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Avast Antivirus – Ye Matey, Give Me Yer Info!

Not unlike the swashbucklers of the sea, it’s been found the Avast Antivirus has been taking yer booty! In this case, your browsing history, GPS info, social media info…

Avast Antivirus caught

Avast Antivirus  – What Did You Expect From Software Named After A Pirate Phrase?

The full scope of this ridiculousness is not yet know, but it does affect mostly PC and Android users. With a user base of over 400 Million with paid and free versions, it’s most certainly out there, and I guess the owners just couldn’t say no to that sweet, sweet advertising money... Most of the folks getting into it would be forgiven for missing the wee clause asking to opt-in to “share relevant data”, which Avast would then sell to a firm called Jumpshot. An investigation by Vice and PC Mag citing leaked user data, contracts, and other documents that laid bare the breadth of the data being sold.

Google searches, location look-ups and GPS coordinates from Google Maps, social media pages, and YouTube video listings… oh… and your.. ahem.. PERSONAL time searches. Wink, wink, nudge, nude, know what I mean? Perhaps it was Avast staff sending out those phishing emails commenting our our sick tastes in… personal… exercise. Even though they claim this data is anonymized, it’s very easy these days to produce a digital fingerprint based on this data and identify you more then you want to be.

So who was getting this data from Avast via Jumpshot? Not really anyone you’d know…Pepsi (you drinks that swill?), Yelp.. Microsoftsomeoneorother(??) oh.. and our good and exceedingly privacy conscious friends at Google.

Avast Antivirus Information Spread


Avast – Ok, Ok, We Be Stopping! What’s That Matey? My Hand In Your Pocket? Nawwww…

Once the leaks of info were found out, a few browser put the kibosh on access… Avast Antivirus apologized and said they had stopped; then Avast simply started collecting the data directly though their application. At least they are persistent. Not to be deterred even after that, they have started asking users of the free software to opt-in, “If they opt-in, that device becomes part of the Jumpshot Panel and all browser-based internet activity will be reported to Jumpshot,”. Great…

Being Pirate themed, you can’t blame them, can you? After all, Jumpshot was reportedly paid over $2 Million for access to it’s data. That’s a hell of a racket!

Anti-Virus On Mac Largely Not Needed

In my 24 years of working professionally on Macs, I’ve never once encountered an actual virus… plenty of adware, perhaps a little malware, but never a hard hitting virus. I even used to run good ol Norton Anti-Virus back in the day, but it was soon discovered that it caused more issues then it actually helped prevent, and that can be said for most any Antivirus on the Mac. As you can see from this situation, its not worth the negatives.

Apple has built in security that is very good, it’s called Gate-Keeper, and it works in the background relentlessly without you realizing. It’s updated by Apple all the time and the only thing that seems to slip through is user-downloaded malware and adware.

For that, The Stem, and even Apple recommend a tool called Malwarebytes. It’s updated often with plenty of definitions and catches all sorts of things that you may not even realize are malware or adware. Don’t be tricked into downloading any of the tools like Mac Cleaner X, Clean My Mac, best to simply trust that the machine can take care of itself, with an occasional visit to a place like ours!

Contact us if you think your machine is having some trouble!

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Ryszard (Rick) Gold, From Calgary, Alberta, Canada has over 20 years of experience working with Apple products in a technical capacity. Passionate about technology in general, his natural troubleshooting abilities, curiosity and appreciation of good design lead him into working exclusively with Apple Computer products.
Ryszard Gold
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