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December 16th, 2013

AVAR 2013, Chennai, India, trip report

For those of you who have seen this name for the first time, AVAR stands for Association of Anti-Virus Asia Researchers (http://www.aavar.org/avar2013/).
This year, the 16th AVAR conference was held in a beautiful city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu, a state in the southern part of India.

This year was particularly successful for Avast. Four researches presented their work in two 40-minutes  sessions. At first, Lukas Hasik (@lukashasik) and Petr Chytil (@chytil) from AVAST’s QA department presented their talk titled “Fast Data Delivery From Clouds – A Strong Weapon In The Anti-Virus Arms Race.” Their talk was a case study which showed to the conference attendees, how cooperation between three of AVAST’s departments – QA, cloud, Virus Lab – helped AVAST to accomplish implementation of the feature, which is nowadays a strong weapon against malware. Thanks to you, our community, Avast can deliver to our users new virus definitions shortly after they are generated.  Lukas and Petr talked about interesting information from all three departments and lessons learned from the implementation process. This talk showed us how communication and cooperation among different people and different departments is important. To find out more about this presentation, see the following link (http://prezi.com/aplz_phvlek_/fast-data-delivery-from-clouds-a-strong-weapon-in-the-anti-virus-arms-race/).

In AVAST’s second talk, Jaromir Horejsi (@JaromirHorejsi) and Jan Sirmer, malware researchers from AVAST’s Virus Lab, had a talk called “Korean Banks Under Pressure”, summarizing and extending the blogpost from March this year.

The Asian region shows not only a steady economic growth, but it becomes more and more important for many companies from various branches and  specializations. As for AVAST, the observed growth in cybercriminal activities is particularly important. Jaromir and Jan talked about  a malicious attack, which influenced thousands of South Korean online banking users in the first half of this year. They presented the entire infection chain from the initial hacked and infected website to the last step, where the victim gets harmed.

Both presentations were a great success and generated a lot of positive feedback.

Security conferences are not only about presenting papers, they are about sharing the ideas, making new friendships, and exploring new cultures. People from all over the world  meet together for a couple of days and have a great time together. Below we attach a few photos.

 

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avast! teddy bear enjoyed the conference

 

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 Lukas and Petr answering question after presentation

 

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Jan and Jaromir presenting about attack on Korean Banks

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Disclaimer: This report was written by Jaromir Horejsi before we left him in India. Jaromir is traveling around India for next month – let us know in the comments if you meet him…

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November 26th, 2013

How well do you know AVAST?

How well do you know AVAST?

avast! Antivirus protects you every day, but what do you know about the company, history, and people behind the most trusted antivirus in the world? To celebrate our 25th anniversary, we offer you a playful AVAST IQ quiz and the chance to win great prizes!

Here’s your chance to test your knowledge and win prizes :D

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How does it work?

  • Go to quiz application here
  • Like AVAST Facebook page
  • For 5 days we will publish 5 new questions. 5×5 = 25! for the AVAST anniversary :)
  • You must answer ALL of them.
  • Tell us why you recommend avast!
  • Win licenses and teddy bears!

Play every day, invite your friends, have fun, and win great prizes!

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: Social Media, Uncategorized Tags: , , ,
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November 22nd, 2013

AVAST is growing Movember moustaches

movember bearAvast Mo Bros have committed to grow a moustache for the 30 days of Movember* to make a difference and have fun. Why? Because we care! The moustache is our ribbon, the symbol by which we generate conversations, awareness and raise funds for men’s health. Avast Mo Sistas support us. If you do as well, show us your support.  Like or make a donation on our Movember page.

You can encourage us and also show your support by submitting your picture with a moustache across social media channels. Use the hashtag, #AVASTmovember! We will collect them and display in our Facebook photo gallery!

 

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Avast Mo Bros and Sistas support Movember

*Movember (a portmanteau word from moustache and “November”) is an annual, month-long event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer and other male cancers; and associated charities. ~ Wiki

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.

 

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October 31st, 2013

Beware what you share

I have Social Disease. I have to go out every night. If I stay home one night I start spreading rumors to my dogs. ~ Andy Warhol

Party time is here. It starts with Halloween and continues with different occasions such as St. Nicolas Day, Christmas parties, New Years Eve and on through the huge fiesta of Carnival. We all love to get together, celebrate with our families, friends,  have fun and to… SHARE with our friends on social networks. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as you are aware of the consequences and share wisely.

Let’s face it, we are not all PR specialists. Social networks however, are our private PR zone. Imagine that your Facebook profile is a cover of a huge magazine like Time or People. Sounds silly? Well, not really. Given the fact, that our profiles are exposed to the public, and often checked by our potential or current employers, it is very important to take into consideration what kind of content we share.

