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March 28th, 2014

How to watch American TV when traveling overseas

Question of the week: I don’t want to miss my team play basketball in the March Madness tournament, but I have to go on a business trip to Europe next week. How can I watch US TV when I am traveling overseas?

AVAST_March Madness

This is a great question. TV has never been better, so it’s hard to miss an episode of The Walking Dead or House of Cards when traveling. As for sports – OMG! when you’re team is doing great (Go Gators!), it’s not enough to just read about it online. For our friends outside the USA, March Madness, the annual NCAA college basketball tournament, is in full swing and fans are following closely (think the UEFA Champions League or World Cup.) College basketball fans eagerly follow as 64 teams progress through the rounds to the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, the Final Four, and at last, the championship game known as “The Big Dance.”

IMG-georestrictionsmWhen in the U.S., you can watch on CBS, TNT, TBS, and truTV, as well as live stream current games and replays through the NCAA March Madness Live web site and downloadable app for mobile devices. But when you’re out of the country, you often don’t have access because of geo-restricted content. You may have seen messages similar to this one from YouTube, that says, “This video is not available in your country.”

20140326_avast_secureline_securely connected via USUse a VPN service to access geo-restricted content

Many expats and travelers use a VPN service to access streaming services while living or traveling in foreign countries.  The VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows you to securely connect to a server of your choice, so that it acts as a “proxy” from a different location than where you are.

avast! SecureLine VPN is one of those services. If you are traveling in Europe, then select a server in the U.S. to access geo-restricted sites. When you log on to CBS, Netflix, Hulu, etc, the service will identify the server as coming from the correct location, and allow you to log on.

VPN adds security when using free WiFi

Another benefit of VPN when traveling is the security you get when using free WiFi at hotels and airports. The VPN creates a private ‘tunnel’ through the internet for your data to travel through, and everything – your web browsing history, your email, your IMs, your VOIP, everything –  inbound and outbound through the tunnel is encrypted. Even if your data is intercepted, your identity is protected, since the VPN masks your IP address. Read more about the security aspect in our previous blog, avast! SecureLine protects your Android or iPhone from cybercriminal surveillance.

How to get avast! SecureLine VPN

avast! SecureLine VPN is completely integrated into all of AVAST’s free and premium products and is available for Android and iOS devices and PCs.

avast! SecureLine VPN is available as a monthly or yearly subscription for Android on Google Play, PCs on the avast! website, and an annual subscription for iOS in the Apple App Store.

Ask a question

If you have a question about any of AVAST’s products, please send them to wannabesocial@avast.com. If we answer your question, we will send you an avast! Teddy Bear.

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.

March 26th, 2014

Cute, but deadly. AVAST minions fight Grime!

minionsThey might look like funny characters from an animated movie, but the avast! GrimeFighter minions are a deadly force against the grime that accumulates in your computer over time. This crack team of animated minions brings AVAST users new technology that speeds, tunes up, and extends the lifespans of PCs. avast! GrimeFighter is being launched officially today in 14 languages.

“With avast! GrimeFighter we’ve integrated exceptional technology into our product that will help users benefit from their valuable PCs longer, as the minions decontaminate them from unnecessary bloatware,” said AVAST Chief Executive Officer Vince Steckler. “We are glad to offer this new product to our users to optimize their PC performance and are sure our diligent minions will put a smile on their faces.”

The Minion Team

Officer Pete, a police officer with an over-sized mustache leads the team. Other minions with names like Zilch, Torque and Dale Jumpshot, Jr. wipe browser caches, look for hardware problems, analyze your Internet speed, and disable bloatware, such as unnecessary programs and software that may have been pre-installed.

Collaboratively, the other minions examine security settings of popular applications and wireless networks, analyze the PC’s memory, hard drive, CPU and files to provide the user with a report at the end of the scan. The report is straightforward, with an option of viewing more detailed results.

Spring clean your PC

grimefighter resultsYou can scan your PC for free using avast! GrimeFighter, then pay for removal of the Grime reported. avast! GrimeFighter is available as a feature in avast! Antivirus 2014 and also as a standalone application. If you don’t have avast! Antivirus 2014, you can download it for free or purchase it from the AVAST website.

People investing in avast! GrimeFighter to make their PCs run like new again will see instant performance increases that prolong the life of their computers.

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 and Google+. Business owners – check out our business products.

 

March 20th, 2014

How to remove nuisance browser toolbars?

cleanup infographicQuestion of the week: “How do I get this stupid Sweetpacks off my computer?! It’s driving me crazy!”

