Spybot Anti-Beacon

Want Privacy?

English (USA)English (UK)GermanChinese

Did you know that:

  • Windows sends personally identifying information to Microsoft?
  • Windows tracks your system use to serve you personalized ads?
  • Windows might use your Internet connection to spread their updates, using up the bandwidth you paid for?
  • Windows automatically installs software it thinks you might like?
  • All standard browsers phone home?
  • Many pre-installed software includes telemetry that phones home?

Telemetry is merely a new name to give tracking of users a pretended user interest. Spybot Anti-Beacon was designed to address these privacy concerns for user of Microsoft Windows (from the modern Windows 10 back to Windows 7). Anti-Beacon Plus even addresses telemetry of popular browsers and some pre-installed manufacturer software.

Anti-Beacon has been designed to be absolutely simple to use, so get your copy now and stop being tracked!

If you are a loyal Spybot customer and already own a Spybot Professional Edition, Anti-Beacon Plus is already included. It will be unlocked for you during installation!

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question, please check here if it has been answered before. You may save yourself time and effort.

We do like hearing from our users but we also like to see their issues resolved as quickly as possible!

Thank you!

Does Anti-Beacon support Windows 10 April Update (1803)?

Yes, we've updated Anti-Beacon to support changes made by Windows 10 April Update (Version 1803). To benefit from blocking the new tracking schemes, please use at least Spybot Anti-Beacon version 2.1.

Does Anti-Beacon support Windows 10 October 2018 Update (1809)?

Spybot Anti-Beacon 3.1  supports new privacy settings of the Windows 10 October 2018 like clipboard cloud sharing.

You can read more about Anti-Beacon using the link below:

https://www.safer-networking.org/products/spybot-anti-beacon/

 

How to activate my Anti-Beacon license?

To activate your Anti-Beacon License:

Press License within the software then click the button Enter License Key.

Here you can enter the license key you've received on the purchase confirmation page (and in the email and receipt as well).

How to check if Anti-Beacon is responsible for missing Windows functionality?

Anti-Beacon blocks various parts of Windows that can be regarding as tracking you, the user. In case this has unwanted side-effects, please open up Anti-Beacon, press the Customize button and test, one by one, which Anti-Beacon immunizer is responsible for this.

Some changes Spybot Anti-Beacon applies can only be reverted by rebooting the system after undoing the Anti-Beacon immunizer.

Why should I buy Anti-Beacon Plus?

Keeping track of changes that appear in Windows updates requires time and knowledge. A curated list packed into a simple to use application saves you the effort required to research all necessary settings. Our regular updates will help you to keep your mind on more important things.

Buy now!

How many copies do you need?

$9.99 – Shop Includes 0% tax

Immunizers

Acer User Experience Improvement Program

Let's read what Acer states about the Acer User Experience (AUE) Improvement Program does:

The Acer User Experience app is used to collect customer behaviors when using Acer PC products and send the information back for further analysis. This aids in improving the user experience and satisfaction of new products or updated versions of existing products.

What Acer does not tell is which data exactly is collected and transmitted, which would be essential for any data collection.

We recommend to disable this immediately if it was pre-installed by Acer on your computer.

Adjust

Adjust is an app analytics platform. They advertise their product for example with how this company used it:

Find out how ABA English did it

By syncing comprehensive in-app and campaign data to their own business intelligence system, ABA English have created in-depth user behaviour models which have enabled them to see exponential growth. In three short years they’ve acquired over 12 million users, with the majority of them using their apps.

Discover how they....

Tracked all in-app events and synced all data back to their own BI platform to tie together the entire user journey

Adjust has been added in Spybot Anti-Beacon 3.4.

It is used in popular software like Avira Antivirus or G-DATA Internet Security Light, rendering them Tracking Software or Spyware.

Appsflyer

Appsflyer is a marketing analytics platform according to their own website:

AppsFlyer is the world's leading mobile attribution & marketing analytics platform, helping app marketers around the world make better decisions.

AppsFlyer’s People-Based attribution breaks down data silos providing marketers with unified access to data on every touchpoint along the user journey.

It has been added in Spybot Anti-Beacon 3.4 because we encountered apps that do not inform the user about the use of AppsFlyer. Since any contacts to third parties can be regarded as sharing PII (Personally Identifiable Information) in the European Union (IP addresses are PII), software using third party web servers can be regarded as tracking, and without proper information, consent and control, as Spyware.

Avast Telemetry

AVG Antivirus is an antivirus application that uses tracking of user interactions. It uses Avast services for this tracking as well as its own.

AVG Antivirus has an installer that points at an End User License Agreement. Before the user is able to read this, it has already started tracking the user. The End User License Agreement does not even allow copy and paste to save selected information for a later point, but is available online as well. Usage behaviour tracking is described as "information about your [...] use of Solutions".

