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January 31st, 2014

How to use avast! Mobile Security: Privacy Advisor

howto2_enAt AVAST we work hard to improve your security and privacy. Mobile malware is increasing. If you aren’t yet convinced that this is an issue, please read the latest blog from the avast! Virus Lab, How are you doing Mr. Android?

Nowadays, besides the traditional way to get money – sending premium SMS – the collection of personal info and browsing habits are also trending. How do cybercrooks monetize this data? Managing the ads that are shown in your smartphone or tablet, suggesting apps, sending offers by email or displaying them in-apps.

If you use avast! Mobile Security, then you can run a Privacy Advisor scan to categorize all the apps in your device:

  • Collect location information: Because of their nature, some apps need to capture your location. These would be GPS navigation tools, outdoor sports tracking and weather apps, for example. Some of them do it for statistical reasons. However, the majority of them do it just to customize local (targeted) ads.
  • Collect device or mobile network information: Some apps use the device info for developer and statistical reasons. Your mobile network info is also captured.
  • Collect user behavior data inside the app: This data are mostly useful for the developers as they adjust and customize their own apps according to their customers’ use, and to separate free from paid features.
  • Show in-app banner advertisements: This is an annoyance. Impatient users could drop the use of the app due to this kind of ad.
  • Show in-app full-screen advertisements: This is a huge annoyance and if it occurs, it is an invitation to uninstall the app. This is why the developers only show them a few times while the app is running Read more…
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January 17th, 2014

Has the NSA installed spyware on your new computer before you opened the box?

nsaAn article in German magazine Der Spiegel stated that the NSA is capable of installing backdoors on devices by Juniper Networks (firewall manufacturer), Cisco and Huawei (giant network device manufacturers), and also, Dell. According to the article, a special hacking team intercepted some new computer deliveries to secretly install spyware in these machines. Der Spiegel did not reveal how they got access to this information, although it’s public that they have access to secret information leaked by the former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden.

The magazine has access to secret documents describing a method of direct attack on an end-user device called “interdiction.” If a person was being investigated and bought a new computer, the Tailored Access Operations division (TAO) of the NSA could have access to it. They collect online information using a tool called XKeyscore, like the British journal The Guardian revealed last July. They also are able to redirect the internet traffic to their own servers. Der Spiegel said that this redirection occured with high success (50%) when people were browsing the professional network LinkedIn.

But I’m not interesting enough…

Ok. You’ll say that you’re not included in the “interesting” people to be investigated by the NSA. What you need to know, quickly, is that there are tons of spyware and behavior monitoring tools being distributed all over the world. Our team detected more than 6 million of them disguised as toolbars for browsers. These nasties monitor everything from your browser habits to your personal information.

Similar to NSA, some “security companies” do this dirty job of monitoring. Did you read about avast! BrowserCleaner yet? You can get rid of spyware toolbars using this tool inside avast! Antivirus products, or you can download the standalone version here. Learn more about it in this blog entry. And, of course, do not forget to alert your friends and family.

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: , , , ,
September 16th, 2013

Seeking perfection

avast! 2014: comming soonAVAST antivirus developers strive for perfection in malware detection. Cybercriminals do not rest with their evil schemes to take advantage – mostly economical – over poor users. Always, but especially since version 8 of AVAST, we have improved the detection of recently discovered malware by trying to identify them before our users are threatened.

The AutoSandbox technology allows suspect processes to run inside of the avast! Sandbox, which is a completely isolated environment from where nothing can leave, trapping an eventual infection and blocking further harm to the system.

The AutoSandbox is used to monitor all files and Windows Registry operations

  • that attempt to hook into running processes
  • make changes in system components
  • exploit and hide network connections
  • attempt to disable the antivirus protection or Windows firewall, and so on.

The fundamental engine of this process are the generic virus signatures. They are like the fingerprints of a virus which allow them to be discovered. AVAST adds nearly 2,000 virus signatures each day to its virus definition updates. Generally, a single signature can identify multiple malware. A single malware can also be detected by several of the virus definitions of our database. Through our avast! CommunityIQ, almost 200 million users worldwide give us up-to-date information and we detect more than 50,000 new infections daily. The number of different malware analyzed daily by our Virus Lab reaches 40,000.

