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June 16th, 2014

INFOGRAPHIC: Ole Ola! America will play World Cup soccer on mobile devices

The U.S. is on the soccer field: Our own triple-threat celebrity, Jennifer Lopez, performed at the opening ceremony; Facebook set up a special “Trending World Cup” news feed; Twitter predicts the most tweeted global event ever; Google search features a daily soccer doodle; and the U.S. is playing its first game in the tournament today.

The 2014 World Cup is more digital than any other soccer World Cup. At AVAST, we wanted to understand how people will watch and participate in the tournament this year. In a survey of more than 3,000 AVAST users in the U.S., we discovered mobile devices will play a big part: Two out of three American soccer fans will use their smartphone or tablet to enhance their World Cup experience. 

World Cup 2014, USA, soccer, mobile

Soccer news, live scores and vuvuzela sounds on smartphone

Highest priority for Americans is to stay on top of the game results with more than half the fans reporting they will check the live scores from their smartphone. One-third said they will read news about the games on their smartphone or tablet and one-fifth will live stream the games on their mobile device. Many will certainly be interested in the results as they placed a bet. The best strategies to bet on the winning team have been discussed and people are already well into betting fever. One out of ten survey respondents will use or have already used their smartphone or tablet to place bets. 

There is even more that can be done on mobile. For six percent of respondents, collecting and trading stickers of the players has moved from the paper booklet to digital albums in the cloud. And what would a World Cup be without the famous BZZZZ vuvuzela sound? Cover your ears – this year you can expect to hear a cacophony of digital horns: One in 20 intend to use a mobile app to sound the vuvuzela.

Instead of just following the games, every eighth American fan wants to become a world champion themselves – and will play soccer games on their mobile device. 

For all mobile activities, nearly half of Americans stick to the official FIFA apps, the majority mixes official with unofficial apps or only go for unofficial apps. It’s great for fans to have a wider variety of apps to choose from, but beware, we found some gaming apps that are fake, they won’t let you play and instead just want to collect your data and show you ads.

One out of five will live stream the games on smartphone or tablet

The majority of Americans will still watch the games the traditional way – eight out of ten – on the TV at home. However, digital sources are slowly taking over:  40 percent will watch the tournament on PC  and on the smartphone and tablet 21 percent will watch. 

Now who do Americans think will win? 

Americans’ faith in their own team is low!  Only eight percent think the U.S. team will win. Instead, all bets are on the World Cup host: One-third of Americans pick Brazil to take home the cup.

World Cup safety tips

At AVAST, we think we can all be winners if this will be a safe World Cup. Using your smartphone and tablet during and after the soccer World Cup, make sure you are protected:

  • Only download apps from the official Google Play store
  • Choose apps from official sources and read what others are saying about them
  • Take a close look at the permissions an app requests and question if they are necessary for the apps’ functionality   
  • Use antivirus on your PC, smartphone, and tablet
  • If live streaming the games on public Wi-Fi, make sure you are protected with a VPN solution encrypting your communications such as avast! SecureLine

 

World Cup 2014, mobile, USA, soccer

June 1st, 2014

Kids use their parent’s smartphones, not to call grandma, but to visit sites with adult content

Have you ever been on a long road trip with your children? Then you will agree: It’s great to have something to entertain your children, to distract them from the boring drive. Today smartphones and tablets are a great source to keeping kids occupied for long periods of time, not only on the road. AVAST has found out that four out of five parents share their mobile devices with their kids. This is the result of a survey AVAST conducted amongst 1,500 parents in celebration of today’s International Children’s Day. Children are very tech-savvy and technology can be a great teaching tool, if kids use it appropriately. However, our survey results show that kids don’t always choose the most kid friendly apps and activities while using their parents’ devices.

11 to 15 year olds seem to be the most curious – and most at risk

Many kids do mischievous things once they get their hands on their parents’ devices, however our survey has shown that 11 to 15 year olds are most likely to use smartphones and tablets for risky activities. It’s not surprising that anything inappropriate is interesting to kids; 32% of parents admitted that their child has accessed adult content using their mobile device. More than half of these kids were between the ages of 11 and 15 years old. The risk here is not only the child getting in contact with adult content, but the whole device and other family members are at risk as well: Mobile sites and ads including adult content often lead to phishing sites or sites including malware that is downloaded with the tap of a finger.

Sending messages in their parents’ name, behind their parents’ backs also seems to be a fun thing for kids to do, with 19% of parents claiming their child has hit the send button. Again, the sneakiest age group is 11 to 15 years old, 45% of messages were sent by them. If children send text or social media messages in their parents’ name, this can lead to embarrassing situations – or cause real damage, e.g. if a child sends an email from their parents’ business email address. 