7.1. The term “Data,” as used in this Agreement and the Privacy Policy, means: (a) the information you provide to Vendor, another member of the Vendor Group, or a Vendor Partner in the course of ordering Solutions, including your name, billing address (including postal code), email address, phone number, payment card or account number, payment card or account verification code, payment card commencement date and expiration date, the account password you select for your account with Vendor or another member of the Vendor Group, and other Billing Data as defined in Vendor’s Privacy Policy (the “Privacy Policy”, which you can find here) (collectively, “Transaction Data”); (b) information Vendor, another member of the Vendor Group or a Vendor Partner collects in the course of processing and fulfilling your orders for Solutions, including information about the make, model, operating system and other identifying details of your Device, the name of your Internet service provider, your Internet Protocol (IP) address; and (c) information about your installation and use of Solutions ((b) and (c) collectively being referred to as “Service Data” in the Privacy Policy).

This immunizer requires Spybot Anti-Beacon 3.5.

Is it spyware?

We use the ASCs definition of Tracking Software and Spyware:

Tracking software
Software that monitors user behavior, or gathers information about the user, sometimes including personally identifiable or other sensitive information, through an executable program."
Spyware
In its narrow sense, Spyware is a term for Tracking Software deployed without adequate notice, consent, or control for the user."

Since the term adequate is not well defined in the ASCs context, we use both the European GDPR and compare Information, Consent and Control to what is standard for Windows itself.

Information
Very insufficient: hidden deep within a page long EULA, user tracking is mentioned.
Consent
Bad: tracking starts before the user is informed.
Control
Good: after installation, the settings allow to disable selected telemetry. It is possible to disable telemetry for marketing without disabling.
AVG Telemetry

AVG Antivirus is an antivirus application that uses tracking of user interactions.

AVG Antivirus has an installer that points at an End User License Agreement. Before the user is able to read this, it has already started tracking the user. The End User License Agreement does not even allow copy and paste to save selected information for a later point, but is available online as well. Usage behaviour tracking is described as "information about your [...] use of Solutions".

7.1. The term “Data,” as used in this Agreement and the Privacy Policy, means: (a) the information you provide to Vendor, another member of the Vendor Group, or a Vendor Partner in the course of ordering Solutions, including your name, billing address (including postal code), email address, phone number, payment card or account number, payment card or account verification code, payment card commencement date and expiration date, the account password you select for your account with Vendor or another member of the Vendor Group, and other Billing Data as defined in Vendor’s Privacy Policy (the “Privacy Policy”, which you can find here) (collectively, “Transaction Data”); (b) information Vendor, another member of the Vendor Group or a Vendor Partner collects in the course of processing and fulfilling your orders for Solutions, including information about the make, model, operating system and other identifying details of your Device, the name of your Internet service provider, your Internet Protocol (IP) address; and (c) information about your installation and use of Solutions ((b) and (c) collectively being referred to as “Service Data” in the Privacy Policy).

This immunizer requires Spybot Anti-Beacon 3.5.

Is it spyware?

We use the ASCs definition of Tracking Software and Spyware:

Tracking software
Software that monitors user behavior, or gathers information about the user, sometimes including personally identifiable or other sensitive information, through an executable program."
Spyware
In its narrow sense, Spyware is a term for Tracking Software deployed without adequate notice, consent, or control for the user."

Since the term adequate is not well defined in the ASCs context, we use both the European GDPR and compare Information, Consent and Control to what is standard for Windows itself.

Information
Very insufficient: hidden deep within a page long EULA, user tracking is mentioned.
Consent
Bad: tracking starts before the user is informed.
Control
Good: after installation, the settings allow to disable selected telemetry. It is possible to disable telemetry for marketing without disabling.
Avocet

Avocet is an advertisement network.

It has been added in Spybot Anti-Beacon 3.4 because we encountered apps that do not inform the user about the use of Avocet. Since any contacts to third parties can be regarded as sharing PII (Personally Identifiable Information) in the European Union (IP addresses are PII), software using third party web servers can be regarded as tracking, and without proper information, consent and control, as spyware.

Firebase Crashlytics

Firebase Crashlytics is a platform that allows developers to track crashes:

Firebase Crashlytics is a lightweight, realtime crash reporter that helps you track, prioritize, and fix stability issues that erode your app quality. Crashlytics saves you troubleshooting time by intelligently grouping crashes and highlighting the circumstances that lead up to them.

Our issue with Crashlytics is that it is often implemented to track more, often tracking and submitting even every application start:

Crashlytics automatically starts collecting crash reports as soon as you add the SDK, but you can also customize your setup by adding opt-in reporting, logs, keys, and even tracking of non-fatal errors.

It has been added to Spybot Anti-Beacon 3.4.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is an analytics platform used by many mobile and desktop apps.

It has been added in Spybot Anti-Beacon 3.4 because we encountered apps that do not inform the user about its use. Since any contacts to third parties can be regarded as sharing PII (Personally Identifiable Information) in the European Union (IP addresses are PII), software using third party web servers can be regarded as tracking, and without proper information, consent and control, as spyware.

Google Chrome Telemetry

Google Chrome can send anonymous (and non-anonymous) usage statistics and crashed-related data to Google.

Quoting Google, they include:

These reports usually won't include any personal information about you, but they might include:

  • Your Chrome settings
  • Where you click
  • How much memory is used by Chrome
  • Web pages you visit that contain phishing or malware
  • Web pages you visit where you've entered text using speech
  • Your device's operating system, manufacturer, and model.
  • If Chrome crashes while you're using it, some personal information might be included. This will depend on what was happening at the time of the crash.

