A subsidiary of the anti-virus manufacturer Avast has collected extensive user data on Google searches, viewed videos and sold them on to third parties.
A new data scandal is currently shaking the network. Jumpshot, a subsidiary of the virus protection provider Avast, apparently sells extensive user data to third parties which has leaked information. Avast itself has 430 million active users, Jumpshot has data on 100 million devices. The data collected and resold by Jumpshot includes Google searches, location information on Google Maps and viewed videos. With the data it should be possible to reconstruct the date and time of the visits of anonymous users of the sites. In some cases, the search terms entered there and the videos have also been recorded. The data should not contain any personal information such as user names. According to experts, it should still be possible to identify certain users based on the browser data and the device ID.
Million Dollar Business With The Resale Of User Data
For Jumpshot, selling customer data is part of the business model. Customers include companies such as Google and Microsoft. The Avast subsidiary collects the data, among other things, via the virus protection browser plug-in. Customers must opt-in to the collection of data, but according to experts, many users were apparently unaware that their browser usage data was being sold.
Avast Users Should Immediately Deactivate The Corresponding Consent
After the massive criticism of the company’s actions, it was announced that Jumpshot’s data collection would cease and that Jumpshot’s operations would be discontinued with immediate effect. The decision was made together with the board of directors.
Extensions Forwarded The Data
The data business could have been going on for years. It became widely known in December that Avast had sent users entire browser history via extensions to their own servers. Mozilla announced it had blocked Avast and its related company AVG. Avast said last year that its extensions would need to track browser history to protect users from attack. In addition, the appeal was made not to identify users or to store such data. Nevertheless, one wanted to adapt to the requirements of Mozilla.