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Archive for April, 2014
April 30th, 2014

You dropped your phone in the swimming pool. Now what?

avast tips help save your wet phone

At least it wasn’t dropped in the toilet!

How to save a wet smartphone

It happened with me, I jumped in the swimming pool with my phone in the pocket. Unfortunately, it was not the first time my phone was drenched. Some years ago, the villain was the rain. I was using a smartphone app to monitor my running pace and it started to rain. Not a light refreshing rain – no, a deluge, a Heavy rain. My phone was protected, but that was just too much rain.

At that time, I didn’t know what to do and made the wrong decisions. Some modern phones are waterproof, but others aren’t, and an accident involving water can be fatal. I’d like to share these hints with you on what to do if your phone decides to take a bath.

  • The first thing you should do NOW is a backup! You’ve heard this before, but have you done anything about it? It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Your photos, videos and musics, your apps and game data – everything could literally sink in water. We offer a simple, yet easy solution: avast! Mobile Backup protects your data against such accidents. Try now the free basic version from Google Play Store.
  • TURN YOUR PHONE OFF If your phone was dropped into water, the first thing to do is TURN IT OFF. And not only press the on/off button, but also remove the battery and cards completely. It’s a race against time. Each second is vital to avoid an electric shock and motherboard crash.
  • Let all the water flow freely. The best position for the phone is horizontal over a table on a dry piece of cloth. Do not rub, do not use cotton, do nothing… Just let the water drain out.
  • Dry the device carefully. After that, take a dry cloth or some absorbent paper to dry the device completely. Hold it with the screen facing up to drain all the water that could stay inside. Try not to shake it.
  • Be patient. Have a lot of patience. That’s the keyword here. Keep the phone open for a long time, at least 24 hours. Some technicians recommend to put it into a pot and fill with raw rice (or gel silica, if you have it with you) to absorb dampness.
  • After 24 hours, remove all the rice (or the small pieces of gel silica) and have patience again. Leave it open and exposed to air. Do not use hair dryers. Do not put the phone directly in the sun, because you can do more harm than good (harm to the screen, battery, or even the plastic parts.)
  • Only after other 12-24 hours you could try to put battery again and turn it on.
  • Of course, if you do not have luck, you’ll have to take it to technical assistance. But we wish you luck and that your phone will work again!

Besides getting wet, your phone can be lost or you could get infected with the ever-increasing malware being written for Android. Protect your phone for free with avast! Mobile Security & Antivirus. Get it on Google Play. Don’t be one of these careless people who neglect to protect their phones!

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 Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram. Business owners – check out our business products.

April 29th, 2014

Internet Explorer users: AVAST has got your back – for FREE

AVAST protects users running Internet Explorer.

Avast antivirus protects agains the Microsoft® Internet Explorer bug
Microsoft announced a new vulnerability in Internet Explorer, which allows attackers to execute code remotely, ultimately giving them full control over a PC. The vulnerability targets Internet Explorer versions 6 through 11 and was published under the name CVE-2014-1776. Out of all the Internet Explorer users, Windows XP users are most vulnerable as Microsoft recently stopped supporting the operating system and will therefore not issue any security patches, including one to fix this problem.

AVAST gave its word to Windows XP users that it would continue to protect them: AVAST has issued a new definition update which addresses this specific Internet Explorer vulnerability, protecting its users running Internet Explorer.

Windows XP users browsing on Internet Explorer in even more danger

On April 8, 2014, Microsoft ended its support for Windows XP, terminating automatic updates to the operating system, and even worse it will stop providing anti-malware signature updates as of next year. It’s remarkable that it has only been three weeks since the cut off and its users are already being confronted with a major security flaw, which will affect and put Windows XP Internet Explorer users at risk the most… Will this now make Windows XP users migrate?

