A trend that snuck up on users in 2013, and strikes instant recognition among people who have experienced it, are unwanted browser extensions. The numbers AVAST has collected so far are enormous. More than 4.8 million different browser extensions for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome have been identified in just eight months.
“On average, there are almost 20,000 new add-ons per day,” said Thomas Salomon, head of AVAST Software‘s Browser Cleanup development team. “The vast majority (88%) of all our users have given toolbars and add-ons a bad or very bad rating.”
Browser toolbars especially can be quite annoying, not only because they take up a lot of space inside the browser, but because they change your homepage and your search engine without you realizing it.
“Unwanted toolbars are a pain everyone can relate to and we would argue are the first major consumer security outbreak since spyware,” said Ondrej Vl?ek, Chief Operating Officer at AVAST Software.
Many of them track your browsing activities and searches in order to display annoying ads and manipulate your search results.
“We are in the era of new ‘spyware’, but this time it’s even more hideous, especially since many players in the security space are actually in the game themselves by pushing the toolbars onto customers,” Ondrej Vlcek said.
Checking and cleaning your own browsers
Browser toolbars are often difficult or even impossible for the average user to fully uninstall. avast! Browser Cleanup was developed to help our customers identify and get rid of unwanted browser toolbars and add-ons.
If you have toolbars in your internet browsers or have noticed strange ads displayed as an overlay, check your browsers using avast! Browser Cleanup. The tool is available in any avast! Antivirus product or you can download the standalone version here.
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