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October 22nd, 2014

Avast 2015 protection expands to include your home router

Blog-2015-Launch

Our digital world has expanded from desktop to mobile and now increasingly to the Internet of Things. The gadgets we own and use every day are “smart” – from watches that track our fitness to TVs that know the types of shows we like to watch to digital thermostats that control the temperature in our homes.

This level of connectivity brings its own security risks. To keep our users ahead of the curve, all of Avast 2015 security solutions come with the only home-network security tool designed to identify vulnerable home networks. Our new Avast Home Network Security scans a user’s home network and routers for potential security issues that could allow a hacker attack.

“Security risks have expanded out from the PC to the home network as more devices than ever connect to the Internet via home routers. As a result, home networks have become the hub of personal computing,” said Avast Chief Executive Officer Vince Steckler. “Our research determined that nearly 80% of all home routers in use today are thinly protected by common, easily hacked passwords, making routers an easy entry point to the home network for hackers. Avast 2015 addresses these issues head-on with several important new features.”

Avast Home Network Security scans for misconfigured Wi-Fi networks, exposes weak or default Wi-Fi passwords, vulnerable routers, compromised Internet connections, and enabled, but not protected, IPv6. It also lists all devices on the network so users can make sure only their known devices are connected.

To help our users, we provide guidelines on how to fix vulnerabilities so they can be sure their network is fully protected.

Protection from DNS hijacking

One of the biggest risks users of vulnerable routers face is DNS hijacking. Cybercrooks use malware to redirect you from the site you want to visit, like your online bank, to one that looks like it, but is fake. You log in as usual and the bad guys now have your user name and password.

Avast SecureDNS encrypts Internet traffic between Avast-protected devices and Avast’s DNS server to prevent users from being directed to hijacked sites. Avast offers users SecureDNS as part of our Pro, Internet Security, and Premier products.

Avast 2015 is available now. Download it for your PC or Mac.

Avast Software’s security applications for PC, Mac, and Android are trusted by more than 200-million people and businesses. Please follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+.

 

October 17th, 2014

Ebola scams spread faster than actual disease in panic-striken U.S.

shutterstock_204144223 (2)

Cybercrooks use popular stories in the news to deceive people into giving up confidential information.

The dreaded disease Ebola that is spreading rapidly throughout West Africa made landfall in the US recently, and since then many news agencies have sensationalized the “outbreak” with constant coverage. Panic has grown as politicians raise the public’s fears and medical experts are confusing people with contradictory information. These things all combine to create the perfect atmosphere for scammers.

It’s quite common for cybercrooks to use social engineering techniques to fool people during a big news event, and we have seen an increase in phishing attempts. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) issued an alert today to remind users to protect against email scams and cyber campaigns using the Ebola virus disease as a theme.

“Phishing emails may contain links that direct users to websites which collect personal information such as login credentials, or contain malicious attachments that can infect a system, “ says the advisory.

Users are encouraged to use caution when encountering these types of email messages and take the following preventative measures to protect themselves:

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 Tags: , , ,
October 15th, 2014

“Poodle” security hole has a nasty bite

poodles

“Poodle” bites on open WiFi networks with multiple users.

A security hole called Poodle could allow hackers to take over your banking and social media accounts.

Yesterday, Google researchers announced the discovery of a security bug in version 3 of the Secure Sockets Layer protocol (SSLv3). This web technology is used to encrypt traffic between a browser and a web site, and can give hackers access to email, banking, social accounts and other services.

Poodle bites multiple users in unsecure open WiFi networks, like the ones you use at coffee shops, cafes, hotels, and airports.

“To exploit the vulnerability, you must be running javascript, and the attacker has to be on the same network as you—for example, on the same Starbucks Wi-Fi network you’re using,” explained Kim Zetter in a WIRED article.

Avast experts strongly recommend that our users protect themselves when using free WiFi with avast! SecureLine VPN.

Poodle is not considered as serious a threat as this past spring’s Heartbleed bug which took advantage of a vulnerability in OpenSSL, and or last month’s Shellshock bug in Unix Bash software.

SSLv3 is an outdated standard (it’s a decade and a half old), but some browsers, like Internet Explorer 6, and older operating systems, like Windows XP, only use the SSLv3 encryption method. Google’s security team recommends that systems administrators turn off support for SSLv3 to avoid the problem, but warns that this change will break some sites.

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.