DeepScreen for potential threats Read more…

September 4th, 2013

How to keep your Windows system running like new

speed computer

The top active members in one of our largest and most active communities, the AVAST forum, are called evangelists. These evangelists are technically skilled people who love to help and guide our users, free or paid, through the technology and security jungle. They try to keep things simple for all levels and in this blog, they want to share with you how to keep your Windows system running like new indefinitely. Isn’t it a dream of all of us? Let’s go!

A clean machine is a fast machine

  • Keep your computer clean and vents unobstructed: If it overheats the performance decreases. If you haven’t looked at the bottom of your computer since you took it out of the box, chances are that the vents are filled with dust bunnies. Turn off your computer and carefully use your vacuum cleaner attachment to suck the dust out.
  • Clean your disk of temporary files and defragment to help with your computer performance. We suggest CCleaner for both file and Windows Registry cleaning. It’s safe and removes registry entries left behind after simple uninstallation of programs. Windows has a built-in defragmenter and there are many other free ones on the internet.
  • RAM (memory) is cheap nowadays and worth every cent you pay for the memory sticks, especially if you use memory-intensive programs like Photoshop or a video editor. Before you try to give your machine a faster, smoother ride, you need to know your hardware limits.

Multi-tasking slows you (and your machine) down

  • Keep in mind that you do not need to multi-task all the time or, in other words, do not run many programs at the same time. For multi-tasking,  split your work between your smartphone or tablet, for instance, listen to music, browse or read mail on your tablet while you work on an your laptop. Read more…
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August 26th, 2013

How to use the hidden power of avast! Mobile Security

You have downloaded the new avast! Mobile Security version 3. You now have a powerful tool to protect your mobile phone from malware, as well as anti-theft features in case your phone is lost or stolen. But you may be wondering, “How do I use this mobile security software to its full power for maximum benefit? What can I expect from the new version?”

These questions are very good ones. We love AVAST for its set-and-forget nature, and also because it’s very light on resources. But we really want you to know the power of AVAST! The hidden features that allow you to get its full power. To do this, let’s look at its six major features:

ad networks1Scanning

On demand scanning is a preventive feature. To get rid of bad or infected files that can rest in your Android and SD Card (storage), scan your phone with the latest virus definitions. You can set avast! Mobile Security to run at night, when you’re sleeping and charging your phone.

App Manager

You love to install apps in your phone, don’t you? After some time, your home manager will show a lot of icons. Why would I need an app manager if the phone already has one, you might be thinking? Because with avast! App manager you can see your running apps, check their permissions, if they display ads, and if you have a rooted device, you can even block the app access to some of your networks, saving you money with your data plan.

Privacy

avast! Mobile Security has a powerful ad detector. You can see up to 7 categories of possible ads, from geotracking to showing ads in your phone to collecting personal information and data. When you install an app, AVAST will automatically warn you about bad behaviors and you could act immediately to get rid of annoying ads. Relax! You can configure AVAST to warn based on your own criteria. For rooted phones and tablets, you can block a specific network access (WiFi/Data/Roaming) for the app being installed. Read more…

August 5th, 2013

PC Backup Tips: What, Where, When, and How

backup_imgAVAST Evangelists’ share tips about backing up your PC.

This time of the year – summer in the Northern Hemisphere – is the time to enjoy yourself while traveling. You  want to protect those precious photos and videos that you take of your children or friends having adventures. In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s winter. For students, it’s time to do a little computer housekeeping that was avoided during the year. Backing up your PC is not hard, and the tips you get here from the most active Evangelists on the 300,000 member AVAST Forum community will have you backing up your PC with ease.

The Four Ws of Backup

What to backup: Types of documents and data. The first suggestion from our evangelists is that you organize your files into intuitive folders that are easy to find and easy to backup. Establish priorities. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.

