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Is there a technical way to make sure that your antivirus provider doesn't send any information from your computer? Is there a reliable list of antivirus providers that this issue was checked and it is known that they are reliable? Is there any known cooperation between antivirus providers with government agencies?

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    Why are you specifically concerned about anti-virus packages and not about all the other software you run on your computer, which is just as likely or unlikely to be tracking you?
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 17:27
  • There is no 100% security and there is no 100% "reliable" list. At the end the question is if you trust the AV vendor or the one which creates this "reliable list" or the answers you get here .... Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 19:14

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Is there a technical way to make sure that your antivirus provider doesn't send any information from your computer?

Sure, there is a fairly easy way to ensure that your computer does not send any information to an outside source (NOTICE THIS IS (mostly) NOT SERIOUS). Simply follow these steps to the level of required paranoia:

  1. Really good on computer fire wall (but how can you trust this)
  2. Really good physical fire wall (again running software that you can not trust) that you monitor and only allow certain safe packets through.
  3. Remove Ethernet cables and WiFi cards.
  4. Fill all ports with a nice glue.
  5. Encase computer in lead
  6. Sink computer in deep ocean trench (safe from every one except James Cameron)
  7. You computer is now safe (although I wonder if it is still a computer at this point, lets ask some philosophers)

Ok, I lied here, there is no way to know that a program is not sending any information, assuming that you do not follow steps 4 and 5. This is directly related to the Immutable laws of Security, Law 1 If a bad guy can persuade you to run his program on your computer, it's not your computer anymore. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2008.10.securitywatch.aspx. Once a program has control it can edit logs and hide.

The only way to know that a program behaves as advertised is to understand completely the:

  1. Program Code

  2. The external libraries

  3. The compiler

  4. The OS that it runs in

  5. The hardware it runs on

  6. ect.

Is there a reliable list of antivirus providers that this issue was checked and it is known that they are reliable?

All of the above means that there cannot be a list of safe programs of any kind. There could be a hidden backdoor that is unused for years. In addition to on purpose backdoors Antivirus software does not have a stellar record for safety see:

https://code.google.com/p/google-security-research/issues/detail?id=693 https://code.google.com/p/google-security-research/issues/detail?id=675

for examples.

Is there any known cooperation between antivirus providers with government agencies?

Maybe. Schneier does not think so. However that does not preclude warrants, national security letters and million dollar payouts to devs. Also the behavior of state run Antivirus (see China) is anyone's guess. https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/12/how_antivirus_c.html

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You can check 'event logs' of your system to detect the activity of your antivirus program.

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  • Thanks a lot. Can the 'events log' show all the transformed information?
    – Avi
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 16:45
  • event logs are the activity which are done in your system by anyone. It shows the result of every task done in your computer system. For example you can see "thewindowsclub.thewindowsclubco.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/…". Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 16:54
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    Not true, event logs can be edited and manipulated by admin processes.
    – AstroDan
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 16:59
  • @AstroDan Thanks a lot. Is there any 'reliable' tool or technique I can use to detect the antivirus data transformation? Is ESET is considered safe and trusted?
    – Avi
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 17:07
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    @Avi The honest answer is no (see my answer for the snarky tinfoil hat response). The best bet would be monitoring of packets via a third computer. Law number 1 is really powerful.
    – AstroDan
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 17:13

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