This immunizer sets global group policies to block these. It is is available for users of the Plus version.

HockeyApp

HockeyApp is, among other things, an analytics platform:

Distribution, crashes and analytics are just a part of the story. We’ve built App Center with powerful new features and services that help you build better apps in record time.

HockeyApp is transitioning into Microsofts newer App Center. It has been added to Spybot Anti-Beacon 3.4 since we've seen this analytics platform used without user information, consent or control, e.g. by BitDefender security solutions, rendering them Spyware.

HP CEEment

HP CEEment is a telemetry module that is part of HP software.

HP itself describes CEEment as:

CEEment stands for Customer Experience Enhancement. CEEment (HPCEE.exe) is the reporting tool that HP uses to collect and study anonymous data. You can activate CEEment when you set up your computer. Or, you can activate using HP Advisor or HP Support Assistant at any time.

Some of the data reported using CEEment includes your model number, OS, region, locale, and BIOS version. If you wish to know specifically which data was collected, launch HP Support Assistant. Click Settings, scroll down to the bottom of the Health Analysis tab, and then click View information collected by HP.

This immunizer is available for users of the Plus version. It will only be shown within Anti-Beacon if HP CEEment is installed.

HP Touchpoint Analytics

HP Touchpoint Analytics is a telemetry module pre-installed on HP devices.

Reports about this can for example be found on ComputerWorld: HP stealthily installs new spyware called HP Touchpoint Analytics Client. Details on collected data can be found at this AskWoody post and include lists of installed hard- and software.

  • ApplicationsInstalled
  • Battery
  • Biosphere
  • Bios
  • DiskLogical
  • DiskPhysical
  • DiskSelfTest
  • Display
  • DriverCrash
  • EnvironmentVariable
  • Graphics
  • HPBios
  • HPBiosSensors
  • HPITImage
  • HpsaMessages
  • HpsaUpdates
  • InstalledWindowsUpdates
  • MemoryPhysical
  • Memory
  • Network
  • OperatingSystem
  • PnPDevice
  • PnPDriver
  • Processor
  • RealTimeClock
  • Security
  • SmartDrive
  • StorageUsage
  • System
  • SystemSlots
  • SystemStateMonitor
  • SystemState
  • Thermal
  • WebHistory
  • WindowsEvents
  • WindowsProcesses
  • WindowsServices
  • WindowsUpdates

This immunizer is available for users of the Plus version. It will only be shown within Anti-Beacon if HP Touchpoint Analytics is installed.

Intel Computing Improvement Program

Using the Intel Computing Improvement Program, you share a lot of personal information with Intel. Here is an excerpt from their Privacy Policy, showing what kind of data gets collected and transmitted.

If I participate in the Intel® Computing Improvement Program, what data is collected and how is it used?

Intel wants to provide the best computing experiences. To accomplish this, we would like your permission to collect, use, and combine information to understand:

  • The categories of websites you visit, but not the URL itself
  • How you use your computer
  • System information from your computer
  • Other devices in your computing environment

Usage information contains:

  • Software usage: for example, frequency and duration of application usage such as Intel® Driver & Support Assistant, but not the application content itself such as specific actions or keyboard input.
  • Feature usage: for example, how much RAM you usually use or your laptop’s average battery life.
  • Other devices in your computing environment
    • Includes universal plug and play devices and devices that broadcast information to your computer on a local area network: for example, smart TV model and vendor information, and video streaming devices.

  • The categories of websites you visit, but not the URL itself,
    • The information collected includes categorized web browsing history that shows how long and how often you visited specific categories of sites (i.e. social media, personal finance, or news). All site visits are classified into one of 30 categories. We do not collect URLs, web pages titles, or user-specific content without explicit permission from you.

Collected system information contains, but is not limited to:

  • Your device manufacturer
  • CPU model
  • Memory and display configuration
  • OS version
  • Software versions
  • Region and language settings
  • Regional location and time zone

If I participate in the program, is there any personal information in the data collected?

The information we collect:

  • Will not include any directly identifying personal information such as name, email address, IP address, or MAC address
  • Will not include the URL (web address) for specific sites visited
  • Will not be used to identify or contact you

If these types of information are requested from you, you will first be prompted for additional consent.

The information we collect does include a randomly generated identifier that allows combining information from your system over time to better understand usage trends.


How is my data shared?

The information collected may be shared with Intel partners who are required to keep this information confidential and limit usage in accordance with your consent. For more information see intel.com/privacy

The information collected may be processed by authorized service providers who are required to keep this information confidential and limit usage in accordance with your consent. For more information see intel.com/privacy

Lavasoft Flow Telemetry

AdAware Free is a antivirus/antimalware application that uses tracking of user interactions.

Transparency of this tracking is lacking. The installer submits every page change of its user interface to a Lavasoft server, including installation and machine identification numbers and further system information. Their privacy policy does not mention this transmission of data.

Referencing other AdAware software, the Privacy Policy admits to collect data during installation, but tries to describe the IP address as not tracing back to a user. Contrary to that, in the European Union, IP addresses are recognized as Personally Identifiable Information.

