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Archive for December, 2013
December 31st, 2013

Happy New Year 2014!

We bid a wonderful farewell to the old year and welcome the new one with optimism and hope. Wishing you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

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December 30th, 2013

2013: The year of avast! Antivirus in pictures

This year AVAST celebrated 25 years in business and reached an astounding 200 million users. We released our leanest, fastest antivirus protection ever, avast! 2014, and we protect over 50 million Android devices with antivirus and anti-theft protection.

The team of experts at AVAST published 512 blog posts in 11 languages, posted 21,075 stories on Facebook, tweeted 1,200 times, and created videos that were watched over 10 million times on YouTube.

Major milestones reached

AVAST Software has been in existence for 25 years now. From its challenging beginnings behind the Iron Curtain to the innovative idea to give away avast! Antivirus for free to becoming the most downloaded program in the world with more than 200 million users, it has been a great run for AVAST – and it continues to get better! This video summarizes it for us.

 

Most popular Facebook posts
AVAST’s 3.6 million Facebook fans appreciate everything from virus alerts to notifications about social engineering scams to fun and contests. Did you know that a small team of only 5 people manages social media for AVAST? In 7 languages?!

ZeuS TrojanMalware alerts

In June, news about the ZeuS Trojan spreading among Facebook users got people’s attention. Over 26,000 of our Facebook fans shared this message with their friends. All avast! Antivirus products detect and block Zeus if a user tries to install or run the .exe file.

 

 

Facebook redSocial engineering scams

The Facebook Red scam, along with Facebook Black and Facebook Pink, tricked people into clicking malicious links just to change the color of the Facebook interface. AVAST users know better, and nearly 14,000 shared it with their more gullible friends.
ES cartoon

 

 

Fun stuff

Our Spanish users liked this cartoon meme about avast! Antivirus audio updates coming at the wrong time. With 8,000 of our fans sharing it with their friends, it got half a million knowing laughs. Here’s a translation:

-  What are we??

-  Avast! Antivirus!!

-  What do we want??

-  Report when virus database is updated!!

-  When do we want it??

-  Whenever your headphones are at maximum volume!!

 

Read more…

Categories: General Tags: , ,
December 29th, 2013

What bugged AVAST users this year: NSA spooked people about privacy

privacy word of yearPRIVACY. It’s the word of the year from dictionary.com. With reports of the NSA turning the internet into a vast surveillance platform, FBI agents and hackers monitoring citizens through home appliances, web-browser tracking cookies multiplying like rabbits, and information you post to social networking sites yourself, the loss of individual’s online privacy and the extensive access of personal data became a mainstream topic in 2013.

In an interview about security issues with SC Magazine, Vincent Steckler, AVAST’s CEO said that the next aspect of security that needs consideration is privacy. Both consumers and corporates are going to need social media protection capabilities, including checking of links for malware, better control of privacy settings, and control over apps. That goes for tracking in browsers as well.

Abandon all privacy, ye who enter here

Ondřej Vlček, AVAST’s Chief Technology Officer, agrees. “’Do not track in browsers’ doesn’t really work,” he says. “It’s up to the servers whether to adhere to [the HTTP Do Not Tracker header] or not. Most commercial services don’t adhere to it.”

Raise your hand if you use your smartphone to surf the web, compare prices, or buy movie tickets? (That looks like most of us.) Lots of people don’t realize that mobile brands, apps and websites ‘track’ their online movements. Vlček said there are plug-ins that remove things like tracking from ad networks, analytics services or Facebook’s Like buttons without breaking the service. He suggests this approach is an important piece of the puzzle for privacy protection.

Read more…

December 28th, 2013

What bugged AVAST users this year: Unwanted toolbars that cling like ivy to browsers

A trend that snuck up on users in 2013, and strikes instant recognition among people who have experienced it, are unwanted browser extensions. The numbers AVAST has collected so far are enormous. More than 4.8 million different browser extensions for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome have been identified in just eight months.

“On average, there are almost 20,000 new add-ons per day,” said Thomas Salomon, head of AVAST Software‘s Browser Cleanup development team. “The vast majority (88%) of all our users have given toolbars and add-ons a bad or very bad rating.”

Browser_ToolbarsBrowser toolbars especially can be quite annoying, not only because they take up a lot of space inside the browser, but because they change your homepage and your search engine without you realizing it. Normally when you type into the address bar or the search field of your browser your search provider redirects your search requests to the appropriate service, e.g. Google or Bing. When this is hijacked by a toolbar, your search requests might end up in the search engine of Ask, Conduit, Delta search or any other 3rd party “search engine.”

