If you’re using a free antivirus or internet security software extensions on your browser, chances are it’s Avast, or its subsidiary AVG. If you’re indeed using one of these two, then you may want to remove them from your browser when you can. ZDNet reports that these extensions were harvesting user data and browser histories.
Mozilla was the first to remove extensions of these two software from its Firefox browser. Specifically, the company removed four extensions, which are Avast Online Security, Avast SafePrice, AVG Online Security and AVG SafePrice. The Safeprice variants are meant to help online shoppers by showing price comparisons, deals and available coupons.
The company decided to remove the extensions after Wladimir Palant, the creator of AdBlock Plus, reported on his findings. He first published a report in late October detailiing the Online Security versions of the extensions collecting your browsing history. A more recent one, on the other hand, states that the SafePrice variants are doing the same thing.
Avast has since responded to the situation, stating that it’s working with Mozilla to resolve the issue. A company spokesperson said that it’s necessary for the Online Security extension to collect browsing history in order to protect users from infected websites, and that it does so without collecting user identification details.
According to Palant’s most recent report, Opera has also pulled these extensions from its extensions store. At the time or writing though, Google Chrome still has not removed the affected extensions from its Chrome Web Store.