This immunizer requires Spybot Anti-Beacon 3.5.

Is it spyware?

We use the ASCs definition of Tracking Software and Spyware:

Tracking software
Software that monitors user behavior, or gathers information about the user, sometimes including personally identifiable or other sensitive information, through an executable program."
Spyware
In its narrow sense, Spyware is a term for Tracking Software deployed without adequate notice, consent, or control for the user."

Since the term adequate is not well defined in the ASCs context, we use both the European GDPR and compare Information, Consent and Control to what is standard for Windows itself.

Information
Bad: No information found during installation, nor in privacy policy.
Consent
Bad: without information, user consent cannot be expected.
Control
Bad: except for blocking the telemetry host, there is no way to control.
Lenovo Customer Feedback Program

Lenovo Customer Feedback Program can be preinstalled on Lenovo systems and communicates telemetry data over the Internet.

Lenovo itself describes this telemetry:

In Windows 8, 8.1 and 10, Lenovo may also include an application in the preload called "Lenovo Experience Improvement". This keeps track of what preloaded applications are uninstalled within the first 90 days of system use. The data is uploaded to a server in the United States at various times during the first 90 days. The data does not include any personally identifiable information (PII)

It can be argued that transmitting data always involves IP addresses, which are regarded as PII by many legislations.

This immunizer is available for users of the Plus version. It will only be shown within Anti-Beacon if Lenovo Customer Feedback Program is installed.

Lenovo Experience Improvement

Lenovo Experience Improvement collects telemetry data on Lenovo systems.

The website Should I Remove It? describes it as:

The Lenovo Experience Improvement application is an option program that is pre-installed with various PC models. It is designed to provide feedback to Lenovo about the user's usage and overall experience using the computer by reporting any errors, etc. [...] Regardless if the user decides to participate, the program will install itself in the Startup using the Windows Startup Task Schedule arn will launch on reboot/login. Removing the software is safe and will not effect the functionality of the laptop as it is not required.

This immunizer is available for users of the Plus version. It will only be shown within Anti-Beacon if Lenovo Experience Improvement is installed.

LibreOffice Telemetry

LibreOffice has it's telemetry disabled by default currently, but is able to submit telemetry data to The Document Foundation when set up to do so.

Anti-Beacon 3.1 will display the telemetry option state of LibreOffice, and allows to unset it from within it's user interface.

Malwarebytes Telemetry

Malwarebytes is a antivirus/antimalware application that uses tracking of user interactions.

Transparency of this tracking is mediocre. There is no explicit information during installation, but the user is able to opt-out in Malwarebytes' Settings. The help describes the collected data insufficiently:

"If you check this box, you will be sending us information that helps us do our jobs. We like to know what countries Malwarebytes is being used in, and the breakdown of subscriptions, Premium Trial versions, and Free versions. Our Research organization likes to keep track of what malware we are detecting and how often. We can learn that from what you send us, and that allows us to serve you more effectively. For a full list of information that is collected, please see our Privacy Policy. We hope that's fine with you as well."

Contrary to this general information, many clicks within the software are transmitted, including installation and machine identification numbers.

Their Privacy Policy is at least pointing out behaviour tracking, though the full list is missing:

"You may opt out of usage and threat statistics collection in certain Malwarebytes products within the settings. Threat statistics collection includes detection samples and their corresponding statistics. Usage statistics includes behavior usage tracking."

This immunizer was for Malwarebytes for Windows. Malwarebytes for MacOS shares this information with third party Crashlytics.

It requires Spybot Anti-Beacon 3.5.

Is it spyware?

We use the ASCs definition of Tracking Software and Spyware:

Tracking software
Software that monitors user behavior, or gathers information about the user, sometimes including personally identifiable or other sensitive information, through an executable program."
Spyware
In its narrow sense, Spyware is a term for Tracking Software deployed without adequate notice, consent, or control for the user."

Since the term adequate is not well defined in the ASCs context, we use both the European GDPR and compare Information, Consent and Control to what is standard for Windows itself.

Information
No sufficient information during installation. Can later be found in settings if looking for it. Privacy policy only has limited information on tracked data.
Consent
No consent requested during installation.
Control
No control during installation. Can be disabled in settings, but is tied to good threat analysis telemetry. Setting partially gets ignored in MacOS version.
McAfee Telemetry

McAfee Total Protection is an antivirus application that uses tracking of user interactions.

The McAfee installer references a privacy policy while user behaviour tracking has already started to submit installer usage. It at least points at user behaviour tracking:

"We automatically collect information about your interactions with the Services as well as devices on which the Services are installed. In some cases, we automatically collect information about other devices connected to the same network as the device on which the Services are installed."

While the McAfee user interface boasts with headlines like My Privacy, there is no setting related to telemetry at all.

This immunizer requires Spybot Anti-Beacon 3.5.

Is it spyware?

We use the ASCs definition of Tracking Software and Spyware:

Tracking software
Software that monitors user behavior, or gathers information about the user, sometimes including personally identifiable or other sensitive information, through an executable program."
Spyware
In its narrow sense, Spyware is a term for Tracking Software deployed without adequate notice, consent, or control for the user."