Unwanted toolbars are a pain everyone can relate to and we would argue they are the first major consumer security outbreak since spyware. Our experts at AVAST say that we are in the era of new ‘spyware’, but this time it’s even more insidious especially since many players in the security space are actually in the game themselves by pushing the toolbars onto customers.

“In order to prevent detection and removal by anti-toolbar tools like Browser Cleanup a lot of toolbars change their name and their identifier on almost every new computer,’ said Salomon. “Some of our competitors also provide toolbars and have toolbar protectors included in their products.”

Checking and cleaning your own browsers

Browser toolbars are often difficult or even impossible for the average user to fully uninstall. Salomon cited the use of so-called Browser Protectors by companies like AVG, Avira, and BullGuard. “These are tools provided and installed by the toolbar vendors which protect the toolbar’s settings and the toolbar itself from being manipulated by other toolbars, toolbar removers, and sometimes the user. This means it’s quite hard to remove these toolbars. Browser Cleanup in v. 9.0.0.184 of avast! 2014 is able to dynamically detect and remove these Protectors in order to help the user get rid of the toolbar.”

avast! Browser Cleanup was developed to help our customers identify and get rid of unwanted browser toolbars and add-ons. If you have toolbars in your internet browsers or have noticed strange ads displayed as an overlay, check your browsers using avast! Browser Cleanup. The tool is available in any avast! Antivirus product or you can download the standalone version here.

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.

December 27th, 2013

What bugged AVAST users this year: Mobile malware and fraud

Last year, on Christmas day, over 17 million new mobile devices went online. Before the ribbons and wrapping paper could be discarded, cybercrooks started their attacks.
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In the first half of this year, experts said that 79 percent of all mobile malware attacks were on Android systems. When we asked Ondrej Vlček, AVAST’s Chief Technology Officer, about mobile security in 2013 and what we can expect in 2014, he answered, “Mobile threats will certainly continue to be on the rise. We see nearly 2,000 new malware samples on Android every day, and this is up from maybe 50 a year ago. It’s quite likely that the trend will continue. Especially if you are running an Android device, you absolutely need to install a security product.”

Online fraud goes viral on mobile

Paving the way for a mobile-payment driven future like Japan and Singapore have developed, mobile phones morphed into wallets during 2013, including SMS, WAP and near-field communications (NFC) payment. Data privacy and security have emerged as critical issues over the past few years, and will continue to be important as these new mobile payment options introduce new threats of data hacking and fraud.

AVAST detected an average of 1,839 new mobile malware samples a day, about 60 to 70% of which were designed to send and charge mobile users for premium SMS.

Speaking to SC Magazine about mobile malware, Vlček said, “Especially on Android, the KPIs are exploding, because its openness and design make it a logical choice for the attacker, and it has reached a critical mass in terms of penetration and market share.”  And, he adds, with the smartphone’s ability to send premium SMS and spam SMS messages offering new channels for malware writers to make money, it’s only going to get worse.

AVAST this year has also seen more targeted attacks where the goal is to steal users‘ financial transaction data and ultimately their money. This includes hacking specific banks by manipulating their Internet banking interfaces to steal the customer’s personal data.

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It’s a good idea to follow Ondrej’s advice and get a mobile security product for your Android smartphone or tablet. We suggest PC Mag’s Editor’s Choice award winner, avast! Free Mobile Security.

Upgrade from avast! Free Mobile Security to avast! Mobile Premium for your device and get a second license free of charge for a friend!

To get this offer, install our top-rated avast! Mobile Security app, then click on the Go Premium! button and follow the instructions. This offer is valid from now until the end of December.

Buy One, Get One: avast! Mobile Premium.

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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December 26th, 2013

Give the gift that protects all year and win loads of cash!

All those new PCs, laptops, smartphones and tablets under the tree need antivirus protection immediately because hackers won’t politely wait to start attacking. Give AVAST to your friends, and you can enter our Holiday Cash contest for the chance to win up to $10,000!

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It’s easy to do. Just follow these steps:

1. Log-in or sign-up for an AVAST Account at my.avast.com

2. Click the “Recommend” tab and follow the instructions

3. Once you’ve sent the recommendation to your friends, just wait for them to install and use avast! Free Antivirus

4. With each successful recommendation, you get closer to winning one of 7 cash prizes associated with the number of recommendations you produce! As always, a minimum of 7 successful recommendations will get you a free license of our premium avast! Internet Security

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: General, Marketing Tags: ,
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December 24th, 2013

Seasons Greetings from AVAST

To all who depend on AVAST,
May Peace, Joy, Hope and Happiness be yours during this Holiday.

