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Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)


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#1 NickAu

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 10:36 PM

 

So Avast has stopped integrating the spying extension, but this is about the principle: you should be able to trust your antivirus provider. Why are they adding a feature that spies on your browsing, inserts ads… and all without properly notifying you?

And why, at the same time, are they claiming to stop spyware, even uninstalling other shopping extensions from other vendors, while they were doing the same thing they are supposed to stop?

Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)

 

My Rant.

I gave up trusting Avast a few months ago, And will never trust or recommend that product  again.


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#2 titan1

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 12:03 AM

Well,I always hear such claims against different softwares.Even google was accused of invading privacy.Bitdefender has a antiphising add-on known as traffic light which was accused of invading privacy because it matched the search results with the bitdefender cloud.Even those who uses MSE say the microsoft is spying over MSE users.Even the people panicked on NSA was spying over them,was invading privacy.So what to do?trash all the antivirus/antimalware vendors because they are watching which sites you use,and then surrender to a ransomware?I don't think people should stop yelling "privacy privacy!" .If they don't do terrorist activities,what does it matter if NSA or av vendor is going to watch them?At least they are not going to steal your credit card password or do any harm to your computer.avast! May be accused of adding that safeprice thing on AOS.But it is still good at protecting malware.Don't forget they are giving you free service.So you have to tolerate such small problems.If you are not willing then go with emsisoft or ESET they won't harm privacy and provide best protection.But you will have to pay some money.Your choice.

#3 quietman7

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 06:13 AM

On our test system, the only spyware and crapware that Avast actually detected and removed were the ones that competed with their own shopping extension.

Avast Online Security Extension Added a “Shopping” Component...

The problem lies in the SafePrice component of their Online Security extension, which adds shopping recommendations (ads) as you are browsing around the web...Avast snuck this component in to their browser extensions that have at least 10 million users for the Chrome version alone. And then they enabled it by default.


So it was actually related to avast! SafePrice which is part of avast! Online Security browser extension.

This is nothing new with browser extensions.

Warning: Your Browser Extensions Are Spying On You

This Spying is Hidden Behind EULAs and Privacy Policies

These extensions are “allowed” to engage in this tracking behavior because they “disclose” it on their description page, or at some point in their options panel.


Moral of the story...be careful what extensions and add-ons you use with your browser.
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#4 rp88

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 02:11 PM

"On our test system, the only spyware and crapware that Avast actually detected and removed were the ones that competed with their own shopping extension." That is very scary, and avast somehow managed to do pretty well on antivirus tests despite this.
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#5 Guest_BartCarrey_*

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 04:11 PM

Removing Avast.



#6 quietman7

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 05:51 PM

As I said....be careful what extensions and add-ons you use with your browser including those provided for anti-virus programs.
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#7 rp88

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 12:04 PM

"On our test system, the only spyware and crapware that Avast actually detected and removed were the ones that competed with their own shopping extension." So this means all the protection avast claimed to offer never existed? that they had an antivirus that didn't protect from viruses yet still got high on the results tables at places like avtest. That they were selling an antivirus (and running a free one) which had no ability to protect a user from viruses?
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#8 xXToffeeXx

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 12:21 PM

"On our test system, the only spyware and crapware that Avast actually detected and removed were the ones that competed with their own shopping extension." So this means all the protection avast claimed to offer never existed? that they had an antivirus that didn't protect from viruses yet still got high on the results tables at places like avtest. That they were selling an antivirus (and running a free one) which had no ability to protect a user from viruses?

They were talking about the browser cleanup option, not the antivirus I believe.

 

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Edited by xXToffeeXx, 25 October 2014 - 12:21 PM.

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#9 rp88

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 12:26 PM

oh, i see. Another lessson on why to just use the antivirus from your antivirus company, not all the other extensions, addons and "performance" tools they "recommend".
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#10 xXToffeeXx

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 01:24 PM

oh, i see. Another lessson on why to just use the antivirus from your antivirus company, not all the other extensions, addons and "performance" tools they "recommend".

Another lesson of why you should check what information your antivirus actually sends back to their servers. Most antiviruses will send sensitive information, including a list of websites visited and even personal documents. More information can be found here.
 
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#11 quietman7

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 04:05 PM

The avast! Browser Cleanup Tool is a stand-alone utility that can be use to find/remove unwanted toolbars and plug-ins from your browser. It can be downloaded from the avast store or third-party hosting sites like MajorGeeks, Snapfiles, Softpedia, etc. I have not found it to be very effective.

BTW...Bitdefender Adware Removal Tool is another free stand-alone utility that identifies and removes unwanted adware, browser hijacker, toolbars and other browser add-ons. However, this tool is still a beta version but sounds more promising.
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#12 rp88

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 05:16 PM

So this shameful affair was a matter of a standalone browser extension spying on users and claiming to offer protection while in reality doing nothing, but the standard avast antivirus product appears to be a real antivirus and appears not to spy on users. Nonetheless if an antivirus company is willing to try this sort of thing it makes it hard to trust them on anything at all.
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#13 quietman7

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 05:53 PM

Marketing and promotional strategies are built into the vendor's business model. Bottom line...it's all about generating revenue and finding new and creative ways to do so.

An offer of free anti-virus software is essentially a marketing technique...a way of advertising and enticement to get folks to try a product and if they like it, to purchase the full (or Pro) version which typically provides more features. As such, users may have to deal with occassional pop-ups or nuisance advertising and prompts to upgrade to the paid version.
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#14 frankp316

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Posted 26 October 2014 - 04:24 AM

But don't you think Avast has crossed the line into shady AVG territory? 



#15 quietman7

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Posted 26 October 2014 - 07:46 AM

I have been disappointed with AVG ever since they made a decision in April 2010 to partner with LimeWire and promote the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, a security risk which can make your system susceptible to a smörgåsbord of malware infections, remote attacks, and exposure of personal information.

Since the release of AVG 2011/2012/2013, there have been numerous complaints about issues and conflicts with other security tools like Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware. Read these related discussions:Even MajorGeeks, a popular download hosting site, had issued a Statement on AVG Free 2011 and removed its Editor's Pick listing at that time.

There have been reports of issues with the computer starting properly on 64-bit Windows sytems for which AVG has had to release these fix instructions.

There have also been numerous reported problems with computers after using features like PC Analyzer and PC Tuneup which purport to fix registry errors in order to make the system more stable and various optimizing tools which can make changes to system settings. I do not recommend the routine use of registry cleaners/optimizers as they are extremely powerful applications that can damage the Windows registry by using aggressive cleaning routines. Using registry cleaning tools unnecessarily or incorrectly could lead to disastrous effects on your operating system such as preventing it from booting properly. For routine use, the benefits to your computer are negligible while the potential risks are great.

And finally there have been many user complaints about the lack of adequate AVG Customer Support in addressing issues related to the use of their product.

For these reasons, I no longer recommend AVG as a free alternative anti-virus solution.
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