Author Topic: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)  (Read 50162 times)

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Offline Neels

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #45 on: January 20, 2015, 06:57:36 PM »
So I love Avast, and I am a little bit disappointed that Avast chose to go the route of data gathering browser extensions. It's all good and well, but what about a product that integrates with your email to warn people against 419 advance fee scams. Every day useless lazy criminals exploit the stupidity of countless millions to scam them out of their hard earned money. It should be possible to create a browser extension that can scan emails for suspicious messages, traces the emails origin if possible and then displays this info to the end user. It should then also submit this info to the mail provider's abuse address and list the email in a database so that everyone can be notified about it.

Offline Pondus

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #46 on: January 20, 2015, 07:04:32 PM »
Quote
It should be possible to create a browser extension that can scan emails for suspicious messages, traces the emails origin if possible and then displays this info to the end user. It should then also submit this info to the mail provider's abuse address and list the email in a database so that everyone can be notified about it.
already exist .... it is called spam filter   ;)

« Last Edit: January 20, 2015, 07:06:51 PM by Pondus »

Offline rcc

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #47 on: August 23, 2015, 04:52:10 PM »
Yes, I know this is an old thread, but I had quit using AVAST for a few years, and have recently returned. However, this post explicitly illustrates why I quit using AVAST in the first place. You have left your roots, at least for us freebee users. I used AVAST free simply because it was fast, simple and just what was needed and only what was needed, in a world of "full service providers". At any given time we could have 100's of these little shopping programs hiding on our machines because it's a way developers can make easy money. The anti virus software products available on the market today are atrocious, I don't want to have 32GB of ram in use and all 8 cores running at 5 ghz just to run my antivirus software. I'll do my own shopping, only when I want to, not every time I open a web page just because it happens to have prices, just in case I might want to shop. Software developers need to stop hogging our resources, I don't want 100's services running in the background on my pc just in case, so if I want to use their product, it loads faster. I'm getting tired of all my applications running slower, so given applications start faster if I choose to use them.

Offline bob3160

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #48 on: August 23, 2015, 04:57:42 PM »
Yes, I know this is an old thread, but I had quit using AVAST for a few years, and have recently returned. However, this post explicitly illustrates why I quit using AVAST in the first place. You have left your roots, at least for us freebee users. I used AVAST free simply because it was fast, simple and just what was needed and only what was needed, in a world of "full service providers". At any given time we could have 100's of these little shopping programs hiding on our machines because it's a way developers can make easy money. The anti virus software products available on the market today are atrocious, I don't want to have 32GB of ram in use and all 8 cores running at 5 ghz just to run my antivirus software. I'll do my own shopping, only when I want to, not every time I open a web page just because it happens to have prices, just in case I might want to shop. Software developers need to stop hogging our resources, I don't want 100's services running in the background on my pc just in case, so if I want to use their product, it loads faster. I'm getting tired of all my applications running slower, so given applications start faster if I choose to use them.
Had you used a custom rather than the default install, you could have simply bypassed any additional modules that you didn't want.
You can also remove them after you've installed Avast.
If you don't like the browser add-on that gives you a 'better price', simply remove it or, dont allow it to be install ed at all.
Your computer, your choice.
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Offline schmidthouse

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #49 on: August 23, 2015, 05:03:23 PM »
In addition to Bob's information, Most all software programs have "Settings" options even Browser extentions, when you install a piece of software it is only prudent to review and alter/set any settings that are offered that would cause the software to function to your liking.
Familiarize yourself with what you have installed. :)
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Offline Pondus

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #50 on: August 23, 2015, 05:06:08 PM »
How to do it ....

Avast 2015: Change, add, or remove individual program components    https://www.avast.com/faq.php?article=AVKB96#artTitle


Offline jakecommandwolf

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #51 on: August 25, 2015, 11:36:55 AM »
Okay I think we've had just about enough of all this mindless nerco-posting, could a moderator please lock this thread?

And stop beating a dead horse, if this bothers you guys that much take the five minutes to make a new post about it.

If your first inclination is to reply to a buried thread only half way relevant to what you are posting about no one is ever going to take you seriously, nerco-posting is the mark of a child, people will treat you like one if you do it.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2015, 11:54:20 AM by jakecommandwolf »

Offline 1234ava

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #52 on: August 25, 2015, 05:26:06 PM »
I've just read Avast's explanations. I don't think they are "spying on us".

Having said that, I think there might be two kinds of issues to be dealt with.

1. The machine-generated User ID. Its purpose in the case of SafePrice, Vlk explained, is just to count active users. I believe him, as I trust Avast. Also, I do understand that Avast needs sending my visited URLs to their cloud in order to check them in real-time.

But, I would like to know, does Avast store the history of visited sites  associated with a given unique ID? If yes, for how long?


2. I am happy that Avast made SafePrice a separate product for those who really want it. While searching for the best prices may be useful to some, it's not what you would normally expect in a security product. Therefore, I didn't like that Avast installed it unless you went through custom settings, which most users normally don't review (either because they are not technically minded, or they just trust "default settings" to be optimal unless you have some special reasons to change them).

