Author Topic: Email signature re-enables itself after updates  (Read 2440 times)

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Offline sxtk

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Email signature re-enables itself after updates
« on: June 20, 2017, 12:17:19 AM »
This is an incredibly frustrating "feature" (and please, read the sarcasm in those quotes. Because calling taking advantage of users for your marketing purposes a "feature" is insulting. We are not that stupid.) and it is very, very much not appreciated. So, like any useless feature, I disable it. I do not want you to inject your marketing into my emails without my knowledge or consent.

Unfortunately, at some point around May, your software took it upon itself to re-enable this feature that I specifically chose to disable, which I did not know as GMail (and most email services) does not display your signature to you when composing an email - so I only noticed it when consulting a previously sent email in my outbox for unrelated reasons.

It is not related to a clean install. Other settings were not altered, only this one seems to have been. My main question is this - how can I be sure this will not happen again? I should not have to compulsively check my emails to see if you're injecting your marketing into my messages, hidden from me, without my consent or approval. This is completely unacceptable.

On a more philosophical level, how dare you? Where do you get off choosing, invisibly, to inject messages into my private communications? On the scant chance whatever individual programmed this "feature" actually sees this message - would you want other companies doing this to your communications?

Let's get a few canned replies out of the way that I saw in the legion of other forum posts complaining about this topic - by the way, when your users are all complaining about something, don't tell them it's a feature. It's clearly not. The replies on this topic I have seen go beyond simply unhelpful and cross into downright condescending and insulting.

A: It bothers us that you hijack our communications. No, you are not merely letting other people know our emails are safe. This is not a feature that provides value to end users, and you should not pretend that it is. You're advertising. Don't pretend otherwise. It's insulting to pretend the cute little link to your website is anything other than an ad. Don't snow the snowman. Don't sprinkle sugar on a turd and call it candy.

Do you have so little respect for your users, the people who keep this company from going bankrupt, to make such a patently absurd argument with a straight face? Avast, the software, has worked fine for me for years - but if it's going to secretly insert links and advertisements into my emails, well...isn't that sort of what I use an antivirus to prevent?

B: It's not as simple as un-checking a box in the settings. I have that box unchecked. When I noticed your software was covertly using my email address to covertly market to my contacts list without my approval (have I indicated how angry I am about this yet?) I checked under settings like many canned replies in the forums indicated, and found that the "Enable Avast email signature" box was, in fact, unchecked.



See? Almost like I'm not a total moron and can, in fact, glance at a settings page. The problem is I still had your spam injected into my email even with this box unchecked.So I looked around for other possible culprits, and found an entirely different setting - Settings > Components -> Web Mail -> Customize -> Behavior -> Insert Note Into Clean Message (Outgoing). Here it is:



And when I found it, that box was checked.

So please, explain to me how burying a second option five layers deep that directly contradicts a toggle in the general settings page is Avast being open, honest, and transparent.Because that seems incredibly disingenuous and opaque to me. Please, explain to me what the difference is between these two. Please, explain to me why I found my emails bearing your spam in them even with "Enable Avast email signature" unchecked - and how that is not deliberately fooling users. What exactly does that option do, if unchecking it doesn't actually stop Avast's email signature?

And, it bears repeating, this hidden option enabled itself at apparently total random. Probably as part of an update. And this brings me to...

C: I should not have to search through literally dozens of pages and sub-pages of settings just to make sure I'm not being taken advantage of. That is incredibly poor design. And even if I do, I should not have to search through them again every time Avast updates. That is patently absurd and unreasonable to expect of users. Some of us have better things to do with our lives than police our antivirus programs every few days. Please. Don't turn on obviously self-serving "features" by default, without telling users, hiding their settings under five layers of sub-menus, and pretend it's reasonable to expect us to instantly see, understand, and disable them. And finally...

D: This is not a new problem. A simple Google search finds people complaining about it for years. Posts going back four, five years are complaining about the email signature. It cannot possibly be news that users find this behavior surprising, unexpected, annoying, and manipulative. And yet, Avast is still opaque about how it operates, still toggles it on without user input, still generates complaints about it, still leaves this behavior on by default, creates confusing overlapping options about it in different settings menus, and still insultingly pretends it's doing us a favor. This belies any disingenuous argument about email signatures being a value-added feature. Actually useful features, which users actually value, don't have to be snuck in and hidden.

I just want it to turn off and stay turned off. I should not have to keep disabling the option every time a sneaky Avast update thinks I'm no longer paying attention. Can I, or can I not, be confident that Avast is not meddling in my private communications without my knowledge and explicit, opt-in consent? If I can't, please just tell me that and I'll go check out another service instead. If I can, please tell me how.


And finally, just to make it perfectly clear how this looks to users, I'm going to leave a link here. It is not an advertisement. I am only leaving this link here to make other users aware of these link's existence, which is not an advertisement by your definition.

https://avast-software.pissedconsumer.com/
https://www.avira.com/
https://www.bitdefender.com/
https://www.kaspersky.com/
https://www.webroot.com/
https://www.eset.com/us/home/antivirus/

Again, please understand these are not ads. They're merely links inserted at the bottom of my message that may usefully inform consumers of other websites that exist. But they are not advertisements, because I say they're not. I certainly would not dare to take advantage of Avast's forums to advertise links to paying services, because I'm not a tremendous jerk. And if I were taking advantage of Avast's forums to advertise links to paying services, I would certainly not disingenuously pretend I'm doing you a favor. So, clearly, the above are not ads. They're just links.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 12:25:02 AM by sxthekitsune »

Offline Alikhan

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Re: Email signature re-enables itself after updates
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2017, 01:32:30 AM »
Quote
B: It's not as simple as un-checking a box in the settings. I have that box unchecked. When I noticed your software was covertly using my email address to covertly market to my contacts list without my approval (have I indicated how angry I am about this yet?) I checked under settings like many canned replies in the forums indicated, and found that the "Enable Avast email signature" box was, in fact, unchecked.

