AOL launches premium antivirus service

America Online Inc. (AOL) is teaming up with Network Associates Inc. to offer antivirus and firewall protection to AOL subscribers as part of a new premium subscription service.

Network Associates' McAfee VirusScan Online service is now available to AOL subscribers using the Microsoft Corp. Windows operating system and running AOL 7.0 or higher, according to a statement released by the two companies.

For US$2.95 a month, AOL subscribers will receive a copy of the McAfee desktop antivirus software to install on their computer and regular antivirus definition and software updates. The McAfee software will be integrated with a user's AOL account so that upgrades and new virus definitions are retrieved whenever an AOL user logs on, the companies said.

In addition, users will be able to take advantage of the features of the antivirus software to scan hard drives, CD-ROMs and DVDs, or individual files. Users will be able to delete or disinfect corrupted files or quarantine suspicious files, and are not limited to using the McAfee antivirus features for content they view or download using AOL, according to Network Associates and AOL.

AOL Broadband users who subscribe to the new service will receive the McAfee Personal Firewall Express software in addition to the antivirus protection at no extra charge, the companies said.

The new antivirus service is part of a larger effort by AOL to hook its subscribers with new services while stomping out nuisances such as pop-up advertisements, spam e-mail and viruses that degrade users' online experience.

In February the Dulles, Virginia, company announced a premium music download service, MusicNet, as well as a stepped-up campaign to fight spam. The company's recently released AOL 8.0 PLUS software also included e-mail attachment scanning services also using McAfee's VirusScan technology.

AOL is offering the new premium virus protection program to existing subscribers at no cost for a one-month trial.

Customers can sign up for the new service online using AOL. The McAfee software can be downloaded and installed following signup and does not require a separate purchase.

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