This question didn’t come from an AVAST email, a support ticket, or even our Facebook page. It came directly from my mother as we were talking on the phone one day. Believe me, when you work for a security software company, you better have an answer for your mother! Thankfully, I do.

avast! Browser Cleanup.

Since the avast! Browser Cleanup tool was launched in February 2013, it has removed 125 million unwanted toolbars from AVAST users’ computers. That’s more than 10 million toolbars zapped each month.

Toolbars typically inhabit the horizontal space below your browser and include buttons, icons, and menus that give you an easy way to select functions on the desktop, in applications or the browser. In some cases, they can be quite useful, but avast! users have rated only 4.2% of toolbars as “good” or “useful.”

avast! Browser Cleanup has identified 10 million different toolbars in the database, and avast! users have rated most of those as “bad.” The Sweetpacks toolbar, and millions like it, received that rating because they change your home page and search engine into their own. Toolbars often install a hidden background program for “updates,” but it really prevents you from resetting your homepage and search engine back to the ones of your choice. Worse yet, this service makes sure that the toolbar gets reinstalled if you try to remove it.

Our infographic shows you which toolbars avast! users have rated the top “bad” ones and the  companies that supply them. You may notice that some vendors show up more than once with a different product. Renaming products is a shady practice used to trick people.

“Roughly 7 million out of the 10.2 million toolbars in our database are polymorphic – which means they have a varying and almost unreadable name,” said Thomas Salomon, head of AVAST Software ‘s German Software Development team. “Companies use this naming strategy to confuse people, and make it difficult to remove the annoying toolbars.”

You can see some of the variants in a previous blog post.

Another dirty trick vendors use is to name a toolbar after a well-known and respected product – kind of a smoke-and-mirrors approach.

“For a couple of months now, the vendors of annoying toolbars have been using another dirty trick: They name their own bad add-ons with the good name of well-rated and useful add-ons and thus use this good reputation to ‘hide’ their own crap,” explains Salomon.

avast! Browser Cleanup  removes unwanted toolbars from Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox ,and Internet Explorer. It is integrated in all avast! antivirus security products, and is also available as a stand-alone product on various download portals for use by friends without avast! installed.

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.

March 18th, 2014

Cyber-hijack unlikely cause of missing Malaysian jetliner

missing_malaysia_airlines_flight-465126An unknown hacker taking control of a plane using an Android phone’s screen sounds like a frightening, but fictional, scenario from the next international spy movie. But, it’s one of many theories being bandied about to explain what happened to missing Malaysian Airways Flight MH370.

This theory, advanced by a British anti-terror expert on Sunday, says that hackers can get into the main computer network of the plane through the inflight, onboard entertainment system. Ondrej Vlcek, Chief Operating Officer at AVAST, believes this theory is highly unlikely.

“The theory is extremely wild and unlikely,” said Vlcek. “The entertainment systems on most airline carriers are relatively old and independent from the main computer systems of the aircraft such as position, temperature, etc. There is no feedback communication from the entertainment system to the main computer. It is basically only one-way information for passengers.”

Long before the mystery of Flight MH370, we shared a different rogue-hacker-with-Android-scenario. It was based on a presentation given at The Hack In The Box security conference in April 2013 called ‘Aircraft Hacking: Practical Aero Series’ by Hugo Teso.  Using PC simulation software, Teso was able to manipulate the steering of a Boeing jet in ‘autopilot’ mode, and said he could make oxygen masks drop down, and even cause the plane to crash by setting it on a collision course with another plane, stated a Forbes’ article about the presentation.

After reviewing the results of his tests, aviation safety groups disputed the findings saying, “The described technique cannot engage or control the aircraft’s autopilot system using the FMS or prevent a pilot from overriding the autopilot. Therefore, a hacker cannot obtain “full control of an aircraft” as the technology consultant has claimed.”

For an up-to-date list of all the theories – from the realistic to the really wild – about what has happened to the plane, please see The Telegraph, Malaysian Airlines MH370: live.

Photo source: Express

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.

March 13th, 2014

AVAST is top choice for mobile and PC security worldwide

Respected testing lab AV-Comparatives ranks AVAST as the most popular provider of both mobile security and antivirus protection in North America, South America, and Europe, and gaining in Asia.

AVcomp mobile security

“This survey highlights that AVAST is the most popular name in security in the world,” said Vincent Steckler, CEO of AVAST Software. “We proudly protect more than 210 million devices from hackers, thieves, spies and even governments.”

