Cybersecurity is one continuous struggle between cops and robbers, but sometimes you can't even trust the guards. This was discovered by Wladimir Palant, developer of the well-known browser extension Adblock Plus, who noticed a very strange behavior in four extensions related to antivirus.
These are extensions Avast Online Security, AVG Online Security, Avast SafePrice and AVG SafePrice (the names are double, because Avast bought AVG in 2016) all linked to the security suites of the Avast group. These extensions are available for both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox and Opera and they always behave the same way: according to Palant raking in information about user behavior, in quantities far greater than what would be enough to guarantee safe browsing with Chrome, Firefox and Opera. While Mozilla and Opera Software have already done so remove these four extensions, Google still does not. And Palant didn't miss the chance to make fun of the web giant.
Spy Extensions: What Data They Collect
La amount of data collected (and sent to Avast) by the four antivirus extensions is remarkable: complete URL of the pages we visit, tracking ID generated by the extension itself, title of the page visited and path of origin, how we arrived on a page (via link, typing the URL, via a bookmark etc etc), a value that indicates whether it is the first time we visit the page, country code, name and version of the browser used, name and version of the operating system. According to Palant much of this information does not serve to protect navigation, but to finely profile the user's behavior, his online habits and the contents he views through the two browsers.
Mozilla replies, Opera as well, Google does not
Shortly after Palant published this information, Mozilla's response came, removing all four spy extensions from the Firefox add-on store. The same did, but after specific Palant's recommendation, Opera Software. Only Google is missing from the appeal: the four extensions are still usable on Chrome and have not been blocked. On Big G's behavior, Palant comments wryly: “Extensions are removed from the Chrome Web Store only after they make headlines. Does anyone have a contact in Google who can help out? “.
Chrome, beware of these extensions, they spy on your data