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Archive for February, 2014
February 17th, 2014

Fake Korean bank applications for Android – PT 1

About a year ago, we published this analysis about a pharming attack against Korean bank customers. The banks targeted by cybercriminals included NH Bank, Kookmin Bank, Hana Bank, ShinHan Bank, and Woori Bank. With the rise of Android-powered devices, these attacks now occur not only on the Windows platform, but also on the Android platform. In this blogpost we will look at a fake bank application and analyze several malware families which supposedly utilize them.

Original bank application

We will show just one bank application for brevity. For other banks the scenario is similar. The real Hana Bank application can be downloaded from Google Play. It has the following layout and background.
korea-08

Read more…

February 14th, 2014

Women over 40 targeted in online dating scams

online-dating-scams

Most people who are using an online dating site will tell you that their goal is to get off of it as soon as possible. But you have to get on before you can find success, so if you’re just starting, you picked a good time. The two months between Christmas and Valentine’s Day see the biggest increase in new membership signups.

Here’s what you need to do to get started: Decide if you want to join a free site or buy a subscription; choose a site that’s appropriate for you from general mega-sites to niche-interest; fill out a series of questions to build your profile; upload some flattering photos; look through the choices and maybe contact a few; then hope for the best.

This Valentine’s Day, also be wise. Apart from the cybercrooks who leave a trail of broken hearts and empty bank accounts described below, be aware that discerning truth from fiction in online dating can be a challenge.

Exaggerating the facts

People embellish the truth often on online dating sites, like the guy who said he was 5’10” (177cm), and then turned out to be shorter than his date at 5’7” (170cm), or the guy who described himself as “athletic and toned,” but was actually shaped like a turkey leg. Or the ones who post a photo of themselves from 10 years (and 40 pounds) ago.

Lying is no use, because eventually you will be found out.

Making assumptions

Online dating takes the fact that hopeful people jump to conclusions to a high art. Being both an animal and water fan, I got excited about a guy who said, “I live on a horse farm, and have a house at the river” in his profile. He was entirely truthful – it was my assumption that let me down. Yes, he did live on a horse farm – someone else’s horse farm – over the barn. And he does have a house at the river – not on the river like I hoped, but in the little town named after the river. And it’s not really his, but belongs to his family. And they want to sell it.

If you want to avoid disappointment, keep your expectations low, then be delightfully surprised when you are proved wrong.

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February 13th, 2014

INFOGRAPHIC: Love shouldn’t spam your inbox, it should spam your heart

heartVday2014Love is in the air! People are going out to buy boxes of chocolates and flowers for their loved ones, preparing for romantic dinners, and some are hoping that a secret admirer will confess their love. Some seek help from the Internet to make Valentine’s Day as romantic as possible and since many people check their emails first thing in the morning, spammers and other cybercriminals see this as the perfect opportunity to attack.

The ILOVEYOU virus from 2000 did just that, although it was sent on May 5th, not on Valentine’s Day. The virus, a computer worm also referred to as “Love Letter,” originated from the Philippines and was sent via email with the subject line “ILOVEYOU.” The virus went viral when users opened the “LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.txt.vbs” attachment included in the email. The opening of the attachment activated the viral basic script, damaging the user’s computer, overwriting image files, and sending copies of itself to addresses in the user’s Microsoft Outlook address book. The virus reached the U.S. on Friday morning, just as people were checking their emails. Since it was sent from someone they knew, and we didn’t have the collective experience of viral spam yet, people trusted the email and opened the attachment. Perhaps they were excited to receive a love letter?

Read more…

February 13th, 2014

AVAST Referral Campaign brings 145,000 new members to the community

More than 20,000 people entered our Referral Program last month, giving us a lot of entries to go through and a lot of data to tally. In the end, our grand prize winner came from Brazil, bringing in the largest share of the more than 145,000 new people who joined the AVAST community as a result of your efforts.

We also had winners from Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, the U.S.A, and Vietnam. All of these winners have been notified by email, so please make sure that any messages from AVAST are not in your Junk, Spam, or Bulk mail folder.

We created this infographic to show the impact of the program worldwide. As you can see there were a large number of participants, consequently we are still evaluating the creative entries. Part of the challenge involves translations of more than two dozen languages so that the judges can evaluate each entry fairly. We will be posting those winners as soon as we can.

 winners

While the contest is over and the ruling of the judges is final, anybody can still win free Internet Security licenses for recommending AVAST to your friends. Remember that every time anybody joins the AVAST community, it helps all of us by increasing our network of malware sensors.

Congratulations to all of the winners. We wish we could have declared everybody who entered a winner, but that’s not really practical. So we offer a hearty thank you to everybody who participated. AVAST is grateful for all of your support.

