Protecting over 200 million PCs, Macs, & Mobiles – more than any other antivirus

Archive

Author Archive
February 28th, 2014

How do I handle files that avast! can’t scan?

howto2_enQuestion of the week: Last week I ran a complete avast! Antivirus scan on my desktop computer and when it finished, it gave me the message that some files could not be scanned because they were password protected.  They all had the extension of .png, so I did a search of all programs by typing *.png and the items that came up were photos our grandson had posted to Facebook from his recent trip to Thailand.

My question is, are the .png files innocuous?  If not, what should I do?  I don’t really like to have files on my computer that Avast cannot scan.

Thanks for your question. This is one that is commonly asked on the avast! Forum, so it’s useful to post the answer here too. Take a look at AVAST evangelist Bob G.’s answer:

Files that can’t be scanned are just that -  files that for one reason or another cannot be scanned. It’s not an indication that those files are suspicious or infected; it simply means that these files need another element before they can actually be opened and examined by avast! Antivirus.

Many programs (often security-related) password protect their files for legitimate reasons. Avast! doesn’t know the password or have any way of using it even if it did. Once the password is supplied by whatever program is using these files, avast! will check the files when they are actually run. If it turns out that something is hidden, avast! will block it. While they are in their password protected state, the files pose no threat to you or your system.

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 26th, 2014

Lost your phone? avast! Anti-Theft helps get it back!

Our AVAST mobile security developers labored over an ingenious feature that we hope you will never have to use. Losing your mobile phone may cause you to have a panic attack and cry uncontrollably, but if it happens to you, you can dry your tears because you have tools to find your phone when you install avast! Free Mobile Security with Anti-Theft.

What is avast! Anti-Theft?

avast! Anti-Theft is a separate program included in avast! Free Mobile Security. You can install it at the same time as the avast! Mobile Security product, or later as a separate installation. Its unique capabilities help you recover your phone by controlling it remotely with SMS commands or via the internet by logging in to your AVAST account.

Since Anti-Theft is a stand-alone application, once its launched, it hides itself, making it completely invisible to a potential thief. Read more…

Comments off
February 24th, 2014

avast! SecureLine VPN protects you from the Apple Exploit

A major Apple security flaw allows cybercrooks and spies to grab personal information like email, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data. Apple confirmed researchers’ findings that the same SSL/TSL security flaw fixed with the latest iOS 7.0.2 update is also present in notebook and desktop machines running OS X.

Please apply the patches as advised in this post.

It is clear that we need constant protection to cover flaws that will always exist; flaws that we are not even aware of. Reuter‘s reported that

The bug has been present for months, according to researchers who tested earlier versions of Apple’s software. No one had publicly reported it before, which means that any knowledge of it was tightly held and that there is a chance it hadn’t been used.

But documents leaked by former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden showed agents boasting that they could break into any iPhone, and that hadn’t been public knowledge either.

It’s very public now, and that means the race is on between cybercrooks to exploit the flaw and Apple to fix it. You are exposed until the bugs are identified by the vendor, a patch is created, and it’s pushed out or you install it. Your vulnerability increases when you use public WiFi Hotspots.

Your best protection is constant protection

ios-vpn (1)

 

It’s precisely because we put ourselves at risk by using free WiFi, and we don’t know when the next security crisis is coming that we need constant protection. SecureLine VPN is that protection. Read more…

Categories: General, Mac Tags: , , , , , ,
February 23rd, 2014

Protect yourself NOW from Apple Security flaw

Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod users: Update your mobile operating system iOS now to patch a serious SSL encryption bug that opens you wide to a “man-in-the-middle-attack,” (MITM)  especially when you use unsecured WiFi, for example at a cafe, hotel, or airport, even at your home. The flaw is “as bad as you could imagine” says one cryptography expert.

What is protected and what’s not

The 7.0.6 update is for all devices that can run iOS 7;  iPhone (4 and later), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad (2nd generation).

The iOS 6.1.6 update is for the iPhone 3GS and fourth-generation iPod touch.

ATTENTION: The bug still exists in Apple’s Mac OS X 10.9.1 desktop operating system and there is no patch for it at this time.

IMG-main-ios-smHow to update your iOS

  1. 1. Plug the device into your computer
  2. 2. Open iTunes
  3. 3. Click the device name
  4. 4. Click the button that says, “Check for update”

The best protection is VPN

This security flaw allows a cybercrook to use an insecure WiFi connection to put a man electronically “in the middle” of the transactions you make on your iPhone or iPad to intercept data.

“The flaw is in SSL, and the easiest way to exploit that is via unsecure/public WiFi,” said Ondřej Vlček, AVAST’s COO told Apple users in San Francisco before the annual RSA conference begins. “avast! SecureLine VPN for iOS can protect against the Apple security bug.”

The MITM attack gives them access to the information you thought was secure like credit card numbers. The best protection is to plug that hole with a VPN product.

How to get avast! SecureLine

avast! SecureLine VPN is available as a monthly or yearly subscription for iOS in the Apple App Store.

Watch this video for more information on avast! SecureLine VPN

 

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 20th, 2014

Don’t be fooled by support scams – get real support from AVAST

support-scam

An old scam has resurfaced recently that we want you to be aware of.  Scammers posing as computer support specialists from AVAST, Microsoft, Symantec, and even name-brand computer makers such as Dell, have been contacting people via email and phone, including AVAST’s Chief Strategy Officer, Glenn Taylor. The cybercrooks claim that they work for the company’s support department and have received notification that the victim’s computer is infected with malware. They offer to verify the problem and convince the target to allow them remote access to the “infected” computer. After some technical shenanigans, the scammer suggests that the victim needs additional software, which they offer as a solution to the “problem.” The solution can cost as much as $300.

“These scammers prey on the trust of innocent people by tricking them into giving access to their computers,” said Taylor. “If you get contacted by someone that claims your computer is broken or infected, then don’t respond. Either delete the email or hang up.”

In 2012, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cracked down on fraudsters posing as technical support personnel from major companies, but the scam is growing again. Enough so that this week New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a warning to New Yorkers Tuesday.

Read more…

February 18th, 2014

#EverythingisGD as Avast sponsors Team FNATIC

FNATIC cover

Video gamers dedicate thousands of hours of training and spend their own money for the best systems as well as skins, upgrades, and items that show the world their persona. They need to know that their hard work and monetary purchases are protected.

AVAST is proud to announce our sponsorship of Team FNATIC in the 2014 eSports season. Their professional video gamers are tops in the world competing for millions in prize money while thousands of fans cheer them on. Read more about the sponsorship.

“We are extremely excited to be partnering with FNATIC,” said Ondrej Vlcek, Chief Operating Officer at AVAST. “This partnership goes beyond just sponsoring a team in the rapidly growing eSports field. FNATIC will be collaborating with us on future products too. We’re thrilled to have such a prominent and well-loved team as our first partner in this area.”

On Monday between 17:00 and 18:30 CET, several of the most popular professional gamers on Team FNATIC had their streaming games interrupted by a TeamView attack. Their PC was remotely controlled, and the player was logged out of their gaming client. A notepad file appeared with the words, “You’ve been hacked. Fnatic, this is game over,” and other messages.

Here’s a video of FNATIC player nOtail experiencing the attack (NSFW due to language):

Read more…

Categories: General Tags: , , , ,
Comments off
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.

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

Read more…

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.

Comments off
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.