We have recently received reports from our Copilot users who use AVG anti-virus software that the Copilot helper and host executables are being flagged as Trojan horse programs by AVG Resident Shield.
We have contacted AVG to request that this behavior be corrected. In the meantime, the workaround is to shut off the anti-virus software temporarily, or to override the flag so as to continue downloading. (Not being AVG users ourselves, we don't have exact steps here. Sorry!)
Copilot has two innate attributes that make it vulnerable to false positives from virus scanning software:
- Your invitation code is compiled into the Copilot executable, which makes it unique.
- Copilot uses VNC software to allow you to take control over someone else's computer (which is sort of the whole point of Copilot).
Both of these attributes are essential to the smooth Copilot experience which keeps people coming back. We cannot change them.
Some anti-virus programs, like Norton Insight, use a social model to determine safety. If something has been downloaded by a million people, it's probably safe. If it's never been seen before, it's suspect. Because of the compiled invitation code, our helper and host apps appear to have never been seen before.
Though we don't have confirmation from AVG as to why we're being flagged, we suspect it's because Copilot uses VNC, which allows you to take over someone else's computer, which is a good thing if you mean it, and a bad thing if you don't.
To make up for this, our executables are digitally signed, which means they can be traced back to Fog Creek Software. In a perfect world, this would be enough to be trusted by all anti-virus programs, but sometimes, as we're seeing now, it's not.
Sorry for the trouble.