In addition to this, 7% of kids accessed apps that contained banking or credit card information and 6% used their parents’ device to make purchases without their parents’ knowledge. Once again the age group 11 to 15 years was the one caught red-handed the most – 44% of the 7% of kids that accessed apps containing banking and credit card information and 52% of the 6% of kids that made purchases were 11 to 15 years old.

Many children and teenagers have their own devices

AVAST asked the 20% of parents who don’t share their devices with their kids, why they choose not to do so. Of these, 38% said their kids have their own devices, 40% think their kids are too young (between the ages of 0 to 10 years old), and 22% don’t trust their kids. Out of the 22% that said they don’t trust their kids with their devices, 11 to 15 years old was the most mistrusted age group. Despite this, of the 38% parents that said their kids have their own devices, 48% are between the ages of 11 and 15. Based on what parents caught their 11 to 15 years doing with their mobile devices, can you imagine what these kids may be doing if they have their own device?

Safety tips for kids using mobile devices

Be aware of the sites your children are visiting. The Internet contains everything from cute cats to adult films – do you know which your kids are accessing? Talk to your kids, let them know that not everything online is necessarily safe and keep an eye on what they’re doing online. Also, often apps and ads with adult content can link to malicious sites– so make sure your device is safe. Install an antivirus app like avast! Mobile Security on your phone to protect you and your family.

Lock apps that can make purchases. Any apps containing banking information or that have credit card information saved to make purchases should be password protected, whether your child has their own mobile device or borrows yours. App stores such as Google Play and iTunes make it easy to purchase apps, all you have to do is type in your account password. Even if you don’t think your child knows the password, make sure you add a second layer of protection by password-locking certain apps.

Talk to them about messaging apps. In one of our recent blog posts we discussed the importance of talking to your kids about cybersecurity, especially when it comes to messaging apps and social media. Whether they are borrowing your phone or using their own device, talk to your kids about what information they should share, who they should talk to online and how they should be talking to others.

Talk to them about the value of money. Kids may not realize that the things they order or download online cost actual money. The fact that they can’t visualize online transactions makes it seem like the things they are ordering online must be free! Come up with an agreement, either allow your kids to make purchases online if they consult with you first, or if in the instances of apps, they are free. You could even give your kids app store gift cards as their allowance.

Infographic: Here's what kids are doing with your smartphone

May 28th, 2014

10 reasons why you should join the AVAST team!

AVAST Software is a global leader in the security field. With nearly 220 million activly protected devices and its users we can call ourselves the most trusted antivirus company in the world, especially since 60% of our users install avast based on recommendation. This is already a solid reason to join the AVAST team, but is that all that AVAST is about? No!

 

1. AVAST has the X-factor. Voted Czech Republic’s Best Employer

If you are talented and creative and want to show it off, AVAST is the place for you! Become one of our code masters, product ninjas, customer care gurus, ecom commandos, marketing geniuses or  an indispensable!

our ninjas
2. Location matters!

AVAST is headquartered in Prague, one of TripAdvisor’s Top 5 Cities in the world for 2014. With the largest castle in the world and historic gothic churches, as well as a lively music scene complemented by top-tier restaurants, Prague is a city that has learned to dance easily between the ancient and modern. Not mention, the cheapest beverage you can get in the Czech Republic isn’t a tap water, its legendary Czech beer! :) 

Prague

3.  Size matters!

The AVAST team is the perfect size with approximately 400 people. We are not a large, anonymous corporation! There is a great chance you will meet new friends and perhaps even your soul mate ;). Amongst our employees 20% are women and we speak more than 40 languages, including everything from Chinese and Japanese to Arabic and Hebrew. We have 30 different nationalities on our team!

4. Your place to grow!

You will get a chance to develop professionally in many fields. Our experts visit and speak at prestiges conferences and trainings, we even offer Czech languages courses!

Read more…

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May 26th, 2014

AVAST forum offline due to attack

The AVAST forum is currently offline and will remain so for a brief period. It was hacked over this past weekend and user nicknames, user names, email addresses and hashed (one-way encrypted) passwords were compromised. Even though the passwords were hashed, it could be possible for a sophisticated thief to derive many of the passwords. If you use the same password and user names to log into any other sites, please change those passwords immediately. Once our forum is back online, all users will be required to set new passwords as the compromised passwords will no longer work.

