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April 8th, 2014

[2014] April Fools’ Day joke in AVAST – prank for COO and CTO

We prepared a special office equipment for our COO and CTO this year on 1st April. They didn’t expect that we were able to prepare better prank than last year. This year the prank consisted of several stages

  1. office moved to a new location
  2. office filled up with balloons
  3. hints of new office location hidden in different locations in AVAST’s offices

 

The whole preparation took a lot of hours. But the final state of the offices was worth it…

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Ondrej Vlcek’s (COO) office

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Pavel Kucera’s office


Movement of offices :

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Preparing balloon decoration :

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Preparing path to new office location, and hints :

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 Our founder’s car – hint on right wheel

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Final hint in 12th floor – founders tower

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Cards to the new offices – flying under ceiling on 12th floor


Morning April 1st – Ondrej open the door

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Path to the new office isn’t easy :

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Ondrej – Solving a cypher to find the first hint

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Pavel – Solving a cypher to find the first hint

To make the story complete – Ondrej and Pavel found their office. They solved the puzzle, followed hints, shot down card and enjoyed a day in new location. Their offices are back in origin location again. Nobody was harmed during whole event…


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Prank crew in moved “joined” offices

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March 14th, 2014

Creative recommendations win 10 AVAST users $1000 each

post01 (1)The AVAST recommendation contest brought 145,000 new members to the AVAST Community! More than 20,000 people entered the contest and approximately 10% of those entries were think-out-of-the-box creative submissions! Users from USA, Brazil, Russia, India, France, Spain, Poland, India, Germany and many other countries showed us  their creativity; ideas to spread the word about avast! Free Antivirus.

We received videos, links to blogs, websites, poems, creative images, and descriptions of creative recommendations tactics. It took us time to verify all the entries because of the diverse languages, but also due to lots of brainstorming and discussions. The decision wasn’t easy, but we looked at various factors and made a huge effort to judge objectively. Our criteria were simple: We focused on creative or innovative concepts and the quality of its execution. It wasn’t an easy choice, but we came to a consensus, and it’s time to announce winners now.

Thanks to all the participants. We appreciate and value your time and effort in sending us your ideas!

Congratulations to the creative winners!

Here are the 10 most creative entries we choose to award with $1000 each.

John P. created an old school video game where heroes shoot down nasty viruses. avast! Free Antivirus plays this game over 200 times a day, with our streaming updates. :-)

video game

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arun P. made this video which tells the story of an Internet Analyst named Alex who got a virus using a “good” antivirus product. Then he found the “world’s best antivirus, avast! Free Antivirus” and all was well with his data. We ♥ a happy ending!

Dimitri B’s creative diorama provoked discussion about how we could create outdoor sculptures,or temporary displays illustrating unprotected devices and those protected by avast! security products. Here’s his sketch idea:

diorama idea

Alexander G. proposed that AVAST partner with PlayStation during the holidays to give away valuable codes and vouchers for security products. Read more…

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March 7th, 2014

A conversation with AVAST women – Part 1

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Some of the talented women of AVAST.

AVAST Software is officially a great place to work. One of the reasons it’s so enjoyable here is because of the women we work with. Like most technology companies, AVAST is male-dominated. Our male colleagues are the best at what they do, but since International Women’s Day is on Saturday, March 8, some of the women of AVAST sat down together to have a chat about women in technology, careers, daily challenges, and who inspires us. This is part 1 of that conversation.

Coffee and conversation

DEBORAH Thanks for joining in on the Women’s Day conversation. Most of us had a winding career path that lead us to work for this great technology company. What were some early experiences with technology that influenced your career?

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How do you send text messages?

CAROLINE I’ve always been proud that I’m one of the first people to try new technologies.  I remember when I was working for a subsidiary company of recruitment juggernaut, Monster.com, that I was one of a handful in our 200+ employee office to jump right on email when it was being introduced.  And some 17 years later, look where email has us now? Everyone uses it – a business mainstay.
MAGDA I worked at Cisco in the past, and I was really amazed by the media which allows you to communicate. My first interview was done via Telepresence, and I was really excited about how easy it was to just connect anytime without spending hours on a plane.
CAROLINE  As well, during my time at Porter Novelli – a global public relations firm – I was part of the team that championed and recognized the power of the web (the Internet had only come about in the mid-90s).  Websites were big business for PR firms back in the day – we wrote copy, designed the look and feel, advised on messaging, etc.
MARCELA My background is pure social, and when I was offered a role in an IT Company 8 years ago, I worried about how I can learn and understand an IT technical world. It took a few years of listening, Googling, and studying to catch up on core technical things to be able to understand and see the whole picture but it was definitely worth it.
MAGDA Working in technology gives you a lot of useful and interesting skills, which you can apply in your private life as well.

