Anti-virus companies love to present themselves as helping people protect their computers from ‘hackers’, but the reality is that most anti-virus is not only useless and tends to slow down a computer as well as is expensive to upkeep, but creates a vulnerability because the program acts as a ‘filter’ through which ones personal searches could be theoretically spied upon. This fear was recently proven true by the anti-virus company Avast, who was busted collecting people’s personal data, including search histories, and selling them to major companies.
Popular anti-virus company Avast has been selling user data that includes specific web browsing history to major companies around the world.
According to a joint investigation by Motherboard and PCMag, Avast, which claims to have more than 435 million users, has been using a subsidiary called Jumpshot to sell user data to companies including Google, Microsoft, Home Depot, Pepsi and more.
Documents and leaked user data obtained in the investigation reveal that information collected by Avast on tens of millions of its users include details that most consider to be sensitive, such as web browsing history, and that some of that data is granular enough to track individual clicks on a web page.
In addition to search histories, location histories, and which videos a user watched on YouTube, documents show that Avast tracked visits to porn sites like PornHub or YouPorn and in some cases logged the time a user visited the site and which specific video they watched and queries they entered. (source)