The many reports and warnings about cyber attacks that get a whole lot of media attention every other day may leave privacy centered internet users feeling a lot more vulnerable than they should, since anyone connected to the Internet is potentially a target for these tech-savvy criminals. This is one of the reasons why antivirus companies are spending top dollar on advertisements meant to inform the general public of the dangers that browsing the Internet without any form of protection may result to. Despite all this, there have been numerous reports where antivirus software was found to be used to spy on its users activity, and recently, the US government took steps to ban one particular Russian brand it suspected was really up to no good. With such cases on the rise, one can only help but wonder, could my antivirus possibly be spying on me?
How to Prevent Your Antivirus From Spying On You
Can Antivirus Apps Monitor Your Activities?!
It sounds crazy that the very company you’ve trusted to keep your browsing safe can take advantage of their access to your device and monitor your activity. What can they possibly do with the data they find? Probably sell it off to third parties who then form a profile of what kind of customer you could be, and what type of things you’re likely to buy. Either way, it’s an infringement on privacy, and it’s also situation you can take steps to avoid.
Before we discuss what you could do to stay safe in case you have reasons not to trust your antivirus client, lets take a closer look into the history of the software company that American intelligence decided could be using its market dominance in the US to spy on their security facilities.
Kaspersky AntiVirus Software – Spying On Its US Users
It’s almost a sure bet that you’ve likely come across the Kaspersky antivirus software client on a friend or colleagues computer, and that is if you don’t already have it set up on your own. Kaspersky is one of the most popular antivirus clients, and they have their software working on more than 400 million computing devices based all around the world. For a Russian company, they’ve done pretty well for themselves in attaining a global footprint. It’s possible that this might however not be the case for long, judging by the US government’s decision to ban its use on American soil, after a hunch that their software was being used by Russia to gather information on US intelligence. Despite the claims being denied by the Russian firm, we’re yet to see whether the scandal will cast a dark shadow over the company’s reputation, and result in a decrease in customers.
Safeguarding Yourself From Antivirus Software Spying
In as much as this matter may seem to only play out between governments and intelligence services, the truth is that it can very easily trickle down to private users and whatever ‘suspicious’ work they could be up to while online. Aside from that, users also have to deal with the threats posed by cyber criminals that involve antivirus software to steal and blackmail unsuspecting users. One such example is when they use a type of malware known as scareware.
What is Scareware?
Scareware is used whenever some rogue software get to your device, and manages to fool you into thinking your device has been infected with a virus. To get rid of it, you read that you’ll have to download, or even pay for software that could help sort out the problem, only to find out much later that the ‘problem solving’ software you had installed was only used to gain access to your personal information.
How to Stay Safe?
Safeguarding yourself from this and any other malicious forms of attack requires that you also take some action to ensure you stay safe. A number of the tips that you could implement include:
Go for a credible antivirus firm that has been in the business long enough to build a strong reputation.
While known software brands often start by offering free versions of their software in a bid to increase market exposure, it’d be best to keep a keen eye on the brands that you choose to test out software from.
Stay up to date with any updates on cyber security released by the government. Whatever is put out by the government is highly likely to be credible information, so staying all ears and heeding to their instructions could help you avoid a lot of frustrations compared to not doing so.
It’s good to get software from a company that has a well built reputation, and a credible customer service team that’s ready to help you out in case you encounter any issues.
Steer away from any ads or prompts where unheard of companies try to solicit you to download any unheard of software.
Also avoid software from brands that promise to deliver big on features, yet they’re being offered for free.
Best Antivirus App Features
We also have a number of features that you could decide to look for as you take the time to identify what are the best antivirus brands in the market. They are::
Multiple devices support.
Technical support that’s available 24/7.
A money back policy that lasts up to 30 days.
Advanced firewall and ad blocking systems.
An easy-to-use interface.
Top level anti-malware & anti-phishing protection.
Support over all platforms & operating systems.
Availability of both fast and comprehensive system scan.
Conclusion On How To Prevent Your Antivirus From Spying On You
With Kaspersky being sued for what the US government considers as government spying, you can’t really be sure about what your current antivirus client is up to behind the scenes, so it’d only be best to keep a look out and stay informed. An antivirus, a credible VPN service like ExpressVPN, and a proven security conscious browser are the three things you need to ensure your activities online stay private, secure and confidential. Got a question or comment that you’d like to pose to us? Type it out in the comment section down below, and we’ll be sure to respond as soon as we can.
Streaming gadgets geek. Interested in every little thing there is to know about bypassing regional restrictions. An avid believer in the right to protect online privacy. Charles has also reviewed plenty of VPN service providers and knows how to separate the good apples from the bad ones.