Antivirus is supposed to be one of the most reliable software as its primary goal is to protect us from malicious software. However, when it comes to privacy, everything can change. It's a lot of money Ari...
Below we will see 3 ways in which an Antivirus can violate our privacy
The data for this post comes from Restore privacy, an organization dedicated to helping online users protect their privacy. They published a study called "Is Your Antivirus Software Spying on You?" THE research presents us with information about how antiviruses track us.
1. Antivirus has provided user data in the past
One of the biggest privacy scandals of 2020 was when it was discovered that Avast sells its users' information to third parties. Avast's tracking data was anonymized, but the companies that bought the data could compare the clicks to some activity history and determine exactly who was behind the anonymity.
2. Antivirus can scan HTTPS data
Antivirus protects you from visiting malicious websites. To do this, they need to record what you are visiting. This is not supposed to be a problem when you visit a website that uses HTTPS, as your computer will encrypt the data before the antivirus can "see" where you are.
But antiviruses can bypass this by creating a proxy on your computer capable of creating fake SSL certificates. When your computer connects to an HTTPS site, the proxy grabs it, checks the URL, and then sends it to its destination with a new certificate.
You can see this process happening on the certificate itself. Click the padlock next to an HTTPS site, check the certificate, and then see the item that says "Issued by." If it states the name of the antivirus you are using, it means that your security software is monitoring your release.
3. Antiviruses may contain add-ons that monitor you
Some antivirus programs come with additional tools that are supposed to keep your browsing safe. These are potentially unwanted programs (potentially unwanted programs ή απλά PUP), τα οποία μπορούν να παραβιάσουν το ιδιωτικό σας απόρρητο.
For example AVG, comes with a PUP called SafePrice. It's supposed to find you the best prices on products you search on the internet, just by tracking your spending.
From the above it seems that antivirus can monitor us in more than one way. Depending on the PUP they install and how they are used, they may have a lot of data.
Why do Antivirus want our data?
Data is worth a lot and when an electronic service offers its platform for free and without ads, it doesn't have many options for monetization. Thus, it sells the data it collects to interested third parties.
One of the main mottos for free software is "if you do not pay for the product, you are the product". With this in mind we should not be surprised that free antivirus collects information.
Nevertheless, the idea of data collection by these “trusted” software worries many. A good antivirus should protect its users and prevent every infringement of privacy.
How to avoid giving data to antivirus
Unfortunately, not using antivirus is not the ideal choice. It is good to have a layer of defense against viruses and hackers. But what can you do?
You can use Antivirus that is not free. But there are many who will not be able to pay for a premium antivirus, or just do not want to. In this case, you need to be careful what you choose.
If you like the look of some free antivirus, don't just stop there. Read the terms of service to see what they say. Don't blindly click on her “Next”. installationand don't opt out of everything that asks for your data to be collected.
Finally, check the options and get rid of any default settings that may violate your privacy, such as controlling HTTPS addresses.
When you download an antivirus and proceed with the installation, proceed slowly to ensure that no PUPs are installed. Read the installer carefully and don't keep clicking on it button “Next” until you complete the process. You may agree to install software you don't want. This, in turn, can invade your privacy and track your every activity.
Here we should mention ClamAV. ClamAV is a special case, as the whole program is open source. This means that you can trust it even though it is free.
ClamAV is the rare case of an antivirus that comes free and respects your privacy. So is one good choice if you do not want to pay and you do not like the idea of providing your data.