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December 29th, 2013

What bugged AVAST users this year: NSA spooked people about privacy

privacy word of yearPRIVACY. It’s the word of the year from dictionary.com. With reports of the NSA turning the internet into a vast surveillance platform, FBI agents and hackers monitoring citizens through home appliances, web-browser tracking cookies multiplying like rabbits, and information you post to social networking sites yourself, the loss of individual’s online privacy and the extensive access of personal data became a mainstream topic in 2013.

In an interview about security issues with SC Magazine, Vincent Steckler, AVAST’s CEO said that the next aspect of security that needs consideration is privacy. Both consumers and corporates are going to need social media protection capabilities, including checking of links for malware, better control of privacy settings, and control over apps. That goes for tracking in browsers as well.

Abandon all privacy, ye who enter here

Ondřej Vlček, AVAST’s Chief Technology Officer, agrees. “’Do not track in browsers’ doesn’t really work,” he says. “It’s up to the servers whether to adhere to [the HTTP Do Not Tracker header] or not. Most commercial services don’t adhere to it.”

Raise your hand if you use your smartphone to surf the web, compare prices, or buy movie tickets? (That looks like most of us.) Lots of people don’t realize that mobile brands, apps and websites ‘track’ their online movements. Vlček said there are plug-ins that remove things like tracking from ad networks, analytics services or Facebook’s Like buttons without breaking the service. He suggests this approach is an important piece of the puzzle for privacy protection.

AVAST experts agree that no matter which method cybercriminals choose; mobile malware, targeted attacks, data collection via browser extensions or privacy intrusion and collection of personal data online – all things that bugged AVAST users this year -  it all boils down to the attempt to abuse and monetize users’ personal data. It’s essential for users, not just to keep up with the latest in technology, but also to protect their devices and data with the latest security solutions.

AVAST recognizes an increased demand for respective solutions and predicts that in the upcoming year an increased amount of people will be looking for effective means of privacy protection.

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  1. wilhelm1234
    January 5th, 2014 at 05:26 | #1

    Please could you tell me what assurances you can give us that Avast is not collaborating with the NSA or GCHQ as other security vendors are reported to be? I have just downloaded Avast on my Mac and on the first scan my Little Snitch network monitoring software reported that Avast was trying to connect to http://www.fda.gov – why would this be??
    Thank you,
    W

  2. January 7th, 2014 at 19:44 | #2

    Hi Wilhelm,
    Please read our statement in response to the Bits of Freedom open letter. That should clarify our stance regarding this.

    We are interested in what your network monitoring software reported – fda.gov? Please give us more details, if possible, at wannabesocial@avast.com, and we will pass it on.

Comments are closed.