On Thursday, Webmasters around the world noticed unusual spikes in traffic. For some smaller sites the sudden surge of Web traffic toward their sites appeared to be almost a denial-of-service attack.
Turns out it was the free version of AVG Antivirus 8.0 just doing its job.
In a statement on Saturday, Grisoft said "We have actively listened to the Webmasters who have brought this to our attention, and as a company we have reacted quickly to solve them." What it did was issue a new build of the popular free program.
What's different in version 8 from previous versions is the inclusion of Linkscanner, a scanner that stops malware components embedded on compromised Web pages. LinkScanner was created by Exploit Prevention Labs and purchased last summer by Grisoft, maker of AVG products.
One feature of LinkScanner, Secure Shield, works by downloading the home page of each site returned in a common Web search then populates the search result page with colored icons indicating the relative safety of those sites. The feature, which has been previously available, apparently didn't scale to the large numbers of AVG free customers. On Monday, Roger Thompson, who developed LinkScanner and is now chief research officer for Grisoft, confessed, "We knew it would create a spike of some sort, but nothing like what happened."