Cyber security firm Avast has alleged that Google, WhatsApp and Facebook spy on their users to find out their interest for serving targeted advertisements. The company said that their users are well aware of this practice.
“Google is an advertising company. Google revenue is basically from AdWords. Spying on users, getting what they are interested in and serving them advertisement is what their business model is. There is nothing inherent wrong with it. Users know what’s going on, I think,” Avast CEO Vincent Steckler told reporters on Wednesday.
He was talking on the sidelines of release of Avast findings on cyber security issues and unveiling of anti-theft mobile security software.
Steckler also said that WhatsApp too breaches data privacy of users.
“Did you ask all of your friends and colleague to share their personal and private information with Facebook. That’s another biggest user of privacy. WhatsApp is a data collector to serve you advertising inside Facebook. ... you get advertisement on Facebook based on conversation you had on WhatsApp,” Steckler said.
When asked for comments, a Google spokesperson said, “As a policy, we cannot comment on this without looking at specific report.”
No comments were received from Facebook on the issue.
Steckler said that users also breach privacy of their acquaintances by sharing contact details to use applications on mobile phones.
“In order to use WhatsApp, you have to share your entire contact database. Which means you provided all your friends and colleagues contact details to Facebook. Do you have right to do that?” Steckler said.
Avast CEO shared analysis done by company of top 100 applications on Android in the month of September.
As per the analysis, 99% of these applications have entire control of mobile phone which means they remotely operate phone as a user does and 92% can view network connections.
One out of 10 of top 100 applications can record audio and take pictures and videos and 9 out of 10 are able to read storage content which can modify or delete, as per the report.
Adware and porn clicker malware on Google Play has infected millions of users this year.
“One group of hackers managed to return more than 50 times into the store with the same strategy in just three months – their apps posed as games, but did nothing but click on porn,” Steckler said.