Avast News

Avast joins IWF to fight child abuse

Jaya Baloo, 1 September 2020

We are proudly joining the Internet Watch Foundation to help eradicate all child sex abuse imagery online

As Chief Information Security Officer at Avast, it fills me with tremendous pride to announce that Avast is now a member of the IWF! 

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is a UK charity formed 24 years ago with the mission to identify and purge online child sexual abuse content. When the organization launched, websites originating from the UK were among the most contaminated with such imagery, but today the nation hosts less than 1% of it worldwide, thanks to the efforts of IWF and its partners. 

As a new IWF partner, Avast will help crack down on the creation and sharing of child abuse imagery by filtering out any webpages that host the disturbing content. “Working with Avast, with their huge experience in the field, will boost this mission and have a very real impact on the safety of children around the world,” said Susie Hargreaves, Chief Executive of the IWF.

Child abuse pornography has only become more prevalent as technology and the internet have evolved. Avast will provide technical support and skilled resources as we work with the IWF and their 150+ members, which consist of tech companies, content providers, hosting services, and security leaders like Avast. We hope that our contributions will help the effort to rescue some of these abused children and prevent any re-victimization. We stand steadfast in our mission to reduce, and ultimately stop, online harm. 

I have previously supported a program initiated by the Dutch Ministry of Justice, which attempted to track images of children and their sources. The IWF played an important role in creating transparency in this field. According to the IWF 2020 report, the Netherlands hosts 71% of the child sexual abuse content found by the IWF. This equates to 93,962 URLs. Still, the issue is not limited to the Netherlands -- it’s a worldwide problem, and gaining such insights is helpful in fighting it. 

If you happen to stumble across a sexual image or video featuring someone you think may be under 18, please report it to the IWF. All reporting can be done anonymously and confidentially – we are not looking for your details, just your help.