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Consumer Products => Avast Free Antivirus / Premium Security (legacy Pro Antivirus, Internet Security, Premier) => Topic started by: R. Hansen on November 18, 2015, 07:39:03 PM

Title: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: R. Hansen on November 18, 2015, 07:39:03 PM
I have installed Avast 11.1.2241 on a system with Windows 10, and just sent a mail with Gmail. I do not have the mail shield installed.

Avast added a sig line to my gmail that it was sent from a "Virus free" computer.

I can only guess that it is the Web Shield that has monitored my online activity and done this, but I can find no option in the Web Shield settings to disable this annoying message. It is very unprofessional, and I do not want it cluttering up my university e-mails.

Where do I go to disable this automatic signature? I am considering uninstalling the web shield if it is going to be this intrusive.
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: DavidR on November 18, 2015, 07:46:04 PM
Currently these settings can only be changed in the Mail Shield - so temporarily install the Mail Shield - change the settings - See https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=179178.msg1268163#msg1268163

The avast team are likely to duplicate the settings in the Mail and Web Shields for those without the Mail Shield installed.

For now it is either as mentioned above or modifying the EmailShield.ini file and the above is probably the least hassle.
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: R. Hansen on November 18, 2015, 08:13:59 PM
Currently these settings can only be changed in the Mail Shield - so temporarily install the Mail Shield - change the settings - See https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=179178.msg1268163#msg1268163

The avast team are likely to duplicate the settings in the Mail and Web Shields for those without the Mail Shield installed.

For now it is either as mentioned above or modifying the EmailShield.ini file and the above is probably the least hassle.

Thanks David. Install/set/uninstall of mail shield worked fine.

The entries in emailshield.ini are:

Code: [Select]
InsertNoteCleanMsgIn=0
InsertNoteCleanMsgOut=0
InsertNoteInfectedMsgIn=0

in the:

Code: [Select]
[EmailScanner]
section.

Hopefully the Avast people will add this to the web shield configuration, as it is an annoyance to have to do installs or edit the .ini file.

Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: jbhowes on November 18, 2015, 10:17:13 PM
I find the practice of adding an advertisement* to our emails without our knowledge or consent to be deeply disturbing in a company that is supposed to be protecting us from such stealth actions in plugins.  My confidence in the ethics of the Avast team is considerably eroded by their resorting to such tactics in their own products.  It's worse that they then make it such a pain to disable.  Come on folks.  Think.  Do you really want this sort of behavior to define your reputation?  Is it worth it to put your name out there where maybe somebody new will see it when doing so peeves so many existing customers and diminishes their trust in your integrity?  If you want your customers to advertise for you in their personal communications, make it an opt-in feature and get their informed consent before you start pretending they are promoting your products of their own free will.

You are associating my name and my reputation with your products.  Furthermore you are violating my privacy and diminishing my security by announcing to the world what products I use to protect myself.  This is unacceptable.

* (Avast may claim that it is a "confidence building notice" or some such crap, but it's really just an ad.  Honestly!)
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: bob3160 on November 19, 2015, 07:26:09 PM
I use Gmail and don't have the Mail-shield installed. I have never seen that message in any of the emails I send.
(I also have a signature that's attached to my emails and don't know if that overrides anything else.)
(http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/screenshots/u/Lh/1447957456958-25327.png)
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: R. Hansen on November 19, 2015, 08:45:11 PM
IDK Bob, it did it on my system.
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: Techknow on November 19, 2015, 09:26:28 PM
I find the practice of adding an advertisement* to our emails without our knowledge or consent to be deeply disturbing in a company that is supposed to be protecting us from such stealth actions in plugins.  My confidence in the ethics of the Avast team is considerably eroded by their resorting to such tactics in their own products.  It's worse that they then make it such a pain to disable.  Come on folks.  Think.  Do you really want this sort of behavior to define your reputation?  Is it worth it to put your name out there where maybe somebody new will see it when doing so peeves so many existing customers and diminishes their trust in your integrity?  If you want your customers to advertise for you in their personal communications, make it an opt-in feature and get their informed consent before you start pretending they are promoting your products of their own free will.

You are associating my name and my reputation with your products.  Furthermore you are violating my privacy and diminishing my security by announcing to the world what products I use to protect myself.  This is unacceptable.

* (Avast may claim that it is a "confidence building notice" or some such crap, but it's really just an ad.  Honestly!)

+1
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: Eddy on November 19, 2015, 09:37:45 PM
-1

- It happened with the users consent.
- It is not a pain to change the setting at all.
- It has nothing to do with a persons privacy at all. No private details are revealed.
- It is not a advertisement, just a simple line saying the mail has been scanned and no malicious things are found in it.

Do not blame the tree while you are the one that drove the car when you hit it.
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: Techknow on November 19, 2015, 09:45:30 PM
-1

- It happened with the users consent.

