While the story is a little breathless and overstated, the substance is accurate enough: Avast and AVG antivirus products are tracking you and selling your data. Furthermore, it is virtually impossible to prevent “unmasking” the individuals within this data flow. I honestly believe they are flat out lying about anonymization.
This is where the software business has been going for a very long time. Your cellphone is even worse, because you have far fewer options for preventing this kind of tracking. The question is not, “How do we make them stop it?” It’s, “How will you maintain your personal integrity?” This is the mainstream, but I am by no means any part of the mainstream. My data has always skewed the results of such things. The question is how I can avoid being sucked into the mainstream, to maintain my own path.
This defeats the very purpose behind marketing. The advertisers want to commoditize humanity; they want to make us all interchangeable. They want the same type of manipulation to work everywhere on everyone. This is the very essence of what Satan does — dehumanizing and reducing us to our lusts. It’s efficient to encourage homogeneity. Fighting that does not mean withdrawing completely from society and running for the hills. It means turning inward to find your true convictions and living by them regardless of the circumstances. The better you understand the circumstances, the better you can discern how to react.
Now, for a more practical response: It’s better to run Microsoft’s own Windows Defender than almost any third party AV product. For now, at least, Microsoft keeps all their collected data internally, and doesn’t sell it to third parties. And of course, a critical asset in network protection is to have a very solid router between you and the Internet. If you can’t afford the high end stuff like Peplink routers (better options, more durable and far better support), then consider getting a router that you already know will run something like DD-WRT. There are videos on YouTube on how to flash almost every router that can accommodate it. While it can be a chore installing it, you can always buy one with DD-WRT pre-installed, but those are by far the most expensive.
All of them are now more complicated than ever in configuration. That’s because the threats are much smarter than they used to be. If you run Win10 without giving thoughtful consideration on how you can best change the default settings for your own security, you are already under intrusive surveillance. Advertisers these days are quite willing to outright seize control of your device, so long as they can get away with it.
Again, the issue is that you become aware of the manipulation and decide your own best response.