Antivirus softwares, like of Avast, have been used by most people for the assurance that they will be getting some of their needed security and privacy protections as they use their computers online.
Although, some of the free security suites could also hoard their users’ browsing data and some other details and end up selling them to other third parties. This is mostly the case for even some popular companies such as Avast, which puts a risk on the privacy of their users being around 400 million people.
At the time high-profiled tech executives have been calling on the governments for imposing more stringent rules on privacy, there seems to be nothing like a reminder again about everyone fighting for grasping the habits, preferences, and any other data there is to be used for the advertisers to target the users much more easily.
This is especially the case for Avast, which has been known for its very popular free antivirus solution that has an estimation of over 400 million users all around the world which depends on their online security.
According to an investigation jointly by both Vice and PCMag which has leaked contracts involved and some documents of other companies, Avast together with its AVG subsidiar kept track of what their users have been doing online while having their free software used as they distribute.
This scheme had Jumpshot involved, Jumpshot has been known to be a company which “provides perception and awareness into their consumers” online journeys just by measuring every single search, click, and buy across all the 1,600 categories from a lot more than 150 sites. These sites counted more than 150 including Walmart, Netflix, Google, and Amazon.”
Avast’s free antivirus adds a browser extension as the user installs. It helps in collecting information from the activity of the user on the internet and eventually sending it to Jumpshot, having it packed and tagged together with a unique identifier.
As of current, the most interesting information for the data collection of Avast are the searches on Google, Google Maps, videos in YouTube, searches in LinkedIn, and visits on profile. This includes the searches and what users view on PornHub. All this information gets sent to the customers of Jumpshot, which has included Google, Home Depot, Intuit, Microsoft, Pepsi, Sephora, Yelp, and a lot others, according to techspot.
Avast said that it does not track any of the sensitive information stored in the computer like ID’s, phone numbers, emails, or others. The company has also insisted that “by the month of July in 2019, we would have already begun the implementation of an explicit opt-in choice for the new downloads of our AV, and now we are prompting into our free existing users into making a choice of being opt-in or opt-out, a process that will eventually be completed by the month of February in 2020.
This would make it to be much more palatable for the users if Avast had not attempted to sneak in its very own antivirus solution with all the CCleaner installations. The company contributes a lot towards the online security industry, but its practices on privacy seem to alter every time they are being questioned.
Looking for an antivirus that would not touch anything at all other than for the sake of total protection? Kaspersky Internet Security and Bitdefender Internet Security would make to be good picks.