  • Decide which things you don’t want to lose… Documents, spreadsheets, email account details, registration keys, address book, bookmarks, photos, etc. If you identify what’s important to backup first, not only is it easier to do the backup task, but you also avoid increasing your internet traffic with big files that do not need to be restored. Read more…
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July 19th, 2013

Top 7 tips when traveling with your computer

The AVAST forum is one of our largest and most active communities, with more than 300,000 users. The most active people on the forum are called Evangelists. They spend quite a lot of their free time helping and solving issues for our users, not only related to AVAST, but also with overall security. We asked them to share their top tips for keeping your computer and other devices safe from cybercrime while traveling. Let’s go!

travel tips

 

1. Use your own devices (mobile phone, laptop, tablet) to go online rather than a public library’s or café’s computers. Some of the new smartphones allow password tethering. Always enable the SSL connection in your online accounts when offered, for example by Facebook, Twitter, and Google. You can enable it in many other sites using special add-ons which encrypt your communications when using Firefox or Chrome.
2. Connect to a VPN when traveling for business to get a secure, encrypted, and anonymous connection. Avoid free VPN due to ads and adwares like mentioned in our previous blog article. AVAST users can subscribe to avast! SecureLine  through both free and paid-for versions of avast! Antivirus. If you’re not a continuous traveler, you can go for a single month license. Learn more about VPN and  avast! SecureLine, here.
3. Never do your online banking while using a free/open or ad-hoc WiFi connection. To be more secure, remove any insecure/open WiFi connections in your network connections. If you’re on a Mac, take care of any Bonjour discovered items on the public network. It’s also a good practice to setup your own home network with an unique name. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
July 8th, 2013

Security tips from AVAST Forum Evangelists

The AVAST forum is one of our largest and most active communities, with more than 300,000 users. The most active people on the forum are called Evangelists. They spend a great deal of their free time answering user questions and helping to sort out issues of all kinds. You can meet them on the AVAST forum, where you can get assistance and support any time.

forum evangelists

Because of the Evangelists’ extensive experience and knowledge, we asked them to share their top tips on maintaining a secure computer or device. Here are their main tips:

  • Keep Windows and all other programs up-to-date (especially browsers and avast! Antivirus) and use only official sites for updating. For more convenience, you can use the avast! Software Updater feature to do it. Avoid P2P, cracks, patches and pirated software. On Android, use Google Play as the app source.
  • Don’t be a happy clicker, especially on social media sites and while installing programs. Always install programs via the custom mode and read the screens before clicking next. If something looks fishy, it probably is.
  • Take care about the sites you visit, knowing that legitimate websites can also be hacked. Use avast! SafeZone for web browsing whenever possible, especially while using online banking.  AVAST also provides a full isolated environment called avast! Sandbox.
  • Use different and strong passwords: Numbers, upper and lower case letters, symbols, etc. avast! EasyPass could help you manage this.
  • Keep your anti-malware protection always on, for instance, while gaming and installing programs. Community games are usually safer than the supposed official games you find online. Take extra care – or avoid completely – free public cheats for multiplayer games, especially downloaded from third party URLs.
  • Be alert for social engineering scams and emails. Do not open attachments from an unknown sender. Remember that not everyone is really your friend. Always use common sense.
  • Have backup strategies: When, what, local and remote. Remember: Better safe than sorry. AVAST offers an online backup solution too.
  • Use a firewall that manages the access of applications to the internet. Take care on open WiFi hotspots. At home, be sure to use strong WiFi passwords.

Special thanks to our AVAST forum members who have contributed these tips: Bob, Charyb, Essexboy, Omid, George Yves, Iroc, Donovan, Polonus, Ylap, Mac, Para-Noid, Coolmario, Dwarden and Jeffce. If you ever have a question, please log on to the AVAST forum and ask. Our forum evangelists are happy to assist you.

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.

February 8th, 2013

Malware infects Android and Windows at the same time

Android & WindowsThousands of new malwares come to our virus lab daily. The target could be both Android devices and Windows computers. They’re being detected under the Android:Ssucl-X name. The malwares are being spread through false apps to free up memory of the devices and enhance their performance. They were available at Google Play as Superclean (published at January 3rd and got 4,5 stars with more than one thousand installations) or DroidCleaner, both from Smart Apps developer. Both apps were not blocked by the protection system of Google Play, although they were removed some time after that. They still could be available for download in smaller stores.