Clearly people are unaware of this "consent" they provided.  They likely don't even know it's happening.

- It is not a pain to change the setting at all.

Really?  It requires installing a mail module or editing an ini file.  Neither is obvious or well documented.

- It has nothing to do with a persons privacy at all. No private details are revealed.

That is partially correct.  But I think almost everyone can agree that adding unsolicited messages to people's email is a big no-no.

More importantly, it reveals to everyone you email that the computer is protected by Avast.  Now anyone who has a virus that Avast fails to detect can send it to you knowing it won't be detected.

- It is not a advertisement, just a simple line saying the mail has been scanned and no malicious things are found in it.

C'mon.  You know that's not true.  If it was true, the auto-inserted text would not mention Avast by name.  If it looks like an ad, acts like an ad, and quacks like an ad, it's an ad.

Do not blame the tree while you are the one that drove the car when you hit it.

That's silly to mention here.
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: Eddy on November 19, 2015, 10:02:40 PM
Quote
Clearly people are unaware of this "consent" they provided.
They agreed to the EULA. If they don't read it, it is their own fault.
Quote
Really?  It requires installing a mail module or editing an ini file.  Neither is obvious or well documented.
It is explained in the FAQ section of avast's website, in the blog section and many other places. So, yes it is very well documented.
Quote
But I think almost everyone can agree that adding unsolicited messages to people's email is a big no-no.
Unsolicited? That depends on how you look at it. Fact is that avast has full right to do it and that the user can enable/disable it as (s)he likes.
Quote
If it was true, the auto-inserted text would not mention Avast by name.
Ok, let change the text avast is adding to "This message was send from a system with protection software of which we will not reveal the name" Now that sounds really trustful  :(
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: Techknow on November 19, 2015, 10:09:03 PM
They agreed to the EULA. If they don't read it, it is their own fault.

If a company does inappropriate things and hides behind a lengthy EULA filled with legaleze, that's just sleazy.  It's well known that almost no one actually reads and understands EULA's.

Out of curiosity, where in the EULA does it say they can change the outgoing internet packets for every one of their users?  If that's in the EULA, then I think the news media should be made aware of this fact.

It is explained in the FAQ section of avast's website, in the blog section and many other places. So, yes it is very well documented.

That's nonsense.  Of the hundreds of millions of Avast users, less than 1% ever go to the Avast website or read their blog.  Many people don't even bother with these forums because of several over-posters who will irrationally defend anything that Avast does.

Unsolicited? That depends on how you look at it. Fact is that avast has full right to do it and that the user can enable/disable it as (s)he likes.

Oh dear.

Ok, let change the text avast is adding to "This message was send from a system with protection software of which we will not reveal the name" Now that sounds really trustful  :(

Or how about just don't insert unsolicited messages?  Should every browser insert a message stating: "This was sent using Browser XYZ, which is a very safe browser."?
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: Eddy on November 19, 2015, 10:15:41 PM
And how do you think the avast software can protect your system if it doesn't know/see what email client you are using?

What avast collects and what they are doing with it is clearly explained on their website.
To know it, only thing you have to do is read it and understand it.

And guess what.. It is public !
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: Techknow on November 19, 2015, 10:32:01 PM
I have installed Avast 11.1.2241 on a system with Windows 10, and just sent a mail with Gmail. I do not have the mail shield installed.

Avast added a sig line to my gmail that it was sent from a "Virus free" computer.

I can only guess that it is the Web Shield that has monitored my online activity and done this, but I can find no option in the Web Shield settings to disable this annoying message. It is very unprofessional, and I do not want it cluttering up my university e-mails.

Where do I go to disable this automatic signature? I am considering uninstalling the web shield if it is going to be this intrusive.

What's concerning is that Avast, even when its MailShield is NOT installed, is monitoring and identifying your online activity so closely that somehow it knows that you are logged into gmail and are sending an email.  Avast is then identifying your outgoing email and modifying it to include their advertisement.  That's pretty much the definition of malware.

It's one thing to scan for viruses, it's completely another thing to monitor and modify people's outgoing communications and emails.

Given that Avast collects different types of data from their users, I don't know if they are collecting the fact that you have a gmail account, and when you are sending your emails.  It seems possible that they could even keep track of to whom you are sending emails.  It would be good if Avast publicly disclosed every detail that they collect from their users and provide the format of that data so their claims can be validated.  I'm not referring to general terms like "we collect analytics" or other ambiguous terms.  I'm referring to specific data and the format.

Has a third-party firm or any individual ever verified and validated the data Avast actually collects and transmits to their private servers?
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: lakrsrool on November 19, 2015, 11:03:52 PM
Where do I go to disable this automatic signature? I am considering uninstalling the web shield if it is going to be this intrusive.

