updated 9/22/2005 3:40:13 PM ET 2005-09-22T19:40:13

America Online Inc. is switching the vendor it uses to protect its Internet access subscribers from spyware and other malicious threats, a move the company says will mean more comprehensive scans.

A tool powered by Computer Associates International Inc.'s technology replaces one using Aluria Software LLC's. 

AOL had been considering the switch before rival EarthLink Inc. announced in August it was purchasing Aluria, AOL spokesman Andrew Weinstein said.

According to Weinstein, AOL's anti-spyware tool will look for 28,000 programs, compared with only a few thousand before.

The time to complete a full weekly scan has been cut in half and won't interfere with other computing tasks, he said.

The new tool will also check the computer's memory every minute for rogue programs already running.

Weinstein said users of the latest AOL software, version 9.0, and those who had separately downloaded the anti-spyware tool will get the new version automatically.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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