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.
Lithuania is a small European Union country, located in Northeastern Europe. Nearly 10% of 3,000,000 Lithuanians are protected by avast! Antivirus. Among them is one special person: Paulius Yla, an AVAST Evangelist.
“Evangelist” is the term we use for those people who willingly volunteer their personal time and expertise to help others benefit from avast! Antivirus. The most active place for evangelists is on the AVAST forum.
Four years ago, we organized a big meeting for AVAST Evangelists in our Prague headquarters. It was a unique, emotional meeting for both sides: The AVAST team and the AVAST Evangelists. It was an opportunity to meet people we knew only from the cyberworld – The AVAST forum. This is when I met Paulius in person. Paulius, who under the username “YLAP” on the AVAST forum, has been helping users precisely since January 20, 2005, 02:48:04 PM. During his years on the forum, Paulius has generated over 1,800 posts and helped countless of people. But the forum is not the only space where Paulius is active. You can also meet him on Facebook sharing useful tips, so do not hesitate to follow him, as Paulius is a great AVAST expert.
We value our evangelists greatly and there are no words to express our gratitude to Paulius and the others for all their work and for being “AVAST ambassadors” all over the world. In the past we have introduced you to Bob Gostischa (USA), Lisandro Carmona (Brazil) and Charlie O. Prince (USA). It’s time to meet more of the AVAST Evangelists and welcome them officially, and thank them for helping you also on social channels. Please say “Labas” (hi in Lithuanian) to Paulius and get to know one of our experts.
Keeping your personal PC safe and secure is our top priority, so if you ever find yourself in need of assistance with issues related to avast! Antivirus, we are here to help. AVAST Total Support is 24/7, toll-free support in English and Spanish, so if something should go wrong with Avast, like you need a license file resent, or advice on an error message, we have you covered.
We provide free telephone support for the following issues with your avast! Antivirus software :
- Installation of AVAST products
- Errors/problems during AVAST installation
- Basic configuration
- Inserting the license
- AVAST update issues
- Error messages for AVAST products
Currently, the toll-free number is US only, 1-866-951-7679, but you can also visit avast.com/support to submit a support request or check out our FAQs. The AVAST forum is a great place for information too. In the near future, we will be expanding AVAST Total Support. We’ll let you know when it happens.
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.
How’s this for a good phishing scam? Everything seems legit:
1. From email is “firstname.lastname@example.org”
2. No misspelled words and has decent grammar (however, some punctuation inconsistency)
3. Copyright (c) symbol next to the university name
4. Gmail did not filter it as spam, but left it in my normal inbox
Yes, if I had ever attended that particular university, I might have fallen for it.
PLEASE NOTE: University of Texas has nothing to do with this email.
Results of the AV-Comparatives 2013 Security Survey (pdf) are in, and once again AVAST leads among consumer preferences. Since AV-Comparatives is an independent testing firm, we always look forward to what they have to say. Here are some highlights:
According to survey respondents, AVAST remains the most widely used antivirus solution worldwide, claiming first place as the most used computer antivirus in Europe and South/Central America.
We are also glad to report that AVAST is the only brand to be among the top three most-used brands in all four global regions surveyed.
At the time this survey was conducted, AVAST was protecting just over 184 million PCs, Macs, and mobile devices.
To make the above news even better, the survey’s respondents requested AVAST as their top interest for future testing. Read more…
The new version is 7.0.1451 and contains the following totally new features:
- WebRep now supports Opera
- SiteCorrect module for the detection of unwanted websites
And, in addition to the new features, our developers have made the following modifications:
- Changes in the AutoSandbox module
- Outlook plugin redesign
- Windows 8 compatibility updates
- Emergency Updater
- Improvements to Remote Assistance (support for UAC prompts, etc.)
- Improvements to avast! SafeZone™ (protection against kernel-mode keyloggers, updated SafeZone Browser, clipboard sharing, etc.)
We offer very special thanks to our developers, our QA team, and most importantly our loyal users, who have for many years provided us with great constructive feedback. Anyone can complain, but avast! users consistently amaze us with their new ideas.
For more technical info, please visit http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=100247.0
For the millions of you who have avast! already installed, just open your avast! control panel, then go to Maintenance -> Update Program
Or, you may download the new update file directly here http://files.avast.com/iavs5x/avast_free_antivirus_setup.exe
We like to think that the avast! voice telling us that our virus database has been updated is almost like a pleasant song, something to cheer us all up, reminding us that nobody needs to sing the PC blues.
So it’s great to know we’re not alone, and that our users also think this way. Here’s an example by “Ferrett Steinmetz,” an Ohio-based writer, who recently tweeted:
A quick read down Mr. Steinmetz’s twitter wall shows similar cleverisms about a large number of subjects. You can follow him on twitter @ferretthimself.
Running the customer service department here at the AVAST headquarters brings with it a huge variety of challenges – keeping over 150 million users satisfied is no easy task – and we see a whole range of emails from complimentary caricatures to concerning complaints.
During the past week or so, we have received some complaints and it appears that some of our customers are being targeted by a new scam. Luckily only a handful of customers have contacted us regarding this so far, but they report receiving phone calls from “Avast customer service” reps who need to take control of their computer to resolve some issue and who, for a fee, wish to charge them for this privilege.
I would like to set the record straight – here at AVAST, we never phone our customers (unless they specifically ask us to of course) and none of the partners we work with do either. We currently offer free and premium in-bound phone support for our English speaking customers (and also Spanish from next week) and we remain happy to assist as much as we can via email and our ever-popular user forum, but we do not make unsolicited calls – not for sales, not for support, and certainly not to try to scam our loyal customers.
We do always advise our customers to stay alert – online, and in this case, on the phone. Never disclose your credit card details to anyone unless you are specifically contacting them to make a purchase, never download software you are unfamiliar with, and never give access to your computer (remotely or in person) to someone you do not trust.
Stay Alert – Stay Safe
Yes, most of us complain about all the seemingly unnecessary changes that Facebook initiates far more often than we’d like (just about the time we figure out how to navigate everything)… but it’s good to remember that Facebook is a free service. Of course some will argue that nothing is really ‘free’, but at least +140 million active avast! Community members know differently.
Some of you will remember the days of Rolodex. Mine was typically overfilled with business cards and scraps of paper – taped, glued, or even stapled in place. Sometimes a few ‘creative’ oversized business cards or paper scraps would clog up the ‘machine’, and maintaining changes to phone numbers, addresses, and job titles was always a major problem.
So Facebook, for me, was a welcome change. All my contacts keep their own info updated, and I can find them at any time via the search box. And my Facebook account serves 4 key purposes:
I’m 38 years old, lived my first 33 years in the USA, read and studied amply about US government agencies over the years (especially during my ultra-paranoid conspiracy theory phase in my early 20s), and yet, until today, I had never heard of DARPA.
According to Wikipedia, however, the agency has been around a while — longer than me, in fact: << Its original name was simply Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), but it was renamed to “DARPA” (for Defense) in March 1972, then renamed “ARPA” again in February 1993, and then renamed “DARPA” again in March 1996. >>
It sounds like an agency with multiple personality disorder, but I guess it’s essentially a branch of the Department of Defense (DoD) that focuses on technological R&D.
Why am I telling you about it? Because I know a lot of readers of this blog are sharp-minded (maybe even genius-level) non-Luddites, who can actually understand what the guys in our Virus Lab talk about when they post here… and would jump at the chance to prove their skills (and win some money in the process). Read more…