Don't these settings do it (disable) for you (see attachment)?
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: R. Hansen on November 19, 2015, 11:59:37 PM
Where do I go to disable this automatic signature? I am considering uninstalling the web shield if it is going to be this intrusive.

Don't these settings do it (disable) for you (see attachment)?

Didn't have the mail shield installed. So no settings. I had to install mail shield, tick the settings off, and then uninstall it. It was a pain in the ass. If web shield is going to be altering gmail, the setting should be in the web shield settings too.
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: lakrsrool on November 20, 2015, 12:28:58 AM
Where do I go to disable this automatic signature? I am considering uninstalling the web shield if it is going to be this intrusive.

Don't these settings do it (disable) for you (see attachment)?

Didn't have the mail shield installed. So no settings. I had to install mail shield, tick the settings off, and then uninstall it. It was a pain in the ass. If web shield is going to be altering gmail, the setting should be in the web shield settings too.

I agree, it should be understood that whatever optional activity Avast might perform the option to enable or disable that option should be available to the user, in the event the option is unavailable as a result of something that is not install then the activity should by default not occur in that circumstance.

Put simply: If an option to change an optional action by Avast is not available then the action should not occur by default.  This is not only common courtesy but common sense.
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: DavidR on November 20, 2015, 01:12:17 AM
This is the first time that it has been included/possible to scan webmail so something has been missed, for those who haven't installed the Mail Shield.

It has already been stated that duplication of the settings is going to be in both the Mail and Web Shields for those using webmail and not having the Mail Shield installed. As an avast user like yourselves I don't know when this is likely to happen.
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: MartinZ on November 20, 2015, 10:11:34 AM
Hi guys,

thanks for the feedback. We are making the option to disable more visible and easy to find out.
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: DavidR on November 20, 2015, 03:03:28 PM
Hi guys,

thanks for the feedback. We are making the option to disable more visible and easy to find out.

Thanks for the clarification, any time frame for this change to be implemented ?
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: rperera on November 29, 2015, 11:45:18 AM
I'm a AVAST subscriber using the paid version who updated to the latest version 4 days ago. Today I realized that my sent emails from both Google Chrome and Firefox were having this 'signature' added to all my emails.

I attempted to edit the .INI file (faster than reinstalling), but was unable to save the changes, as AVAST was running.

I then attempted to 'Modify' the installation and add the Mail Shield, which I've never had installed or used before. The modify did NOT add the feature in.

I then uninstalled an reinstalled AVAST with the Mail Shield feature, then went into it's settings and unchecked everything, then disabled Mail Shield. I continued to see the banner added to my outgoing emails.

Infuriated, I've uninstalled AVAST, and have no intention of using it, or recommending it ever again to anyone.

This is a poor roll out of your latest version. Not to mention the fact that 'auto-update' was removed for existing subscribers and a new 'Premier' version added for an additional cost.

You've lost me as a customer because of this.
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: Asyn on November 29, 2015, 12:04:31 PM
It's already fixed in the latest beta: https://forum.avast.com/index.php?board=15.0
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: rperera on November 29, 2015, 12:06:30 PM
-1

- It happened with the users consent.
- It is not a pain to change the setting at all.
- It has nothing to do with a persons privacy at all. No private details are revealed.
- It is not a advertisement, just a simple line saying the mail has been scanned and no malicious things are found in it.

Do not blame the tree while you are the one that drove the car when you hit it.

Wrong.
It's clearly an advertisement that says specifically:
"This email has been sent from a virus-free computer protected by Avast." with a linked logo and URL to Avast's site.
The logo itself is a track-able image served by avast:
https://ipmcdn.avast.com=/images/logo-avast-v1.png

There's posts from 2014 that suggest they've been doing this for the free version all along.
Being a PAYING CUSTOMER, I'm extremely angry that this was 'accidentally' enabled on the latest paid update.



Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: rperera on November 29, 2015, 12:13:29 PM
It's already fixed in the latest beta: https://forum.avast.com/index.php?board=15.0

Yeah... thanks, but... ahhhhh... no.

I'm not beta testing for Avast. Especially after this debacle.
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: Asyn on November 29, 2015, 12:16:11 PM
Well, the beta is stable, but that's up to you.
Title: Re: Avast is adding a tag to my Gmail
Post by: Eddy on November 29, 2015, 01:35:48 PM
Quote
I attempted to edit the .INI file
There was and is no reason at all to change the ini file manually.
Simply making a change in the settings through the GUI will do the job.
Quote
I then uninstalled an reinstalled AVAST with the Mail Shield feature
There was no need to uninstall avast.
You could have added the mail shield through control panel.
Quote
Not to mention the fact that 'auto-update' was removed for existing subscribers
auto-update has never been removed.