Four antivirus extensions were removed from the Firefox download list after they were found to be collecting much more data than they needed. Following the discoveries of Adblock Plus founder Wladimir Palant, Mozilla chose to remove Avast Online Security, Avast Safeprice, AVG Online Security, and AVG Safeprice from the website for Mozilla extensions.
Avast and AVG
In October it was already revealed that Avast Online Security and AVG Online Security both store unnecessary user information. The extension, for example, collected users’ search history. This is not needed for the extension to function. Both Google and Mozilla even prohibit it. The latter has now taken action against the antivirus companies.
Not Blacklisted Yet
Although Mozilla has removed the antivirus extensions from its website, they are not yet blacklisted. This means that users who have already installed the extension can continue to use it, if they wish. Mozilla is working on a solution together with Avast. Mozilla does not encourage the use of questionable antiviruses. But, as far as we know, the extensions can still be downloaded for Google Chrome.
Avast was firm in their reaction to Palant’s discoveries. According to Avast, it is necessary to collect search history in order to provide a properly functioning antivirus. They also said that this is done without collecting or storing user’s data. Further, they have already included some of Mozilla’s requirements in new versions of the extension. The aim is for the antivirus to be able to be used in Firefox again soon.
Your Online Security
Nowadays, antivirus extensions are important to protect you against possible cyber attacks. It is often the first step to bring your online security up to standard. Nevertheless, it is wise to look critically at what antivirus extensions – and any other form of browser integration – ask you to agree to. Consumers expect that online security companies take good care of their privacy. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.