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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 24th, 2014

#AVASTteambuilding: Our orange crew chases the Northern Lights!

Saturday morning at 7:30 AM, 130 orange antivirus soldiers met up at the Prague Airport. We were flying to Tromsø, a city north of the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway. For the next 24 hours there won’t be any sleeping or a hot shower. Instead, our plan is to chase the aurora borealis (aka the Northern Lights) and most importantly get to know each other better and have fun. Check out our pictures and to see more, like us on Facebook.

#avastTeamBuilding!

On the plane an intellectual challenge awaited for the team in the form of a mathematical/analytical puzzle. The strongest AVAST brains were struggling for the correct answer for more than one hour.  We had to work in teams to figure out the correct answer and the winners received the new Google Glass! Even the food was branded and secured by AVAST.

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After three hours flying,  we landed safely 2000 km North from Prague in Tromsø. The AVAST “orange gang” became an attraction for the locals.

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Our very first stop was at Villmarkssenter. To  our surprise the local guides were expecting us in the….orange outfit! We got to know how the Alaskan husky station works, and had plenty of time to play and cuddle with the friendly dogs. We promise that nothing happened to the one called “Virus!” :)

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First traditional meal: Read more…

Categories: General Tags: , ,
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 19th, 2014

Check who won: Top 20 #avastSelfies!

We celebrated the 106th annual International Women’s Day with the #avastSelfie photo contest. The photo competition is over, and now it’s time to publish the winners. We have decided to award all the entries from the gallery below with the free licenses for avast! Internet Security and avast! teddy bears. Congratulations to the winners, please check your email, we will contact you soon!

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: , , ,
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March 17th, 2014

Another Data Breach Crisis Looms as Microsoft’s D-Day for XP Forces Security Scramble

win-xp-infographicOpinion by Ondrej Vlcek, Chief Operations Officer at AVAST Software

The termination of security updates by Microsoft to Windows XP will create severe security issues. The already rather unsafe operating system will face even more risks with the missing security updates, but the question is: Should Windows XP users be the only ones worried?

Microsoft recently announced that technical support will no longer be available for Windows XP as of April 8, 2014, ending automatic updates for the operating system. Microsoft will also eventually stop providing anti-malware signature updates to XP users, in 2015. Abandoning Windows XP is a big mistake, especially since Microsoft has not been very successful in transitioning XP users to newer systems. The AVAST database shows that 23.6% of its more than 200 million users is still running Windows XP.

XP users more susceptible to attacks than Windows 7 users

The abandonment by Microsoft will not only affect Windows XP users, but will create a big security problem for the whole ecosystem. Tens of millions of PCs running XP connected to the Internet, unpatched and without security updates, are just waiting to be exploited. The vulnerable OS will be an easy target for hackers and be seen as a gateway to infect other non-XP operating systems. Our telemetry data shows that XP users are 6 times more likely to get attacked than Windows 7 users and once Microsoft stops issuing patches, this can worsen.

The next Target-like attack is brewing

Home users are not the only ones who will be affected by the Windows XP support cutoff, according to reports*, 95% of ATMs in the world still run on Windows XP. These ATMs along with businesses still using Windows XP on their PCs need to be updated, or at the very least seek alternative protection. Medical offices that store confidential patient information and stores that keep customer details, such as credit card numbers, on their computers running Windows XP could easily be attacked. The Target data breach last year was conducted through a trojan that attacked the shops’ point of sales system. If businesses don’t keep their systems safe, we will, unfortunately, see more of data breaches like this. The news of the XP support cutoff was published a year ago, which means that IT professionals should be well aware of the change and the consequences it will have. For those who haven’t taken action yet, the time is now.

AVAST is devoted to protecting the PC ecosystem by not only supporting Windows XP for at least the next three years, but also by creating protection modules and detections specifically designed to cover Windows XP vulnerabilities and other security problems. We have already taken additional steps in our latest product release, avast! 2014, by making the product lighter, both in terms of speed and resource consumption, tailoring it for older machines still running Windows XP. In addition to the security value, avast! 2014 is offered for free, which is especially important for XP users. Upgrading to a newer version of Windows comes with costs, costs that not everyone can afford and is probably a big reason why many users haven’t upgraded yet.

Another reason to ditch Internet Explorer

In addition to Windows XP itself being a security risk, Internet Explorer on Windows XP poses an even larger threat. The latest version of the browser available on Windows XP is version 8, making it outdated and lacking a number of security improvements available in its later versions. Of our existing Windows XP user database, 21.5% run Internet Explorer, leaving themselves open to easy attacks. Google Chrome is a good alternative and is fully compatible with Windows XP, updating itself automatically.

Windows XP users will not be the only ones affected by the end of updates by Microsoft and should not be the only ones worrying about the end date. Users still running Windows XP need to act both proactively and responsibly to ensure safety for not only their own data and PC, but for that of others as well.

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 14th, 2014

Creative recommendations win 10 AVAST users $1000 each

post01 (1)The AVAST recommendation contest brought 145,000 new members to the AVAST Community! More than 20,000 people entered the contest and approximately 10% of those entries were think-out-of-the-box creative submissions! Users from USA, Brazil, Russia, India, France, Spain, Poland, India, Germany and many other countries showed us  their creativity; ideas to spread the word about avast! Free Antivirus.

We received videos, links to blogs, websites, poems, creative images, and descriptions of creative recommendations tactics. It took us time to verify all the entries because of the diverse languages, but also due to lots of brainstorming and discussions. The decision wasn’t easy, but we looked at various factors and made a huge effort to judge objectively. Our criteria were simple: We focused on creative or innovative concepts and the quality of its execution. It wasn’t an easy choice, but we came to a consensus, and it’s time to announce winners now.

Thanks to all the participants. We appreciate and value your time and effort in sending us your ideas!

Congratulations to the creative winners!

Here are the 10 most creative entries we choose to award with $1000 each.

John P. created an old school video game where heroes shoot down nasty viruses. avast! Free Antivirus plays this game over 200 times a day, with our streaming updates. :-)

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Arun P. made this video which tells the story of an Internet Analyst named Alex who got a virus using a “good” antivirus product. Then he found the “world’s best antivirus, avast! Free Antivirus” and all was well with his data. We ♥ a happy ending!

Dimitri B’s creative diorama provoked discussion about how we could create outdoor sculptures,or temporary displays illustrating unprotected devices and those protected by avast! security products. Here’s his sketch idea:

diorama idea

Alexander G. proposed that AVAST partner with PlayStation during the holidays to give away valuable codes and vouchers for security products. Read more…

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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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Add your review to FindTheBest

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: ,
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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