The rankings came from the fourth annual global survey released at the end of February. In the survey, AV-Comparatives states that internet usage among home and business users is growing, but how people access the internet is changing. Smartphone and tablet sales have increased, while laptop and desktop sales are on the decline. This means that the focus of cybercrooks is changing too.

Android owners are vulnerable without security protection

Mobile device owners are steadily realizing that the threat to their security is increasing. The survey confirms that the amount of mobile devices protected by security software is significantly lower than that of desktop devices, especially in North America.

“User awareness of mobile malware is dangerously low; yet in 2013, our virus lab found more than 1,850 new pieces of mobile malware a day,” commented Mr. Steckler. Read more…

March 12th, 2014

AVAST will continue to support Windows XP for home and business users

800px-Microsoft_Windows_XP_logo_and_wordmark.svgIn “internet years” Microsoft’s Windows XP has been around for eons. It was released in August 2001, and in less than one month, on April 8, 2014, Microsoft will cease to provide support and security updates. The security updates patch vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malware and help to keep users and their data safe. Because of the continued use of XP in homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, and ATMs around the world, this has the potential to create massive security issues.

AVAST will continue to support Windows XP users by creating protection modules and detections to cover vulnerabilities and other security problems for at least the next three years. Our latest version, avast! Free Antivirus 2014, works well with older machines running Windows XP because of its light footprint, speed, and negligible resource consumption, making it a perfect choice even for older machines running Windows XP. AVAST protects more XP users than anyone else. You can get it free now! Download avast! Free Antivirus.

What does this mean for businesses around the world?

The end of Microsoft support means you will no longer get security updates or new support information updates for Windows – for free.  Very large customers will have an option to subscribe to a program called “Custom Support,” an after-retirement support contract, but this is not available for SMBs or individual home users.

In an informal survey of AVAST partners, we learned that many businesses still use Windows XP and have delayed upgrading because of budget limitations as well as software and hardware compatibility issues.

Frank Mayer, an AVAST partner in Greece said that most of his customers are still using Windows XP, but because of the ongoing financial crisis in the country, “I see no change in the near future. In this crisis, no one easily spends money on new PC’s and /or Operating systems.”

“In Romania, most computers in public institutions still use Windows XP, and about 75% of them cannot support an upgrade to Windows 7 or 8 due to hardware limitations,” said Claudiu Chirita of Easy Media SRL. “The same situation is present in the SOHO segment where software upgrades will involve hardware upgrades or replacement.

How many still use Windows XP? What’s the risk? Read more…

March 12th, 2014

AVAST gets Smart Choice award from FindTheBest

findthebestAV awardYou have probably read reviews on Amazon when buying a book or electronics, and Yelp helps greatly when looking for a new restaurant to visit. These two are popular examples of rating and review sites that help consumers get information about products and services.

FindTheBest is a research platform that attracts 20 million visitors monthly. After outranking over 50 of our competitors’ software, avast! Mobile Security & avast! Free Antivirus has won their Smart Choice awards!

To qualify, avast! Mobile Security & avast! Free Antivirus had to stand out with a Smart Rating of 90% or higher. Smart Ratings are created by averaging several expert reviews from industry publishers into one comprehensive expert rating for consumers.
findthebestmobile security award

Please write a review for AVAST

AVAST depends on word-of-mouth from our satisfied customers. In fact, over 60% of new users come to us because their friend told them about our security products.

Please add your review and help other consumers discover how great AVAST protection is.

Review avast! Mobile Security

Review avast! Free Antivirus

You can also add your review, comment, and yes, even a complaint to our Facebook page, Twitter or Google+ page. We appreciate all feedback.

 

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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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March 8th, 2014

A conversation with AVAST women – Part 2

goofy AVAST girls

They’re talented, but a bit goofy too.

Happy International Women’s Day! This is part 2 of the conversation some of the women of AVAST had together this week. We talked about women in technology, careers, daily challenges, and who inspires us.

DEBORAH We’ve been talking about the challenges of working in the male-dominated tech industry (see part 1). Do you have any role models in tech?

ANNA  Oh, yes. Marissa Mayer. It is cliché, but she is simply awesome! I like her time management skills: She leads Yahoo!, has photo shoots at Vogue, and changes clothes in the car between meetings.
JULIA If I had to name some, it would be an unusual mixture of politicians, successful businessmen and creatives. All of them however had one thing in common: Thinking out-of-the-box. Audrey Hepburn,  Angela Ahrendts, Coco Chanel, Margaret Thatcher, Steve Jobs, Woody Allen, Rembrandt, Albert Einstein, or Martin Luther King.
CAROLINE I admire people who give back.  Bill Gates took a while to do it, but he is now and with a vengeance through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. I think tech masters like Bill can set a good precedent for contemporaries today.  I’ve read Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook and his wife are generous benefactors to various causes and charities.