Since the term adequate is not well defined in the ASCs context, we use both the European GDPR and compare Information, Consent and Control to what is standard for Windows itself.

Information
Partial: The Privacy Policy includes a bold sentence mentioning user behaviour tracking.
Consent
Bad: the installer starts tracking even before the user reads the Privacy Policy.
Control
Bad: no control over telemetry at all.
Microsoft Bing

This immunizer blocks part of Windows' built in telemetry services by blocking IPs (Internet addresses) associated with the telemetry using the Windows Firewall.

Microsoft Biometrics

Windows supports biometric features like fingerprint scanners. You can disable Biometrics using this immunizer, if you feel unsafe about your biometric data on your computer.

Microsoft Clipboard Cloud Sharing

Windows 10 October 2018 update (also called 1809) allows to synchronize your clipboard with the cloud to be able to access it from all machines you are logged into.

While this can be a helpful feature for some, others use password managers to store sensible data, and use the clipboard to paste it into software or websites.

Safer-Networking regards the cloud sharing of clipboard information to be an unnecessary risk. We recommend to use this protection.

Microsoft Cortana

Cortana is Microsofts voice assistant. To be able to give you answers on your personal data, it needs access to it. If you do not intend to use Cortana, we recommend that you use this immunizer to disable it.

Microsoft Cortana Restrictions

This immunizer adds restrictions to Microsofts voice assistant Cortana, including for example blocked access to contacts.

Microsoft Edge Do-Not-Track

This immunizer forces the Microsoft Edge browser to communicate your wish to not be tracked to all visited websites.

It is available in Spybot Anti-Beacon 3.0 Plus or later.

Microsoft Edge Telemetry

Do you want to share your browsing history with Microsoft?

Microsoft has a long policy describing what data it collects and stores:

Microsoft Edge saves your browsing history, which is made up of info about the websites you visit, on your device. If the Diagnostics data setting is set to Full, this browsing history is sent to Microsoft, which helps us find and fix problems and improve our products and services for all users. If you choose to turn on Tailored experiences, we will use this browsing history to personalize your experiences with Windows and other products and services. Separately, if you choose to enable browsing history within the Cortana Notebook Permissions, your browsing history is also sent to Microsoft so Cortana can help personalize your experience.

eBook reading telemetry is also covered by Edge:

By default, and depending on the device configuration, Microsoft Edge gathers basic diagnostic data about the books in the Books Library and sends it to Microsoft. Enabling this policy gathers and sends both basic and additional diagnostic data, such as usage data.

Even by default, basic diagnostic data would be transmitted.

We recommend to use Spybot Anti-Beacon Plus to disable this telemetry.

Microsoft Map Auto-Update

Windows 10 includes a Maps app, which sports an offline mode. To avoid the offline maps to be updated automatically without your consent, we recommend to disable auto updates. This will ensure no updates will take place on metered connections (where Windows does not recognize you're on such a connection) or while doing things that require a highly responsive Internet, like gaming.

Microsoft Office 15 (2013) (via Group Policy)

Microsoft Office 2013 (also called Office 15) includes telemetry options that collect a range of personal information, including:

  • The file names of Office files that are in the Most Recently Used list.
  • The names of add-ins and solutions that interact with Office.
  • System information such as user name and computer name.
  • [...]

You can use this immunizer to let Office know it should not collect or transmit telemetry data.

Microsoft Office 15 (2013) (via Scheduled Task)

Microsoft Office 2013 (also called Office 15) includes telemetry options that collect a range of personal information, including:

  • The file names of Office files that are in the Most Recently Used list.
  • The names of add-ins and solutions that interact with Office.
  • System information such as user name and computer name.
  • [...]

You can use this immunizer to disable the scheduled tasks that are involved in this telemetry.

Microsoft Office 16 (2016) (via Group Policy)

Microsoft Office 2016 (also called Office 16) includes telemetry options that collect a range of personal information, including:

  • The file names of Office files that are in the Most Recently Used list.
  • The names of add-ins and solutions that interact with Office.
  • System information such as user name and computer name.
  • [...]

You can use this immunizer to let Office know it should not collect or transmit telemetry data.

Microsoft Office 16 (2016) (via Scheduled Task)

Microsoft Office 2016 (also called Office 16) includes telemetry options that collect a range of personal information, including:

  • The file names of Office files that are in the Most Recently Used list.
  • The names of add-ins and solutions that interact with Office.
  • System information such as user name and computer name.
  • [...]

You can use this immunizer to disable the scheduled tasks that are involved in this telemetry.

Microsoft Office 17 (2019)

Microsoft Office 2019 (also called Office 17) includes telemetry options that collect a range of personal information, including:

  • The file names of Office files that are in the Most Recently Used list.
  • The names of add-ins and solutions that interact with Office.
  • System information such as user name and computer name.
  • [...]

You can use this immunizer to let Office know it should not collect or transmit telemetry data.

Microsoft Office Telemetry

Microsoft Office includes telemetry options that collect a range of personal information, including:

  • The file names of Office files that are in the Most Recently Used list.
  • The names of add-ins and solutions that interact with Office.
  • System information such as user name and computer name.
  • [...]

You can use this immunizer to let Office know it should not collect or transmit telemetry data.