October 14th, 2014

Adobe gathers data from your eBook reader

Image from http://www.quickmeme.com

Security and privacy violations in Adobe’s Digital Editions eBook and PDF reader were discovered last week.

“This is a privacy and security breach so big that I am still trying to wrap my head around the technical aspects, much less the legal aspects,” researcher Nate Hoffelder wrote in The Digital Reader blog post.

If you check out eBooks from your local library and read from a digital reader like a Nook, Kobo, or other non-Amazon eBook reader, then you have probably used Adobe’s free Digital Editions software.

Hoffelder said that Adobe is gathering user data on the eBooks that have been opened, which pages were read, and in what order, as well as metadata such as title and publisher –and all of it is being sent to Adobe’s servers in plain text. That means anyone who is interested and has the means, say, the National Security Agency or your ISP, could be reading over your shoulder. That’s not good. In fact, it’s very bad, as well as illegal.

It is hoped that Adobe’s Tuesday update will include a plug for the Digital Editions leak, but more likely it will be next week. In a statement to the American Library Association, Adobe reports they “expect an update to be available no later than the week of October 20” in terms of transmission of reader data.”

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.

October 13th, 2014

Big updates coming from Microsoft, Oracle and Adobe this Tuesday

Patch Tuesday Oct 2014

Pour yourself a cup of coffee; this could take a while.

One of the biggest “Patch Tuesday” fixes is happening October 14, when vital updates will be available from three companies at the same time.

We are all used to the monthly Patch Tuesdays from Microsoft and Adobe, but this month the quarterly updates from Oracle, the parent of problem child Java SE, coincide, making it a pretty big day for securing your system. Avast experts agree that one of the most important steps you can take to securing your data and devices is to make sure that you keep your software up-to-date.

Microsoft

Microsoft leads off the normal Patch Tuesday with the release of 9 security updates across products including a critical patch of Internet Explorer, all supported versions of Windows, and the .NET development framework.

Oracle

Oracle’s Critical Patch Update is a collection of patches for multiple security vulnerabilities. It contains 155 new security fixes across hundreds of Oracle products; 25 of them for Oracle Java SE. Oracle warns that “these vulnerabilities may be remotely exploitable without authentication, i.e., may be exploited over a network without the need for a username and password. “ That’s not good, if you were wondering.

“I would suggest removing Java if possible or at least turning it off in all your browsers,”  advises Jiri Sejtko, director of AVAST Virus Lab operations. Here are removal instructions for the most popular browsers: How do I disable Java in my browser?

Adobe

It is hoped that Adobe’s Tuesday update will include a plug for the big Digital Editions e-book and PDF reader hole, but more likely it will be next week. In a statement to the American Library Association, Adobe reports they “expect an update to be available no later than the week of October 20” in terms of transmission of reader data.

Tuesday’s patch will probably include a fix for bugs in Adobe Flash Player.

avast! Software Updater shows you an overview of all your outdated software applications, so you can keep them up to date and eliminate any security vulnerabilities.  All avast! security products inform you whenever any of your 3rd party applications are out-of-date and you can apply updates manually by clicking the ‘Fix now’ button next to each conflicting application. avast! Premier can be configured to perform these updates automatically.

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.

October 1st, 2014

Millennials take responsibility for their own cybersecurity

A new trend has started – people are taking responsibility for their own safety online!

ncsam_facebook_cover_photo_2014

AVAST Software is a “champion” and supporter of NCSAM.

Last October when National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) was getting started, it was reported that the incoming workforce of millennials was lax about cyber-risks. They engaged in risky online behavior like:

  • Connecting to unprotected public WiFi networks
  • Using a storage device that wasn’t their own
  • Sharing a password with a non-family member
  • Never changing their online banking password

2014 brings more awareness among “Digital Natives”

For this year’s NCSAM, a new survey was done by defense contractor Raytheon in partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance. It showed that awareness of online safety is rising, with 70% of millennials saying they follow cybersecurity concerns and are up-to-date on the topic. Eighty-seven percent believe they are personally responsible for their online safety.

Millennials are known as the “Facebook generation” or “Digital natives” because they grew up in the “digital age” with internet-connected devices. But just because they were born after the digital age began, doesn’t mean they were any more concerned about security than the so-called digital immigrants who had to replace analog skills with digital. But this year, maybe because of the high profile data breaches that have occurred repeatedly, millennials are concerned about their devices being infected by malware, credit or debit card theft, someone hacking into financial information, or falling victim to online scams or fraud.

