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Avast Antivirus CyberCapture, great feature or privacy concern?

Author:  EmailOnDeck
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Avast Antivirus, which appears to be a company based out of the Czech Republic, launched a new "feature" CyberCapture in a recent Nitro update.

The Nitro update pitches itself as "filled with innovative, new ways to increase speed and increase protection" referenced here. Let's take a closer look at what this CyberCapture is all about.

In a nutshell, CyberCapture is a feature that automatically uploads rare, suspicious files up into the cloud. From there, it does some additional scanning and testing and determines whether it thinks it's harmful or not. You can then decide if you still wish to open/run the file or not.

But's there's definitely some unanswered privacy questions out there (as of the time of the writing of this blog). As Avast is not very forthcoming with their information. Let's consider just two of the privacy concerns.

First concern: Which personal files of yours are being uploaded? It doesn't look like Avast provides a list of all your files that they upload to their cloud. It also seems like there is no way to restrict certain folders from being off limits from this feature.

So basically, Avast is grabbing your files, without you knowing which ones, and uploading them to their cloud for further "analysis".

Second concern: What are they doing with your files after they upload them? We saw nothing on their site or blog that says whether they delete the files immediately, hold on to them for a certain period, sell them to other companies or even send them to governments.

We recommend you disable the CyberCapture on Avast. You shouldn't allow an application on your computer to upload any file (personal, medical, financial etc...) on your computer to a cloud and hold onto that information to do what they want with.

Be safe out there.


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