Dear Chrome or Firefox users, if you are using any of the below-listed extensions (add-ons) in your web browser then you should immediately remove or disable them.
- Avast Online Security (Offered By Avast)
- Avast SafePrice (Offered By Avast)
- AVG Online Security (Offered By AVG)
- AVG SafePrice (Offered By AVG)
Why You Should Immediately Remove or Disable Them?
These above four popular and broadly installed browser extensions (add-ons) have been caught gathering too much information of its millions of users including users' detailed online browsing activities. So, that's why you should immediately remove or disable them.
Most of the user might not even recall downloading and installing of any of above extensions (add-ons) on their web browser and that's because if users downloads and installs Avast or AVG anti-virus (endpoints) on their system then the software installer automatically installs corresponding Avast or AVG extensions on their corresponding users' web browsers.
The functionality of these popular and broadly installed browser extensions (add-ons) are :
1) Avast Online Security & AVG Online Security -> both warn users when they visit a suspicious, malicious, or phishing site.
2) Avast SafePrice & AVG SafePrice -> both help online shopper users to learn about best offer deals, price comparisons of things, and discount vouchers from different sites.
Security researcher Wladimir Palant found these four extensions (add-ons) suspicious and malicious behavior from almost a month and also did detailed research on how these extensions (Add-ons) are transmitting a large amount of collected data (about user's online browsing activities) to the company's servers.
The list of data sent by the above four browser extensions to the company's servers are :
Is this necessary for the extensions to collect this amount of data? No, this amount of data collection is definitely unnecessary.
By collecting this amount of data it is easy for Avast and AVG to create an accurate reconstruction of your online browsing activities : Which sites do you visit and for how much time, what do you click on specific site, how many tabs do you have open on the browser, how much time do you spend watching the video contents, etc. So, by collecting and after analyzing this amount of data it is easy for Avast and AVG to recognize your identity.
Security researcher, Wladimir Palant reported Avast and AVG extensions malicious behavior to both web browser owner, Mozilla, and Google. After that, by taking immediate action Mozilla temporarily removes these extensions (add-ons) from its Add-on store until Avast and AVG fix the issue.
It is important to note that Mozilla didn't blacklist these four extensions (add-ons) so users who have already installed any of these extensions on their browser will remain active and continue to collect a large amount of above information.
While all these four extensions are still available for download on the Google Chrome Web Store. However, Wladimir Palant believes that these extensions will be removed from Google Chrome Web Store by Google in a short period of time.
If you have any questions related to the Avast and AVG browser extensions spying behavior and also want to share your views on this then please mention in the comments box and I will get back to you.