Today when I opened an incognito session in Chrome Browser, I got an immediate pop-up from Avast antivirus:

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Should I be concerned that my antivirus is acting like spyware? I sometimes use the TOR Browser Bundle (Firefox), can avast monitor that too?


Anti-virus programs are a little like spyware

AV needs to have visibility into every process being run on your computer. Even spyware doesn't dig as far into your machine as AV does.

The question is about what you mean and what you expect when you say "can AV monitor my browsers?" Avast saw that you were running an incognito session because it could see the process being launched. It's like noticing that you launched Chrome at all, which is the most basic function of AV. That does not mean that it is inspecting all the data you send through the browser.

HOWEVER: Some AV products do have browser plugins that can inspect the data in the browser. You have to turn this function on, though.

So, just because Avast saw that you launched an incognito window does not mean that it can read what you send through it.


Yes, Avast(the free version) sells your browser history.


  • That practice has been stopped (so, your text should be "sold" not "sells") and the data was anonymized. It was originally through a browser plug-in (as I state in my answer), but when their plug-in was seen doing this, they started pulling this data from the AV client itself, but after asking users to opt-in to data collection.
    – schroeder
    Mar 24 '20 at 8:08
  • So, this answer needs correcting and a little more context.
    – schroeder
    Mar 24 '20 at 8:12
  • We all know that anonymized data is really never anonymized. But sure, they claim they stopped this.
    – Dr_Bunsen
    Mar 30 '20 at 10:45

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