Avast Online Security, Avast SafePrice, AVG Online Security and AVG SafePrice have now been re-established in Chrome, Firefox and Opera’s expansion marketplace is back on the shelves. They were previously released because of a violation of the collection of user data.
Starting today, these extensions are back in the major extenders marketplace for download. It is not clear what adjustments Avast has made to get the extensions back on the shelves, which will require security researchers to re-examine the extensions to determine whether there is still a data collection behavior.
But techdows, a foreign-language news outlet, commented that consumers don’t actually need to install a Vast/AVG online security extensions, and that Google Safebrowsing is available on Firefox, Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers, providing phishing protection and warnings when visiting dangerous websites. Avast SafePrice offers some discounts when users shop online, but this is not practical.
Event review: Wladimir Palant, a developer of Adblock Plus, found information that stored users’ browsing habits in the Chrome browser extensions released by Avast and AVG. In a December 3 blog post, Palant states:
Avast knows how many times a user opens in a browser, how much time they spend on a page, and what they click on a particular tab. This is a clear violation of google and Mozilla’s terms for browser extensions/add-ons.
Photo from the Palant Blog
Mozilla, Opera, and Google have since taken action on Avast and AVG extensions, although it should be noted that they are not currently blacklisted or removed from running devices. However, Palant warns that this means they can continue to monitor users’ behavior.