While many are aware of the risks – roughly 60% have experienced some sort of online violation – identity theft, a computer virus, or a bad experience on social media – they’re still engaging in some risky behaviors, such as 72% using public WiFi that doesn’t require a password.

Interestingly enough, this increased awareness is also driving interest in a career in cybersecurity with millennials expressing a desire to make the Internet safer and more secure. The problem is that almost two-thirds of the total don’t know or aren’t sure what the “cybersecurity” profession is.

Building_Tomorrows_Cybersecurity_Workforce-NCSAM2014

STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

Read more…

September 29th, 2014

Avast safeguards your teen’s smartphone

Teenagers are responsible for their smartphones. Help them keep it safe with a few easy additions.

teens-smartphone

Seven out of ten high schoolers take a smartphone to school. Not only are these phones being used for surfing the Internet or social networking, but they help kids navigate around campus, connect with teachers and other students, and follow streaming campus news. Many parents see equipping their teenager with a mobile phone as a safety tool and a way to keep in closer contact, especially if an emergency arises.

The first thing to do after buying your teenager a smartphone

Most kids are using a device with an Android operating system and no added security protection. The first thing you should do is to download a security app to protect the phone and data on it.

The newest version of avast! Mobile Security & Antivirus is out now, with a completely re-imagined user interface, making it simpler and even more user friendly than it was before. Avast! Mobile Security is free, and it will instantly begin protecting your child from downloading bad apps, protect against spyware and block malware, and backup contacts, SMS/call logs, and photos.

Install avast! Mobile Security and Antivirus from the Google Play store.

 

The second thing to do after buying your teenager a smartphone

High school students are busy people, with lots of activities, so it’s likely that your teen’s smartphone will be misplaced. Avast! Anti-theft is a stand-alone app that can be installed separately from avast! Mobile Security. You can use the phone locator features to find the lost or stolen phone, control it remotely, and lock it down.

Once you install avast! Mobile Security, you will be asked to set up the anti-theft module. You can read about that and the remote features you’ll have access to from your my.avast.com account in our avast! Mobile Security FAQs.

Install avast! Anti-Theft from the Google Play store.

Other things to do

  • Set up a password for the smartphone. This is easy to do and will serve as the first line of defense against nosy people and thieves.
  • Add important numbers to the contact list. Add your mobile number as well as a work line, grandparents, the school, and emergency contacts.
  • Know the school’s rules. If phone usage is prohibited during school hours or allowed only during breaks, that’s important information to know.
  • Talk to your kids about privacy. This includes a conversation about uploading photos and videos, sexting, and oversharing on social networks.

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.

September 25th, 2014

How to identify the warning signs of work-from-home scams

howto2_enHome-based jobs are attractive to people who are looking to supplement their regular or retirement income, those who want part-time employment, or those who want to save money on child care or gas. Many people have dreams of being entrepreneurs and working independently of traditional businesses. Cybercrooks take advantage of this to create fake offers for work-from-home opportunities.

Sharp-eyed avast! Facebook fan, Timothy B., shared a post that he received for a work-from-home scam.

Facebook work from home scam 1

 

The post says,

Good morning Facebook ready to start my day and start looking for 9 people that are very serious in wanting to change their live around financially who want to be there own boss?who want to work when they want ?who wanna make an extra $500-$2000 every week from home ?who serious enough to take the risk of $40 to change there life around ?yes with $40 you can how? Inbox me for more information

Work-at-home and get-rich-quick schemes have been around for a long time, first appearing in people’s real mailboxes, on TV, and in magazine advertisements. Cybercrooks have created variations of this scam to harvest email addresses and contact lists from Facebook. Social networking makes it easy to create fake profiles and identities quickly.

The grammatically-challenged swindler from Timothy B.’s newsfeed entices potential victims with the ease and flexibility of working from home whenever they want. The message promises big earnings, and all you need to do is make a $40 investment to find out how. This scammer will most likely try to get you to wire money and then collect your personal information.

Warning signs of a work-from-home scam

  • No business name or contact address – No legitimate company will advertise for jobs without stating their name, brand identity and physical contact address.
  • You’re required to pay a fee for additional information. Legitimate employers don’t charge a fee to hire you or to get you started. Don’t send money for directories or start-up kits.
  • Promises of exceptional earnings.
  • Claims that no experience is necessary or resume is required.
  • Asks for personal information like a Social Security or bank account number over the Internet.