Microsoft OneDrive (via Group Policy)

OneDrive is Microsofts online storage that can be used like a local drive in Windows.

If you do not use OneDrive, we recommend to use this immunizer to let Windows know you do not intend to use OneDrive.

Microsoft OneDrive (via System Service)

OneDrive is Microsofts online storage that can be used like a local drive in Windows.

If you do not use OneDrive, we recommend to disable the OneDrive services.

Microsoft Windows Spotlight

Windows Spotlight shows information on the lockscreen (e.g. changing backgrounds), action center and in settings.

To reduce communications were not necessary, we disable Spotlight in the places mentioned above when you select the maximum level.

This requires Anti-Beacon 3.2.

Mixpanel

Mixpanel is an app analytics platform allowing to analyze user behaviour:

Analyze user behavior across your sites and apps. Then send messages and run experiments from what you learned–all in Mixpanel.

Mixpanel has been added in Spybot Anti-Beacon 3.4.

It is used in popular software like Avira Antivirus, rendering them Tracking Software or Spyware.

Mopub

Mopub is an advertisement network.

It has been added in Spybot Anti-Beacon 3.4 because we encountered apps that do not inform the user about the use of Mopub. Since any contacts to third parties can be regarded as sharing PII (Personally Identifiable Information) in the European Union (IP addresses are PII), software using third party web servers can be regarded as tracking, and without proper information, consent and control, as spyware.

Mozilla Firefox Telemetry (via Configuration)

New in Anti-Beacon 3.1, this will help to stop the telemetry in Mozilla Firefox by creating or updating the global Firefox configuration to not use telemetry.

Mozilla publishes telemetry information it collects on its Telemetry portal, where the interested user can read about the information Mozilla collects during everyday use of the Firefox browser.

Mozilla Firefox Telemetry (via Group Policy)

Mozilla Firefox can send a wide range of information to Mozilla in case of crashes and on a daily basis. To quote the official public wiki of the Mozilla project:

It's helpful for Mozilla's engineers and decision-makers to be able to measure how Firefox behaves in the real world. The Telemetry feature provides this capability by sending performance and usage info to Mozilla. As you use Firefox, Telemetry measures and collects non-personal information, such as performance, hardware, usage and customizations. It then sends this information to Mozilla on a daily basis and we use it to improve Firefox.

You can view the data Firefox would transmit by visiting about:telemetry within Firefox.

This Anti-Beacon immunizer ensures that this transmission is disabled. It is available in Anti-Beacon 3.0 Plus.

NVidia Telemetry Scheduled Task

The Nvidia GeForce Experience includes a telemetry package (source) that's reporting back some data well described in their GeForce Experience Privacy Policy:

To make this happen, we need to know your PC’s hardware, software for gaming and content creation (including settings, usage, and how well they run), GeForce Experience feature usage, and geographical region.

If you opt-in to recommendations, we will show you games, apps, and rewards that you might enjoy. If you opt-in to sharing technical data, you’ll send us error logs to help us find and fix bugs. You can configure collection and usage of your data by visiting Privacy Settings.

This has been added to Spybot Anti-Beacon because it's clearly Tracking Software.

NVidia Telemetry System Service

The Nvidia GeForce Experience includes a telemetry package (source) that's reporting back some data well described in their GeForce Experience Privacy Policy:

To make this happen, we need to know your PC’s hardware, software for gaming and content creation (including settings, usage, and how well they run), GeForce Experience feature usage, and geographical region.

If you opt-in to recommendations, we will show you games, apps, and rewards that you might enjoy. If you opt-in to sharing technical data, you’ll send us error logs to help us find and fix bugs. You can configure collection and usage of your data by visiting Privacy Settings.

This has been added to Spybot Anti-Beacon because it's clearly Tracking Software.

RedShell

RedShell is a tracking module that comes shipped with games like Civilization VI, The Elder Scrolls Online, the Total War series and more.

An immunizer for RedShell hosts was added to Spybot Anti-Beacon 2.2 on June 22nd, 2018.

Trend Micro Telemetry

Trend Micro Maximum Security is an antivirus application that uses tracking of user interactions.

Trend Micro is open about the data it collects. Its installer has a page dedicated to data handling, which refers to the target="_blank">Trend Micro Maximum Security Data Collection Notice. This notice is very detailed. It reveals that Google Analytics is used by the product and cannot be disabled:

"It is necessary to collect this data to provide the security functions on this product."

It also reveals that user behaviour tracking ("User interaction with product UI”) can be disabled by disabling "Share computer performance information with Trend Micro".

Since Trend Micro is open about user behaviour tracking and allows to disable it, it does not fall into the Spyware category. Due to it still including tracking, this immunizer was added to Spybot Anti-Beacon 3.5.

Is it spyware?

We use the ASCs definition of Tracking Software and Spyware:

Tracking software
"Software that monitors user behavior, or gathers information about the user, sometimes including personally identifiable or other sensitive information, through an executable program."
Spyware
"In its narrow sense, Spyware is a term for Tracking Software deployed without adequate notice, consent, or control for the user."

Since the term adequate is not well defined in the ASCs context, we use both the European GDPR and compare Information, Consent and Control to what is standard for Windows itself.