DEBORAH Besides these role models, what or who inspires you on a daily basis?

The-Four-Agreements

“Under any circumstance, always do your best, no more and no less.”

MAGDA People who were able to make a living from their hobby. I really admire people who are passionate and determined. It’s fantastic for example to become popular blogger and describe the world around you and inspire others to follow their dreams.
ANNA Young entrepreneurs, talented and creative people. The way their brains work and ideas they bring to life just simply amaze me.
STEFANIE My mom inspires me, she is my hero. She is strong, hardworking, loving, and has always taught me to do my best, respect others and to have fun. She has always and continues to support and encourage me to chase my dreams.
JULIA People give me new inspiration! Social media are perfect tools to connect with people and get inspired. Within minutes I can learn, connect, discover new things – breaking cultural, geographical and time zone border – people in real life and on social media share things that influence and inspire me greatly.
PAVLA It would be probably a long list. It starts with my family and continues with my schoolmates and friends. As I can see what their successes are, it inspires me to reach my own goals and work even harder.
PETRA I really like book The Four Agreements (A Toltec Wisdom Book) written by Miguel Ángel Ruiz. Any time I feel unsatisfied with myself in personal or professional life, I try to perceive in my mind all these four rules:

  • Be Impeccable With Your Word.
  • Don’t Take Anything Personally.
  • Don’t Make Assumptions.
  • Always Do Your Best.

DEBORAH What project or initiatives are you most excited about in 2014?

JULIA We have initiated a huge project with Fnatic. eSports and professional video gaming is an exciting new field.
CAROLINE We have the spotlight on the U.S at AVAST and it’s exciting to be able to champion our offering in a marketplace where many people still don’t know about us. There are boundless opportunities to explore to help them discover AVAST and why they should use us.
JULIA Also, our success on the Social Media (4 million fans / followers of avast! on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels) brought us several opportunities to share our experience and knowledge at various of conferences and Universities. My partner, Deborah Salmi ,and I are very proud of it and pleased to share our knowledge with students and other professionals. [High fives]
DOMINIKA I am excited about organizing press conferences for new releases of AVAST solutions, and also about communicating all news we are going to introduce to the public. Our Social Media Team is constantly coming up with fun contests and other activities, and I am very happy I can communicate it “to the world,” especially to the Czech fans!

Read more…

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March 7th, 2014

#avastSelfie Photo Contest

Happy International Women’s Day!

As we celebrate the 106th annual International Women’s Day on Saturday, March 8th, it is an occasion to thank women everywhere who trust us to protect their devices with avast! Antivirus products. To acknowledge women’s contributions to information technology, we took a closer look this week at women’s role in the IT industry, and had a few chats with AVAST female employees to talk about women in technology, careers, daily challenges, and who inspires us.

Now it’s time for fun! The #avastSelfie Photo Contest: Special female edition begins Saturday! :)

blog

Why should you participate?

Because it is fun! We all take “Selfie” photos! Ducky lips, smiley faces, cool poses: We just love Selfies! Now you can have fun with your girlfriends and win our cute avast! teddy bears or free licenses for avast! Internet Security.

DSC_0196

Tag your photo #avastSelfie and you could win!

How to do it?

Snap an “avastSelfie” of yourself (or Gentlemen – take a Selfie with your female friend, sister, daughter, wife, or girlfriend) together with an avast! Antivirus protected device, tag it #avastSelfie, upload it on our Facebook contest app, on Twitter or Instagram! Smile for the camera and show us which device is protected by avast!

• Your laptop

• Your smartphone

• Your tablet

• Your desktop

How to enter via Facebook?

1. Fill in your contact details in the app (contest begins Saturday)

2. Submit your best “avastSelfie”

3. Tell your friends about avast! and invite your friends to vote for your image!

How to enter via Twitter and Instagram?

Tag your photo #avastSelfie and post it on Twitter or Instagram. It will be automatically upload to the gallery here.

The #avastSelfie photo contest begins on Saturday, March 8 and ends Friday, March 14. Eight (8) free licenses for avast! Internet Security will be given to those Selfies with the most votes, and eight (8) avast! teddy bears will be given to our favorites. Have fun, and happy International Women’s Day!

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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March 7th, 2014

A conversation with AVAST women – Part 1

IWD2014

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?

tin-can-string

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…