F-Secure monitors Internet traffic even with web traffic scanning, browsing & banking protection off

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____
____ Posts: 6 Explorer
edited November 2023 in F-Secure Internet Security

F-Secure Internet Security and F-Secure Total (I tried both) still monitor Internet traffic even with web traffic scanning, browsing protection, and banking protection turned off and I never installed F-Secure's browser extension. Even with all of that turned off the "websites checked" counter on the "Secure Browsing & Banking" page still goes up. The only way I've found to disable Internet traffic monitoring is to completely turn off all protection, which defeats the whole point of getting F-Secure Internet Security. Is there any way to completely disable Internet traffic monitoring while still having the antivirus active? I'd love to use F-Secure but this is kind of a deal-breaker for me. Is it fixable somehow? Like maybe firewalling some .exe in F-Secure that is responsible for web traffic scanning so that it can't connect to the Internet? I also think it's misleading that you have an opt-out for web traffic scanning in the settings that doesn't work since the "websites checked" counter still goes up. At the very least that should be revised to either work as is claimed or not say that it can disable web traffic scanning.

Accepted Answer

  • Ukko
    Ukko Posts: 3,632 Superuser
    edited April 2023 Answer ✓
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    // follow-up: yes, I managed to reproduce mentioned design and trouble. I mean, 'counter' of "websites checked" increased with most of related features turned off.

    Hello,

    A pretty interesting subject. :)

    Can't check on my device right now as the statistics just show something like 835k already - so I won't be able to see the real change just by looking at the interface.

    If this is not a bug (but I can't find an explanation for it) - could this increase in the counter be, for example, related to DeepGuard checking some application connections. In this case, F-Secure erroneously lists such "connections" as visited websites.

    I tried to disable AdBlocker feature. And the counter stops (about blocked 'advertisements').

    I'll try on another device about your main concern. By the way, before looking for workarounds. I assume that after disabling all things - you tried to reboot the device (well, for example, so that, just in case, the responsible services do not hang active as before). And these were not some "belated" additions to the statistics.

    However, I also think that disabling these options has more of a "monitor-but-not-block" effect. Although it's not really obvious. And strange, indeed, anyway.

    At least, counter should not be called "websites checked" (then).

Answers

  • Ukko
    Ukko Posts: 3,632 Superuser
    edited May 2023
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    one remark: I am not sure that my reply was an answer (I mean, it is not really possible to accept as it; how it is done now).

    Unless topic starter managed to receive 'expected' behavior. If so - good to read feedback about!*

    And if main concern, which called "web traffic scanning" (as HTTP feature - Prevent applications from downloading harmful files | Total | Latest | F-Secure User Guides), is not the only point. Because if so - maybe, when you disable this feature - it is working as 'claimed'. Need to know how you tried to check exactly this functionality.

    Because I only managed to reproduce mentioned trouble. "Counter" is increasing even with most of options as turned off. Obviously, it is not enough and need to unload some services/processes (as it is with "turning all security features" functionality).

    Also, managed to reduce 'number' of websites checked by unmark "deeper analysis" (as Security Cloud option). But not to eliminate increasing.

    *// by the way, my installation with an active "Family Rules" set up. And I did not try another set up (as such), because based on this discussion - F-Secure is Blocking Websites — F-Secure Community (Family Rules can be somehow active for profile / device, even if a bit of 'unknown' for the end-user).

    So, it will be nice to read official thoughts:

    • is it a bug?
    • if not a bug - is it surely clear that 'description' of counter and still checking are not about any difference. I mean, like counter says we still perform checks - but no block it (so, all is ok and as described). Because official description of counter: ""The number of websites that you have visited where the product has checked the site's reputation.""; so, if all of mentioned things are disabled - there still site's reputation checking - as there are no statements otherwise.
    • is there any 'official' and suggested way to achieve what the topic starter tried?

    Thanks!

  • Ville
    Ville Posts: 680 F-Secure Product Expert
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    We reproduced it and are investigating why it happens.

    Ville

    F-Secure R&D, Desktop products

  • ____
    ____ Posts: 6 Explorer
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    "However, I also think that disabling these options has more of a "monitor-but-not-block" effect."

    I'm looking for a "don't monitor at all" effect.


    "And if main concern, which called "web traffic scanning" (as HTTP feature - Prevent applications from downloading harmful files | Total | Latest | F-Secure User Guides), is not the only point. Because if so - maybe, when you disable this feature - it is working as 'claimed'. Need to know how you tried to check exactly this functionality."

    I didn't do any other check than seeing that the "websites checked" counter still went up even with that setting disabled, which I assumed meant that it was still scanning Internet traffic.


    Thanks for looking into this, by the way!

  • ____
    ____ Posts: 6 Explorer
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    Nice! Please keep us updated on the progress in this thread. I'm waiting with getting an antivirus until this is solved, so it'd be great to get an announcement when it's fixed :)

  • Ukko
    Ukko Posts: 3,632 Superuser
    edited May 2023
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    Hello,

    I didn't do any other check than seeing that the "websites checked" counter still went up even with that setting disabled, which I assumed meant that it was still scanning Internet traffic.

    I am not sure, of course, but I think that "web traffic scanning" (as a feature / option in Settings: Viruses and threats tab) is about very limited(?) scope. For very certain cases.

    While 'counter' can be about any other parts of Browsing Protection module.

    Thus, (I did not check this point) - maybe "Web traffic scanning" when disabled -> disabled indeed. As with my check about Adblocker feature (when option is disabled -> related counter is not increasing).

    So, it is possible to say that still erroneously(?) 'scanning internet traffic' is there - but maybe not as in "web traffic scanning" feature.

    But since this is a strange situation anyway - so, good, that F-Secure team investigating it. And, in general, it does not matter - because even if originally 'web traffic scanning' (for  preventing applications from downloading harmful files via HTTP) was the main concern; it may be not enough for your expectations about scanning internet traffic and ways to disable it. So, good to find a proper solution.

    Thanks!

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