Extensions developed by Avast, as well as their AVG-branded versions, have been removed by Mozilla and can no longer be found in the Firefox add-on store, albeit for the time being, it looks like a full ban is yet to be instated.
Mozilla’s links to Avast Online Security and Avast SafePrice, as well as their versions wearing AVG’s badge, have been removed from the Firefox browser add-on store and can no longer be installed by users.
But as per GHacks, this isn’t a full ban, as an extension that is blacklisted by Mozilla is also removed from the existing Firefox installations. At this point, these extensions are still running on devices where they’ve been installed previously.
Browsing data collection
While both Mozilla and Avast/AVG have remained completely tight-lipped on the extension removal from the add-on store, it’s believed this decision is related to recent information revealed by Wladimir Palant, the creator of AdBlock Plus, one of the most popular ad blockers for Firefox and Google Chrome.
In his thorough analysis of Avast’s extensions, Palast explains that they collect browsing history information that includes visited sites, search history, and even tab and window identifiers. Palast says this helps Avast “create a nearly precise reconstruction of your browsing behavior,” as the company can then generate a bunch of statistics, like the number of active tabs, visited websites, time spent on each page, and clicks.
The developer says Mozilla is still talking with Avast over its extensions, so there’s a good chance that the links will go back online in the coming days after the said concerns are resolved.
Palant calls for Google to also investigate the Avast and AVG extensions, as a similar behavior also exists in their Chrome versions.