This issue only affects our community-support forum. Less than 0.2% of our 200 million users were affected. No payment, license, or financial systems or other data was compromised.

We are now rebuilding the forum and moving it to a different software platform. When it returns, it will be faster and more secure. This forum for many years has been hosted on a third-party software platform and how the attacker breached the forum is not yet known. However, we do believe that the attack just occurred and we detected it essentially immediately.

We realize that it is serious to have these usernames stolen and regret the concern and inconvenience it causes you. However, this is an isolated third-party system and your sensitive data remains secure.

Sincerely,

Vince Steckler

CEO AVAST Software

May 21st, 2014

Heartbleed: Almost Everyone Plans to Protect Themselves, but Less than Half of People Actually Have

Have you heard about Heartbleed? Yes? Then you belong to a minority. Following the Heartbleed threat, the bug that took advantage of a vulnerability in OpenSSL, AVAST conducted an online survey with 268,000 respondents worldwide and found that three out of four people were not aware of the the Heartbleed threat, which affected millions of sites and mobile apps.

AVAST then explained Heartbleed to these respondents. When asked if they would change their passwords after checking which sites were affected, nine out of ten said they would take action. This high number is interesting from a psychological standpoint as it shows how people think when initially confronted with a threat. People immediately plan on taking the appropriate measures to protect themselves against future threats, but how many actually follow through with their plans? In reality, less than half of people follow through with their security plans: Only 40% of the respondents who were aware of Heartbleed said they had actually changed their passwords. This number closely matches Pew’s Heartbleed report which found that 39% of Internet users have changed their passwords or canceled accounts.

Heartbleed, free antivirus, password, security

“This kind of thing never affects me”

Many respondents, both those aware and unaware of the threat, said they don’t want to change their passwords because they don’t believe their accounts have been compromised. This makes one wonder if the 41% of respondents who were aware of the threat, but don’t believe they have been affected, either think the media has exaggerated the issue – or if they have a “this kind of thing never affects me” attitude. One in ten respondents believes that the next security breach will happen soon and they therefore don’t see the point in changing their passwords. This laissez-faire attitude could be caused by the fact that many have not seen concrete repercussions of the threat or have not yet been directly notified of the threat by the platforms they use. One of the most concerning facts revealed by the survey is that many people lack the know-how to protect themselves. One in ten respondents hasn’t changed their passwords because they don’t know how to change them. 

Furthermore, almost half of both respondents, aware and unaware of the threat, said they would change their passwords once the affected platforms have implemented patches and informed them of the changes.

Passwords are like keys that protect our sensitive data online, just as locks protect the precious objects in our homes. It is recommendable to stay away from affected sites that have not yet issued patches. Once sites have implemented the necessary fixes, passwords should be changed and strengthened with the same manner of urgency as you would change the locks on your home if you were to lose your keys or if your key were to get stolen.

Use a password manager to protect all of your accounts with ironclad passwords 

Changing and memorizing new passwords over and over again isn’t easy, especially since passwords should consist of at least eight characters – or according to latest recommendations even sixteen or more. They should include a mix of letters, numbers and symbols.

A password manager like our avast! EasyPass helps encrypt and protect personal information online. avast! EasyPass creates strong, random passwords of up to 512 characters and secures your information via military-grade encryption, making password management simple and secure. avast! EasyPass is currently available at a discounted price of  $9.99 a year.

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.

April 10th, 2014

Behind the CARO conference’s curtains: Meet AVAST speakers!

For seven years, the CARO Workshop has been hosted in Europe. It is an outstanding technical meeting, attended by some of the best malware researchers in the world. In 2014, the CARO workshop comes to America. ~CARO’s conference official website

We are proud and happy to introduce you to our AVAST speakers and Security Experts from the Virus Lab. Peter Kálnai and Filip Chytrý are going to CARO’s (Computer Antivirus Research Organization) workshop to“Declare war against Android Malware.” We sat together and talked about their presentation, mobile malware, and general trends in the security industry.

Meet our security experts: Peter and Filip.

 

The theme for this year’s CARO conference is Mobile Space: Malware in a mobile world. As security experts, what changes and specific trends in malware development have you observed?

FILIP Well, this may sound cliché,  but the amount of mobile threats are rising and more sophisticated attacks appear every day. A few years ago, we would observe mostly primitive malware with only one or two capabilities such as to send paid SMS or track your movements. Now, however we have malware that can root your phone and became a device administrator, or command and control Apps which take control of your device by attackers. That’s why I believe we can stay tuned for more conferences concentrated on Android malware.  CARO is first, but hopefully not the last, conference focused on Android and mobile threats.