Windows XP users: We promised we wouldn’t leave you hanging

Prior to the Windows XP support end date, AVAST committed to supporting Windows XP by creating protection modules and detections specifically designed to cover XP vulnerabilities and security problems for at least the next three years. Currently 45 million of our more than 200 million customers use Windows XP. Of those 45 million, more than 20% run Internet Explorer and our latest update 140428-1 covers them from the CVE-2014-1776 Internet Explorer vulnerability. Even with the update, we urge Windows XP users migrate from Internet Explorer to another browser. The latest version of Internet Explorer available on Windows XP is version 8, making it outdated and lacking a number of security improvements that were already unavailable before the official support end date. We recommend Google Chrome as an alternative to Internet Explorer, as it is fully compatible with Windows XP, updating itself automatically.

Explore the Internet with caution

Windows XP users aren’t the only ones at risk. We recommend users always use caution and think twice before opening any links. This particular flaw accesses deleted or misplaced objects in memory, thus corrupting the browser’s memory address space. This in turn gives attackers the opportunity to execute code remotely by hoaxing users via email or instant message to visit sites specifically designed to exploit the vulnerability. Once Internet Explorer users click on the malicious link, attackers can gain the same user rights as the person currently logged into Windows. This means if someone clicks on the link while logged into Windows in the administrator account, the attacker would have full administrative control over the PC and the data on it.

AVAST supports everyone

AVAST believes that everyone has the right to protection while using the Internet and therefore offers Windows and Mac users free antivirus. We are devoted to supporting all of our customers and do not believe in turning our backs on Windows XP users. All AVAST Antivirus users with virus definitions 140428-1 or newer are protected against the CVE-2014-1776 vulnerability.

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.

April 28th, 2014

Digital snoop screams at baby through baby monitor

As more gadgets get WiFi-connected, there could be serious implications for personal and home security.

 

Secure your privacy by using avast! SecureLine VPN

Baby monitor hijacked

A new case of a baby monitor being hijacked was reported last week in a Cincinnati, Ohio home. Fox19 news reported that the Schreck family was fast asleep when an unfamiliar voice woke up Mrs. Schreck. She grabbed her cell phone to check on the wireless IP camera used to monitor her 10-month-old daughter Emma’s room. The camera was moving, seemingly by itself. A man’s voice started screaming, ‘Wake up baby. Wake up baby.’

This incident is similar to one that occurred in August 2013 when a disturbed stranger screamed obscenities at a sleeping toddler through the baby monitor. The bugs in the Foscam camera that was used have since been discovered and updates are on the company website. Make sure you update your camera’s firmware as soon as possible.

The Internet of Things

“Smart” gadgets like IP camera video feeds are used to monitor children, property, and pets. If the camera isn’t secure, a hacker or creepy Peeping Tom can use them to spy on you and your family, watch recorded images, and even find out when the coast is clear so they can break in. Other smart gadgets like home appliances, TVs, pacemakers, cars, etc. – are vulnerable to cyber attacks. This may be a low-risk threat now, but as more gadgets get WiFi-connected, there could be serious implications for personal and home security.

Tips to secure your home cameras against digital snooping

  • Secure your home wireless router. Look for a camera that supports current wireless security protocols, like WPA2.
  • Use a unique password. Don’t be tempted to turn off the password requirement on your camera. If you’re not sure what a strong password looks like, read our blog about creating strong passwords.
  • Use a secure WiFi connection. Your camera’s mobile app may not be encrypted, so using it on an unsecured WiFi network could give troublemakers an open door to your video feed or your password. Change the settings on your mobile device so that it doesn’t automatically connect to a public WiFi hotspot. Protect your privacy by using avast! SecureLine VPN on your Android phone or iPhone. If you don’t know what a VPN is, read our blog post explaining what a VPN can do for you.

The FTC has more tips for securing your IP camera on their site.

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.

April 25th, 2014

Will avast! GrimeFighter speed up my old PC?

howto2_enQuestion of the week: I have seen your ads for GrimeFighter, but I don’t know if it will help me or not. I have an old laptop that’s really slow. Will GrimeFighter speed things up? How does it work?

