Author Topic: Why is Avast Showing Ads?  (Read 7813 times)

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Offline charonn0

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Why is Avast Showing Ads?
« on: September 28, 2011, 07:39:09 PM »
I just got an advertisement from Avast. It used the same toaster window as update announcements (though it had a white background instead of green) and encouraged me to install Google Chrome.

A number of things bother me about this:

1. The classic definition of adware is any application which shows advertisements to the user. This can be benign, as in ad supported freeware, or it can be malicious.
2. I don't have Google Chrome installed on this computer. This leads me to believe that Avast enumerated the installed applications on my computer with the purpose of determining whether an ad for Chrome ought to be displayed.
3. I start to wonder what sort or metrics and tracking Avast is sending home every four hours or so.


Security software by its nature gets a free pass on a number of activities which in any other context would be considered a security risk. Things like phoning home multiple times per day, scanning the contents of system memory, redirecting OS APIs through its scanning interface, monitoring all network activity and blocking traffic which falls under its blacklist, and on and on. The tradeoff is that security software (in my opinion) are held to a higher standard than other software categories. This double standard is necessary to maintain the trust relationship between the security company and the user; my trust that Avast AV will keep my computers free of adware is seriously threatened if Avast itself is showing ads.

I'm not saying that Avast Software are now untrustworthy, nor do I begrudge them the ability to make tons of money from their awesome products. I'm merely pointing out that perhaps showing ads users is not a very good idea.

Offline DavidR

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Re: Why is Avast Showing Ads?
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2011, 07:46:29 PM »
Have you just done a clean install of avast ?

If you did there is an option in the installation to install Google Chrome (it isn't in the installation file itself). That option I believe id checked by default (wrongly), if you didn't uncheck that option at some point you would get a confirmation to install it.

So I don't know why you have seen this as I never have (so far).
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Offline charonn0

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Re: Why is Avast Showing Ads?
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2011, 07:49:21 PM »
No, Avast has been installed on this computer for about 2 months. I don't recall anything in the installer mentioning Chrome, though I'm usually very good at deselecting extras in installers.

Offline DavidR

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Re: Why is Avast Showing Ads?
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2011, 07:52:45 PM »
I too hate mysteries, will have to see if I get the toaster notice...
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Offline Asyn

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Re: Why is Avast Showing Ads?
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2011, 07:56:54 PM »
I too hate mysteries, will have to see if I get the toaster notice...

Haven't seen it here...
...but will keep an eye on it.
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Offline Vlk

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Re: Why is Avast Showing Ads?
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2011, 08:09:24 PM »
Hi charonn0,

It's actually the contrary. The popup says that you HAVE INSTALLED Chrome together with avast (Chrome is offered during avast installation - it's been like this for almost 2 years now), but have not actually USED it. It's not asking you to install it (you most likely already have it - as you can check e.g. in the Control Panel; at least that's what the avast records say).

Thanks
Vlk
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Offline spg SCOTT

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Re: Why is Avast Showing Ads?
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2011, 08:31:35 PM »
This, gives me an idea...

There seems to be some screens that even the most experienced avast users on the forum haven't seen (i.e. this popup)

I think there needs to be a place where there are ALL avast images etc. (i.e. screenshots of each avast page, settings, popups, installation screens etc...along with descriptions.)

That way, users can search it to see what a particular screen means, and we can use them in the forums to explain etc...

(it is much easier to say "does it look like this?", than ask a user to describe it...)
“There is a computer disease that anybody who works with computers knows about. It's a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is that you 'play' with them!”Richard Feynman

Offline charonn0

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Re: Why is Avast Showing Ads?
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2011, 08:55:12 PM »
Hi charonn0,

It's actually the contrary. The popup says that you HAVE INSTALLED Chrome together with avast (Chrome is offered during avast installation - it's been like this for almost 2 years now), but have not actually USED it. It's not asking you to install it (you most likely already have it - as you can check e.g. in the Control Panel; at least that's what the avast records say).

Thanks
Vlk

Son of a... it IS installed...


Please excuse me while I murder a certain other user of this computer.

Offline Asyn

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Re: Why is Avast Showing Ads?
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2011, 09:03:29 PM »
Please excuse me while I murder a certain other user of this computer.

;D
Win 8.1 [x64] - Avast PremSec 21.9.6605.IBC [UI.666] - EEK - Firefox ESR 78.14 [NS/uBO/PB] - TB 91.1.1
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Offline DavidR

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Re: Why is Avast Showing Ads?
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2011, 09:35:03 PM »
This, gives me an idea...

There seems to be some screens that even the most experienced avast users on the forum haven't seen (i.e. this popup)

I think there needs to be a place where there are ALL avast images etc. (i.e. screenshots of each avast page, settings, popups, installation screens etc...along with descriptions.)
<snip>

I would go along with that idea as I'm sure I haven't seen them all, far from it. Though I do try to take a screenshot when I do see one not in my collection, but it is far from extensive.
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Offline DonZ63

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Re: Why is Avast Showing Ads?
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2011, 10:24:30 PM »
I will chime in on this.

For sometime I was receiving random dial-outs to Roadrunner servers. Was driving me crazy since all I could determine was that the dial-outs were coming from svchost.exe on my WIN 7 installation. I guess I was brain impaired at the time I was reseaching since the RoadRunner IPs shown did trace back to Google domains.

Finally determined that I had a bunch of Google crud installed like GoogleUpdate, GoogleUpdate Helper, etc. Installation times of the crud traces back to around the time I initially installed Avast! free although I cannot say that Avast! installed the crud. Getting rid of the Google crud was an adventure involving multiple passes of RevoUninstaller Pro and CCleaner plus manually uninstalling hidden drivers.

I do know one thing for sure. I never overtly installed anything Google related on my PC.   

BTW - be fully awake when installating any Adobe Reader updates since the update has the Google Toolbar crud checked by default. Adobe is definitely a adware/spyware purveyor.
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Offline igor

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Re: Why is Avast Showing Ads?
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2011, 10:28:10 PM »
I don't think that's doable.
As far as various popups go (which includes expirations etc.), they are online content; I should say that I don't know much about them (and probably have no way of finding out myself) - but I believe they are changed quite often, and there's also a huge number (hundreds) of versions depending on language, region, etc., so I really doubt anybody would maintain such a dynamic collection

Offline DBone

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Re: Why is Avast Showing Ads?
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2011, 11:03:47 PM »
Please excuse me while I murder a certain other user of this computer.

;D

+1!!
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Offline reddleman

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Re: Why is Avast Showing Ads?
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2011, 05:20:33 AM »
It's actually the contrary. The popup says that you HAVE INSTALLED Chrome together with avast (Chrome is offered during avast installation - it's been like this for almost 2 years now), but have not actually USED it. It's not asking you to install it (you most likely already have it - as you can check e.g. in the Control Panel; at least that's what the avast records say).

I can discredit the bolded section above. Not only have I used Google Chrome, I was using it when the pop-up advertising Google Chrome showed up.

Offline DBone

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Re: Why is Avast Showing Ads?
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2011, 06:02:50 AM »
It's actually the contrary. The popup says that you HAVE INSTALLED Chrome together with avast (Chrome is offered during avast installation - it's been like this for almost 2 years now), but have not actually USED it. It's not asking you to install it (you most likely already have it - as you can check e.g. in the Control Panel; at least that's what the avast records say).

I can discredit the bolded section above. Not only have I used Google Chrome, I was using it when the pop-up advertising Google Chrome showed up.

Not good avast!, not good.
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