Author Topic: Why to turn off Avast tracking browser extension  (Read 6395 times)

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Offline jbionic2010

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Why to turn off Avast tracking browser extension
« on: November 08, 2016, 01:15:12 PM »
I've just happened to come across 2 articles about using antivirus extensions in browser
http://www.howtogeek.com/239950/dont-use-your-antivirus-browser-extensions-they-can-actually-make-you-less-safe/
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/chrome-extensions-uninstall-right-now/
(for the last link check out the very last recommendation)

I would welcome any comments from Avast tech support group regarding accusations of tracking users Internet behavior
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Chrome 54.0.2840.71 or newer

Offline Eddy

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Re: Why to turn off Avast tracking browser extension
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2016, 01:46:03 PM »
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They promise these toolbars will help keep you safe online, but they usually just exist to make the company some money.
avast isn't making money with AOS/WebRep.
In fact it is costing them money for the development and maintaining the database for it.
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Running antivirus is still very important, but these days the really active threats are from spyware, adware, crapware, and the worst of all: ransomware.
anti-virus nowadays is a big misnomer.
What are called av's are a lot more then just anti-virus.
Fact is that true viruses nowadays are really rare
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Malwarebytes Anti-Malware not only protects your computer from malware, but does a better job of cleaning up an infected computer than anything else on the market
Completely false statement as MBam only checks executables, which they very clearly mention at their website.
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“AVG Web TuneUP” is installed when you install AVG antivirus.
No, it is not.
People can choose if they want to install it or not.
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Avast’s Online Security Extension Once Included Ads and Tracking
False info again.
What the author shows is avast's safeprice, not AOS/WebRep.

And the list with wrong/false information goes on and on...

About the accusation of avast spying on users... > https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=157693.msg1140066#msg1140066
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We requested the opportunity to discuss the author’s findings, but he declined to do so.
Ofcourse he declined.
He does not want to admit that he is just writing articles without doing proper research first leading to wrong and even completely false and misleading articles from his hand.

As a note, when reading articles look at the dates they are posted.

Quote
I would welcome any comments from Avast tech support group regarding accusations of tracking users Internet behavior
Read the post from Vlk and the EULA.

Offline jbionic2010

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Re: Why to turn off Avast tracking browser extension
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2016, 05:02:55 PM »
Quote
Let me start by saying that Avast’s browser extensions, together with some other modules inside Avast, rely heavily on cloud functionality. That is, 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. By scanning URLs in the cloud, Avast is able to detect malicious activity, from viruses and malware, phishing and hacking. 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.


So, summarizing the above, what exact things does Avast browser extension do such that the rest of Avast installation doesn't if any threat arises?
« Last Edit: November 08, 2016, 05:05:36 PM by jbionic2010 »
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Offline Eddy

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Re: Why to turn off Avast tracking browser extension
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2016, 06:05:25 PM »
I don't know what you do (or don't know) about security and how security applications (and other things are working), so I will keep it really simple.
So this is not entirely accurate but it will give at least a idea (I hope) on the difference(s)

The browser extension checks things (especially urls/domains) in real time with the database(s) that avast has and the rest of avast is not.
The rest of avast is checking files and data traffic.
If the av (the basic part of it) itself would use the latest info (e.g. the vps database), it would need to check every second to see if there is a update.
If it would do that, you could say it is too busy with checking for updates (and if there is any downloading/installing it) that it doesn't have the time to scan things.

In the "old days" the only threat where viruses.
Nowadays there are many more threats using all kinds of different methods.
That means if a "av" wants to detect/block as much as possible it also needs to use many different detection methods.

Additional info:
What people nowadays are calling anti-virus is basically a huge misnomer.
The name has it origin in the old days (30+ years ago) when the only threat where viruses.
Nowadays the "anti-virus" applications detect and protect systems against a lot more. (trojans, browser hijackers and such).
A much better name would be "anti-malware".
But as people are used to "anti-virus" changing the naming can (and very likely will be) confusing a lot of people so they just keep naming it "anti-virus".

A nowadays "anti-virus" appears to people to be as one tool.
But if you look more closer (how it is working) you could say they consist of many tools bundled in one application.

I hope this is info is enough for you.
If not, feel free to ask more specific questions and I (or someone else) will try to answer them.

Offline jbionic2010

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Re: Why to turn off Avast tracking browser extension
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2016, 11:20:06 PM »
Thanks, Eddy.

