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November 13th, 2013

AVAST helps celebrate Czech company achievements in Silicon Valley

Jonathan-Penn

Naturally, no one objected that Czech beer tastes better than most American beer. Jonathan Penn, from AVAST, on the ‘red carpet’ holding a Czech beer.

AVAST was invited by the Czech School of California to participate in a panel discussion on Saturday 9 November about Silicon Valley Trends for 2014.

The panel consisted of three successful Czech companies operating in the US and featured Jonathan Penn, Director of Strategy from AVAST, Martin Viktora from KERIO Technologies, which distributes software that allows businesses to connect, communicate, and collaborate securely, and Hubert Palan from GoodData, a nextgen data analytics company.

The panel was moderated by Czech Ambassador Petr Gandalovič  and drew several questions for AVAST around online security and cyber crime from the interested audience.

One member asked for AVAST’s tips on how the audience would be able to better protect themselves from online security threats.  Jonathan cautioned to be wary about things that may seem unusual or that cause worry as well recommended the audience install an antivirus software on their PC, Mac and mobile devices saying the current themes in security tend to concern privacy issues.

Panel discussion covered thoughts on benefits and challenges of being a Czech company in the United States where all three speakers spoke of the advantages of having talented Czech engineers working for them. It was noted the Czech Republic is renowned for its strong grounding in math and science and provides highly skilled software engineers.

Company and job loyalty and a lower cost of wages comparable to living costs were also noted as providing significant advantage in the context that Silicon Valley is full of start-ups where company loyalty is fickle and employee salary expectations higher.

All agreed their companies were adept at collaborating diverse perspectives with a world view that they saw as an advantage to their company’s business edge.

Disadvantages were cited in terms of the time zone difference that can make contact with people challenging as well the need to travel long distances for face to face meetings.

They all saw a bright future for their company’s success in the US and predicted more Czech companies will begin to realize business success and growth in Silicon Valley.

More than 60 business people, with an interest in the Czech Republic, attended the panel session.

Deviating from the standard dress standard one grows accustomed to seeing in Silicon Valley (jeans, sweatshirt and sneakers), the guests looked smart and elegant dressed in black tie for the inaugural Czech Gala Event that followed the panel.

The Gala celebrated the best of the Czech Republic in California and was to honor the former U.S. Secretary of State, George P. Shultz, the highest award of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his role in implementing foreign policy that led to the conclusion of the Cold War.

The Gala was a benefit for the Czech School of California, headquartered in Palo Alto, California. The School, which opened in 2012, is the largest accredited Czech charterschool in the US with four Bay Area locations.

Both the Panel and Gala were held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Foster City, California.

Photo – L to R:  Moderator Czech Ambassador Petr Gandalovič  with Martin Viktora, The Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Kerio Technologies; Jonathan Penn, Director of Strategy, AVAST; and Hubert Palan, VP of Product Management Good Data wearing their ‘CzechTech.net’ vests presented by (far right) Richard Pivnicka, the Honorary Consul General of the Czech Republic in San Francisco.

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November 12th, 2013

Top 3 types of hacks against small websites

This question, from a small-site owner with tens or hundreds of visitors per day, is an unfortunate but all too familiar one.

One morning I started getting emails from my customers complaining that their antivirus reported my site as infected and won’t let them in. It must be some mistake because I don’t have an e-shop. There is just a contact form and information for customers. Is it possible that someone is attacking my business?

codeAThe answer, in most cases is, “You became part of an automatized network which leads your users to an Exploit Kit.” (explanation below)

Why do hackers attack small webpages when there are larger targets?

Small websites have a very low frequency of updates, and the possibility that somebody would find and fix malicious code is almost non-existent, which make them attractive targets to hackers. Hackers seek unpatched pages based on open-source solutions because they can attack them quickly and easily. These pages are later used for sorting users – by those who have vulnerable applications on their computer and by those who cannot be attacked – or simply to hide their true identity. Attackers close “the door” behind them by patching the vulnerability that leads them in and simultaneously create another backdoor, only for them, so the page does not show as suspicious when tested for vulnerabilities.

In general, there are three common types of hacking events a web administrator could encounter:

1. Defacement

This type is recognizable on the first look because the site has been changed to display a message from hackers showing off their skills and mocking the web administrator. This is usually a less harmful attack, and although your page was deleted, you don’t have any financial loss because the motivation for this attack was to show the lack of security on your pages and get credit from other hackers. People which make these attacks usually follow the rule, Don’t learn to hack, hack to learn.

