Two browsers have yanked Avast and AVG online security extensions from their web stores after a report revealed that they were unnecessarily sucking up a ton of data about users’ browsing history.
Wladimir Palant, the creator behind Adblock Plus, initially surfaced the issue—which extends to Avast Online Security and Avast SafePrice as well as Avast-owned AVG Online Security and AVG SafePrice extensions—in a blog post back in October but this week flagged the issue to the companies themselves. In response, both Mozilla and Opera yanked the extensions from their stores. However, as of Wednesday, the extensions curiously remained in Google’s extensions store.
Using dev tools to examine network traffic, Palant was able to determine that the extensions were collecting an alarming amount of data about users’ browsing history and activity, including URLs, where you navigated from, whether the page was visited in the past, the version of browser you’re using, country code, and, if the Avast Antivirus is installed, the OS version of your device, among other data. Palant argued the data collection far exceeded what was necessary for the extensions to perform their basic jobs.