Author Topic: How do i stop Avast spying on me?  (Read 10376 times)

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Offline topstuff

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How do i stop Avast spying on me?
« on: February 19, 2014, 09:52:32 PM »
Not a troll post, I actually want to know if one can "tweak" avast so it doesn't send info back to home base?
I know the obvious ways to do so in the UI, ie turn off community, stream etc, but I want to know how or if
it is possible to disable the google analytics and other phone home stuff like stats, what websites u visit etc.

Offline Pondus

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Re: How do i stop Avast spying on me?
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2014, 10:06:37 PM »
avast is not spying on you.... why do you think so


Offline cooby

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Re: How do i stop Avast spying on me?
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2014, 10:59:24 PM »
How do you know you send "what websites you visit" to Avast? Anything you can show us?
Far as I know analytics is a nuisance but unless you can demonstrate what's sent it's hard to discuss.

Regardless, ever tried a good hosts file?
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Offline DavidR

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Re: How do i stop Avast spying on me?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2014, 11:37:11 PM »
The avastUI is essentially just a web page, now avast have in avast 8.x sought information on how we as users navigate and the UI so that it can be optimised/make it more intuitive and it used google analytics for that purpose.

Now I don't know for sure that this is also the case with avast 9.x as it could certainly do with being more intuitive and some major optimisation.

So the google analytics in relation to avast isn't about monitoring your general browsing habits, but the avast UI.

The problem being, google analytics is used on a huge number of web sites and when avast is monitoring http traffic so that it can be scanned you are likely to see other instances of google analytics. But that is unrelated to avast's use.
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Offline topstuff

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Re: How do i stop Avast spying on me?
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2014, 12:50:04 AM »
Yes I know it's everywhere, blah blah
But i want to know if I can turn it off in Avast. I know you can do it for the browser via google, but what abut avast?
host file is one way, but i would like to know which IP's to block that won't disrupt normal virus definition updates.
I believe avast does also send stats back home, ie number of files scanned what its picked up as a virus etc. I know it
is stored anonymously, but i would like to opt out of it. Mny programs do give you the option to opt-out of stats and other things.
I would rather an antivirus just download the virus definitions/program updates and thats it.

The following is a little read on some of the concerns. I only would like to turn them off, not debate if they are nothing to worry about or not.

http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=319578

and the latest version info:
http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=354637
« Last Edit: February 20, 2014, 12:53:38 AM by topstuff »

Offline Pondus

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Offline polonus

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Re: How do i stop Avast spying on me?
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2014, 01:33:33 AM »
Hi topstuff,

You like to go back to a world that does not exist anymore. You start just doing all the very things you say you like to avoid by just connecting out to the Internet. Referring to what you refer to, the Interwebs as we came to know it now  are completely broken, scaled down security wise made ripe  for total surveillance where governments and big corporations team up  hand in hand all over the globe. But it has it's good sides also when I can get my firewall settings analyzed and checked  from a Formosa based site and I see a complete row of green flags from their ntop scans. Again like to thank these guys making me aware of a port where they blinked an eye.

That is the overall general picture - google analytics for instance and lots of other trackers are profiling everybody and all these data and these services is being sold and analyzed. Your smear out a long trail of these data every time you connect out on the Internet and these data land on many a desk later.

If this information is no longer  available (when you proxie, you adblock, disable script and are out on tor) your browser will simply stop functioning and google will just pop up a message to say "we established you are a bot, prove to us you are  human, and fill out these captcha's (so we can go back to normally track you) and it is not only google or MS, it is everywhere from your cable host to your ISP, from your free coupons account to your traveller app. It is the BB world we all came to live and we all tap into this grid from where there seems no escape online.

What avast has to do with this general story? Not a lot, yes it collects user info to give back as a better product experience and yes it has shield protection that immediately detects and blocks access to malcode and as Pondus says you can deteriorate your security turning some of these features off. But that is what it basically did 25 years ago and what it is doing now in a more modern way - protect the paid and free users in the best way it can. I did not have any other experience over the last ten years connecting out to avast! base. And I would start to be anxious when I do no longer see the connections from r-052-042-234-077.ff.avast dot com etc. in my network connections monitor.
Just a malware definition solution is a lame and cripple instrument nowadays and won't sufficiently protect you. So you have to live with this, you cannot turn back the clock or disconnect that computer or peripheral and go and live in the wilderness where geo-location cannot trace you. Do not panic and don't get paranoid, put your e-watch on your wrist and live.  ;D

polonus



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Offline topstuff

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Re: How do i stop Avast spying on me?
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2014, 01:49:24 AM »
@Pondus turns some things off, not all. Already did that

@polonus haha dude, You are correct, but how about you just pretend that I know what i'm doing and stick to the question. Can I turn any of it off? I lock down systems tight, disable and make sure windows doesn't talk to MS, use on-demand scanners, on-demand anti-malware, choose my applications correctly and correctly set them up. Sure something is prolly getting by, and lots of web browsing is being tracked, but I can live with a certain amount of leakage (and even then if i were really paranoid i could use tor, proxies, vpns). A security program, like avast, should be able to have these things as opt-out, if you know what you are doing.