Yes, GrimeFighter will speed your old laptop up, and more than that. We are quite proud of avast! GrimeFighter and see it as a complement to the services provided by avast! Antivirus, so I’m glad you asked this question. Read what one of our customers told us after using GrimeFighter on her old laptop.

user testimonialCarolC

Here’s a summary followed by a short video on how to get GrimeFighter for your PC.

Why do I need GrimeFighter?

about_cleanNew PCs come pre-loaded with what we call Grime - all kinds of clutter and trialware. Over time your PC gets bloated with more Grime; viruses, spyware, pop-ups, and toolbars, making it sluggish and difficult to use. GrimeFighter comes to the rescue as an easy-to-use, and dare I say, even fun, fully-automated optimization tool designed so that even a novice can tune up his computer.

Don’t get put off by the word “optimization.” This isn’t those scammy products advertised on late-night television – AVAST wouldn’t be a part of such things. GrimeFighter is a product that we stand behind and believe will help our users extend the life of their machines. (Windows XP users, we’re talking to you!)

Read more…

April 23rd, 2014

Facebook is spring cleaning your News Feed

Facebook spam blocks relevant News Feed posts

Spam blocks news Facebook users want to see

Last year, Facebook had the dubious honor of containing more spam than other social networks.

In order to combat this scourge, Facebook recently announced a series of  improvements to the News Feed to help ensure that spammy content does not drown out the posts that people really want to see from friends and Pages they care about.

“The goal of this spring cleaning is to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important and relevant to them,” said Facebook.

The clean-up targets three areas: Like-baiting, frequently shared content, and spammy links

Like-baiting is one of the sneakiest scams on Facebook. It’s when a post explicitly asks readers to like, comment, or share the post in order to increase the number of likes and/or shares; in other words, to “Go Viral.”  As we have described in previous posts, the page usually collects the likes, then sells it to the highest bidder to re-purpose for new annoying posts and scams.

Facebook uses this cute animal survey image to illustrate what it considers to be like-baiting.  The text asks the reader what their favorite animal is, with pictures asking for likes, comments, and shares.

Like-baiting is one of the sneakiest scams on Facebook

Facebook found that there was an over-abundance of frequently shared content.

Read more…

April 22nd, 2014

How to recycle your old PCs and phones on Earth Day and everyday

At AVAST, our commodity is brain power and electronic bits and bytes, but we still do our part to preserve and protect the environment.

Recycle old computers and phones for Earth Day

A question that plagues companies like ours, as well as schools, small businesses, and countless households across the world is this:

When electronics get old or lose their usefulness, what do you do with them?

The electronic devices we depend on, like PCs, servers, and smartphones are manufactured from valuable resources and materials, including metals, plastics, and glass, that must be extracted and processed. Donating or recycling electronics conserves our natural resources and avoids air and water pollution.

Did you know?

  • The original owner keeps a laptop computer for only three years and will discard their cell phone after only 24 months.
  • Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 US homes in a year. (EPA)
  • For every million cell phones we recycle, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.

Donate or Recycle: Where to take your old devices

It’s better for everyone if you can find a place that excepts a donation. Look for foundations and charities in your area – but realize that they don’t want to inherit a bunch of junk, so make sure it’s in good working condition. In the US, the National Cristina Foundation will put you together with organizations in your community that reuse technology for people with disabilities, at-risk students, and economically disadvantaged persons.

If you want to recycle, look for a reputable electronics recycling program. In the US, retailer Best Buy has a Recycling Program certified to e-Stewards standards. They even take large appliances. Manufacturers like Dell and Apple have their own programs, so look them up in your area.

Protect your security before donating or recycling

Your computer and phone are filled with personal and financial information. Since identity theft is one of the fastest growing cybercrimes, you must take precautions.

Read more…

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April 21st, 2014

So you’re sticking to Windows XP? Here’s how to protect yourself.

It’s the end of Microsoft support, not the end of the world.

