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Archive for December, 2011
December 30th, 2011

Frequently asked questions about avast! Mobile Security

With the introduction of our new mobile product, avast! Free Mobile Security, we officially entered the mobile security business. While most of the feedback we have seen to date has been very positive, some of the reviews and comments on the Android market indicate that some people are a bit confused about the product and its features. This blog post was meant to explain some of the concepts and hopefully help resolve some of the confusion. It is structured as questions and answers. If you have additional questions, please feel free to post a comment below or head to our forum.

 

1. Why should I install a security product on my phone? There’s no viruses anyway, right?

First, it’s important to realize that the product goes well beyond malware protection. Components like Anti-theft, Firewall, SMS and call filtering and Application management are very useful irrespective of the malware situation and are all a good reason to install the product.

However, even the malware situation is not that great. To date, we have registered about 4,000 unique apps that exhibit malicious behavior. Most of them were pulled from the market relatively soon (some didn’t even make it to the market), but we dare to say that we can detect them faster.

Also, some of the threats are completely platform independent. A great example is phishing. Here’s how it works: you are sent a link to a website that looks and feels exactly like your online banking site, but in fact it’s a fake site whose purpose is to capture your credentials and steal your money. This has been a long-time classic on the desktop, but as people start browsing the web using their mobile devices it’s also becoming a problem here. Therefore, it does make sense to have an app that will alert you whenever you do something stupid like this (in case of avast! Mobile Security, the Web Shield component takes care phishing URL filtering). Especially given it’s free.

 

Read more…

Categories: Android corner, Technology Tags:
December 27th, 2011

Top 5 CyberThreats for 2012 (and how to avoid them)

In a few days, the world will ring in the New Year with renewed hope for a bright future. Predictions are being made about what 2012 will bring, and unfortunately instead of focusing on the positive, many of them are bleak. One that stands out is the prediction that the world will cease to exist on December 21, 2012 (according to the Mayan Long Calendar.) Thankfully, that one has been debunked – but we’ll see… ;-)

Here at AVAST, we are confident that we’ll have another great year protecting millions of happy internet surfers from all the nasties out there, but here are some educated predictions about what CyberThreats 2012 has in store for us, and how you can stay protected. Read more…

December 23rd, 2011

Android, new users, and you

You asked for it and here it is … avast! Free Mobile Security, the new app for your Android phone.

In just a few days after its placement in the Android Market, our app has been downloaded by well over 100,000 users. Now we want to know how many people will download this app within the first six weeks of its official launch, from December 22 to February 10.

You tell us the correct number and we will give you a brand new Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone.

Just go to our Facebook page, click on the contest tab, and add your estimate along with your contact details. It’s that simple.

You don’t have too much time. The contest kicks off on December 22 and you have only four weeks – till January 19 – to join in the fun.

Your friends also have a chance to win. We are giving away TEN Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphones to the ten individuals closest to the actual number of downloads registered as of 10:00 CET on February 10, 2012. In addition, we are giving away an additional 300 one-year licenses to our premium avast! Internet Security for the next 300 closest answers.

The number of downloads could be huge – but we just don’t know.

Before we launched avast! Free Mobile Security, a poll of avast! users showed that 19% had Android phones. Of these, 56% said they would be interested in a free avast! security app for their phone.

This holiday season, there are many people that will acquire their first smartphone – and a majority of these will likely be Android phones. According to Gartner research, by end 2011, there will be over a billion smartphones in use around the globe, and a whopping 51% of them will be Android phones. That is a lot of phones to be used, lost, or even stolen.

We’d like to help Android users keep their new toys in good hands – and we’d like to place a new Samsung Galaxy Nexus directly in yours. Tell a friend and make your guess.

 

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
December 19th, 2011

Avast talks about ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’

It’s no surprise that conversation at Avast is focused on computer security. The Tuesday release of the new film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, has sparked even more talk, because of the tortured heroine, hacker Lisbeth Salander. The movie is based on the first of the best-selling “Millennium Trilogy” crime novels by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson. It revolves around journalist Mikael Blomkvist who hires the mysterious Lisbeth to help solve a cold case of a missing teenager from decades ago.

Lisbeth works as an investigator from her ordinary laptop. She gains access, and complete control in some cases, to the contents of whomever’s computer she wants and uses information from emails, work documents, bank statements, and browsing history, to satisfy her curiosity, advance the case, and ultimately to loot bank accounts.

I sat down with Jindrich Kubec, senior virus analyst at the AVAST Virus Lab, to talk about hacking, finding information on the internet, and literary license.

(Spoiler alert: elements of the story are about to be revealed) Read more…

December 19th, 2011

A little beta this, a little beta that

It used to be that beta had a specific meaning. And I am not talking about Archimedes.

