Avast Scandal: Selling Users Data
What’s the Story?
In December 2019, Senator Ron Wyden, an active supporter of net-neutrality and cybersecurity, left a tweet on his account questioning Avast’s capability to protect its users' sensitive information. The tweet pointed to Avast using its users' information to get financially benefited from third parties. This tweet sparked the Avast scandal.
Later, an investigation by Motherboard and PCMag made things clear. It showed that Avast used its users' confidential data by selling the data to third parties and got paid in return. Thereby, overriding all privacy policies and putting both its reputation and people’s safety, who trusted its services, at considerable risk.
Avast Scandal and Jumpshot
The investigation by Motherboard and PCMag included GPS coordinates on Google maps, Google searches, LinkedIn pages, and YouTube videos. The investigated information traced back to 2013 when Avast acquired Jumpshot, a subsidiary company that collects anonymous data and sells it to big corporations. The deal was to use spyware placed in Avast AVG’s security browser.
In 2020, Avast scandal reached the peak when VICE Motherboard published a very critical article on the matter, listing out all corporations that had deals with Jumpshot and bought users’ data for multiple purposes.
As a widely known cybersecurity company, Avast was in the face of a hard situation, and millions of users have also questioned its trustworthiness. As it showed up later, Avast used its users’ data and did a profitable business out of it.
Millions of people used Avast's services and trusted its free antivirus for years. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the amount of collected and used data since 2013, especially for those who used the free version, was a tempting meal for big corporations.
Response to Avast Scandal
In the face of the storm, Avast came out to the world with an explanation. The CEO, Ondrej Vlcek, wrote a blog post about the reason behind acquiring Jumpshot. He justified that it was an attempt to elevate the data analytics capabilities and take security beyond what is expected.
In more detailed justification, Avast asked its users to put their fears away, emphasizing that users’ sensitive data were extracted out before handing them off, in a process called “De-identification”.
The problem is, de-identification takes out the personal and sensitive data but can fail to prevent linking them back to Avast's users. Avast offered access to traffic from one hundred million devices. It means a tremendous amount of information was sold to big brands and e-commerce corporations by Jumpshot.
Third parties can view individuals’ clicks in browsing engines, visited websites, looked-up pages, used applications, and search history. Users' IP addresses or names can’t be viewed. However, the users' history has an identifier called device ID, which can be recognized by companies like Amazon. Once a user makes any online purchase, it is no longer anonymous.
Best Safe and Free Antiviruses
Avast isn’t a representation of all free antiviruses; you should find a free antivirus that’s trusted and will protect your data. And that’s why we’re here to give you a hand in finding the best free and trusted antiviruses on the market.
With over 20 years in the field and more than 500 customers, Avira has been recognized as one of the best Antivirus services on the market. It offers many inviting features for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
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Get Avira Antivirus Free Edition
You can put your trust in Kaspersky free antivirus that offers what you need to keep your information safe and protected, with various catchy features, including real-time ransomware protection, password management, and all essential features for protection. As a free version, its VPN does not offer access to geo-restricted content.
To ensure that you choose a software intended for your region, you will need to select your location in the drop-down menu. This will ensure you are getting the best protection for your device.
Free antivirus can shield your device against main threats. However, if you aim for advanced features, like parental control, anti-phishing, performance optimization, smart and fast VPN, and many other advanced features, you will need to subscribe to the premium plans.
Kaspersky offers different antivirus plans, with a price that starts at $29.99 per year.
Give Kaspersky Free Edition a Try
Bitdefender is a leading cybersecurity company located in Bucharest, with more than 19 years in antivirus services. Bitdefender has protected over 500 million software of millions of customers around the globe.
Compared to other antivirus services, Bitdefender proved to offer a high protection level, with the least impact on users' devices. No matter how recent the threat is, Bitdefender will detect and remediate it before causing the least harm to your device.
If looking for a free antivirus with basic protection features, Bitdefender provides that. It is a light edition that does not slow down your PC. It takes a couple of seconds for installation, and it is highly recommended for gaming and video editing.
Try Bitdefender Free Antivirus
With five-star customer support and customers from all over the world, TotalAV took its place in the list of the top Antivirus services on the market.
TotalAV is a user-friendly application with impressive features for free. It improves browser performance, removes junk files and duplicates, and boosts your system. The free edition does not have real-time protection. However, it is packed with many stunning features, including Malware and Adware detection, virus elimination, and vulnerabilities analysis.
For more advanced features, like real-time protection, anti-ransomware, advanced Webshoeld, browsing VPN, and many more. You can upgrade to the premium plans for a price that starts at $34.49 per year.
Get the Free TotalAV Antivirus
Avast scandal shocked millions of internet users who have never suspected their antivirus provider. To put your trust in what you use, pick the best antivirus services on the market. Make sure that you choose the safest and trusted antivirus, with no compromises on security.
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Best Free Antiviruses for Windows