Author Topic: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)  (Read 49266 times)

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Offline VanguardLH

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2014, 09:35:14 PM »
I think you should join that discussion (using a disposable e-mail address or alias) to post your response.  But then that just might fan the flames over there while the author grins in having an even more active discussion.  You want to defend yourself but instead the ignorants giggle and pee.
(Update: I see someone posted a link there to this thread.) 

Although you try to make it evident regarding the usage policy, the problem is with lazy users.  How many actually read the EULA presented to them during an installation?  I recall 2 products that I aborted their installs because I didn't agree with the EULA.  Most users don't the EULA.  They're too lazy.  Reading skills have waned.  Maybe the EULAs should be animated and show cartoon characters explaining it, like in Jurassic Park (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMsJe3TymqY).  Alas, anything longer than 8 seconds will get skipped (http://www.statisticbrain.com/attention-span-statistics/).  It's obvious the author (and his immediate respondents) never read the EULA or anything in the install screens.  Click, click, click is all they do.  If you want to upset them or slow them down, just put a borderless Next button at the top middle of the screen instead of at the usual bottom right location.  I've seen some EULA screens that, at least, require the user to scroll to the bottom of the EULA window before the Next button gets enabled.

"in the particular case of URL scanning, we do transfer the URL the user is visiting, together with additional metadata to the Avast cloud, which then does the necessary processing and synchronously returns the answer."

WOT (Web of Trust) and McAfee SiteAdvisor would have to do the same thing. After all, somehow they would have to see to where you visit to know what reputation to return to you.  Yet one respondent to the article mentioned he would switch to WOT.  Not a clue has he.  By the way, if you ever bothered to join WOT and then looked at the comments on why some users rated a site the way they did, you'd realize that WOT is worthless.  Too much retaliation and too many ignorant raters.  Besides, you usually get a non-descript yellow alert (unrated site) because the vast majority of sites are not listed in their database.  They have 10 million sites rated out of 1 billion for all of 1% coverage (http://news.netcraft.com/archives/category/web-server-survey/) and with ratings by inexpert users.  It didn't take but a few days to drop WOT after seeing mostly yellow markers and reading inane comments by raters.  The spam/scam/phish sites go dead in a few days as the cybercriminals are constantly rotating through new domains while trying to push traffic to them during their short lifespan.  I've deemed web reputation as worthless.  I don't install the one in Avast, either.

These boobs probably don't even know all the sites they visit are collecting similar information from them, like using Google Analytics.  Someone tweaks their ears about Avast and since it's news to them then they're obviously ignorant about all the other sites collecting metrics on them.  They want to revert to 1994 but forget how there wasn't much "web" back then.  Someone every few years regurgitates the Flash cookie scare while totally ignorant of DOM storage in all web browsers.  Searching the web for information has become a practiced art in knowing what to cull out as crap.  Many aren't even datestamped so you can't determine their relevancy. 

Ever see that commercial where the gal is waiting for her date to show up who is a French model because he said so on the Internet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-pHe879l60).  The sad part is there are a LOT of netizens just as dumb.  The scammers love 'em.

Offline YLAP

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2014, 09:35:36 PM »
They did reply to my post and claim that they were never contacted by Avast:
http://discuss.howtogeek.com/t/avast-antivirus-was-spying-on-you-with-adware-until-this-week/20550/28?u=bob3160

I am still not convinced by their answer, does not sound solid  ::)
« Last Edit: October 24, 2014, 09:37:09 PM by =YLAP= »

Offline RejZoR

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2014, 09:50:09 PM »
I just find it funny how they attack avast! just because they had nothing to hide and left the ID there visible to the user. I bet 3/4 of other vendors collect more data with unique ID's as well and submit all of it in an encrypted stream of data to their cloud. But since they can't exactly catch it with a Notepad, it's somehow not their problem and they don't get bothered by that fact. They just seem to jump at avast!.

All this noise sure generated a lot of traffic on their webpage... Like i said, sensational news is sensational. They weren't after the truth really, they just want the clicks and visitors... If they were after the truth, they'd inspect other vendors as well, but they just couldn't be bothered with that...
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Offline steckler

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2014, 10:38:33 PM »
Folks, let's not crucify Howtogeek either, his heart is in the right place and many individual points in the article are accurate. Our issue is that it then draws a nefarious conclusion instead of a more innocent conclusion. After the article came out, we requested a call with him for myself and possibly Ondrej to understand his research, discuss it, etc. Initially this was accepted and we set a time.

A few hours later, we got an email cancelling it. Here is that message in total: "Upon further consideration, I believe there is little value in having a meeting with the CEO and COO of Avast at this time.  The article written is based entirely on documented research and analysis over a lengthy timeframe and How-To Geek stands by this article. How-To Geek's single objective is to provide information that will help the users. Avast is free to publish any statement regarding their product or respond to our article."

The point he has recently complained about is we did not state that he invited us to make a public statement. As you see, in the last paragraph he did do that. However, I found it unusual that he thought we needed his permission to make a public statement and thus did not acknowledge that "permission". We of course did make one which you read from Ondrej.

As a company we try our best to be honest and straightforward with our users. Can we do better? Of course and that is why we constantly make changes in what we do. The fact of the matter though is that all purveyors of free products need to make money and we try various initiatives to do so. Some work and some do not. But in all cases, we ensure our users and their data are not abused. For example, we have totally stayed away from advertising which many of our competitors with toolbars are heavily into.

