The Good AOL Active Virus Shield is free, is based on Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6, and provides hourly updates.
The Bad AOL Active Virus Shield requires an e-mail address, is limited to one year, and lacks the complete protection provided by a paid-for antivirus app.
The Bottom Line For a free antivirus program, we think it's very good, and Kaspersky, through AOL, becomes the first major antivirus vendor to offer a free version of its highly rated product.
AOL Active Virus Shield
AOL has released to the general public a free antivirus program, AOL Active Virus Shield, based on Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6. For a free antivirus program, we think it's very good, and we wish other major antivirus vendors would offer light versions of their products. Kaspersky is well known within the antivirus community as one of the better antivirus apps in terms of catching malware, and in CNET Labs' tests, we found that Kaspersky didn't slow our test PC like Norton AntiVirus, nor did it take as long to scan our entire test hard drive. The same is true with this "lite" version, the second free security application to be offered through AOL. For a look inside, see our AOL Active Virus Shield slide show.
Installation requires that you give AOL your e-mail address; it will in exchange send you an activation code good for a year of product updates. AOL may also send you additional information on other security products yet to be offered. When you download the Active Virus Shield, AOL offers Internet Explorer users an additional toolbar that will show a real-time update on your computer's security status via Active Security Monitor, a password manager, a pop-up blocker, and a link to the Whois domain registration database to find more information on potentially suspicious sites.
While it doesn't match what you get if you'd paid, AOL gives you a much better package than you'd expect for free. Like the free version of Grisoft AVG, AOL Active Virus Shield provides real-time protection against active virus threats, meaning the program constantly scans your system for malware as opposed to waiting until you open an infected file, and it also protects against e-mail viruses. Like the paid antivirus programs, AOL Active Virus Shield can pause its antivirus protection for a predetermined time while installing new software, and it allows you to schedule antivirus scans hourly, daily, or weekly, if you prefer. You also get hourly antivirus signature file updates with the AOL product, which is important because other free antivirus apps, such Grisoft AVG, allow only one daily update. In the middle of a widespread virus attack, when a virus might change its signature frequently to avoid detection, you'll appreciate having AOL Active Virus Shield.
Spotiamp: Spotify's tribute to Winamp
There's no need to lament the loss of Winamp thanks to this touching tribute app made by Spotify.
Will IM ever kick off its shackles?
It's long been time for the instant-messaging walls to come down, says CNET News.com's Charles Cooper. But that's not likely anytime soon.
Windows Live hits the toddler stage
In an interview, Windows Live exec Chris Jones talks about what the 2-year-old is up to and comments on another youngster--Apple's iPhone.
Intel aims to speed Linux gadget development
New site is designed to spur development of OS for improved mobile Web surfing, networking, power management, user interface, more.
Microsoft's latest spin on Web apps
At Mix '07, software giant turns spotlight on Silverlight, its Flash challenger, and opens up about its Web strategy.
At Mashup Camp, geeks plot future of Web
For all their promise of creating cutting-edge applications, mashup creators are pushing the business and legal boundaries of the Web. Photos: Meeting up at Mashup Camp
Vista's last mile
exclusive Behind the scenes at Redmond as Microsoft gets ready to declare the code for the Windows update finished.
Microsoft and the problem of presence
Software giant faces stiff competition in trying to unite e-mail, IM, telephony and Web conferencing.
Trial software trying PC users' patience
More and more PC real estate is up for sale to application vendors, and that can mean a slower box for consumers.
Apple updates Tiger to fix iMac video problem
The Mac maker says that OS 10.4.5 fixes the "video tearing" issue and addresses a number of other problems.
Forget browser wars, prepare for toolbar wars
Potential deal between Google, Dell highlights turf battle over choices PC users have when first booting up.
AOL develops new mobile search feature
Company says search service shrinks Web for all browser-based mobile devices.