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what does it mean when 'software/program' wants to act as a

by mm724 / January 29, 2009 12:10 PM PST

server. i have avg free 8.0 and once in a while i get messages in essence saying, for example, 'avg update wants to act as a server' and asks me if i want to allow or deny this. i've seen this quite a few times, for google chrome, avg update, etc.

just want to know if i'm ok allowing it to act as a server. what happens when a program/software wants to act as a server.

thanks in advance for any clarification on this. mm724

i have an acer aspire 5520 laptop, running windows vista home premium, 1gb ram. anything i've forgotten, let me know. thanks. mm724

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edit to previous post...
by mm724 / January 29, 2009 12:16 PM PST

sorry, meant to say i have zone alarm and that is sending the msgs about avg update wanting to act as a server. thanks in advance. mm724

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Simply put, when a program "wants to act as a server,"...
by Paul C / January 29, 2009 7:10 PM PST

...it wants to establish two way communication between your PC and somewhere else. In the case of AVG, the program wants you to allow this so that it can automatically download updates. Without that permission, you'll have to manually keep AVG updated.

Lots of software ask for server rights; for example, if you have enabled automatic updates to Windows - a good thing - you have granted the copy of Windows on your PC server rights. What this means in practice is that the program "listens" to a communication port that Zone Alarm leaves open at your request for incoming requests to update the software. After the update is complete, the communication is broken and everything is on standby until the next update.

What you should know is that not all software that requests server rights is innocent. Certain malware, notably trojans, seek server rights to do their nasty work. Before you allow Zone Alarm to grant server rights to any program, it behooves you to know what program is asking. But in the case of AVG - and many other programs - granting server rights is perfectly OK.

Paul

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