Mozilla suspended four data-gathering AVAST antivirus extensions

Mozilla has removed four antivirus extensions for the Firefox web browser from the download depository. Software developer Wladimir Palant has discovered this. The extensions would collect user data and keep track of user search history.

These are the antivirus extensions Avast Online Security, AVG Online Security, Avast SafePrice, and AVG SafePrice.

Palant, founder of the ad blocker Adblock Plus, analyzed the antivirus extensions Avast Online Security and AVG Online Security at the end of October. He found that they collected much more data than they needed, such as user search history, which both Mozilla and Google prohibit. On Tuesday, the software developer found that the other two extensions do the same.

The Adblock Plus founder reported his findings to Mozilla and Google. The extensions have been removed from the Mozilla Extensions website, but have not yet been blacklisted. Firefox users who have already installed the extensions can therefore continue to use them. According to Palant, the extensions can still be downloaded for Google Chrome.

Avast told ZDNet on Wednesday that they are working on a solution together with Mozilla. “The Avast Online Security extension is a security tool that protects users online against infected websites and phishing attacks,” said an Avast spokesperson.

“It is imperative that this service collect the search history to deliver the expected functionality. Avast does this without collecting or storing any user’s data.”

In addition, the spokesperson said that they have implemented some Mozilla requirements in new versions of the extensions.

“These will be available in the Mozilla store as usual in the near future.”

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