Avast and AVG extensions pulled from Chrome

Avast and AVG once again criticised for excessive data collection in security and shopping browser extensions

Google Chrome is the latest browser to drop AVG and Avast extensions after reports of excessive data snooping.

Back in October, a blog post from Wladimir Palant, founder and CTO at AdBlock Plus, highlighted that browser extensions created by the two security firms were hoovering up more data than necessary to function, especially versus rivals such as Google Safe Browsing. That data, according to the post, included user ID, where you're located, and how you got to a specific page.

After that report, Mozilla and Opera both pulled the AVG and Avast extensions, though the former reinstated one set of add-ons after changes to data collection were made. Google has now reportedly also followed that lead, removing the questionable extensions.

"I didn't expect to publish this update any more, but Avast extensions are now gone from Chrome Web Store as well," Palant tweeted. "Only AVG Online Security remains for some reason. Way to go Google!" The latter has 3,582 users, according to the Google Web Store.

Avast, which bought AVG in 2016, had not replied to a request for comment at the time of publishing.

Palant highlighted in his blog post four extensions: Avast Online Security, AVG Online Security, as well as the SafePrice shopping addon from both companies. Mozilla has since reinstated the Online Security addons, but not SafePrice.

Related Resource

Managing security risk and compliance in a challenging landscape

How key technology partners grow with your organisation

How to manage security risk and compliance - whitepaperDownload now

"The data collected here goes far beyond merely exposing the sites that you visit and your search history," he explained. "Tracking tab and window identifiers as well as your actions allows Avast to create a nearly precise reconstruction of your browsing behaviour: how many tabs do you have open, what websites do you visit and when, how much time do you spend reading/watching the contents, what do you click there and when do you switch to another tab."

This isn't the first time that Avast has been in trouble for data collection. Back in 2015, it was accused of using its extension to spy on users in a similar way, an accusation Avast denied in a forum statement saying all data collected was "essential" to provide the service. In 2018, the company pulled an update to CCleaner after backlash sparked by privacy settings, while in 2015 AVG was criticised for auto-installing a plugin into the Chrome browser.

Featured Resources

The ultimate law enforcement agency guide to going mobile

Best practices for implementing a mobile device program

Free download

The business value of Red Hat OpenShift

Platform cost savings, ROI, and the challenges and opportunities of Red Hat OpenShift

Free download

Managing security and risk across the IT supply chain: A practical approach

Best practices for IT supply chain security

Free download

Digital remote monitoring and dispatch services’ impact on edge computing and data centres

Seven trends redefining remote monitoring and field service dispatch service requirements

Free download

Recommended

A quarter of all malicious JavaScript is obfuscated
hacking

A quarter of all malicious JavaScript is obfuscated

20 Oct 2021
Almost 70% of CISOs expect a ransomware attack
ransomware

Almost 70% of CISOs expect a ransomware attack

19 Oct 2021
Acer Taiwan falls victim to cyber attack
hacking

Acer Taiwan falls victim to cyber attack

18 Oct 2021
Marsh McLennan reveals its cyber risk analytics center
risk management

Marsh McLennan reveals its cyber risk analytics center

15 Oct 2021

Most Popular

Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans
Laptops

Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans

11 Oct 2021
Best Linux distros 2021
operating systems

Best Linux distros 2021

11 Oct 2021
HPE wins networking contract with Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
Network & Internet

HPE wins networking contract with Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

15 Oct 2021