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.

 

February 13th, 2014

‘Stop Mass Spying’ cause

revolt

The Day We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance event in San Francisco

Hundreds of people concerned for their privacy and opposed to NSA spying practices descended on the courtyard of the AT&T building in San Francisco last night on a clement winter evening.

The well-organized event, The Day We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance, was flanked by police ironically attending to keep surveillance on the amassing crowd.

Former AT&T technician and government whistleblower, Mark Klein, took to the stage sharing his story of how he discovered his employer was in cahoots with the NSA.

Mr Klein told the assembled crowd that he had been tasked to work on the wire that would stream documents into a secret room and was shocked to find that both domestic and international customer activity was being tracked. “Here I am being forced to connect to a Big Brother machine,” he said.

The evening’s proceedings included ample video footage projected onto a windowless side wall of the AT&T building. The popular Police song: “Every Breath You Take” (I’ll be watching you) played and people sang along as the lyrics were displayed before them.

Media clips of TV news interviews with Mark Klein were shown as well as a clip of President Barack Obama’s address about the NSA which was robustly heckled.  Passing cars during the city’s peak hour tooted their horns prompting an explosion of cheers and waving.

Read more…

February 12th, 2014

Frustrating user experience from a shady download portal

frustrationWe received a message from a customer informing us that when she installed avast! Free Antivirus, she also got an unwelcome toolbar installed from Conduit. After an investigation, we found that there are some shady characters providing our popular free antivirus protection with unwanted toolbars and other scams. Thomas Salomon, head of AVAST Software ‘s German Software Development team, looked into it further.

Today I was informed that some download portals have wrapped our avast! Free Antivirus with their own installer using our logos and brand name without even asking. From past experience, I know that this typically causes a lot of trouble and annoys users. So I thought to myself: OK, let’s be “John Doe” and test it out.

Unfortunately the experience I had was even worse than expected…

Download

First, I needed to think how a typical user would download avast! Free Antivirus. I guessed that it might be to simply type “avast download” into the search engine of his choice. I used Google in this case, and it came up with our own (avast) download page on top and some ads in the right column. These ads looked suspicious to me, but it’s possible that some users would be convinced to download avast! from these sites. One click later, I ended up at a site called softm8.com. I quickly spotted and clicked the avast! download option. Interestingly, the download was pretty small – actually too small to be an official avast! Antivirus installer. Anyway, I continued in my role as “John Doe” and ran the installer.

The experience begins

After starting the downloaded file it took a second or two for Windows to check the signature. Next, I noticed that the program I just downloaded was not issued by AVAST Software but by a company called “AVSoftware EOOD”.  This is definitely not us:

1

Ideally, this small piece of information would give someone the first hint that the software is not what he expects, therefore he should probably abort the download. For the experiment’s sake,  I continued by clicking “Run.” As a result, I ended up in a non-AVAST installer:

2

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Categories: General Tags: ,
February 11th, 2014

How to have a Safer Internet Day everyday

Safer Internet DayLet’s create a better internet together”.

Today, over 100 countries celebrate Safer Internet Day by focusing on how people, including teens and kids, use connected technology and what we can all do to make things better.

Since AVAST is trusted by over 200 million people worldwide to protect their devices, we asked some of them to share #OneGoodThing about how we can keep safe so we can use technology freely at home, school, and work.

#OneGoodThing

Kids can be adventurous, and not think about the consequences – online as well as offline. Khizer’s advice: Good protection and involved parents.

The Internet is a treasure of fun and knowledge for kids, but nowadays it’s full of unethical stuff and it is necessary to keep them safe.  Children should be friends with their Parents. If you find something that should be in the knowledge of your parents. Just tell them. Remember they will always support you.  ~Khizer J. from Pakistan

But Steve knows that the internet can’t be a babysitter, and has some strong advice for parents:

No matter if you have the strongest antivirus or parental controls, if you let your children play online unsupervised, they are at a high risk of being preyed upon. The real advice is to be next to them and teach them good secure online habits. You wouldn’t let your kids play around in Detroit without you, would you? As close to it as it may be, the internet is a bit worse than Detroit. ~Steve N. from the USA

Kevin’s dad has a good idea. This is what we call a “teachable moment.”

I’m a kid myself but a thing my father does when he gets a email from someone who is trying to trick him, to give them money, he shows that to me to make me see how such emails look like, and what I should look out for. ~Kevin G. from Denmark

Kids, and some adults too, can be careless about their privacy. These two AVAST mom’s share some basic tips that everyone should follow:

Listen up, kids. NEVER give your password away, even to your “best friend”. And if you want to choose a good password, remember that a long password is more important than a “difficult” password. The longer your password is, the harder it will be for bad guys (or gals!) to crack. ~Sheila E. from Canada

My main advice for my children’s safety when they are on the Internet is certainly not trust just anti-virus, even if it is as good as Avast. Most importantly, my first advice,  is think well before you click! ~Virginie M. from France

Not everyone is who they claim to be on the internet, so Eric warns kids to be careful about talking to strangers.

