Avast accused of selling personal data of its customers

A survey by Motherboard and PCMag has just revealed that Avast uses its antivirus to track the daily lives of its users on the web. The data is then sold through a subsidiary.

This is called getting your hand caught in the bag. The publisher Avast , known in particular for its famous eponymous free antivirus , sells the data of its hundreds of millions of users to third parties. In any case, this is revealed by a joint investigation between Motherboard and PCMag . More specifically, she explains that it is Jumpshot, a subsidiary of Avast, which would market “  All research. All clicks. All purchases. At all sites  ‘ performed by customers of the security suite.

The navigation data collected is then sold,  via this subsidiary, to customers like Google , Yelp, Microsoft, Pepsi, Sephora, and many others. The accused, Avast tries to clear himself by explaining that ”  the data is entirely depersonalized and aggregated and cannot be used to identify or target personally  “.

Not so anonymous data

This data includes Google search history, GPS coordinates on Google Maps, LinkedIn pages, YouTube videos and even pornographic sites. The editor knows what time a site was visited, or a search was entered. These simple elements may be enough to identify certain users, even if the data has been depersonalized.

And Avast is not the first time trying it. Thus, the publisher was collecting until very recently, the same type of personal data through an extension of browser . Once unmasked, Mozilla, Google and Opera browsers removed it from their extension catalog.

Since then, the publisher claims that it has ”  completely stopped using browser extension data for purposes other than the main security engine”, stating that this also concerns sharing with its subsidiary Jumpshot. It is perhaps for this reason that the firm now uses the antivirus directly to track its users. But there is a nuance with the new version of the antivirus because they are asked to authorize or not this tracking. For others, this option will automatically appear in a few weeks.