AVAST continues to protect Windows XP users.

Abandoned, rusting and full of holes.

For more than a year, Microsoft informed and reminded users to upgrade from Windows XP before their support expired. They warned users that they would be subject to “zero-day” threats forever more. But, even with all that, nearly 30 percent of internet-connected PCs continue to run Windows XP.

We asked our own users, and about 47 million of you stated that you are going to stay with your Windows XP operating system, despite the fact that Microsoft has pulled the plug on updates and support for the aging OS.

Alrighty, then. What now? How do you protect yourself against the coming threats?

Tips to keep yourself protected while still hanging on to Windows XP.

  • Buy a new computer as soon as you can. You can’t escape that one day that will be your only choice. So throw your left-over coins in a jar to start a new PC fund.
  • Clean up your old computer. If you want to keep the old laptop running as long as possible, then clean out the clutter and bloat that slowed it down over the years. avast! GrimeFighter is way cheaper than a new PC, and can breathe new life into your old one.
  • Upgrade the software that you have, but make sure it works with your system (remember, Windows XP is old, and software has moved on.) Make sure to apply any patches to the software you are using to avoid vulnerabilities. avast! Software Updater can help you with that.
  • Ditch Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and use a browser that offers the most advanced security and support. We suggest Google Chrome. They will continue supporting Windows XP until at least April 2015.
  • Use antivirus software and keep it updated. You don’t have to buy an expensive suite – avast! Free Antivirus works just fine, and we pledge to support Windows XP users for the next 3 years.
  • If you don’t need it, lose it.  Remove insecure software that you don’t use, like the Java browser plug-in.
  • Get offline or stay away as often as you can. If you’re disconnected from the network, the cybercrooks can’t find you. And you can be guaranteed they’ll be looking.

AVAST has got your back

AVAST’s COO, Ondrej Vlcek, explained about the dangers of staying with Windows XP in Another Data Breach Crisis Looms as Microsoft’s D-Day for XP Forces Security Scramble, but he also had some good news for users hanging on.

AVAST is devoted to protecting the PC ecosystem by not only supporting Windows XP for at least the next three years, but also by creating protection modules and detections specifically designed to cover Windows XP vulnerabilities and other security problems.

Tell other Windows XP users

Let you friends know that AVAST is protecting Windows XP. Lots of small business owners and people with older PCs and laptops are still running the OS. We can help keep them 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.

April 20th, 2014

AVAST wishes you a Happy Easter

Thank you for choosing AVAST to protect your precious memories. Have a happy, healthy, and safe Springtime.

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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April 18th, 2014

avast! Antivirus 2014 – Easter Egg

Every software should have an Easter Egg.  Let me introduce you an Easter Egg in avast! Antivirus 2014…

Slot machine easter egg

Slot machine easter egg

 

Enjoy this “new feature” if you find it ;)

As it’s a slot machine game then there is of course an unexpected surprise when your score is over 200 points…

 

You can download avast! Antivirus at links available at http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=149104.0

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April 17th, 2014

WordPress plugin vulnerability puts mobile visitors at risk

AVAST finds WordPress plugin redirector

AVAST finds new twist on WordPress plugin vulnerability

Today one of our colleagues came into our office and said, “Hey guys, I’ve been infected.” I thought to myself, yeah, how bad can this be? After a bit of digging we found the results were worth it; it turned out to be a really “interesting ” case of mobile redirected threats localized for each country.

All you need is one bad IP

The case was brought to us by Jakub Carda, a fellow AVAST employee who enjoys blogging in his free time. His WordPress site was compromised through a vulnerability in WordPress, more precisely OptimizePress. OptimizePress is a WordPress plugin that fully integrates itself into the WordPress CMS, helping bloggers optimize their blog’s design. A tiny mistake in the code of a file located in: lib/admin/media-upload.php made it possible for pretty much anyone to upload harmful content onto people’s WordPress sites, and plenty of websites have been compromised because of this.

Read more…