AVG to 'Slam the Online Holiday Scam' With Free Detection of Bogus E-greeting Card Messages

Launches Coalition Campaign to Fight Holiday Hackers and Cyber Attackers with Safe Surfing Tool That Alerts Users to Fake, Fraudulent, or Virally Infected Web Sites

Dec 09, 2008, 08:25 ET from AVG Technologies

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Dec. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- AVG, a global anti-virus and Internet security software provider with over 85 million users in 167 countries, today announced the launch of a public-education campaign designed to alert consumers to the dangers of sending or receiving e-greeting cards loaded with devastating computer viruses and malware. The campaign also provides free AVG software to consumers, arming them with complete online protection throughout the holiday season.

The campaign, entitled "Slam the Online Holiday Scam," (http://www.slamtheonlinescam.com) will educate consumers and small businesses on ways to combat the growing number of cyber-threats posed by hackers who spread viruses disguised as e-greeting cards, e-gift cards and online holiday messages. At the same time, the free software gives Internet users confidence to "click without the threat of a trick" and to send legitimate e-cards to family and friends over the holiday season.

An estimated 500 million e-cards are sent worldwide each year, with the most popular holidays being Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Father's Day. Cyber criminals aiming to spread viruses and other vicious malware are exploiting the increasing popularity of e-cards with links that take unsuspecting recipients to bogus web sites that can infest systems or compromise user identities and personal data.

The growing threat to consumers has prompted law-enforcement agencies such as the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to issue formal alerts around holiday time. For example, the FBI last year warned consumers about expected attacks by hackers sending the "Storm Worm" virus disguised as Valentine e-cards.

"More than ever before, the general public must be on high alert for new e-card threats and online holiday scams, which are increasing both in number and severity," noted J.R. Smith, CEO of AVG. "This campaign is designed to empower computer users. It will give them the tools, tips and techniques to be 'self-secure' and help them protect their friends and family against vicious computer attacks."

"Slam the Online Holiday Scam" will be a multi-faceted program supported by a multi-organization coalition to educate the public on cyber threats. AVG is working to team with law-enforcement and consumer protection agencies, and a wide variety of organizations are expected to participate. Target groups include the National Crime Prevention Council, the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, CyberStreetSmart.org, i-Safe, the National Cyber Security Alliance, the National Consumers League, and Consumers Union.

The coalition partners will promote the program, as well as AVG's 90-day free use of its Internet Security product over the holiday season. The AVG software suite includes LinkScanner technology, which gives real-time protection against malicious sites. LinkScanner is an important weapon against deceitful e-cards as potential victims are stopped from clicking on bad links that contain stealthy, drive-by downloads.

Mr. Smith added, "Over 3.5 million of AVG's customers have come together to form one of the largest 'self-help' online communities on the Internet -- a community that actively exchanges ideas and whose members support each other with advice and troubleshooting. It is our hope that the 'Slam the Online Holiday Scam' campaign will effectively create a new community of computer users who are united against the specific threats posed by fraudulent e-greeting and e-gift cards."

About AVG Technologies

AVG is a global security solutions leader protecting more than 85 million consumers and small business computer users in 167 countries from the ever-growing incidence of web threats, viruses, spam, cyber-scams and hackers on the Internet. Headquartered in Amsterdam, AVG has nearly two decades of experience in combating cyber crime and one of the most advanced laboratories for detecting, pre-empting and combating web-borne threats from around the world. Its free online, downloadable software model allows entry-level users to gain basic anti-virus protection and then to easily and inexpensively upgrade to greater levels of safety and defense in both single and multi-user environments. Nearly 6,000 resellers, partners and distributors team with AVG globally including Amazon.com, CNET, Cisco, Ingram Micro, Play.com, Wal-Mart, and Yahoo!. More information is available at http://www.avg.com.

SOURCE AVG Technologies