AVG Linkscanner was first added to AVG products with version 8.0 of AVG's yearly updated lineup of security products and was in addition offered as a standalone product as well.
The technology was acquired by AVG from Exploit Prevention Labs to strengthen the protection of AVG users by scanning links and web pages for malicious contents.
It worked in this regard much like the popular Web of Trust, by displaying ratings next to links indicating whether a link is safe to click on or not. Clicks on dangerous links were intercepted and a warning page was displayed to the user explaining the danger of continuing.
AVG Secure Search is another component of AVG that has been part of AVG products for a while. In AVG Anti-Virus Free 2012 for instance it was offered as an optional component that would make Secure Search the default search provider and install the AVG Security Toolbar for all supported web browsers. At that time, LinkScanner was offered as a component as well.
It appears that AVG has merged the LinkScanner technology with Secure Search, so that one product that covers the functionality of both tools is now offered by AVG instead.
The LinkScanner website displays information about AVG Secure Search only indicating that it is now the name of the combined product. Here you see Secure Search is now offering link ratings and real-time threat prevention on top of the program's toolbar functionality.
During installation of the product you will notice that you can't only select LinkScanner. In fact, LinkScanner is not listed at all in the installer. All you get are options to Express install, which will install all program features to all supported browsers, or Custom Install, where you only get the three options that you see below on the screenshot.
Even worse, you need to select at least one option to continue even if you only want the LinkScanner functionality. Changing the default homepage or search provider are safer bets than installing the more intrusive AVG Security Toolbar. What you also need to know is that a click on next will forcefully kill all open web browser windows without confirmation dialog.
Interestingly enough, even though I have selected AVG Secure Search as my default search provider, the installer somehow did not add the new search engine to Firefox Nightly nor Chrome Canary. It was only integrated into Internet Explorer 9 as the default provider.
I'm not sure if that was the case because I'm using development versions of the browsers, or because I did not select to install the AVG Security Toolbar on the system. Only way to find out: to install the toolbar.
After installing the toolbar and starting my browser again I noticed that all of my browser's history was gone: great. The toolbar was nowhere to be seen, but I found the AVG SiteSafety plugin installed, and searches on search engines displayed the site ratings next to the results.
Secure Search is compatible with Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome only at this point in time. The program certainly has some usability issues: especially the closing of the browser without warning needs to be mentioned here. If you want a less obtrusive alternative, try out Web of Trust instead. (via Techdows)
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