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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…

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Ondrej Vlcek’s (COO) office

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Pavel Kucera’s office


Movement of offices :

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Preparing balloon decoration :

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Preparing path to new office location, and hints :

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 Our founder’s car – hint on right wheel

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Final hint in 12th floor – founders tower

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Cards to the new offices – flying under ceiling on 12th floor


Morning April 1st – Ondrej open the door

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Path to the new office isn’t easy :

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Ondrej – Solving a cypher to find the first hint

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Pavel – Solving a cypher to find the first hint

To make the story complete – Ondrej and Pavel found their office. They solved the puzzle, followed hints, shot down card and enjoyed a day in new location. Their offices are back in origin location again. Nobody was harmed during whole event…


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Prank crew in moved “joined” offices

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…

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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.

 

February 9th, 2014

You’ve Got Mail!

We email, chat, Tweet, Facebook , and IM to simply communicate in a digital world with other people. Our communication is speeding up and we use more channels to receive information we are looking for. And there is nothing wrong with it, as the Internet helps us to communicate faster, cheaper and obviously more efficiently. However, isn’t it nice to receive a real postcard sent from holidays? Or come back from work and find a note “Stop by for a coffee, I got your email” left on our door from a neighbor?

Last week, at AVAST Software we have received a letter. No, no, this is not what you are thinking of. A real LETTER delivered by the postal service! A handwritten letter from 9-year old Polish boy, living in Ireland. Hubert send us not only greetings, but also a request for Virus Lab analysis! He made our day and his letter has been circulating around the company for the last few days.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here we go:

 

letter from hubert

 

Hubert, we have your address and these fun AVAST souvenirs will be sent to you! :)

 

present for Hubert

But, if you read this message meanwhile, please contact us at wannabesocial@avast.com and write us in English or Polish! I will be waiting for your email in a virtual world. :)

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 7th, 2014

AVAST expands into the USA (with a little help from our friends!)

CVC partnershipAVAST is gearing up to expand further into the US market. With nearly 14 million active avast! Antivirus users in the USA, some would call that a success, but we see it as an opportunity to protect American’s online lives and multiple devices in a bigger way. With the announcement of a new investment in the company from CVC Capital Partners, as well as a heightened awareness of the importance of security and privacy issues in everyday life,  we are energized to expand our global reach with an emphasis on the US and mobile security.

So why the renewed commitment to grow in the US?

“AVAST is the undisputed global leader in consumer PC antivirus and a pacesetter in mobile security – but we’re not yet number one in every market,” said Vince Steckler, CEO of AVAST. “CVC gives us the resources to become the number one PC security provider in the US and Asia, and the clear market leader in mobile security.”

CVC Capital Partners, ranked by Forbes as the 2nd best private equity firm in the world, has recently committed to a major investment in AVAST. The investment values AVAST at $1 billion and sends a strong message about their belief in the management team and our strategy going forward.

In a joint statement from AVAST and CVC, Lorne Somerville, Partner and Head of TMT at CVC Capital Partners, and Siddharth Patel, Managing Director, TMT, at CVC Capital Partners summed up the confidence the investors have saying, “AVAST’s focus on customer experience, best-in-class technology, and rapid growth in mobile set it apart from any other security software company. Furthermore, we firmly believe in its ability to offer more and more to its 200 million users, driven by the philosophy that its free products should be better than the paid products offered by others.”

AVAST antivirus products protect more than 200 million users in 40 languages. The extreme popularity of avast! Free Antivirus makes it the world’s most popular PC security software, guarding nearly 170 million PCs from malware. Our mobile anti-theft and antivirus product, avast! Mobile Security, has rapidly become one of the world’s most popular Android security products and protects nearly 40 million Android devices.

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 3rd, 2014

AVAST Privacy IQ quiz: answers

AVAST Privacy IQ Quiz has finished.  Before we will officially announce the winners, please check how you should answer and learn why!

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Do privacy policies guarantee that your information will be kept private?

Correct answer: No
A typical privacy policy includes information about the types of data the company collects and how it analyzes, discloses and stores the data; it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that your information will be kept private. Furthermore, companies can change their policy at any time – so what you initially agreed to may no longer be valid in the future.

Which of these are not recommended to share while using a public WiFi connection?

A. Your credit card

B. Your bank account information

C. Your social security number

D. All of the above

Correct answer:  All of the above
Get savvy about WiFi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine. For the maximum security, use new avast! SecureLine VPN for Android and iOS.

You really need to purchase a late birthday gift for your friend online but you are away on vacation. You have paid for a hotel public WiFi connection so your personal information will be secure. It’s ok to purchase a gift for your friend while using the hotel public WiFi.

Correct answer: False
Just because you purchase access to a public WiFi connection does not make it secure. Get savvy about WiFi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.

 What is the best way to use social networking sites?

A. Set the privacy and security settings to your personal comfort level for information sharing.

B. Avoid sharing compromising photos and information.

C. You don’t have to rely on default security settings every time

D. Option A and B


Correct answer: Option A and B 

Own your online presence. When available, set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s OK to limit how and with whom you share information.

Once I set my privacy settings on a product or service, I don’t need to set them again.

Correct answer: False
You need to check your privacy settings often. Updates for apps and software can change privacy preferences to a default setting.

 All mobile apps that ask you to enable geolocation services require location data to function.

Correct answer: False
Many apps do not need geolocation services enabled in order to provide the service. Make sure you decline or opt-out of the location service feature on your phone. Protect your personal information by learning more about an app before you download. Get insights about installed apps and understand your apps’ access rights and intentions with Privacy Report & Apps Manager when you use avast! Free Mobile Security for Android. Read more…

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January 31st, 2014

AVAST polls its U.S. community of users and more than 45,000 come through with their Sunday prediction

It’s cold in New Jersey but football fever is HOT with only two days before the Big Game and showdown between the two championship teams.

Who will win?

AVAST has joined in the football hysteria by leveraging its vast number of users across the U.S. to help us determine a winner.

Denver or Seattle?

We posed this question early in the week and more than 45,000 people have since cast their vote.

The result?

Denver vs Seattle

“AVAST has built a large community of people based on its sharing our free and premium antivirus software products, so we turned to our users to help us predict a winner and our AVAST friends in the U.S. responded with gusto,” AVAST product manager, Martin Zima, said.

The result is consistent with current polling predictions which place Denver ahead of Seattle for a win on Sunday but not so consistent with picks from furry friends Teddy Bear and Eli who have made accurate choices in the past.

Denver has many formidable players, the spotlight of course on quarterback Peyton Manning. Richard Sherman has been the darling of Seattle and arguably the number one defensive player in the league.

Some say the outcome for Sunday will be down to the weather and which side best handles the inclement conditions.

Here at AVAST‘s headquarters in Prague, we know all about competing in the face of snow, sleet and rain.

AVAST wishes both teams good luck on Sunday, and we look forward to a great game.

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January 29th, 2014

AVAST team at FETC 2014 conference in Orlando.

While most of the AVAST team is located in freezing Prague, some of us are enjoying sunshine in Florida. The AVAST Free for Education team is excited to be attending FETC 2014 in Orlando, Florida for the first time! Check out the preparation progress and don’t forget to follow AVAST on Instagram and stop by at the Booth 356!

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AVAST Free for Education team is FREEking awesome!

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Getting ready: booth 356 already looks pretty!

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Why pay for Antivirus, if you can get one for free? Read more…

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