[German]Antivirus vendor Avira has begun to install its Avira Free Security suite on systems of paying customers with Avira Antivirus Pro (or updated the Free Antivirus product to the Free Security Suite). Here is some information what I know so far.
I got the first messages this morning via e-mail and as comments within my German blog.
Users get Avira Free Security suite installed
German blog reader chriscrosser shared his observations about Avira within this German comment. He wrote (I've translated it):
…yesterday, Avira installed the "Avira Free Security" without asking, although I hadn't made any settings or changes to avira (Avira Free Antivirus)…
after that I restored a backup from 22.01. – until now everything is running normally again…
is probably that the last update included an installation file (for Free security) – if this happens again the next days, I will detect that – or they had a real problem with avira on Jan. 29.! (wrong or intentional wrong updates!)
Chriscrosser have had Avira Free Antivirus installed on his system, but has received a forced 'upgrade' to Avira Free Security suite. That's at least unpleasant. Could be an isolated case, but German blog reader Bernhard confirms this case in a follow-up comment, and that's where things don't just get messy anymore.
Hello, we have that problem too.
We have BUYED and PAID for Avira. And we don't want Avira Free Security, we just want to continue using the PAID product!
What sense does it make to replace the purchased Avira Antivirus Pro with some Free product? Without any explanation.
Why do they do this to their customers?
At this point it was already clear to me then, that not a single user was affected. But there is more.
More than 50 customer systems affected
Then I found an email in my inbox from German blog reader Stefan G., who writes the following.
Avira's latest prank – for Windows 7 users!
Dear Mr. Born,
spread over a number of small offices, I have a whole range (50+) of PCs with purchased Avira Pro (private customers) licenses.
Private customer licenses, because they are much cheaper than the business licenses (especially in a bundle for five computers and three years) and a central administration is not needed due to the lack of suitable infrastructure. (Avira has made some serious blunders in the past, but these were ironed out at some point and so the licenses were extended again).
Except for very few special PCs, all computers have been converted to Windows 10 in time. Avira was uninstalled before the upgrade and installed again afterwards.
Now we see that Avira unasked rolls out an update exclusively on the few remaining PCs with Windows 7, which includes a whole bundle of "helpful snake oil" software. The Avira VPN service, the software updater, an additional security program (whatever else does it in addition), the system speedup (!) and a new ransomware protection, which is integrated in the main software but was partially disabled.
The additional software starts itself with all components at Windows startup and leads to automatically started processes and services! On the very strong PCs this has caused enormous performance losses in the intranet. Users called and complained about the miserable speed of otherwise lightning-fast intranet applications!
Now the unwanted components had to be uninstalled individually in a time-consuming process. No one wants to be blessed with the marketing blessings of an overexcited anti-virus software provider without being asked. One thing is clear, Avira no longer sells a single license here!
This is really heavy – especially the auto start of the components including performance losses. Thanks to all blog readers for their comments on this topic.
There is also feedback in the Avira Forum
I then searched a little bit. I found this fresh entry in the German Avira support forum. Second user confirms this, reaction of the manufacturer is pending.
Something went terribly wrong and Avira, if there are really thousands of people affected, is likely to suffer a shit storm – currently I just have a couple of German users – but they reporting, that the upgrade to the new 'security suite' Avira Free Security 2020 is force again and again – and after that, the machines are slowed down.
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