Offline 1234ava

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #53 on: September 17, 2015, 05:33:46 PM »
[...]
Originally, SafePrice was indeed part of the main Avast browser extension (as the article suggests). However, as most of the people in this forum know, in July 2014 we changed the strategy and moved it to a separate extension. The installation of this extension is now completely voluntary (on an opt-in basis) and its presence doesn’t influence Avast’s efficiency to block malicious sites. Since we have made this change, SafePrice accumulated almost 3 million installs just from the Chrome Web Store alone and became the most popular shopping extension for Chrome.

[...]

I recently installed Avast IS 2015 on a Windows 10 clean installation. Actually there was no "SafePrice" tool among Avast custom installation settings. And still there is no "SafePrice" in the Avast Repair - Change tools window.

But then, out of blue!, yesterday, SafePrice was automatically installed on my Chrome browser, without my request. See screenshot below (the pop-up message is in Italian, but it just says that another program on my PC has added the SafePrice extension and asks wheter I want to enable it or remove it).

I also use the Avast Online Security extension, which I installed a few days before I also installed Avast IS.

Fact is, I never asked for SafePrice, but it was installed all the same, even now that it is a completely separate extension.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2015, 06:41:20 PM by 1234ava »

Offline bob3160

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #54 on: September 17, 2015, 05:52:54 PM »
It was installed only because you allowed it to be installed.
Not accepting it would have prevented the installation.
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Offline essexboy

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #55 on: September 17, 2015, 05:55:16 PM »
You can disable that in the settings option


Offline 1234ava

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #56 on: September 17, 2015, 06:20:00 PM »
@Essexboy
Thanks for the hint, but no, I can't. There is no "SafePrice" option in my Avast Online Security settings. See screenshot.

@Bob
Nope, I never allowed it being installed.
I even double-checked there was no SafePrice add-on when I installed Avast.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2015, 06:22:16 PM by 1234ava »

Offline 1234ava

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #57 on: September 17, 2015, 06:38:19 PM »
Like Vlk wrote, SafePrice is a completely separate extension since July 2014.
According to Vlk's post, "the installation of this extension is now completely voluntary (on an opt-in basis)".

Fact is, I never opted-in, but SafePrice was installed and popped-up in my browser out of the blue.
I am reporting such behavior as a bug.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2015, 06:44:18 PM by 1234ava »

Offline adamlaughlin

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #58 on: June 20, 2016, 08:57:06 PM »
Call it a necro.  I call it an ongoing issue that's been pissing people off for years, and four pages of snide remarks talking to users like they are idiots.  This topic should be a sticky link over at AVG and Avira forums.

SO!  I found this little Gem on Howtogeek.com.  I found it by going to Avast.com and trying to find the link to the forums (buried in footer,) which was a bad enough sign that I chose not to limit my browsing to Avast.com and searched for "avast advertising" to raise the subject elsewhere.  I arrive to a white collar flame war and I want to take a moment and speak on it.

See, I had just gone to my bank's web site and was then bombarded with ads for Avast up-sales IN MY BROWSER WINDOW.
They look EXACTLY like the ads on HowToGeek.com.  A lot like other AdWare tool bars (DON'T start again. It's what they are.)

I don't care if it's safeprice, safezone, safety scissors, I don't care.  I spent over an hour configuring the most fine-grained antivirus settings I possibly could.

How many times am I going to tell you people no?  And then I find this page!  So I'm going to pepper the OP with some inline aggression.  The words reached me poorly, and I want some particularly insensitive remarks to resonate.  Let's begin!

-----

"Avast’s browser extensions, together with some other modules inside Avast, rely heavily on cloud functionality."

That's how Microsoft and Google explain everything they do (when silence fails.)  Switch to Windows Defender!  Message received.

"You may not realize but collecting URL information for this very purpose is extremely common in the security industry, as this information is essential to providing this kind of service."

We do realize it.  It's common in every industry.  That's why we're asking you to protect us from it.  Why else would we be speaking to you?  And what kind of service, exactly?  Not the one we asked for.  The one we got.  Your use of pronouns is consistently deceptive throughout the piece.

"I mean, did you expect SafePrice to have all the product IDs and all the offers stored locally? That just doesn’t make sense at all."

What, like virus definitions?  SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!  Also, good catch, another snide remark directed at people who have yet to speak on this.

"...and became the most popular shopping extension for Chrome."

As opposed to becoming the least popular AntiVirus extension for Chrome.  Good save.  You also managed to throw an argumentum ad populum into the mix.  You've gone from trying to call me stupid, to trying to prove it (and I feel it is necessary to react.)

"So by itself, it is certainly not a piece of PII. And the reason we include it in the request is because context is very important."

By itself... we include it... you're not really trying to convince anyone, are you? By the way, "context is very important" is a statement which lacks a lot of context.  Anybody trying to reach open minds would catch that and elaborate.

"the user ID is there just as a regular json field. Which makes me even more frustrated, as it is very likely that if we actually made the field less noticeable, the article probably wouldn’t have been written. We’re not trying to hide anything."

You're not trying to hide anything?  Certainly not your own frustration that you... didn't try to hide it...

"If you have any additional questions, I’d be happy to answer them."

I'm sure you'll find a way to continue being snide about it.  My whole point is, no amount of technical knowledge - even if you completely prove that I have no leg to stand on - can hide what you really think of us with that damn tone you all kept using on people who didn't give you the feedback you were looking for.

Offline Eddy

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #59 on: June 21, 2016, 07:47:28 AM »
This is a +/- 9 months dead thread. ;)