Chrome and Firefox users are being spied by AVG and Avast plug-ins

by Gabriel E. Hall - -

Suspicious AVG and Avast extensions can record the browsing data of users using Chrome or Firefox as their default browser

Chrome and Firefox users are being spied by AVG and Avast plug-ins

Chrome and Firefox web browsers are one of the most commonly-used browsers while Chrome is placed as the top and takes 64.4%, according to the Browser Market Share Worldwide statistics.[1] Even though these browsers are considered to be safe for use, various cyber incidents can put users at the risk.

Currently, cybersecurity websites reporting about suspicious AVG and Avast extensions that get installed on Chrome, Firefox web browsers to start recording user browsing data and some technical details about the computer system. This unusual activity has been found about one month ago by Wladimir Palant who discovered numerous browsing-related details being transferred to the firm's remote servers.

The original aim of malicious extensions is to provide some security features, yet more negatives are found

Mostly, users do not install these AVG and Avast extensions on their own. After downloading the antivirus app, these plug-ins appear on the Chrome and Firefox afterward as an additional result of the installation process. Here are the types of extensions that you have to be aware of:[2]

  1. AVG Online Security
  2. AVG SafePrice
  3. Avast Online Security
  4. Avast SafePrice

The original aim of Online Security plug-ins is to warn users about suspicious/malicious content by alerting them with a message while trying to enter a questionable website. Continuously, the SafePrice plug-ins are for helping people to gain knowledge about safe online shopping, the best deals, and offers, available discounts, etc.

However, it seems that these two extensions do more than just providing functional help. A tip for all users would be to stay away from these plug-ins as some might still be available on the official Google Chrome web store. Besides, they haven't been blacklisted by Mozilla developers. If you have already found these apps in your browser, we recommend removing them to stop the data recording process.

Avast can record almost every mouse click that the user makes during online sessions

Wladimir Palant has claimed that Avast[3] might be able to spy on each move that the user makes on the Internet sphere while completing various online activities, and so on.[4] If the suspicious extensions are installed on a person's web browser app, these tools can record data such as the URLs you have entered and visited, a UID (unique user identifier),[5] the way you enter certain websites (bookmarks, directly, etc.), details about your browser, including the browser name and last updated variant, the country code you are currently using, and the version of your OS.

As you can see this is a wide range of information that can be recorded by those four suspicious extensions. Even though the plug-ins that have already been installed on users' browsers can continue spying on their online activities, Mozilla Firefox developers have disabled the download process of these products from their online store until Avast will fix the problem and speculations say that Google Chrome will supposedly also take down these plug-ins from its web store in the upcoming future.

About the author

Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

Gabriel E. Hall is a passionate malware researcher who has been working for 2-spyware for almost a decade.

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