For example, there are PHP shells that lets you select the method and reason of defacement and post it online.  The image below shows part of a PHP-shell that sends statistics.

phpshellB

shellstatAccording to statistics from Zone-H, there were 1.5 million sites defaced during 2010, and the screenshot to the right shows the reasons for the attacks. A million and half seems like big number, but these are only documented attacks and the actual number would be much higher.

During the last few years, defacement has been used to display political or ethical opinions by attacking sites with lots of daily visitors. This is turn attracts media and gets as much attention as possible. Even antivirus companies are not spared, as you can read in a recent article about the hack against AVAST.

Read more…

November 7th, 2013

How to carefully choose safe online shops

howto2_enIn my previous article, I advised you on how to protect yourself against attempts to steal your money while shopping online. I promised to analyze another problem – how to find shops you can trust and recognize those you can’t.

There are many e-shops and online markets on the internet. Some have a perfect reputation, some do not. From time to time there is a headline in the papers about “another fraudulent website” followed by speculation of how much money was actually stolen. How do you screen the good shops from the bad ones? Let us start with a few tips:

You can generally trust

  • Well-known and long established online shops
  • Shops your friends recommend to you, based on their experience
  • Shops with professional-looking websites and working customer support

Be careful when

  • A shop offers goods too cheap – for example a new iPhone for $20
  • Websites with limited functionality and errors
  • A shop hosted in some unusual country – check the domain name in the address bar

Never

  • Respond to offers sent via spam
  • Initiate shopping when you get the alarm from avast! Antivirus, or the web-browser for that e-shop

Reputation services

Beside those tips you can use some crowd-sourced reputation service where people visiting that shop can cast a vote about their experience. This can be very useful. Having a lot of positive feedback is a good sign you can trust the shop in question. Mixed, negative feedback signal potential troubles. When there is limited or even no feedback at all, it means the shop is brand new or not widely used. When you come across a shop like that, be very cautious – most of the fraudulent webs have a short lifespan.

There are two reputation services I can recommend you. The first is our avast! Online Security browser plugin which is a part of avast! installation. The second widely used and reliable is Web Of Trust.

Speaking about the reputation, I have one warning for you. The reputation some shops present about themselves can easily be a product of forgery. When you visit a fraudulent site, it will probably be overfilled by fake positive reviews to lure more victims. Trust the reputation and references from friends or independent sources.

How to pay

When using a smaller online shop, unlike the well-known big ones, it is generally a good idea to not give your credit card details directly, but to use some payment service such as PayPal. In this way you can pay for the goods or service without exposing your crucial information. Another option is a pay-on-delivery service. I would be personally very reluctant to trust my credit card to a shop I have seen for the first time in my life. If such a shop accepts only directly entered credit cards, I would rather go buy somewhere else.

Conclusion

There are many threats lying in wait for internet users.  Stay protected with avast! Antivirus and please, be cautious about where you conduct online transactions. One last thing – please, share these tips; the topics discussed in these two articles are still new for many people, and you certainly don’t want to see your friends or family members falling victim to cybercrooks.

Enjoy the upcoming shopping season!

Thank you for using avast! Antivirus and recommending us to your friends and family. For all the latest news, fun and contest information, please follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+. Business owners – check out our business products.

Categories: Education, General, How to Tags:
November 6th, 2013

AVAST passes 200 million users milestone


CEO Vince Steckler announced today that AVAST Software’s antivirus products are now protecting more than 200 million PCs, smartphones and devices worldwide.

“We are now securing over 200 million computers, and phones around the world,” said Mr. Steckler in a video address to avast! Antivirus users. “This is a milestone that no other software security company has ever come close to.”

AVAST is used by more people than the combined users of competitors AVG Technologies, Symantec, and McAfee. The software is available in 43 languages, many of them localized by volunteers, and has over 1 million users in 38 different countries. The largest markets for AVAST are Brazil with 28 million customers, France with 15 million, and the U.S. and Russia with over 13 million each.  Data from the October report by OPSWAT shows that AVAST leads overall in worldwide product market share for antivirus applications.

AVAST Software co-founder, Eduard Kučera, introduced free antivirus protection years ago because he believed that all computer users deserve protection from harmful threats, and that computer safety should not be a luxury only a few can afford.

“Our philosophy is we should not be a good product, but a perfect product,” Kučera said. “We provide the community with a perfect product.”

So perfect, that 72% of AVAST users have recommended it to someone else, which is the primary way AVAST spreads it message since virtually no money is spent on advertising. AVAST has never strayed from the vision of offering a high-end antivirus product for free while building a wide user base.

