Mozilla has removed four extensions from Avast and its subsidiary AVG from its webpage where you can find add-ons for Firefox. The browser maker does so because of suspicions that the extensions send data and browsing history of users.
These are the Avast Online Security, AVG Online Security, Avast SafePrice and AVG SafePrice extensions. They are no longer available on addons.mozilla.org since Tuesday, reports ZDNet . The extensions are still in the Google Chrome Web Store.
Last month, Wladimir Palant, creator of AdBlock Plus, published a blog in which he accused Avast and AVG of spying on users via the Online Security extensions. He followed that story on Tuesday with a new publication in which he states that the SafePrice extensions for price comparison do exactly the same. According to Palant, the extensions can be classified as spyware.
Palant’s research shows that the extensions collect much more data than is necessary for operation. That data is forwarded to Avast servers. This includes a detailed browser history. Both Mozilla and Google do not allow extensions to do that.
After Palant published his blog in October, no action was taken by the browser makers. On Monday, he submitted a report against the extensions to Mozilla, after which they were removed from the add-ons portal site within 24 hours. According to Palant, the extensions at Google can only be reported with the ‘report abuse’ function, but that has not yet yielded anything. Google has in the past removed extensions that unauthorized users’ browsing history.