When installed, the apps ask for a group of permissions from sending SMS to enable the WiFi network, handle the owner personal data including SMS, photos, contacts, GPS coordinates and also any data or file in the SD card!

After installed in the Android device, the apps download files to the SD card (autorun.inf, folder.ico and svchosts.exe). When the device was connected to a computer as an storage mass media (USB), the file svchosts.exe could be automatically executed in the computer, spreading the infection. Once in the system, the malware could activate the microphone and store the surroundings audio, encrypt it and send it to a FTP remote server.

The infection scheme is old, but the infection migration from mobile devices to the computer could be a new headache. The better would be stay protected by avast! Free Antivirus in the computer and avast! Free Mobile Security in the Android devices.

Some technical info about these malwares:
SHA-1: 183d694cc6b1565fce318531b56a6e9ce9f79149 – MD5: 89d71ec272778910941d2cd28a4cf776
SHA-1: 2853d37fbc729cd43ab7d12b5899edda9e59693e – MD5: f5546f1d7e5cd2b43cb81197d85ac0d3
SHA-1: 30e0b93c36afca1da5db5e11ba0b5f00a8401c7d – MD5: c293bc5cd1101b5b648b9ba92edf1994

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
February 2nd, 2013

avast! Mobile Security makes another user happy!

Celebrar! avast! Mobile Security made an user happy!We got extremely happy and satisfied when our work helps the others. Some days ago, avast! Mobile Security made an user happy. Antonio Fagner Ramos lost his phone and could get it back later. Working in technical support at a security company, we face problems every day: viruses attacks, personal data stolen, data and financial losts. With the mobile technology taking more and more space nowadays, to lose our mobile could be a headache: personal data, time, money, phone plan suspension, change the passwords saved in the local browser… When we face a successful story like this one, it makes our day, it makes us happy and gives motivation to our work.

Let’s give the word to our hero Antonio.

1. Fagner, how did you get in contact with avast! at the first time?

When I start in computer technology world, I always liked the computer most and, because of this, I’ve used a lot of protection and security tools, lots of free antivirus and always got troubles. I finally found avast! in a download site, one of these respected and well known sites. I’ve installed the avast! Free Antivirus in my desktop and the first thing that got my attention was the interface and the voice of the lady saying my avast! got updated… Since then, I’ve got no more issues with virus, spyware and things like that, and each time I format my disk I quickly install avast! again.

2. Can you tell us your experience of losing your phone?

Depressing… I’ve bought my phone two months ago, a LG Optimus. Like any other Brazilian, I’ve payed in easy installments. I used it not only to make calls, but also for a lot of things. My work demands GPS and remote connection, because I work outside, giving software support to the others. So, I’ve got depressed… I’ve gave the phone myself and I’m not that kind of guy that buys many things for myself easily, because I think more in my own family.

3. And so, how could you get your phone back?

In the same night I’ve lost the phone I’ve entered the avast! portal with my login and password to get access to my phone data, specially the GPS location. At the beginning, I felt frustration because the mobile did not answer to any command. I thought I’ve made some wrong configuration and got skeptic of recovering it. Two weeks later I’ve got a message from avast! Mobile Security with the SIM card number that was changed in my device along with its GPS coordinates. I’ve collected all these data, the police report and other evidences that could help me get my phone back. I’ve decided to call that number. Someone was answering it… We talked friendly each other. I’ve explained that my phone was being tracked and to save problems I’ve suggested him to give it me back. We manage to meet each other in a public place and he gave it back to me.

4. Where do you look for avast! support when you need it? Forum, Facebook, FAQ…

Frankly, I’m an advanced user and I have to be well informed about technology, and up to now, I did not need any help with avast! The application is very intuitive and I do not have any trouble. I believe that, if I need it, I’ll be very closely followed by avast! team wherever I am…

5. How did you describe your perfect day?

Well… a perfect day… For a guy that works very hard all the year, looking for happiness, health and prosperity, to be side by side with my wife and daughter is a perfect day for me… So, in my life, there is not only a perfect day… There are many!

Got into this happy story too! Download the avast! Mobile Security in your Android devices.

Categories: Android corner, General Tags: