Those of us who are already a bit of a veteran remember that saying “nobody gives four pesetas hard” that came to say that nobody gives you things because yes. In the market of apps and applications it is something that is fulfilled, because most applications, apps or games that are defined as free end up doing business with something related to our activity. And that is precisely what has now been known about Avast, one of the most popular antivirus on the market, which is distributed free of charge for different operating systems, both desktop and mobile. The summary is clear, Avast does not give you precisely free access to its services.
A whole data business behind free subscriptions
Avast is not the first nor will it be the only company that sells data to third parties to make its business viable, but in this case the mass of its data business is striking. As they tell us from Vice , thanks to the data obtained by Motherboard and PCMag, Avast has sold hundreds of millions of data to third companies through a subsidiary company called Jumpshot . These a priori data are anonymous, since although each user is given an identifier, they should not be able to be identified by the companies.
Companies that have purchased data from Jumpshot are among the most important on the planet, such as Google, Amazon, Home Depot, IBM or Pepsi , as well as Microsoft , although the latter two deny this relationship with Jumpshot. Therefore Avast, through its extensions of browsers, apps and applications that are dedicated to neutralize viruses and threats, what they do is record all the activity of their users. This includes, for example, the web pages they visit, the mouse cursor movements, purchases they make, product searches, and all this in real time and recorded with a thoroughness when least disturbing.
It could be accepted that these data are sold in exchange for the use of the application, but here the problem is different, because as they remember from these publications, for large companies that buy this data it is relatively easy to cross them to find the identity of people behind those data packets with an anonymous identifier. A purchase of a certain day at a certain time can reveal the identity of a person for an online store, and logically browsing histories can give a clue as to whether or not that person is a customer of these companies. In fact, even if you have incognito browsing enabled in your browser, you can find that Avast has continued to collect data from your browsing sessions as well.
As usually happens in these cases, Avast after the discovery ensures that it no longer collects data from customers , at least from browser extensions, although they continue to do so in mobile and desktop apps. The business for Avast is lucrative, as it has sold this data annually for several million dollars. Therefore, with this data, it is shown again that nobody gives us the effort of thousands of employees in exchange for anything, and in this change, like many other companies, the data collection is the real deal.