“And it’s all due to you, our loyal users who recommend and distribute our product to their family and friends,” said Steckler, “I can’t think of a better way of celebrating our 25th year in business. Thank you for your loyalty!”

Thank you for using avast! Antivirus and recommending us to your friends and family. For all the latest news, fun and contest information, please follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+. Business owners – check out our business products.

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November 5th, 2013

How to shop safely online with the new avast! Free and Premium versions

Credit CardSeasonal shopping fever starts with Black Friday and Cyber Monday in a few weeks, but we’ve already seen terrific sales offered online by retailers getting an early start. Every year more people make their purchases online, with the intention of saving time and money and avoiding the crowds. There are, however, some people who love the shopping season for different reasons. These are people we all want to avoid – Cybercrooks. They study our shopping behavior with one thing in mind – to take advantage of us for their own profit. Here are a few tips to lower your risk of falling victim to cybercrooks.

Protect your credit card well

The most important rule is to protect your credit card. While shopping online, the only information you generally need to authenticate a payment are the numbers written on both sides of your card. Along with the PIN code, these are crucial for the security of your banking account. Be very careful who you entrust with them.

Remember to

  • Never let anyone write down your card number or take a photo of it
  • Never send those credentials by email, SMS, or tell them over the phone
  • Never give your card to a website you do not trust or which does not use a secured (encrypted) connection
  • Process your credit card data only from a clean (without malware infection) computer
  • Limit the maximum value payable over the internet at your bank

Some of the points mentioned above require in-depth explanation. Let’s take a closer look at them. Read more…

November 4th, 2013

First upgrade to avast! 2014, then to Windows 8.1

win_upgradeAre you ready to make the move to Windows 8.1? Reviews says that with Windows 8.1, Microsoft made some significant improvements, including restoring the much-missed start button. Make sure that your upgrade experience goes smoothly by installing avast! 2014 first.

Avast! 2014 has Windows 8.1 certification which ensures that it meets compatibility standards and performs well on the Windows platform. Older versions of avast! Antivirus do not carry that certification, so if you update to Windows 8.1, it will disable avast! and you will be unprotected.

Make sure you stay protected when upgrading to Windows 8.1

Update to avast! 2014 before you upgrade to Windows 8.1. Here’s how:

  • Open the avast! user interface
  • Click on the Maintenance tab
  • Click Update Program
  • The Update screen shows you the overall progress

programupgrade_progress

  • When it’s done, you will be asked to restart your computer. Click ‘Yes’ to reboot.
  • Once your computer is restarted, you might be asked to install Google Chrome as your default browser. We recommend this safe browser, but you have the option to decline.
  • Click ‘Continue’ to complete the upgrade.

After this, the latest version of avast! Antivirus 2014 is installed on your computer and ready to use. You can now make the upgrade to Windows 8.1 and remain protected.

Thank you for using avast! Antivirus and recommending us to your friends and family. For all the latest news, fun and contest information, please follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+. Business owners – check out our business products.

November 4th, 2013

A report from RSA Conference Europe 2013

In today’s world where malware evolves and develops rapidly, sharing security information is the key element for success. Companies which ignore this fact  sooner of later suffer from the consequences of their bad decision. Malware researchers from all over the world regularly meet at various IT security conferences, where they learn from each other how to fight with malware and how to make the IT world a safer place.

rsac_01 Read more…

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November 3rd, 2013

How do I access the avast! Virus Chest?

howto2_enQuestion of the week: What goes into the Virus Chest, and how do I remove what’s inside?

Potentially harmful files are stored in a safe and completely isolated place called the avast! Virus Chest. This area quarantines infected or otherwise suspicious files away from the rest of the operating system so they cannot cause damage to your other files or your computer. When files are in the Virus Chest, they are not accessible to any outside process, software application or virus and also cannot be run there. There is no danger in storing files there.

Accessing the Virus Chest is a bit different in avast! 2014. AVAST Evangelist, Bob G., made a short video showing how to get to it. Watch it now:

 Extracting or Deleting files

If you need to copy a file from the Virus Chest to a specific location, right-click on the desired file (or highlighted multiple files) in the contents table on the Virus Chest screen and select ‘Extract‘ from the menu, then select the location where the file should be saved and click ‘OK’.

Any file in the Virus Chest can be permanently deleted. All you do is right-click on the desired file (or highlighted multiple files) in the contents table on the Virus Chest screen and select ‘Delete’ from the menu. Afterwards, you can check that the deleted file has been removed from the contents table on the Virus Chest screen.

Thank you for using avast! Antivirus and recommending us to your friends and family. For all the latest news, fun and contest information, please follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+. Business owners – check out our business products.