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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: , , , ,
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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 13th, 2014

INFOGRAPHIC: Love shouldn’t spam your inbox, it should spam your heart

heartVday2014Love is in the air! People are going out to buy boxes of chocolates and flowers for their loved ones, preparing for romantic dinners, and some are hoping that a secret admirer will confess their love. Some seek help from the Internet to make Valentine’s Day as romantic as possible and since many people check their emails first thing in the morning, spammers and other cybercriminals see this as the perfect opportunity to attack.

The ILOVEYOU virus from 2000 did just that, although it was sent on May 5th, not on Valentine’s Day. The virus, a computer worm also referred to as “Love Letter,” originated from the Philippines and was sent via email with the subject line “ILOVEYOU.” The virus went viral when users opened the “LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.txt.vbs” attachment included in the email. The opening of the attachment activated the viral basic script, damaging the user’s computer, overwriting image files, and sending copies of itself to addresses in the user’s Microsoft Outlook address book. The virus reached the U.S. on Friday morning, just as people were checking their emails. Since it was sent from someone they knew, and we didn’t have the collective experience of viral spam yet, people trusted the email and opened the attachment. Perhaps they were excited to receive a love letter?

Read more…

February 13th, 2014

‘Stop Mass Spying’ cause

revolt

The Day We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance event in San Francisco

Hundreds of people concerned for their privacy and opposed to NSA spying practices descended on the courtyard of the AT&T building in San Francisco last night on a clement winter evening.

The well-organized event, The Day We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance, was flanked by police ironically attending to keep surveillance on the amassing crowd.

Former AT&T technician and government whistleblower, Mark Klein, took to the stage sharing his story of how he discovered his employer was in cahoots with the NSA.

Mr Klein told the assembled crowd that he had been tasked to work on the wire that would stream documents into a secret room and was shocked to find that both domestic and international customer activity was being tracked. “Here I am being forced to connect to a Big Brother machine,” he said.

The evening’s proceedings included ample video footage projected onto a windowless side wall of the AT&T building. The popular Police song: “Every Breath You Take” (I’ll be watching you) played and people sang along as the lyrics were displayed before them.

Media clips of TV news interviews with Mark Klein were shown as well as a clip of President Barack Obama’s address about the NSA which was robustly heckled.  Passing cars during the city’s peak hour tooted their horns prompting an explosion of cheers and waving.

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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

February 8th, 2014

My password was stolen. What do I do now?

howto2_enThe massive hack against Target, in which 40 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen, began with stolen login credentials from the air-conditioning repairman. This illustrates the old adage, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”

While consumers can’t control why a third party contractor would have external network access at a major retailer, there are some things you can do to protect yourself.

How can I be notified if my email address or password was hacked?

Every two seconds in the US, someone becomes a victim of identity fraud. With 13.1 million victims last year and multiple companies (Facebook, Target, Neiman Marcus, Adobe) being exploited, there is a good chance you could be among them. You can use the have i been pwned notification service to learn if your email address was included in a large data breach. This service allows you to enter an email address and will notify you if your address appears in any databases added to the service. I learned that my email address was stolen from the Adobe breach, but thankfully, I haven’t been notified of anything else.

pwned

What’s your weakest link?

You can’t stop shopping, but there are things you can do (other than paying cash only) if you’ve become the victim of hacking.

  1. 1.  Change your passwords We’ve talked about it plenty of times, but here’s a reminder: Make passwords long and strong. Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password. eNcrYP0123tion$ is stronger than Encryption123. If you can’t remember different passwords for all the accounts you have, use a password manager like avast! EasyPass. Read more…
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February 6th, 2014

avast! bug bounty program update

bug-bounty (1)

A year has passed since we launched the Avast Bug Bounty Program. Let’s see some results:

  • Almost one hundred submissions
  • 25 submissions rewarded about $10,000 total
  • One critical bug was rewarded $3,000

As you can see, this is a useful program – it helps AVAST keep our users secure and make our programs as strong as possible! After evaluating the past year, we have decided to change the rules a bit.

Bug Bounty updated rules

To encourage further research, we will double the bug bounty rewards. The base payment will be $400 and the maximum reward could go up to $10,000 per one submission.

We will remove Sandbox or DeepScreen escapes from the list of bugs that are eligible for a reward. The reason for this is that we are focusing on a new technology that should eradicate Sandbox escapes entirely.

You can find the complete rules here. Happy hunting!

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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February 6th, 2014

Going to the Olympics? Prepare to be hacked

If you are one of the thousands of visitors headed to Sochi, Russia for Friday’s 2014 Winter Olympics opening ceremony then you will be hacked. Richard Engel, from NBC news, reported that it’s not if you get hacked, it’s when, and he discovered that it starts from the moment you turn on your device.

In an experiment conducted by NBC Nightly News, their just out-of-the-box computer and smartphone were hacked in seconds while in Sochi. “The State Department warns that travelers should have no expectation of privacy; even in their hotel rooms. And as we found out, you are especially exposed as soon as you try and communicate with anything,” reported Engel.

“As tourists and families of athletes arrive in Sochi…if they fire up their phones at baggage claim, it’s probably too late to save the integrity of their electronics and everything inside them. Visitors to Russia can expect to be hacked,” said NBC’s anchorman Brian Williams as he introduced the report.

Watch the video report of NBC’s experiment (there’s an ad first, so give it a few seconds):

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Protect yourself with avast! SecureLine VPN

Wherever you travel – whether to Sochi or your neighborhood coffee shop –  you are sure to use public WiFi, which is full of security risks. That’s why we came up with a solution -  have avast! SecureLine VPN installed on your devices. avast! SecureLine is available for PCs, and just recently we released avast! SecureLine for Android and iOS devices.

How to get avast! SecureLine

avast! SecureLine for PC is available as an add-on to avast! Antivirus. Get it from our website, or open the AVAST interface, click on the Store tab and get a free trial or one-month, one-year, or two-year subscription.

avast! SecureLine VPN for your smartphone or tablet is available as a monthly or yearly subscription for Android on Google Play and for iOS in the Apple App Store.

UPDATE: NBC has taken some criticism for the story since this report, with claims that it was misleading and promoted scaremongering. The experts they worked with released a white paper describing how each new device, without the protection of antivirus software, was compromised. NBC responded by stating that their experiment was designed to “show in general how easily a non-expert can fall victim.”

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: , , , , , ,