Author Topic: Free Avast -- Phoning Home -- while update settings are set to manual.  (Read 21619 times)

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Offline Lisandro

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Re: Free Avast -- Phoning Home -- while update settings are set to manual.
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2012, 03:48:21 AM »
I know what I'm doing when browsing the internet.
:)
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Offline bob3160

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Re: Free Avast -- Phoning Home -- while update settings are set to manual.
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2012, 03:54:59 AM »
There is a difference between reputation and infection.
Since it's impossible to tell by simply looking at a site which one is clean and which one is infected,
there is no such thing as "Safe Surfing". That's the job of your AV and if you cripple it, you're the one who is putting
yourself at risk.
As I've already said, It's Your Computer.
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Offline colwarg

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Re: Free Avast -- Phoning Home -- while update settings are set to manual.
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2012, 04:04:07 AM »
I don't want to cripple it, I want it to update when I tell it to update, and that's when I'm _NOT_ using the computer.

Which would be anytime after I go to bed.

So I would rather have avast preform updates at, say, 2am?

Offline igor

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Re: Free Avast -- Phoning Home -- while update settings are set to manual.
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2012, 10:29:03 AM »
I have my updates set to happen every 16440 minutes because I know what I'm doing when browsing the internet.

Even if you know what you are doing, how does that apply to the case then a site, which you browse every day, gets hacked and infected, invisibly installing some malicious code on your computer via a 0-day exploit in the OS, browser, or any of its helpers? You can be the biggest expert in the world and it wouldn't help you much here...

I have reputation services disabled, and streaming updates disabled.
Despite that, I still find Avast blocking access to some really freshly made sites because the reputation of that site is untrusted, so apparently the status of the above is disregarded.

The reputation is used only to display those colored icons if you have WebRep enabled, certainly not for detection/blocking.
So if avast! blocks a site for you (or anyone else for that matter), it's definitely unrelated to its reputation - it's because the site has been found infected.

I don't want to cripple it, I want it to update when I tell it to update, and that's when I'm _NOT_ using the computer.

Well, I understand what you are saying, but I'm afraid it doesn't make much sense for me - what's the point of having an updated antivirus when you're not using the computer?
The moments when you are using the computer, that's when you need to have it updated.

CharleyO

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Re: Free Avast -- Phoning Home -- while update settings are set to manual.
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2012, 08:24:16 PM »
***

Thank you Tech, Bob, & igor!


***

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Re: Free Avast -- Phoning Home -- while update settings are set to manual.
« Reply #20 on: August 18, 2012, 12:57:25 AM »
To those who are not understanding what 'this' post is about -- it is about Avast (7) polling the server while updates are off. This post is not about 'our' reasons for doing so, which has nothing to do with protection

This is the file reputation (cloud scanning) system. It's a key part of the innovations introduced in avast v7 (and, seriously, it is saving tens of thousands of our users from malware every day).

If you're uncomfortable with it though, you're of course free to disable it. Summary -> Cloud Services -> Settings -> uncheck "Enable reputation services" (I'm not sure but the changes may not become effective until after the next reboot).

Thanks
Vlk

@VLK: We are continuing our research and have found that disabling 'reputation services' has slowed the polling down, while the polling continues at less intervals. Rather than us blindly disabling things, via trial and error, can you offer any other suggestion(s)/recommendations as to what to disable to stop the traffic while 'update' and 'reputation' are disabled?  --Currently with the aforementioned items disabled-- the polling has to do with "emupdate".

The polling is attemping to 'GET' (download) the 'emupdate' without prompting or notifying the user(s). We cannot find anything in the help file for 'emergency update' (emupdate) or what might be enabling/controlling this.  Given that none of our boxes which run Avast has 'emupdate' on the HDD's, we need to know 'what' from our Avast installs is polling the server with these 'GET' request for 'emupdate' without obvious documentation and notification to the machines users, that this is taking place --in addition to our original concern of the program polling with 'updates' and 'reputation' disabled.

There are times when we require our network to be entirely silent. We also like to be notified, or at least have documentation as to why a program is reaching out over our network; and a way to disable it should we need to do so.

Once again, this post is not about Avasts' ability to protect, it is about the network traffic generated by Avast (7).
« Last Edit: August 18, 2012, 01:26:49 AM by End_User »

Offline DavidR

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Re: Free Avast -- Phoning Home -- while update settings are set to manual.
« Reply #21 on: August 18, 2012, 01:21:48 AM »
This is a relatively new feature - the avast! emergency update, is a scheduled task, but it shouldn't run that frequently (a couple of times a day I think), I know it runs shortly after boot on my system.

Avast! Emergency Update - see Vlk's brief explanation, http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=99540.msg794105#msg794105.

And
The Repair function basically makes sure that everything is installed as it would be after a clean installation (let's say except for keeping the settings etc.)
Wheter it always succeeds or fail sometimes, is completely unrelated to this topic. First, we don't want to tell people "please navigate to Control Panel and invoke the Repair", and second this is meant for the hypothetical case of a bad (e.g. Virus definition) update being released that breaks things - and Repair wouldn't help there anyway, cause the virus definitions would be correctly installed, just would crash the program.
Or, the setup component itself might get broken - which contains both the updating and repair functionality.
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Re: Free Avast -- Phoning Home -- while update settings are set to manual.
« Reply #22 on: August 18, 2012, 02:01:03 AM »
This is a relatively new feature - the avast! emergency update, is a scheduled task, but it shouldn't run that frequently (a couple of times a day I think), I know it runs shortly after boot on my system.