Once you are at the Halloween (or any other) party, consider switching off your internet access. Have fun enjoy yourself, but wait until posting anything to the  next day. Under the light of day (and post-hangover) your picture might look different than you anticipated. :)

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The golden social media rule says: Everything you post on Social Media can and will be used against you! :) So if it is something you wouldn’t like to see on tomorrow’s New York Times cover, DON`T post it!

Read more…

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October 23rd, 2013

No pleasure from this adult app – only pain

A few weeks ago, I discovered and Julia warned you about a fake AVAST application which was infecting smartphones. It was hidden behind adult apps and was pretty nasty. Here is some detailed information about it.

First of all, if you look for adult applications (also known as pleasure applications J ), you can find tons of them.  Some apps, especially those offered on unofficial markets, are infected by malware;  in the case of the fake AVAST app, it was ransomware. The same scenario commonly plays out – after installation when you play the application for the first time, you get infected and blocked from using your phone.  The app asks for money to unblock you phone. That’s typical ransomware behavior.

The clues are easy to spot

You are looking for a adult application and run across something called AVASTME.NOW.  What the hell is going on here, you might think? The fact that an adult app is named after the world’s most trusted antivirus might be your first clue that something is wrong. But you install the app, even though it’s a pretty weird name for an app designed for adults. Luckily, after the installation you get an icon on your device called Porn Hub, so you start to feel satisfied you actually got what you were looking for. So let’s play it!

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But this satisfied feeling does not stay forever. After the first few clicks, the application announces your phone must be checked for viruses. That‘s the second big clue that something might be wrong. Normal applications do not check your phone for viruses.  But you don‘t have any choice, so you continue. That’s when you see a fake avast! Mobile Security interface which is almost identical to the original.

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Here comes a third clue for sharp-eyed users: All the detections you see on the screen use a different format than AVAST. But it‘s already too late to stop the app. In the next step, you are asked to pay $100 to clean up your phone.  And your device is locked.

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Sloppy, but effective

This ransomware is easily packed, and it’s apparent that the creators tried to do it as quickly as possible. Strings of detections don‘t have any kind of background, and it appears that it used randomly generated names from multiple antiviruses, as you see in the screenshot  below. They were even too lazy to clean up unnecessary icons from the package, so you can find a picture of a cat in it (maybe it‘s the unhappy cat of some of the creators? :)) Even though the app was sloppily done, the cybercrooks were successful and earned/stole large sums of money.

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This is just one example of the many applications out there waiting to steal money from you. It doesn’t have to be for adults only; basically any application might be misused against you. That‘s why everyone should be a careful and download applications only from trusted sources.  Because malware like this is increasing, it especially prudent to use some kind of antivirus protection.  We suggest (the authentic) avast! Mobile Security, available from the Google Play store. It’s free! You never know when you will get something like this, so install it today on your Android device.

SHA:
0768724FFD5B78F1F510E5C5C87181534E61A35D04BFCD29946D9DBB305BF275
F9D4CE9174F1A57C3D335E467A5079BF3CA87F00EB6B996B8EAF21E0D6F54BDD

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+.

 

Categories: Android corner, Uncategorized, Virus Lab Tags:
October 22nd, 2013

AVAST team gets together to work and to celebrate!

The release last week of the new #avast2014 became a great opportunity to get our global team together.  Members of the Social Media and Communication team met in the HQ of AVAST Software in beautiful Prague. Our team normally works remotely and its members are spread in different countries: Czech Republic, USA, Spain, and Germany. Finally, we all met at once, to work together, exchange ideas, and to celebrate.

Preparation for the release, coordinating communication, and organizing the international press conference as well as coordinating social media activities was our major focus. It was hard work but we found time to be together sight seeing in Prague.  It was a great way to get to know each other better and simply have fun.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so check it out. Also, see the gallery of pictures on our avast! Facebook page.

The Social Media team concentrated hard on tweeting from the press conference. Live stream #avast2014!

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AVAST’s Social Media A-team: Albert, Anna, (A-)Deborah and (A-)Julia

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We had many occasions to celebrate: The new #avast2014, the 25th anniversary of AVAST Software, as well as nearly reaching 200 million users of our products. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
October 14th, 2013

We are looking for a French Social Media agent

Part time job available for a Social Media Community Manager

In March 2013, we started “hunting” for social media agents. :) A few months later we have our A-social media team of six specialists, covering the following languages: English, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Polish, German, and Czech. We are however still missing the “Inspector Clouseau” who could help us to grow, engage, and communicate with our French speaking community across social media channels.

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Your profile:

Do you blog, comment, respond, post, chat, like, re-tweet, add to circles, pin…? Do you monitor what’s hot on social media in your language? Do you have 2 hours a day that you can fully dedicate to AVAST social media? Can you be the eyes and ears of AVAST in your country as if your own reputation depended on it?

We seek a highly motivated individual with experience and fanatical passion for blogging, micro-blogging, and community participation to simply communicate with AVAST followers in your mother tongue. You will help us approach new users in your country, so we can spread avast! Free Antivirus across the globe!

