Was Avast Antivirus Spying on Users?
Recently, reports emerged indicating that Avast Antivirus was spying on its users.
The reports indicated that Avast was doing this through its browser extensions. The reports claimed that the main reason for the spying by browser extensions was to sell users’ browsing history to al shadowy corporations. The reason you should be concerned about this is that prolonged spying on your browsing history will soon provide details regarding your identity.
Is this what happened to the reports regarding spying that Avast allegedly did?
If Avast Software spied on users, then their details are probably with the aforementioned shady corporations. The recent reports pointed out that Avast had cleaned their act, thus could not be guilty of spying on users any more. Avast has a clean product that users should never worry about purchasing, downloading and installing to increase the security features on their machines, thus enjoy increased protection against malware, viruses and spyware.
The claims regarding the level of spying that Avast was doing opened up a new line of discussion among users. They now have to consider the level of trust they demonstrate towards different types and makers of antivirus software. A user should feel safe with any antivirus program he uses to provide his machine with ample protection. After all, he already contends with hackers, malware, spyware and viruses on a daily basis to add antivirus programs to the list.
Shopping extensions on browsers are among the most vulnerable to spying and attacks. Antivirus programs such as Avast should be able to protect these extensions to ensure that shoppers do not lose their money and other financial details while shopping online. Avast responded to the claims on its official forum. In the response, Avast made it clear that all its browser extensions are heavily dependent on cloud functionality.
In the response, Avast went ahead to state that gathering URL information is a common practice in the antivirus industry. Avast states that without such practice, detection of malicious activities by viruses and malware would be an impossible task. The reports regarding Avast’s spying tendencies focused on SafePrice, which conducts searches on the Internet to provide users with best prices from trustworthy shopping sites.
Finally, according to Avast, the claims regarding its use of SafePrice to spy on users had no basis. Avast says that all shopping information that users enter through its browser extensions remain anonymous at all times. Avast also clarified that SafePrice was no longer part of its main browser extension. The company moved it to a separate browser extension in July 2014, thus nullifying the claims that it was using SafePrice to spy on users.