Does Antivirus Software Report Non-Malware Files to the Vendor?

Thelps

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I'm curious as to whether antivirus software, especially but not restricted to cloud-based antivirus programs, reports your non-malware files to the vendor.

The primary purpose of avoiding malware on a computer, apart from retaining functionality, is to maintain the privacy of the files contained on the hard drives.

If your files are scanned by an antivirus program and most antivirus programs retain a constant, live connection to the internet, then does that mean your antivirus vendor is aware of the full contents of your machine's hard drives?

I'd be especially interested to hear from anyone with industry experience in this sector.

If anyone can link me to some forums that specialise on antivirus software and that are vendor-neutral I'd be very appreciative.
 

sna

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Jan 17, 2010
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Once you plug your PC to the internet , trust me , any one can spy on your pc.

if you are afraid that people spy on your pc , put your critical files on isolated PC.

anti virus or not .. even the internet Provider can spy on you if the government forces him to do that , and wont need any anti virus program for this. I think even Microsoft itself is forced to include backdoors in their OS.

DONT TRUST THE INTERNET
 

gangrel

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I'm just glad I'm only cautious...not paranoid....

I very much doubt that anti-virus software reports about your non-malware files. What would be the business interest of the AV company? Further, if they did anything with that information...ANYTHING at all...I think they could be sued, and I believe they'd have NO defense. I'm not a lawyer, but this would constitute a warantless search, it seems to me...and I would further expect that anything they might find as a result, might be inadmissible. The situation is not the same as with your ISP or email provider, and logs they keep. You have an expectation of privacy with regard to the files on your home machine...it's in your home, or part of your personal possessions. Data at your ISP...you lose that protection.
 

sna

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I personally think Anti Virus software houses make new viruses to keep their business running.
 

CWEric

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If your antivirus is not sure of a file that looks suspicious, then it would be uploaded for them to review. That file could be anything in your computer. Worst case scenario it can be something sensitive like your company secrets. The antivirus Kaspersky lets me choose to out-out from their network if I want because of the trade off of security-privacy.
 

gangrel

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What would be the point of uploading a file for review? A review of what, by what? How does an external review add value? What's going to be reported to the user about such a file? This doesn't make a lot of sense, at least *not without approval*...and that approval should be on a file-by-file basis.

I haven't ever seen an AV package that discusses this. Maybe Kaspersky does, but if so, in my experience that would be a policy of a specific product, not a general policy.

 

CWEric

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http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/antivirus-tracking-youd-surprised-sends/

New malware are always at first unknown to antivirus companies. This is a major way of finding and adding new malware into their database by collecting users files that appears suspicious but the automatic software can't make a confident call on the spot.

Your consent of approval for your antivirus to download and review any files they deem suspicious happens when you click the agree button to the very long agreement terms before using their software.

A defense mechanism I assume antivirus companies take is make sure that the files being reviewed by professionals cannot be identify by the computer it came from. This are all trust and assumption though. No news story and whistle blowing has came out yet of them misusing privacy data and it would be a disaster to the anti-virus industry if bad news does break.

This is why I said on a different person thread that Emisoft appears to be an ethical company, they are open about this and post it on their blog.

http://blog.emsisoft.com/2015/06/26/antivirus-software-protecting-your-files-at-the-price-of-your-privacy/
http://blog.emsisoft.com/2015/01/17/has-the-antivirus-industry-gone-mad/
http://blog.emsisoft.com/2014/02/28/the-potentially-unwanted-person/
 
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