Beta once meant an early, test version of a program. Run it, play with it, and yes – you’ll find some bugs in there. Now thanks to Google, and its introduction of near-perpetual beta, the meaning has changed. And, this may be close to reality as one journalist told me last week, “Remember, people are beta, too.”

Hmmm, but as the journalist also pointed out,  if a Google beta is essentially complete, then what is our new Android app – avast! Free Mobile Security? It’s out in beta form and it’s on the Google Market. As a dedicated punster, my first idea was to call it alpha-beta. But on a more serious note, I decided to talk to Ondrej Vlcek, our CTO, about what an AVAST Software beta is all about. So here it is: Read more…

December 15th, 2011

Holiday Travel Scams Make a Blue Christmas

An estimated $465 billion will be spent this holiday season. A big chunk of a family’s expenses come from holiday travel. The American Automobile Association (AAA) projects that U.S. travel during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday weekends will increase 1.4 percent from 2010 to the highest level in five years. Cybercrooks create new travel scams and recycle tried-and-true ones to help relieve you of some holiday cash. Here’s a run-down on some popular travel scams, and what you can do to avoid them, while you prepare to visit Grandma or go skiing this Christmas.

Gasoline Rebate Card

Eighty-three million travelers will take to the open road rather than fly the friendly skies this holiday season, and they’re all looking for the cheapest gas station. The average nationwide price of regular gasoline has increased 6.2 percent to $3.264 a gallon this week, according to AAA data.  Attractive offers for free gasoline vouchers and rebates are sent to mailboxes, email accounts and offered by telemarketers. The idea is that you activate your account on the phone or through online registration, sometimes pay a registration fee (red flag!), buy a certain amount of gas from a certain brand, then send in the receipts within a certain time, and supposedly get rewarded for following directions well with a gift card for free gasoline. Only it doesn’t work that way. Consumers never receive the gift cards and have willingly given away personal information. Read more…

December 13th, 2011

Android malware in the open marketplace

Just a couple weeks ago, Chris DiBona, Open Source Programs Manager for Google, claimed that no real malware exists and that “Virus companies are playing on your fears to try to sell you BS protection software for Android, RIM, and, iOS”. Well, let’s see about that.

Just a few hours ago, another group of malicious applications were removed from the official Android Market after we’ve alerted the Google’s security team to their presence. In addition to the official Android Market, these apps have also been available in around five “unofficial” markets. These are malicious apps that send premium SMS messages to  numbers which users are charged a lot for.  What’s more frightening is that this seems very similar to a case discovered just a few days ago. This one was was pointed out by Lookout mobile security and, as you can see in their blogpost, they were also talking about malicious apps that sent SMS messages to premium numbers. Clearly both groups of applications were created by the same person although published under different name.

Apps published by the developer Miriada Production may look like well known Android games (Angry birds, Need for speed, World of Goo and others) and users could be easily confused. Read more…

December 9th, 2011

A Winter Flurry of Email Scams

The holiday season brings a flurry of email scams to inboxes everywhere. Be aware of these popular ones, so the CyberGrinches don’t steal your Christmas.

Email Charity Scam

The six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is the traditional “giving season” in the United States. According to a recent holiday giving survey, the average holiday donation this year will be $281. People who give online said they would contribute even more, an average of $378, and scammers are out to get a portion of that. Read more…

December 7th, 2011

New avast! giveaway coming soon

Last year on December 1 we had 40,000 fans on Facebook. It’s been a year and we now have over 420,000 fans!! This is incredible word-of-mouth growth and we are very proud to have such a loyal and developing community.

To show appreciation for your support and to celebrate the launch of our new avast! Free Mobile Security (coming soon!), we decided to organize a contest for our Community.

This year’s giveaway will be organized differently than last year’s. Some of you remember our 2010 Winter Quiz and have asked for a similar promo, so we are preparing another Facebook contest. More details will be available with the launch of our Android security, but here are the prizes we will be offering:

 

  1. Grand prize (10 winners): Android phone, free avast! Internet Security license, and a t-shirt
  2. Second prize (300 winners): free avast! Internet Security license.

The contest will begin a day after the official launch of avast! Free Mobile Security. This will be announced on our avast! Facebook page. Please follow it next week and don’t miss your chance to win a prize! :)

 

Keep your fingers crossed :)

Categories: Marketing Tags:
December 6th, 2011

avast! Free Mobile Security BETA

Christmas is getting ‘awfully’ close for all the husbands – me included – who still don’t have any gift for their wives (no gift and no idea for one.) Yes, it is only 18 days left – time to panic. Of course, the kids are excited, having no such pressures.   And just like the kids, the other people who are absolutely excited about the fact that Christmas is around the corner are the mobile phone producers.  The fourth quarter of the year is the season to be merry as sales of new devices skyrocket and reach record highs.  Economic crises or not… this year will be no exception.  It is therefore a good time to introduce a security solution that will ensure your new shiny phone is protected. Read more…

Categories: Marketing Tags: , ,