Time to stop using AVG Anti-Virus

Tue, 22/09/2015 - 08:14 -- James Oakley
AVG

I've never used it, but I know a lot of people who do. For years, AVG have offered a free anti-virus product. You have to put up with the fact that it will put a signature on the end of your email messages, letting the recipient know that AVG Free scanned the email for viruses.

They offered a "Pro" version that you had to pay for. It has extra features that the free version does not. It doesn't add a note to your incoming and outgoing email. Anecdotally, it may get virus signature updates faster.

The trouble is, not enough people wanted to pay for it. Which leaves them needing to find other, ahem, ways to make some money.

With thanks to The Register, we know that AVG will have a new privacy policy from 15th October. Here's what El Reg has to say about the change

The changes will come into play on 15 October, according to the Czech-based biz in a blog post. The revised privacy policy can be found here, with the key paragraph extracted below:

We collect non-personal data to make money from our free offerings so we can keep them free, including:

  • Advertising ID associated with your device.
  • Browsing and search history, including meta data.
  • Internet service provider or mobile network you use to connect to our products.
  • Information regarding other applications you may have on your device and how they are used.

AVG will also collect and broker information about other apps its finds on a user's device. The security software firm will not be selling personal information such as names, emails, addresses, or payment card details, while admitting that some of this private information may possibly be exposed or inferred from one's browsing history.

They say that this change just affects the free version, so you could continue with their paid software if you wish. Personally, it makes me less inclined to trust them. But also, if the reason you used them was because they were free, it need not follow that their paid-for product is the best one for you. Now you're going to pay, there are many alternatives to choose from. (Or there's Microsoft Security Essentials).

So, IMO, it's time to stop using AVG products. You have 3 weeks to use an alternative.

As an aside, privacy policies can make for dull reading, but they are one of the most important policies to be on top of when using online services. We're so addicted to "free stuff" on the internet, that we forget to be cautious, and the way it's paid for often lurks in that privacy policy.

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