick with DNT+ as I've been put off AVG's extra features by the amount of unwanted bloat it tries to lump me with.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wonder about the usefullness..

    As others mentioned; Mozilla (based) browsers have plenty of less intrusive solutions such as AdBlock, NoScript but another option could be to use 2 profiles. You know; in one profile you setup everything basically in a default or slightly strict setting. In your 2nd profile you block the whole kaboodle (no or restricted cookies, partial images, no pop-ups, etc.). This would allow you to use the browser in a 'regular' mode and a 'secured' mode.

    Heck; even MSIE has known something like this for quite a while now; the so called "InPrivate" mode; just press control-shift-p while in the browser. This could be a little more versatile because in this mode cookies will be accepted and treated like normal; but they are only kept in memory. As soon as you close the browser then all of the cookies are gone too.

    Now; I'm sure there are plenty of people who don't know about these options because all they do is merely "use the browser". So for them this could be a useful option I guess. But even then; if you worry about privacy yet don't worry enough to get to know your tools a little better I honestly wonder if merely "securing" the browser will help.

    Its a start, sure, but how do people like that treat e-mail for example? "We need to send this to 5 customers so I'll sent it to 1 and can simply CC the rest". There goes your privacy again.

    1. Steve Renouf
      WTF?

      Re: Wonder about the usefullness..

      ??You mean you don't use the "Private Browsing" function in FF??

  9. BlueGreen

    Ben-Itzhak neglected to mention simple steps like the MVPS hosts file

    Forgetful of him.

    Also slipped his mind, and the article author's, that tracking cookies, if third party which is probably always, can be blocked without any addons.

    Allowing you fine grained control by sites is pure marketing, if a person wants ads + tracking off, they want it off.

    MVPS hosts file can be found here <http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm> and does some malware also. And it's free.

  10. N2

    But

    you dont need it,

    you just install do not track http://www.donottrackplus.com/howitworks.php

    Instead and use whatever AV you have already

    oh and Ad block plus, No Script, etc

    N

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Um,

      If I'm using AdBlock Plus and NoScript, why do I need anything else ?

      1. Steven Roper

        @Pascal

        Because a site that you've set NoScript to allow might one day be compromised. It has happened before and will again.

        Don't get me wrong, I swear by AdBlock and NoScript. But they aren't the be-all-and-end-all of malware protection, they work as an outer pre-emptive blocking layer, while your antivirus/anti-spyware suites are your inner lines of defence for when shit gets past them.

  11. Wile E. Veteran
    Devil

    Doesn't play nicelystall

    Even if it had value, which it doesn't compared to other, simpler solutions, I won't install it because it doesn't work with my daemons. Just fenestrae.

    There is a penguin icon, why not one for Beastie?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Might have to try this out - I want to know about Wifi Guard

    ...in particular if it will protect against Evil Twin / Jasager attacks.

  13. richard 7

    Dropped AVG ages ago :(

    Used to be a great package, then Linkscanner happened. Now a few years on its a bloated pain the @rse and although unlike the yellow guys, it works, its just as slow now.

  14. Ben Rosenthal

    The real question, is AVG still as much use as a chocolate fireguard?

    Every outbreak I've had to deal with for friends and family over the last few years has been riddled with nasties on AVG's watch.

  15. Scott 67
    Childcatcher

    Nope

    Not getting it...still bloated to high heaven.

  16. Hayden Clark Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Cue arms race

    of tracker providers tweaking the methods to evade the active tracker-blockers.

    However, as others have found, many sites are coded to only work with JavaScript enabled, and the scripts that reveal content or follow links actually invoke the tracking/ad-punting functions and check for successful invocation to ensure that you have to be tracked. I'm pretty sure that this is no accident.

    Case in point - if you try to view the Disqus comments on the Daily Telegraph site, you can only do it with skimlinks enabled. Even providing a script surrogate for the "skimlinks()" function doesn't help.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ahead of forthcoming EU legislation

    Heard recently in the news that there is EU legislation on tracking cookies to come into effect. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that AVG has provided a facility to help enforce that.

    1. CD001

      Re: Ahead of forthcoming EU legislation

      Recently? Forthcoming? Have you been living under a rock?

      The EU "no cookie"* law was passed almost a year ago; but the ICO gave companies a year's grace in which to implement it... basically unless you specifically ask the user if you can place cookies FIRST you're not allowed to place cookies (unless they're specifically required for the proper functioning of the site; e.g. for session management, shopping carts and so on).

      It's basically designed to screw over Google Analytics and affiliate programs.

      *technically it's any tracking technology, not just cookies, so it could be user fingerprints built up from HTTP header/browser/IP address information for instance.

    2. Wize

      Re: Ahead of forthcoming EU legislation

      But what stops the companies running it via their out of EU office?

      Or those weird sites you visit? (I mean the ones that you end up on while trying to fix some computer problem)

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Avatar of They
    Flame

    What a crock of !£$%!£%£!$%

    "AVG is adding active “Do Not Track” technology to its security suites in a move designed to give consumers more control over their online privacy."

    But they will sell your details at the drop of a hat according to their website.

    Bloated load of crud I ditched ages ago.

  20. Bradley Hardleigh-Hadderchance
    Thumb Up

    Not a massive fan of AVG either

    But I will give them kudos for their live recovery cd.

    A visitor to someone in the family decided to surf for prawns and infected the machine with the Metropolitan Police virus. Quite nasty in a way as the little chap disables safe mode via a registry tweak - this has to be manually sorted out later.

    I had an older image on the machine and managed to do a file backup via Linux, but I knew it would be extra hassle again to re-install a couple of months stuff. So I had a crack at doing a 'disinfection' rather than a full re-install via image as I would normally do in 90 percent of cases.

    The disabling of safe mode was a right little bugger, and I used about 5 other major av vendors rescue cds (kaspersky, bitdefender etc etc..) - anyway they all failed to catch the offending .exe.

    AVG you done me proud. Slow, but thorough scan - dos interface - but deleted said file and the machine re-booted no problem. It took me about 20-30 hours of work over two days to restore the machine to it's former pristine state, but that is with re-imaging and security updates too.

    I agree with AVG being bloat, but I have to say thanks to them for providing this rescue cd free of charge. Highly recommended.

    Btw, Do Not Track don't do a plug-in for Opera, then again I have Ghostery, AdBlock, NotScript and my hosts file changed via Hosts Expert (MVPS), so I'm not sure how much I really need it.

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