You may have heard about lots of rumors about the big antivirus company Avast Antivirus. one popular cyber-security firm best known for its free antivirus software for over 30 years. The Avast Antivirus Controversy: Rumors came about somewhere last year indicating that Avast had been selling browsing data of their users to make profit. The company shut down the subsidiary responsible for selling the data. Avast never denied the controversy, and its CEO Ondrej Vlcek apologised and revealed that the board of directors agreed to “terminate the Jumpshot data collection and wind down Jumpshot’s operations” with immediate effect after the public caught wind of the news.
Reports indicate that, Wladimir Palant – the founder of Adblock Plus was the first person to sound the alarm about Avast’s predatory practices. In October 2019, he posted the incriminating information to his blog with a detailed explanation of how he claims Avast was able to “transmit data that allows reconstructing your entire web browsing history and much of your browsing behavior.”
Basically, Avast and AVG’s Online Security extensions were recording and documenting which websites a user visits, when, and from where — documenting which websites were visited, when, and from where. Note: Avast also owns AVG Antivirus.
Jumpshot – Avast Antivirus Controversy
Jumpshot asserts to have collected data from 100 million devices. Avast said that they never sold personal information, such as names, email addresses and other contact details. Adding that it can protect privacy by anonymizing datasets. However, the investigation found that the datasets being sold could be linked to individual users in some cases. “As the saying goes, there is nothing like a free lunch”. Always be extra careful when using free products, especially software product. Avast claimed that data collection was a necessary part of the Online Security plugin. Browser extensions from competing brands seemed to work fine without collecting and retaining such a large amount of personal information.
Per Dailynubs reports This incident however, has not tarnished the image of Avast .They still boast of their Optimum antivirus protection. Avast had the opportunity to abandon their privacy violating ways and start to act like a respectable cybersecurity company. They changed the privacy settings of the Online Security browser extension. Web stores returned the product for downloads at the end of December 2020. However, as the VICE Motherboard exposé revealed, they simply moved their data collection to the main antivirus suite. Embedding a data collection “opt-in” question during the installation process.