Avast email signature has been and is enabled by default for a considerable time now. It really is as simple as un-checking a box.

I've just tested this behaviur myself and it is working fine. When you uncheck "Enable Avast Email Signature" via Settings > General, that will disable the Avast email signature.

Settings > Components -> Web Mail -> Customize -> Behavior -> Insert Note Into Clean Message (Outgoing) also gets disabled when you uncheck ""Enable Avast Email Signature"via the General settings.

You can test this yourself by checking "Enable Avast Email Signature" which will result in Insert Note Into Clean Message (Outgoing) getting enabled. Once you uncheck "Enable Avast Email Signature", you will see the Insert Note Into Clean Message will become disabled.

Your settings should not change when Avast updates. That is the same for Program, VPS and Emergency Updates. There was a bug in previous versions which reset settings during an Avast repair but that has long been fixed.


« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 01:34:03 AM by Alikhan »
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Offline sxtk

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Re: Email signature re-enables itself after updates
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2017, 01:46:52 AM »
If you actually read my post before bringing out the canned reply, you would find that I, in fact, had this setting unchecked. The other setting was not unchecked even though Enable Avast email signature was unchecked. Telling me to uncheck this setting is therefore an entirely useless and thoughtless reply, indicating you didn't read my post or, if you did, you don't believe I'm telling the truth. Are you meaning to call me a liar?

I frankly see little reason to care how it works on your machine. It did not work that way on mine. You yourself say it should not do that, which isn't the same as saying it did not do so. I had to manually disable that second, hidden setting, after it got enabled seemingly at random some time 4-6 weeks ago. It being toggled on due to an update is merely a theory of mine - after all, the software made precisely zero attempt whatsoever to notify me that it was hijacking my email to send unsolicited advertisements for commercial products to my contacts (sort of like the viruses it's supposed to prevent...) - so I can't know exactly what triggered it to do so. If it is not supposed to do that, then this is a bug. A bug that, by total coincidence we swear!, just so happens to benefit Avast at my expense, and changes no other setting save this one, and many other people also have reported running into, going back several years.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 01:51:35 AM by sxthekitsune »

Offline Alikhan

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Re: Email signature re-enables itself after updates
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2017, 02:08:39 AM »
If you actually read my post before bringing out the canned reply, you would find that I, in fact, had this setting unchecked. The other setting was not unchecked even though Enable Avast email signature was unchecked. Telling me to uncheck this setting is therefore an entirely useless and thoughtless reply, indicating you didn't read my post or, if you did, you don't believe I'm telling the truth. Are you meaning to call me a liar?

I frankly see little reason to care how it works on your machine. It did not work that way on mine. You yourself say it should not do that, which isn't the same as saying it did not do so. I had to manually disable that second, hidden setting, after it got enabled seemingly at random some time 4-6 weeks ago.

I did actually read your post and nor was that a canned reply. I asked you to check and uncheck the setting to see if it's working as intended on your system. If it isn't, it could be an issue with your installation.

I didn't call you a liar but yes I am surprised that the second setting was enabled. There is no need to disable that second setting if you've unchecked from General.

If all the settings had reset to factory default via an update then this could be an issue but an update wouldn't sneakily enable an email signature. I would like to see some posts which are recent on the latest version of Avast of having the exact issue you have described.

If you can reproduce the behaviour with the email signature getting enabled while being disabled in general settings, it would be helpful.

« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 02:10:37 AM by Alikhan »
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Offline sxtk

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Re: Email signature re-enables itself after updates
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2017, 02:30:21 AM »
I tried it and the second option does clear out when the email subject is unchecked. I don't know what version introduced that bug, but it's not the current version (just tried update, which confirmed I am running the current version.)

My apologies if my tone is more than a little hostile, but I find it supremely frustrating to find I've been spamming my contacts for the past six weeks without my knowledge, and other threads on this topic have been more condescending than helpful - enough so that I felt compelled to make my own. I am still worried that if this happened once (or maybe more than once?) without my knowledge, it could happen again without my knowledge. It should not be possible at all for this to happen without my explicit consent and opt in. Why is "Please hijack my communications for your marketing purposes" an opt-out feature at all? I can't imagine most users actively want to spread links to their antivirus in every email.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 02:34:38 AM by sxthekitsune »

Offline Alikhan

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Re: Email signature re-enables itself after updates
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2017, 02:41:53 AM »
I do agree that the email signature must not enable itself without consent. It should not happen and it's best for you to monitor it.

I'd recommend you run an Avast repair, reboot and then ensure that the settings are correct.

Repair Avast:
1. Control Panel -> Add/Remove programs -> Avast
2. Click on 'Repair'.
3. Follow instructions.
4. Reboot.
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Offline sxtk

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Re: Email signature re-enables itself after updates
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2017, 04:17:55 AM »
I will run repair on both of my computers and bump this thread or make a new one if this happens again in the future.

Offline bob3160

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Re: Email signature re-enables itself after updates
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2017, 02:56:39 PM »
I personally save my settings once they are exactly as I want them.
That way, even if I do a clean install, I can simply import those saved settings and know everything
is back to my desired settings.
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