To clarify things further, lets say I am using my home router in conservative <family> protection mode with enabled Yandex DNS checks, which also provides a layer of protection against malware and suspicious websites. With family protection mode enabled at home noone can even access porno-sites. I also have enabled in my browser the AdGuard extension module that has a special Spyware filter within it that purportedly blocks certain contaminated DNS. Having these 2 layers of protection, do I still need Avast extension enabled and why?

I do understand the usefulness of Avast extension if I grab my home notebook and go somewhere in a public place with unknown WiFi and doubtful network settings. In other words, if I dont trust the router settings of such public network, I do have reasons to believe that having Avast extension would help to minimize the risk of contamination. But if I surf on Internet from behind my home router, what benefit can Avast extension add to my already rather secured  settings?
« Last Edit: November 08, 2016, 11:29:34 PM by jbionic2010 »
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Offline jbionic2010

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« Last Edit: November 09, 2016, 08:21:08 PM by jbionic2010 »
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Offline jbionic2010

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Re: Why to turn off Avast tracking browser extension
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2016, 09:47:34 PM »
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Offline Para-Noid

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Re: Why to turn off Avast tracking browser extension
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2016, 09:48:38 PM »
The Dr. Web Link Scanner is a good option the other two are more or less redundant.
VirusTotal extension is also good to have. Another good option is MalwareBytes Anti-Exploit
from the same makers of MalwareBytes Anti-Malware. Both MBAM and MBAE are both free.

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/malwarebytes-anti-malware/
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/malwarebytes-anti-exploit/
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"Look before you leap!" Use online scanners before you click on any link.

Offline Para-Noid

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"Look before you leap!" Use online scanners before you click on any link.

Offline bob3160

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Offline jbionic2010

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Re: Why to turn off Avast tracking browser extension
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2016, 11:40:41 PM »
The Dr. Web Link Scanner is a good option the other two are more or less redundant.
VirusTotal extension is also good to have. Another good option is MalwareBytes Anti-Exploit
from the same makers of MalwareBytes Anti-Malware. Both MBAM and MBAE are both free.

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/malwarebytes-anti-malware/
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/malwarebytes-anti-exploit/

I am well aware of Malwarebytes products, but also strongly believe that it is better to share links to the original file URLs than doubtful third-party websites :)

I do agree that Dr.Web is a great company, but the thing is it is a Russian company. Being a Russian means being a little bit paranoid about the security. It is kinda Russian national idea, which I happen to share with Dr.Web in common :)   (even having such idea doesn't help sometimes, regardless of whether my home router supports VPN or not)

What confuses me a lot about VirusTotal and Dr.Web addins is the small number of users. I usually try to avoid the security solutions that bear low systematic risk (I'd rather prefer going to hell with millions than with thousands). Norton security addin or some other seem a better option with this regard.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2016, 11:52:53 PM by jbionic2010 »
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Offline Eddy

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Re: Why to turn off Avast tracking browser extension
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2016, 09:29:49 AM »
Doubtful third party websites?
You clearly don't know Bleepingcomputers.

Kaspersky is also Russian but it is larger than avast. (even twice as large before avast took a majority share in AVG).
A Trabant is also Russian, although really basic, lacking any luxury and such it is a very reliable car.

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With family protection mode enabled at home noone can even access porno-sites
I'm pretty sure it is not hard at all to still visit those sites.
Quote
What confuses me a lot about VirusTotal and Dr.Web addins is the small number of users.
Not many people drive a Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport, but that doesn't mean they are unreliable/bad cars.

It seems to me that you are creating a false feeling about protection due to your lack of knowledge of things.

Offline Asyn

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Re: Why to turn off Avast tracking browser extension
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2016, 11:56:12 AM »
Doubtful third party websites?
You clearly don't know Bleepingcomputers.
Confirmed, BPC is reputable.
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Offline dougjp

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Re: Why to turn off Avast tracking browser extension
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2016, 02:39:55 PM »
Avast just gave a warning about WOT.

Online DavidR

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Re: Why to turn off Avast tracking browser extension
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2016, 02:56:05 PM »
Avast just gave a warning about WOT.

Check the General sub forum there are a couple about WOT having lost its trust (now only WO), one of them https://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=192618.0.

Given the above, I wouldn't be surprised it might get pinged as it has been removed by Mozilla Firefox and Google chrome add-ons app/add-on store/s.

However, you don't say what and why avast gave a warning ?
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