This is a part time position – at least 10 hours a week

That will not happen to you :)

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Read more…

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October 4th, 2013

What’s hot on VB2013? – Day 3

Today is unfortunately the last day of the Virus Bulletin 2013 conference, but it has definitely been memorable. Last night, a gala dinner was held that went on into the wee morning hours. During the dinner there was a classic performance from a dancing cabaret group and a delicious meal was served. And as continuing the tradition for VB conferences, after dinner all the participants moved to our avast! Beer Bar and attempt getting their results to a higher level.

Today’s speaking line-up was concentrated on sophisticated malware on the Windows platform, online threats, and botnets. The afternoon panel discussion was moderated by Pedram Amini, our new AVAST colleague who joined the team a few weeks ago with the acquisition of Jumpshot. The discussion was about cyberwar and what we as a security industry can do about it.

Finally, the most important information: In the first blog chronicling this event, we mentioned the 7th IT Security Table Football World Championship. I asked you to wish us luck, and now I thank you for that! It definitely helped us a lot! And here are the final results!

1. Gdata – Germany

2. Avast – Czech republic

3. Microsoft – USA

Hurray, we came in second! From such a big competition, it’s a great success for the avast! Virus Lab team, and one that we hope our colleagues (and our boss) will appreciate. For example, by buying a new football table for our office! To be ready to reclaim the AVAST honor at VB2014, we need to increase our practice time! (Next year, Gdata. Next 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+.

 

Categories: General, Marketing, Uncategorized, Virus Lab Tags:
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October 4th, 2013

What’s hot on VB2013? – Day 2

We had a second day of VB 2013, and today can definitely be classified as an Android day. Most of the presentations from first three blocks were concentrated on Android threats, potential unwanted applications and Adkits. This gave a strong signal that everyone should take Android security very seriously. Every big antivirus vendor has their own Android security applications, but a main point for me personally was that we should cooperate and share information to fight malware effectively.

In the last presentation block of the day, there were two presenters: First was Milos Korenko with his presentation The Best Things in Life are Free.  I have to admit that listening to Milos is really inspiring. His high level public speaking abilities combined with the fact that he was speaking about such a good company as Avast made it one of the best presentations of the day.

During Miloš’ speech there were two hidden surprises. First, we announced the winners of the beer competition from Virus Bulletin 2012 held in Dallas. The top three from VB2012 are:

1. Dmitry (McAfee)

2. Jiri Bracek (AVG)

3. Roman Kovac (ESET)

The second surprise was from my colleagues in the avast! Virus Lab,  Jaromir Horejsi and Peter Kalnai. Milos finished his speech quite quickly so he could share his free time with our analysts. They presented Are Linux desktop systems threatened by Trojans? Their talk, based on a blog post Hand Of Thief threat, published at the end of August, extended some philosophical thoughts about a real potential for Linux Desktops.

The avast! Beer Bar is open again! On the first day of VB2013, we spent an evening socializing with other colleagues. You can check our website for the beer rankings and see which IT security company has the best score.

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+.

 

October 3rd, 2013

VB 2013 has began!

Virus Bulletin 2013 just started today and our company is participating in many ways! This conference is one of the biggest IT security conferences in the world which well known security companies can’t miss. And we are really proud to be there with more than 370  specialist from the security industry. We are a platinum sponsor, we have a few speakers here – but mainly we are the PROUD BEER SPONSORS for all participants.

Here is a quick review of the first day which was a pretty busy one! During the morning the conference started with a welcome speech from Virus Bulletin editor Helen Martin, and then the technical and corporate streams, represented by many speakers, began. We have one speaker from our company here today. It was Jindřich Kubec, with Eric Romang, presenting “Big bang theory of CVE-2012-4792” – a very successful presentation indeed. The main subject was forensics & detective model that describes the early development of the watering hole campaign which was mostly active from Dec. 2012 to Jan. 2013, targeting prominently energy industries, governments, non profit organizations and human rights websites. After the initial targeted attack, the vulnerability cooled sufficiently to allow its integration in different confidential or public exploit kits. They also dug into the past and showed that there had clearly been a connection with the previous Sept. 2012 watering hole attacks on industrial websites, and also with watering hole attacks through Twitter in May 2012. The earliest phases of the vulnerability, like the Big Bang, are subject to much speculation. They tried to observe the most distant things that a security researcher can see. The timeline of the attacks, together with the disclosure, detection and publication dates were shown. The code structure and changes were also analyzed, including the binary payloads – e.g. remote access tools.

I should also mention that there is an international IT security table football championship. And so far we have been successful! In the morning we won the first match against Sophos 6:1, 6:2 and second against Norman 6:0, 6:0.  So cross your fingers and wish us luck for the next rounds.  Stay tuned, we will definitely share more information in the next two days!

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+.