Avast! Emergency Update - see Vlk's brief explanation, http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=99540.msg794105#msg794105.


@DavidR:
Thanks you. The Avast (7) install is polling/requesting, via http 'GET', to download 'emupdate' --it is not, as we understand it, 'emupdate' itself --unless, after reading VLK's explanation of the "Emergency Update (push) feature"--, 'emupdate' is a server-side process. If 'emupdate' is a server-side process (pushing), the user should very well have the option to turn the receiver off/on as they see fit; as is currently our case.

In this instance, it is not about protection, it is a network (traffic) concern. The short version of this entire topic is, without using a firewall, we need to stop all polling to/from the Avast (7) application and its associated processes.  How can we do this at the application level?

Offline DavidR

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Re: Free Avast -- Phoning Home -- while update settings are set to manual.
« Reply #23 on: August 18, 2012, 03:26:00 AM »
No it isn't an update as such but a check to see if there is an emergency update available. If so as an avast user I don't know if it would be push or pull by the AvastEmUpdate.exe process. But it isn't envisaged that an emergency update would be a regular occurrence.

Whilst currently there is no UI setting to disable it - The second quote that I gave is from a topic which talked extensively about it.
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Re: Free Avast -- Phoning Home -- while update settings are set to manual.
« Reply #24 on: August 19, 2012, 01:18:58 AM »
No it isn't an update as such but a check to see if there is an emergency update available. If so as an avast user I don't know if it would be push or pull by the AvastEmUpdate.exe process. But it isn't envisaged that an emergency update would be a regular occurrence.

Whilst currently there is no UI setting to disable it - The second quote that I gave is from a topic which talked extensively about it.

@DavidR: We thank you again.  ... Depending on how close you are with the project (Avast) 'Free' or otherwise, are there any plans to address this type of concern? -- i.e. to allow the Avast product to continue and provide AV protection while allowing the end_user or administrators to kill the network noise when needed --for other unrelated issues.

Offline DavidR

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Re: Free Avast -- Phoning Home -- while update settings are set to manual.
« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2012, 02:38:09 AM »
I'm an avast user like yourself, so I'm not really privy to interface changes or policy. So I don't know if there is any plans to allow the feature to be disabled either in the UI or via an .ini file switch.

Vlk is an avast team member, the Chief Technical Officer.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2012, 02:39:52 AM by DavidR »
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Offline bob3160

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Re: Free Avast -- Phoning Home -- while update settings are set to manual.
« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2012, 04:42:03 AM »
Quote
allow the Avast product to continue and provide AV protection while allowing the end_user or administrators to kill the network noise when needed --for other unrelated issues.
It's the same as asking avast! to knowingly allow you to run avast! partially crippled and thereby exposing you to
increased security risks.
Doesn't make much sense to me.  It would also mean that Avast is condoning the fact that you are at risk when that same risk is preventable.
I would call such a move on their part "Security Malpractice".
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Dch48

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Re: Free Avast -- Phoning Home -- while update settings are set to manual.
« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2012, 04:58:48 AM »
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong but I was under the impression that the file reputation service was for just that, files, and that web site reputation was checked by the Web Shield and WebRep if you use it. If a site is known to have hosted malware, it gets blocked by the Web Shield.

I hope that the file reputation cloud service does not require WebRep to be active. I thought they were completely different things and that the file rep service applied to all files, not just ones coming from the web.

Offline colwarg

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Re: Free Avast -- Phoning Home -- while update settings are set to manual.
« Reply #28 on: August 20, 2012, 08:03:32 AM »
I have my updates set to happen every 16440 minutes because I know what I'm doing when browsing the internet.
Even if you know what you are doing, how does that apply to the case then a site, which you browse every day, gets hacked and infected, invisibly installing some malicious code on your computer via a 0-day exploit in the OS, browser, or any of its helpers? You can be the biggest expert in the world and it wouldn't help you much here...
Point, but that's why I use Firefox, and only permanently script permission a select few sites, Yahoo does not get permanent permissions. Not even Google.

Quote
I don't want to cripple it, I want it to update when I tell it to update, and that's when I'm _NOT_ using the computer.
Well, I understand what you are saying, but I'm afraid it doesn't make much sense for me - what's the point of having an updated antivirus when you're not using the computer?
The moments when you are using the computer, that's when you need to have it updated.
I expect the antivirus to be updated as much as possible when I'm using the computer, so it should of been updated already the previous night. It's the difference between changing your oil before the road trip to changing the oil while on the road trip.  :o

Offline bob3160

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Re: Free Avast -- Phoning Home -- while update settings are set to manual.
« Reply #29 on: August 20, 2012, 04:05:01 PM »
Quote
It's the difference between changing your oil before the road trip to changing the oil while on the road trip. 


What you're not realizing is that avast! has the ability to remove the impurities that are added to your oil while you're driving
and you're preventing that from happening there by allowing the viscosity of that oil to break down faster than it should. :)
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