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AOL tests security diagnostic tool

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AOL LLC is letting users test a new security tool that analyzes their PCs and home networks and alerts them about gaps that could leave them vulnerable to viruses, worms, spyware and other threats.

The tool, called Active Security Monitor, evaluates the security software and settings on users' PCs and based on that delivers an overall security rating, along with recommendations for improvement, AOL said on Friday on its Beta Central site (http://beta.aol.com/).

AOL developed Active Security Monitor because to properly protect a PC, users need to install, configure and maintain a variety of software programs, such as firewalls, antivirus and antispyware applications, and it can be complicated to keep track of all of them.

"If you don't have the right programs installed and correctly configured, your system is vulnerable to attack. This is where Active Security Monitor comes in," reads the Frequently Asked Questions Web page of the Active Security Monitor beta program (http://beta.aol.com/projects.php?project=activesecurity&loc=5).

Among other things, Active Security Monitor checks antivirus and antispyware programs, firewalls, operating system updates and Web browser settings.

Active Security Monitor can be downloaded for free at http://beta.aol.com/projects.php?project=activesecurity.

AOL didn't immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

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