Information
Good: there is a dedicated page in the installer mentioning collected data, including user behaviour tracking.
Consent
Good: well described in Data Collection Notice.
Control
Good: well described in Data Collection Notice.
Vivaldi Do-Not-Track

The Vivaldi browser allows to set the Do Not Track flag that can be transmitted to all visited websites.

We recommend this setting for all users. It will be available in Spybot Anti-Beacon Plus 3.2.

Windows Account Location
Windows Application Compatibility Program Inventory
Windows Application Impact Telemetry (via Group Policy)

AIT stands for Application Impact Telemetry. AIT is a part of Microsofts Customer Experience Improvement Program, which is described by Microsoft with these words.

When you choose to participate in the CEIP, your computer or device automatically sends information to Microsoft about how you use certain products. Information from your computer or device is combined with other CEIP data to help Microsoft solve problems and to improve the products and features customers use most often.

This Anti-Beacon immunizer will disable the AIT part of CEIP.

Windows Application Impact Telemetry (via Scheduled Task)

AIT stands for Application Impact Telemetry. AIT is a part of Microsofts Customer Experience Improvement Program, which is described by Microsoft with these words.

When you choose to participate in the CEIP, your computer or device automatically sends information to Microsoft about how you use certain products. Information from your computer or device is combined with other CEIP data to help Microsoft solve problems and to improve the products and features customers use most often.

This Anti-Beacon immunizer will disable the AIT part of CEIP.

Windows Application Suggestions and Auto-Installation

Windows Consumer Features will automatically install some apps suggested by Microsoft.

We highly recommend to use this immunizer to block this Windows 10 feature.

Windows Background Access Applications

Using the Background Access Applications immunizer, you can stop Microsoft Windows 10 from starting some apps in the background.

We recommend this option to give you more control over what runs on your computer at any given time.

Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) (via Group Policy)

CEIP stands for Customer Experience Improvement Program. If enabled, it collects and sends user experience data to Microsoft to improve future versions of Windows.

It is described by Microsoft with these words.

When you choose to participate in the CEIP, your computer or device automatically sends information to Microsoft about how you use certain products. Information from your computer or device is combined with other CEIP data to help Microsoft solve problems and to improve the products and features customers use most often.

Anti-Beacon can disable CEIP using Group Policies.

Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) (via Scheduled Task)

CEIP stands for Customer Experience Improvement Program. It collects and sends user experience data to Microsoft to improve future versions of Windows.

It is described by Microsoft with these words.

When you choose to participate in the CEIP, your computer or device automatically sends information to Microsoft about how you use certain products. Information from your computer or device is combined with other CEIP data to help Microsoft solve problems and to improve the products and features customers use most often.

Anti-Beacon can disable the Scheduled Tasks that exist for CEIP.

Spybot Anti-Beacon 2.4 brings improvements to this immunizer.

Windows Device Location
Windows Error Reporting

Windows Error Reporting, or simply WER, transmits information about crashing applications to Microsoft.

We usually recommend to keep using this feature, but if you want to deactivate it, you can use this Spybot Anti-Beacon immunizer.

Windows Feedback (via Firewall)
Windows Feedback (via Group Policy)

Windows Feedback is a feedback and telemetry system build into Windows 10.

Unless you want to actively participate by providing Feedback to Microsoft, we recommend to use this immunizer to disable Windows Feedback.

Windows Handwriting Data Sharing

Microsoft can collect your handwriting information on tablet computers to improve their handwriting recognition.

It is described by Microsoft as:

Data about handwriting samples sent from the Handwriting Panel is used to help Microsoft improve handwriting recognition.

Windows Location
Windows Lock Screen Camera

As a security measure, we recommend to disable access to attached cameras on Windows' lock screen.

Windows Optional Telemetry

This immunizer blocks even more Windows servers than those blocked by Telemetry Hosts. It is recommended only to those wanting maximum privacy and a minimum of Windows background connections.

Windows Personalized Ads

The Windows Advertising ID is used by Microsoft to provide so called relevant ads. It allows apps to track your identity over app borders.

Microsoft describes the ID with these words:

Windows generates a unique advertising ID for each user on a device, which app developers and advertising networks can use to provide more relevant advertising in apps. When the advertising ID is enabled, apps can access and use it in much the same way that websites can access and use a unique identifier stored in a cookie. Thus, app developers (and the advertising networks they work with) can use your advertising ID to provide more relevant advertising and other personalized experiences across their apps.

Windows Remote Registry

The Remote Registry service allows your computer registry (a configuration storage) to be accessed and modified from remote computers.

This can be useful in corporate networks, but we recommend to disable it on private computers.

Windows Sensors

The immunizer allows you to disable the Sensors feature of Windows. This feature provides application with access to features like your location.

This immunizer can block useful features like auto-adjustment of screen brightness and should be used only when maximum privacy is your goal.

Windows Steps Recorder

The Steps Recorder can record usage steps, including pictures of your screen. Microsoft describes its purpose with these words:

Steps Recorder (called Problems Steps Recorder in Windows 7), is a program that helps you troubleshoot a problem on your device by recording the exact steps you took when the problem occurred. You can then send this record to a support professional to help them diagnose the problem.