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Tidings of Joy,
the good folks of AVAST Software

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
December 23rd, 2013

AVAST scans what bugged us this year and will continue to buzz alarm in 2014

by Caroline James, AVAST Software’s U.S. PR manager

The top three security trends of 2013 will only strengthen in 2014. Hackers abusing new payment options, browser toolbars spreading extensively, and new privacy issues have defined this year’s trends of security threats and nuisances.

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Online fraud goes viral on mobile

2013 has been the year of new payment methods, including SMS, WAP and NFC payment – and with these new options, hackers have increased their efforts to develop new ways to steal users’ money.

AVAST detected an average of 1,839 new mobile malware samples a day, about 60 to 70% of which were designed to send and charge mobile users for premium SMS.

AVAST this year has also seen more targeted attacks where the goal is to steal users‘ financial transaction data and ultimately their money. This for example includes hacking specific banks by manipulating their Internet banking interfaces to steal the customer’s personal data.

toolbars02

Unwanted toolbars cling like ivy to browsers

Another trend that snuck up on users in 2013 and strikes instant recognition among people who have experienced it, are browser extensions. The numbers AVAST has collected so far are enormous. The antivirus software company has identified more than 6.1 million different browser extensions for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome in just eight months.

Unwanted toolbars are a pain everyone can relate to and we would argue they are the first major consumer security outbreak since spyware.

Our experts at AVAST say that we are in the era of new ‘spyware’, but this time it’s even more insidious especially since many players in the security space are actually in the game themselves by pushing the toolbars onto customers.

NSA has people spooked about privacy – who is watching you?

Read more…

Categories: General Tags: , , , , ,
December 20th, 2013

avast! 2014 brings a familiar voice to British users

Patricia

Patricia Rykiel, new voice of avast! Antivirus UK

The latest version of avast! Antivirus, avast! 2014 introduced many new features to our customers, but one feature we hope will please our United Kingdom users the most is the new voice they will hear reporting to them that their computer is safe. The voice they will be hearing will be that of Patricia Rykiel, voice of The London Minute which airs across North America on the Computer America show.

Here at AVAST we are always striving to make our product as user friendly and pleasant as possible, which is why we decided to ask Patricia to be the voice of avast! 2014. Her smooth, soothing and clear voice together with her knowledge and position in the computer world is the perfect fit for the voice of AVAST in the UK, to help our UK users feel more “at home” and secure by hearing a familiar accent telling them that their “Virus data base has been updated.”

Patricia is the creator and voice of “The London Minute,” a weekly audio column that airs on the US-syndicated radio show “Computer America,” as well as on the podcast “I Confess I’m a Geek,” a UK-based technology show. In addition to this, she helps people in West Sussex, England love their computer (which happens to be the name of her website!), by teaching them how to get the most out of their computer experience based on their interests and needs.

Change the voice of avast! Antivirus

For the international community of AVAST users, you can enjoy the voice of Patricia by manually changing the language to “English (United Kingdom)” by opening the AVAST user interface, and going into Appearance/Language settings, or if your regional settings are set to the UK, you will automatically hear Patricia. If you don’t see it in the listings, you will need to do a manual software update first. Right click on the avast! icon in your system tray (bottom right), then click Update and choose Program. You can also try out fun voices like the always popular “Pirate,” or just in time for the holidays get a little ho-ho-ho in your notifications with the “Santa” voice, by visiting the avast! Voices tab on Facebook.

To hear Patricia in the UK as you protect your computer, download AVAST 2014 here!

~written by Stefanie Smith

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.

December 19th, 2013

The No. 1 app you need for your Android phone now

avast! Mobile Security is the number 1 app you need on your Android phone. Not convinced? If you already have an Android phone in your pocket, or if a new mobile phone or tablet is on your Christmas wish list, read this story shared with us by Jennifer:

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The number 1 reason Jennifer got her phone back was that she had avast! Mobile Security installed. You need this too, because loss and theft happens all the time. Jennifer ended her story saying that she may install our pro version – if the price was right. Well, Jennifer, from now until the end of December, we are offering you and all other Android owners:

Buy avast! Mobile Premium for your device and get a second license free of charge for a friend!

To get this offer, install our top-rated avast! Mobile Security app, then click on the Go Premium! button and follow the instructions.  Read more about avast! Mobile Security’s features in avast! Mobile Premium: The Ultimate in Mobile Security.

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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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