Howtogeeks surely supports themselves with advertising. From what I see that advertising involves both targeting and retargeting. When I visit the site, I see ads from Bitdefender and AVG, an advertisement for a somewhat scammy PC cleanup product/service, and a huge banner ad for Norton. These ads are probably all based on the content of the article--antivirus. But, there is also an advertisement for flights to Argentina and for OpenTable. These came from re-targeting as I was searching for such flights yesterday as we are going there for the 2015 product launch and I was making dinner reservations on OpenTable for a dinner with my wife. Now, these ads are surely all served up by the Google ad networks and Howtogeeks probably has little or no involvement in what ads are placed but many argue that advertising retargeting violates the privacy of the user (as the user when visiting the website gets no notification that their past browsing behavior will be examined and relevant ads served) and the advertising of scammy services on such a trusted site gives the scams an aura of credibility.

But the point here is Safeprice. Is it perfect? Of course not. Are we hiding anything? Of course not. Will we improve it? Of course. In anything we do though, we will be open and will not abuse the trust of our users.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2014, 10:43:06 PM by steckler »

Offline Charyb

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2014, 10:53:42 PM »
I never could understand why a shopping extension was introduced into a browser safety and web reputation extension. Think about it.

Anyway, thanks for the heads-up.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2014, 10:57:45 PM by Charyb »

Offline Alikhan

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2014, 11:11:48 PM »
I never could understand why a shopping extension was introduced into a browser safety and web reputation extension.

+1.
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Offline Para-Noid

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #21 on: October 24, 2014, 11:49:18 PM »
@ Vincent and Ondrej

Thank you for the explanation. It's sad when an author writes something then does not allow feedback
from whom they are attacking. They hide behind their bylines without doing proper research. The author
should have shown better reporting ethics and spoken with avast before writing and publishing. The fact
that he doesn't want to report the complete story shows that they lack any understanding of ethical
reporting. Maybe he's afraid he will be forced by facts to write, if nothing else, a partial retraction including
a public apology to avast.
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Offline Salabim

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #22 on: October 24, 2014, 11:53:21 PM »
Welcome to the wonderful world of commercial companies offering "Free" stuff. ;)

Offline NoelC

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2014, 07:00:06 AM »
I never could understand why a shopping extension was introduced into a browser safety and web reputation extension. Think about it.
+2

-Noel

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2014, 08:08:32 AM »
Well, i didn't particularly like it at first but then i thought, why not. If it offers me cheaper price which everyone usually goes after if possible, it can be useful. But my main problem with SafePrice is that it's not very accurate if at all.

Whenever it offered me a lower price, it was indeed lower. But that was because it showed me a completely different model, a model that had nothing to do with what i was interested in originally. Sure you can maybe find an interesting alternative for what you've been looking but i'm interested in lower price for a particular model and not something roughly similar. And so far SafePrice didn't deliver what i was expecting from it. That was few months ago. And i've just tested it now, if i look at all the offers it shows me, only few were actually for the same model and 3/4 of the rest for some others. That's like wanting a tuna sandwitch and then you get offered a cheaper spam sandwitch. It's cheaper but not quite what you were looking for...
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Offline Lisandro

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #25 on: October 25, 2014, 01:37:22 PM »
When I visit the site, I see ads from Bitdefender and AVG, an advertisement for a somewhat scammy PC cleanup product/service, and a huge banner ad for Norton.
I'm writting as an user, an old user :)
Should I trust in such ethics? Ads from the "competence"? Is it independent? No.

"Upon further consideration, I believe there is little value in having a meeting with the CEO and COO of Avast at this time."
No dialog. No trust.
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Offline bob3160

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #26 on: October 25, 2014, 03:20:37 PM »
When I visit the site, I see ads from Bitdefender and AVG, an advertisement for a somewhat scammy PC cleanup product/service, and a huge banner ad for Norton.
I'm writting as an user, an old user :)
Should I trust in such ethics? Ads from the "competence"? Is it independent? No.

"Upon further consideration, I believe there is little value in having a meeting with the CEO and COO of Avast at this time."
No dialog. No trust.
No dialog also mean a one sided love affair. :)
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Offline thekochs

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #27 on: October 25, 2014, 03:37:05 PM »
Avast has earned my trust by being solid over the years....and I don't give that out lightly.
I expect as FREE user that things are compensated by other efforts.
My line in sand is that these efforts don't interfere with the integrity of my PC but I expect some level of data gathering, ad pushes, etc. This "price" comes with my ability to use a terrific product for free.
Do I like/agree with all the other non-A/V stuff Avast is doing ?....no....but I understand why and the trade-off.
I am thankful Avast provides the custom install and is up front in features and efforts.
As noted, just don't install what you are not comfortable with.
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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #28 on: October 25, 2014, 05:25:15 PM »
The Fact that "every" Shield and "every" Component/Module can be installed or uninstalled at the users command is far ahead of other AV solutions that don't offer suggest customizable installations. :)
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Offline Asyn

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Re: Avast Antivirus Was Spying On You with Adware (Until This Week)
« Reply #29 on: October 25, 2014, 05:46:29 PM »
The Fact that "every" Shield and "every" Component/Module can be installed or uninstalled at the users command is far ahead of other AV solutions that don't offer suggest customizable installations. :)
+1 :)
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