I'm not really interested in this part of the discussion, as yes there are pros and cons and i could argue both points of view well and i would concede most of your points are correct for the majority of people. But how about letting me do it my way, even if you don't agree?

Original question still stands.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2014, 01:54:48 AM by topstuff »

Offline RejZoR

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Re: How do i stop Avast spying on me?
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2014, 02:03:05 AM »
http://en.kioskea.net/faq/29647-avast-free-antivirus-disable-the-cloud-features

Why on Earth would you want to disable one of the better features in avast! ? It's like taking Volvo and disabling all it's safety features. Kinda makes the point of buying a Volvo useless doesn't it?
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Offline topstuff

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Re: How do i stop Avast spying on me?
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2014, 02:17:21 AM »
http://en.kioskea.net/faq/29647-avast-free-antivirus-disable-the-cloud-features

Why on Earth would you want to disable one of the better features in avast! ? It's like taking Volvo and disabling all it's safety features. Kinda makes the point of buying a Volvo useless doesn't it?

If Volvo decided (and im certain this will happen in the future, already happens on non critical car features) that a critical safety system required phone home and tracking information to be sent home, I'm sure there would be an uproar. Silly comparison anyway.

Back to on topic, how about if I just want to disable those functions? It doesn't hurt you, only in theory me. But that's my choice. Why won't you let me have "limited" protection if i want it that way?

Offline polonus

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Re: How do i stop Avast spying on me?
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2014, 02:26:51 AM »
@RejZoR,

Right you are, RejZoR. It is like taking a chip out of a modern coffee-machine, because it could communicate to your smartphone and send home a signal that you urgently have to decalcify! Why did not I think of such an idea when I was young?

@topstuff,

Going back on topic now.
Well you might be better off with your own personal av solution then- a sort of cocktail -ClamAV or similar  with snort and/or another IDS on windows, personal blocklists, a zero-day exploit shield etc. and your personal additional safehex measures taken. Out of the box anti-malware is not for you as what I can grasp from your expose. As how far the tweaking of avast goes is not known to me as I am not an avast team member or developer.

My main voluntary work here is "cold reconnaissance" website scanning and adding url- and IP malcode to avast detection. Just for the good of my soul and because it is intriguing stuff.

Avast is also closed software. I was a late f.ravia 8) adept, but when alive he also left his earlier work as a software reverse engineer to get into "searchlores" where I joined him and published on weak cgi (look for sosnipo)  and you know how resource engineering beyond the edu lab settings and  boundaries set for it is being frowned upon nowadays. Such info would also interesting to malcreants to have and I guess avast won't make them any the wiser. I cannot help you there as I do not know, but you can do your analyzing yourself.

polonus
« Last Edit: February 20, 2014, 02:30:04 AM by polonus »
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Offline Pondus

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Re: How do i stop Avast spying on me?
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2014, 02:28:35 AM »
Quote
If Volvo decided (and im certain this will happen in the future, already happens on non critical car features) that a critical safety system required phone home and tracking information to be sent home, I'm sure there would be an uproar. Silly comparison anyway.
they already have that.....volvo on call, if you have a accident and airbags are released    ;D


@Rejzor.   people do lots of strange stuff with there volvos .... for unknown reasons.   ;)


« Last Edit: February 20, 2014, 02:32:40 AM by Pondus »

Offline Alikhan

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Re: How do i stop Avast spying on me?
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2014, 02:32:38 AM »
In simple terms, you'd want to stop the streaming updates and anything else related to the cloud.

You could use a firewall to block outgoing access (I wouldn't recommend it).

This will lead you to have less protection (a lot of features require the cloud) and either way there are a lot of programs besides anti-virus that track you.

In simple words, if you do NOT want programs spying on you... go offline.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2014, 02:50:27 AM by Alikhan »
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Offline topstuff

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Re: How do i stop Avast spying on me?
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2014, 02:35:58 AM »
I actually like Avast, I would just like to clock back some of its phone home stuff.
I read a similar thread some time back, someone asked the same thing I am now, got exactly the same replies
as I am here (wtf? ,go be paranoid elsewhere etc). One of the coders of avast said there are some things that
can be done as per his and my request, but wouldn't post it publically.

The thread was open to coders or other ones in the know to give me those answers, maybe anyone influentual here
can ask a coder to post the reply to me in priv?

Offline polonus

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Re: How do i stop Avast spying on me?
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2014, 02:48:05 AM »
Hi Alikhan,

And you are so right. If you would use crippled software you would make yourself a very interesting target for surveillance. They just are on the look-out for the odd type out not the average Jack and Jill. All computer anomalies and events are fed up to "Big Oversight & Supervision", because these are the very interesting currants in the connection pudding. So if you want to stand out and be under extra scrutiny I would strife for such a situation. Your IP could be blacklisted at apews dot org in no time and the message will stay there for years and years to come.

@topstuff - I doubt they would honour your request  ;D

polonus
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