AVG Technologies has introduced AVG Gaming Protection to help avid gamers stay safe while playing online. Because online games can be resource-intensive, the temptation is to turn off security software that takes up processing cycles and slows down play.
AVG Gaming Protection, unlike traditional security software, does not rely on signature files to detect viruses, nor does it monitor (and keep asking questions about) port traffic. Attempting to identify the tens of thousands of new viruses that appear every day can slow gameplay down to a crawl for some AV products – and more importantly, could kill the connection at a vital point in the game.
AVG’s software works in the background, monitoring for interactions between applications on the user’s PC that do not meet accepted standards for legitimate activity.
Inappropriate inter-application activity is frequently an indicator of unauthorized attempts to access privileged information. In the case of online gameplay, this privileged information includes passwords that allow access to games and the virtual treasures a user has amassed through playing the game.
For some years, teams of hackers around the world have dedicated their lives to finding and stealing passwords to the World of Warcraft game; by gaining access to users’ playing accounts, the hackers are able to access and sell virtual treasures for real money in online auction sites. And World of Warcraft is just one of many games targeted by hackers with their own private get-rich-quick schemes.
Users playing free games that are supported by in-game ads are also at risk; hackers have recently begun to randomly spike online ads with zero-day threats, so that even the most innocuous ads could be hiding a deadly payload.
“We originally created this product to combat the tens of thousands of new viruses that appear every day and that anti-virus software alone is unable to keep up with,” says AVG Technologies CEO JR Smith. “However, because of the way the technology works, and the minimal system resources used, it was clear that this would be an ideal solution for gamers. By installing AVG Gaming Protection, players can ensure online security and still enjoy fast, uninterrupted gameplay.”
To be an effective theft device, malware must do certain things that would not be done by a legitimate program. For example, a legitimate program would not attempt to conceal its presence, inject code into another program, or log keystrokes. By looking for this kind of behaviour, AVG Gaming Protection can identify potentially malicious programs and block them before they can cause harm. And unlike signature-based products, Gaming Protection is effective against both known and unknown threats.
AVG’s behavioural analysis technology, which has been developed from the technology offered by Sana Security acquired by AVG in early 2009, detects and deactivates any suspicious activity on a user’s PC before it can cause damage. Unauthorized and unsafe processes are simply shut down. And because all the analysis takes place in the background, in real time, the impact on system performance is minimal.
AVG Gaming Protection can also track attempted malware installation through hijacked processes, which make it more efficient at removing unknown threats, and also deals with malware that copies itself multiple times across a machine.
“We like to think of AVG Gaming Protection as the nuclear submarine of security software – silent and deadly – to malware, at least,” adds Smith. “We believe it’s the best way for users to protect their hard-earned gaming assets, bar none.”
AVG Gaming Protection alone provides users with targeted basic protection, but AVG recommends running it alongside high performing security software to provide comprehensive protection. The software is compatible with all popular anti-virus and security suite products. Users running AVG Identity Theft Protection or Internet Security products already have this protection as part of their existing security armory.