Be careful when chatting to others on the internet, the person might actually be a grown up pretending to be a child.  So never give personal information (like your address or phone number) and if they ask you to do something you think is wrong – you don’t have to do it (especially if they say they’ll hurt you or your family) & tell your parents, or a grown up. ~Eric E. from Ireland

This piece of advice sounds like it comes from personal experience. We’d like to hear the rest of the story, Brooks! ;)

Don’t go to any websites that you wouldn’t want dad to know you were on! ~Brooks S. from the USA

If you have something to add about being safer on the internet, please share your tips using the hashtag #onegoodthing.

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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February 11th, 2014

Talk to your kids on Safer Internet Day 2014

SID2014Let’s create a better internet together”.

Today we celebrate Safer Internet Day 2014 (SID) which promotes safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people across the world.

Have you ever talked to your child about making good decisions online? Here are some topics for the dinner table:

  • Cyberbullying: A few of your friends have been leaving mean comments online about someone you know. What do you do?
  • Your digital footprint: You take a great picture at a party but your friend looks a bit silly. You want to put it online, but aren’t sure if you should. What do you do?
  • An uncomfortable conversation:  Your friend has been chatting to someone online. They thought the person was a girl their age, but the conversation has started getting a bit weird. Your friend is worried about the information that they have shared with this person. What do you think they should do?
  • Mobile scams: You see a competition online that asks you to put in your mobile phone number to enter. What could happen?

To make it easier and fun, run through these questions and answers with your child on the UK’s Safer Internet Centre. Those few minutes of conversation could save a reputation, protect your privacy and keep predators away.

 

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.

February 10th, 2014

Top 10 questions about AVAST Free for Education

AVAST_Free_For_EducationThe AVAST Free for Education team spent a week in Orlando, Florida at one of the country’s premier educational technology conferences, FETC. School administrators, IT professionals, media specialists, and educators visited our comfy booth, all curious about what the world’s most trusted antivirus software company was doing there.

Here’s a run-down of the Top 10 questions about AVAST Free for Education:

  1. 1.     What is the Free for Education program?
    AVAST supports education in the USA by making our business-grade security product, which has the same features and performance as paid ones, available for FREE!
  2. 2.     Why are you doing this?

    Everyone wants an avast! Teddy bear

    Everyone wants an avast! Teddy bear

    There are two good reasons: The first one is technical – we collect threat data from our community of 200 million active users which the Virus Lab uses as a “sensor net” to automate virus research. So whenever we see something suspicious, it automatically gets transmitted to the cloud, and based on the threat data, we create new definitions and stream them back to the whole user base. It’s really quite unique and helps us to leverage the size of our user base, because no other antivirus company has as many users as we do.

The second reason is Free for Education is part of our expansion plan, to simply make US users more aware of avast! Antivirus. We have about 14 million avast! Free Antivirus users in the USA now, but we want that number to increase. Giving our business-grade security product to schools for free will also help us spread the word about our products for home-use and mobile.

  1. 3.     How do you make money?
    This program is not about making money, but improving our detection rate and increasing awareness. That being said, Free for Education participants can add our premium technical support at a special annual rate of only $1 per license. We heard from visitors to our booth, that they would still save money because they were paying about $4 per license with other programs.
  2. Read more…
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February 9th, 2014

You’ve Got Mail!

We email, chat, Tweet, Facebook , and IM to simply communicate in a digital world with other people. Our communication is speeding up and we use more channels to receive information we are looking for. And there is nothing wrong with it, as the Internet helps us to communicate faster, cheaper and obviously more efficiently. However, isn’t it nice to receive a real postcard sent from holidays? Or come back from work and find a note “Stop by for a coffee, I got your email” left on our door from a neighbor?

Last week, at AVAST Software we have received a letter. No, no, this is not what you are thinking of. A real LETTER delivered by the postal service! A handwritten letter from 9-year old Polish boy, living in Ireland. Hubert send us not only greetings, but also a request for Virus Lab analysis! He made our day and his letter has been circulating around the company for the last few days.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here we go:

 

letter from hubert

 

Hubert, we have your address and these fun AVAST souvenirs will be sent to you! :)

 

present for Hubert

But, if you read this message meanwhile, please contact us at wannabesocial@avast.com and write us in English or Polish! I will be waiting for your email in a virtual world. :)

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.