We recommend to disable this feature using Anti-Beacon unless you are asked to use Steps Recorder by a trusted person.

Windows Tailored Experience
Windows Telemetry (via Firewall)

This immunizer sets the Diagnostics Tracking (also called Connected User Experiences and Telemetry) to be blocked in the Windows' Firewall.

Microsoft describes it as:

The Diagnostic and Telemetry service collects diagnostics information about functional issues on Windows systems that participate in the Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP). CEIP reports don't contain contact information, such as your name, address, or telephone number. This means CEIP won't ask you to participate in surveys or to read junk email, and you won't be contacted in any other way.

It is required if you want to use the achievements system in some Windows games. If you do not rely on this feature, we recommend to disable this option.

Windows Telemetry (via Group Policy)

This immunizer applies a Windows setting that lets Windows know it should not use telemetry.

Windows Telemetry (via Hosts)

This Anti-Beacon immunizer blocks access to a few dozen Internet servers that are contacted by Windows to submit telemetry data.

Windows Telemetry (via System Service)

This immunizer disables the Diagnostics Tracking in Windows, also called Connected User Experiences and Telemetry.

Microsoft describes it as:

The Diagnostic and Telemetry service collects diagnostics information about functional issues on Windows systems that participate in the Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP). CEIP reports don't contain contact information, such as your name, address, or telephone number. This means CEIP won't ask you to participate in surveys or to read junk email, and you won't be contacted in any other way.

It is required if you want to use the achievements system in some Windows games. If you do not rely on this feature, we recommend to disable this option.

Windows Update Bandwith Sharing

Microsoft might use your computer and bandwidth to share their updates with other Windows users. This they call Delivery Optimization.

Microsoft described Delivery Optimization with these words:

Windows updates, upgrades, and applications can contain packages with very large files. Downloading and distributing updates can consume quite a bit of network resources on the devices receiving them. You can use Delivery Optimization to reduce bandwidth consumption by sharing the work of downloading these packages among multiple devices in your deployment. Delivery Optimization can accomplish this because it is a self-organizing distributed cache that allows clients to download those packages from alternate sources (such as other peers on the network) in addition to the traditional Internet-based Windows Update servers.

Anti-Beacon sets this to the useful setting that shares updates within your local file, not allowing to share updates over your Internet connection, to avoid slowdowns and possible additional costs for your bandwidth.

Windows User Activities

Microsoft describes the activity history on their website as:

Activity history in Windows 10 helps keep track of the things you do on your PC. It’s the apps and services you use, the files you open, and the websites you browse—and when you do these things. Your activity history is collected and stored locally on your device, and if you’ve signed in to your PC with a Microsoft account and given your permission, Windows sends your activity history to Microsoft. Once your activity history is in the cloud, Microsoft uses that data to enable cross-device experiences, to provide you with personalized experiences and relevant suggestions, and to help improve Microsoft product and services.

We recommend that you use this immunizer to disable this feature.

Windows Web Search

The Windows start menu has a web search integrated. This means that all keywords you type into the start menu to search for apps or documents might be searched for on the Internet. Since Internet connections are rarely anonymous, this would allow Microsoft to create profiles of your local searches. We recommend to disable this option.

Windows Wi-Fi Sense Hotspot Sharing

WiFi sense is a Microsoft system that tracks your usage of wireless networks and initially was designed to automatically share your networks with friends or even friends of friends without sharing passwords.

In Windows 10 version 1803, Wi-Fi Sense was removed.

We recommend to apply the immunizer for Wi-Fi Sense to stop sharing your network details with Microsoft.

Windows Wireless Device Sharing and Syncing

By using this immunizer, you can stop apps sharing and syncing non-explicitly paired wireless devices over uPnP. This immunizer is recommended.

Main Window

This is what you see when you start Anti-Beacon. Simple click the wheel or press the Customize button.

Customization

The customization screen allows you to set all tracking options known to Anti-Beacon to either permitted or blocked. Presets at the top allow you to quickly select the recommended range (or all, if you want). Changes will be applied once you press Done.

Tutorial

Watch how Rob from Team Spybot explains how Spybot Anti-Beacon is used!

Spybot : Using Anti Beacon 2.3

Reviews

★★★

SoftPedia

Spybot Anti-Beacon is a new attempt to reach the privacy protection goal when using Windows 10, providing a quick and easy way to disable telemetry services, configure group policies and block hosts.

★★★★★

Music4Ever @ FileForum

Great - Looks like all changes are reversible, can't see MS doing much spying on me.

Though it needs taking into account that those who are on a slow connection & or on a slow PC are impacted by the telemetry that's sent to out friends in Washington State as I recently found when blocking items on a friends system on a slow connection, it made quite a difference to the PC performance.

★★★★★

Clover Grenier on YouTube

Good job Spybot. Good tool. continue the good job

Download

Standard Installer
$9.99 Includes 0% tax
Get this to install on a 32 or 64 bit Windows system.
  • Windows 10
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 7
  • Windows XP
Portable Installer
$9.99 Includes 0% tax
Download this to include Anti-Beacon in your PortableApps collection.
  • Windows 10
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 7
  • Windows XP