Avast and AVG Browser Extensions Spying On Chrome and Firefox Users

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Avast and AVG Browser Extensions Spying On Chrome and Firefox Users
We agree that Chrome and Firefox web browsers are one of the most commonly used browsers. Even though these browsers are considered to be safe for use, various cyber incidents can put users at the risk.

 

Avast Online Security, AVG Online Security, Avast SafePrice, AVG SafePrice- If your Firefox and Chrome browsers have these four extensions installed, then you should remove them as soon as possible.

Why? Because these AVG and Avast extensions have been caught recording user browsing data and some technical details about the computer system.

Most of you might not even remember downloading and installing these extensions on your web browser, and that’s likely because when users install Avast or AVG antivirus on their PCs, the software automatically installs their respective add-ons on the users’ browsers.

And these online security extensions have been made to warn users when they visit a malicious or phishing website.

The malicious behaviour of Avast and AVG extensions was discovered almost a month ago by Wladimir Palant, who detailed how the extensions are sending a large amount of data about users’ browsing habits, to the company’s servers — “far beyond what’s necessary for the extension to function.”

Palant writes:

Spying on your users is clearly a violation of the terms that both Google and Mozilla make extension developers sign. So yesterday I reported these four extensions to Mozilla and Google. Mozilla immediately disabled the extension listings, so that these extensions can no longer be found on the Mozilla Add-ons site. Mozilla didn’t blacklist the extensions however, stating that they are still talking to Avast. So for existing users these extensions will still be active and continue spying on the users.

All Chrome’s and Mozilla’s users are advised to stay away from these plug-ins as some might still be available on the official Google Chrome web store. Mozilla removed these four extensions from its online gallery following reports from Wladimir Palant.  If you have already found these apps in your browser, we recommend removing them to stop the data recording process.

What users’ data is being sent to Avast?

  • Full URL of the page you are on, including query part and anchor data,
  • A unique user identifier (UID) generated by the extension for tracking,
  • Page title,
  • Referrer URL,
  • How you landed on a page, e.g., by entering the address directly, using a bookmark or clicking a link,
  • A value that tells whether you visited a page before,
  • Your country code
  • Browser name and its exact version number,
  • Your operating system and its exact version number

We hope both the browser makers will take immediate action by removing the extensions from its Firefox Add-on store and Google Chrome Web Store.