DEBORAH The curiosity and creativity you describe seem to be a trait among pioneers, women and men, in any field. What technologies do you ladies use today that allows you to express who you really are? Read more…

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.
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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 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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January 29th, 2014

AVAST team at FETC 2014 conference in Orlando.

While most of the AVAST team is located in freezing Prague, some of us are enjoying sunshine in Florida. The AVAST Free for Education team is excited to be attending FETC 2014 in Orlando, Florida for the first time! Check out the preparation progress and don’t forget to follow AVAST on Instagram and stop by at the Booth 356!

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AVAST Free for Education team is FREEking awesome!

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Getting ready: booth 356 already looks pretty!

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Why pay for Antivirus, if you can get one for free? Read more…

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January 16th, 2014

avast! Free Antivirus is Top Rated product of 2013

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Throughout the year, independent testing labs run antivirus products through the rigors of “real-world’ testings as well as simulations and testing of specific features and performance. avast! Free Antivirus was honored as the Top Rated Program of 2013 by one of the most respected antivirus testing labs, AV-Comparatives.  Tests during 2013 were carried out on 22 consumer antivirus and internet security products. AVAST always puts our free product up against our competitor’s paid-for products because we are confident that the technology can stand up to the competition. The honors we received validate that.

Explaining the reasoning behind pitting a free antivirus product against paid-for suites, AVAST Software co-founder, Eduard Kučera said, “Our philosophy is we should not be a good product, but a perfect product. We provide the community with a perfect product.”

AV-Comparatives awards given to avast! Free Antivirus in 2013

  • Top Rated Program of 2013 avast! Free Antivirus proves that it protects against real-world internet threats, it identifies thousands of recent malicious programs, and provides protection without slowing down the PC. See report (PDF).
  • Advanced On Demand Detection Test, March 2013 A good file detection rate is still one of the most important, deterministic and reliable features of an antivirus product. See report (PDF).
  • Advanced Plus Performance Test, April 2013 avast! Free Antivirus not only provides high detection rates and good protection against malware, but it also does not degrade system performance or trouble users. See report (PDF).
  • Advanced Plus Real-World Protection Test, July 2013 avast! Free Antivirus passed the tests with honors and was the only free solution to receive the Advanced+ rating! See report (PDF).
  • Advanced Heuristic/Behavioral Test, August 2013 See report (PDF).
  • Advanced Anti-Phishing Test, August 2013 See report (PDF).
  • Advanced On Demand Detection Test, September 2013 See report (PDF).
  • Advanced Plus Malware Removal, November 2013 Good malware protection is important to find existing malware that is already on the system. avast! Free Antivirus earned the Advanced Plus rating for successfully removing malware from an already infected system. See report (PDF).
  • Advanced Plus Performance Test, November 2013 avast! Free Antivirus has negligible impact on system performance performed on an up-to-date Windows 8 64-Bit system. See report (PDF).
  • Advanced Plus Real-World Protection Test, December 2013 avast! Free Antivirus was the only free product to receive AV-Comparatives highest award in the ADVANCED Plus category because of exemplary results in protecting against malicious samples with a small incidence of false positives. See report (PDF).
  • Silver Best Overall Speed 2013
  • Bronze Real-World Protection Test 2013

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.

1/17 edited for clarity

January 15th, 2014

Win32/64:Blackbeard & Pigeon: Stealthiness techniques in 64-bit Windows, Part 1

clickfraud2At the turn of the year we started to observe a Trojan, not much discussed previously (with a brand new final payload). It has many interesting aspects: It possesses a complex structure containing both 32-bit and 64-bit code; it achieves its persistence with highly invasive methods; and it is robust enough to contain various payloads/functionalites.

Evolution of Blackbeard

Confronting this threat for the first time, we wondered about its classification. Using AVAST’s Malware Similarity Search, we found an old sample (the TimeStamp said “02 / 20 / 12 @ 3:30:55am UTC”) in the malware database that shared the threat’s structure of PE header. Moreover, it also contained debug info with a string “Blackbeard,” so we decided to dub it like that.

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The development of the code evolved in time. We can connect a part of the infection chain of this Trojan with the threat called Win32/64:Viknok. For both the historic and the current variant of Blackbeard, the complexity of the structure is sketched on this scheme:

blackbeard_structure_and_evolution

Read more…