PETER I can’t recollect a different example, but this year’s CARO Workshop seems to be the first IT security conference completely devoted to mobile malware. The topic of our talk reflects trends in the Android threat landscape. Security experts nowadays observe an increased ratio of total malicious Android packages to unique malware families. Two particular cases appear most: The expansion of usage of Android packers and repackaging benign application with malicious code, so called piggybacking. Read more…

April 8th, 2014

[2014] April Fools’ Day joke in AVAST – prank for COO and CTO

We prepared a special office equipment for our COO and CTO this year on 1st April. They didn’t expect that we were able to prepare better prank than last year. This year the prank consisted of several stages

  1. office moved to a new location
  2. office filled up with balloons
  3. hints of new office location hidden in different locations in AVAST’s offices

 

The whole preparation took a lot of hours. But the final state of the offices was worth it…

DSCN7248

img_7557

Ondrej Vlcek’s (COO) office

Read more…

Categories: General, Uncategorized Tags:
March 20th, 2014

The first eco-friendly email virus?

A few minutes ago, I noticed a new infected email landing in my inbox. The body of the email said:

Please find Attached Invoice payment format of Marina private ltd.

Thanks
Marina.A.Beg

Marina Private Limited
Plot No. 544-J, Pace City - II
Sector - 37, Gurgaon - 122 004
Haryana - Bharat

That’s pretty normal / boring stuff — and so was the attached ZIP file, which contained a run-of-the-mill sample of a well-known virus family.

However, what grabbed my attention was the footer of the email, which said:

Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
March 18th, 2014

Cyber-hijack unlikely cause of missing Malaysian jetliner

missing_malaysia_airlines_flight-465126An unknown hacker taking control of a plane using an Android phone’s screen sounds like a frightening, but fictional, scenario from the next international spy movie. But, it’s one of many theories being bandied about to explain what happened to missing Malaysian Airways Flight MH370.

This theory, advanced by a British anti-terror expert on Sunday, says that hackers can get into the main computer network of the plane through the inflight, onboard entertainment system. Ondrej Vlcek, Chief Operating Officer at AVAST, believes this theory is highly unlikely.

“The theory is extremely wild and unlikely,” said Vlcek. “The entertainment systems on most airline carriers are relatively old and independent from the main computer systems of the aircraft such as position, temperature, etc. There is no feedback communication from the entertainment system to the main computer. It is basically only one-way information for passengers.”

Long before the mystery of Flight MH370, we shared a different rogue-hacker-with-Android-scenario. It was based on a presentation given at The Hack In The Box security conference in April 2013 called ‘Aircraft Hacking: Practical Aero Series’ by Hugo Teso.  Using PC simulation software, Teso was able to manipulate the steering of a Boeing jet in ‘autopilot’ mode, and said he could make oxygen masks drop down, and even cause the plane to crash by setting it on a collision course with another plane, stated a Forbes’ article about the presentation.

After reviewing the results of his tests, aviation safety groups disputed the findings saying, “The described technique cannot engage or control the aircraft’s autopilot system using the FMS or prevent a pilot from overriding the autopilot. Therefore, a hacker cannot obtain “full control of an aircraft” as the technology consultant has claimed.”

For an up-to-date list of all the theories – from the realistic to the really wild – about what has happened to the plane, please see The Telegraph, Malaysian Airlines MH370: live.

Photo source: Express

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 13th, 2014

AVAST Referral Campaign brings 145,000 new members to the community

More than 20,000 people entered our Referral Program last month, giving us a lot of entries to go through and a lot of data to tally. In the end, our grand prize winner came from Brazil, bringing in the largest share of the more than 145,000 new people who joined the AVAST community as a result of your efforts.

We also had winners from Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, the U.S.A, and Vietnam. All of these winners have been notified by email, so please make sure that any messages from AVAST are not in your Junk, Spam, or Bulk mail folder.

We created this infographic to show the impact of the program worldwide. As you can see there were a large number of participants, consequently we are still evaluating the creative entries. Part of the challenge involves translations of more than two dozen languages so that the judges can evaluate each entry fairly. We will be posting those winners as soon as we can.

 winners

While the contest is over and the ruling of the judges is final, anybody can still win free Internet Security licenses for recommending AVAST to your friends. Remember that every time anybody joins the AVAST community, it helps all of us by increasing our network of malware sensors.

Congratulations to all of the winners. We wish we could have declared everybody who entered a winner, but that’s not really practical. So we offer a hearty thank you to everybody who participated. AVAST is grateful for all of your support.

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.