Read more…

September 24th, 2014

Avast! Mobile Security gets award from AV Comparatives

AV Comparatives Aug2014AV Comparatives awarded avast! Mobile Security for its malware protection and highly developed theft-protection.

Most people would not dream of neglecting the security of their PCs or laptop, but those same folks forget that the device in their pocket is just as powerful, if not more so. You’ve heard it before –your expensive smartphone, which stores personal data, private photos, Internet banking information and even company data, is an attractive target for cybercrooks and thieves.

AV Comparatives, an independent organization which tests antivirus products and mobile security solutions, released new testing results and gave avast! Mobile Security the highest “Approved Award” for Android security products.

avast! Mobile Security has a wide range of features with innovative functionality. We particularly liked the wide range of configuration options and remote commands, which provide the user with a comprehensive remote control function,” wrote the authors of the final report.

AV Comparatives gives avast! Mobile Security it's Approved Award for mobile security and anti-theft features.

AV Comparatives gives avast! Mobile Security it’s Approved Award for mobile security and anti-theft features.

Malware protection

Mobile phones attacks are getting more and more sophisticated, and it is growing exponentially. “We now have more than 1 million malicious samples in our database, up from 100,000 in 2011,” said Avast’s CCO, Ondřej Vlček. “Mobile threats are increasing – we expect them to reach the same magnitude as PC malware by 2018.”

avast! Mobile Security scans all installed applications for malware and has various real-time protection shields which protect against

  • Malicious apps and phishing sites
  • Sites containing malware
  • Typo-squatting if an incorrect URL is entered
  • Incoming messages with phishing/malware URLs
  • Malicious behavior during read or write processes

Anti-theft protection

Avast! Anti-theft is a stand-alone app that can be installed separately from avast! Mobile Security. The app is hidden from view, and can be accessed remotely for functions such as lock, locate and wipe, redirection of calls, texts and call logs, etc.

In addition to the malware and anti-theft protection, AV Comparatives liked the standalone avast! Mobile Backup which enables personal data to be backed up to Google Drive.

The Backup, App Locker and Privacy Scan features, which were promised last year, have now been implemented and complete the program’s functionality. (avast! Mobile Security) is a very comprehensive security product with a wide range of configuration options.

Protect your Android smartphone and tablet with avast! Mobile Security and Antivirus from the Google Play store.

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.

 

 

September 22nd, 2014

Join the Avast Beta 2015 and share your feedback

The Avast developers invite you to participate in the Avast 2015 beta test.

2015-Avast-beta

Your participation gives the team working on the latest versions of the world’s most trusted security products a chance to hear your voice – what’s working for you and what is not, how you like the experience, if you see performance or connectivity problems, etc. There are multiple new low-level functions which impact the whole system, so we need your feedback to tune everything for the final release.

Two new features introduced in Avast Beta 2015

Avast NG

Avast NG is a hardware-based virtualization solution capable of running each Windows process in a standalone, safe, virtualized environment (VM) which is fully integrated to your desktop. Each process is executed in its own instance of VM, which means it’s totally isolated from other applications. This feature is now powering Avast DeepScreen, resulting in better detection. The technology will also power the Sandbox and SafeZone components in the final release.

GrimeFighter Free

GrimeFighter will offer free cleaning of junk files and tuning of system settings. These tasks are performed by our Zilch and Torque minions.

Changes and other new features

  • Home Network Security scans your home network for vulnerabilities like WiFi status, connected devices, and router settings.
  • HTTPS scanning is able to detect and decrypt TLS/SSL protected traffic in our Web-content filtering component. This feature will protect you against viruses coming through HTTPs traffic as well as adding compatibility for SPDY+HTTPS/ HTTP 2.0 traffic.
  • SecureDNS protects against DNS Hijack on router/client including unsecured networks, public ones, etc. This feature is active in the paid versions only.
  • Smart Scan integrates all on-demand scans into one scan with different results and recommendations. Includes Antivirus, Browser plugins, Software updates, Home Network, and GrimeFighter.

To learn more about the Avast Beta 2015 , what to test, known issues, and to leave comments, visit the avast! Community forum thread dedicated to the beta test.

Avast Beta 2015 installation links

http://files.avast.com/beta9x/avast_free_antivirus_setup.exe
http://files.avast.com/beta9x/avast_pro_antivirus_setup.exe
http://files.avast.com/beta9x/avast_internet_security_setup.exe
http://files.avast.com/beta9x/avast_premier_antivirus_setup.exe

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 Tags: ,