Protecting over 200 million PCs, Macs, & Mobiles – more than any other antivirus

March 28th, 2014

How to watch American TV when traveling overseas

Question of the week: I don’t want to miss my team play basketball in the March Madness tournament, but I have to go on a business trip to Europe next week. How can I watch US TV when I am traveling overseas?

AVAST_March Madness

This is a great question. TV has never been better, so it’s hard to miss an episode of The Walking Dead or House of Cards when traveling. As for sports – OMG! when you’re team is doing great (Go Gators!), it’s not enough to just read about it online. For our friends outside the USA, March Madness, the annual NCAA college basketball tournament, is in full swing and fans are following closely (think the UEFA Champions League or World Cup.) College basketball fans eagerly follow as 64 teams progress through the rounds to the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, the Final Four, and at last, the championship game known as “The Big Dance.”

IMG-georestrictionsmWhen in the U.S., you can watch on CBS, TNT, TBS, and truTV, as well as live stream current games and replays through the NCAA March Madness Live web site and downloadable app for mobile devices. But when you’re out of the country, you often don’t have access because of geo-restricted content. You may have seen messages similar to this one from YouTube, that says, “This video is not available in your country.”

20140326_avast_secureline_securely connected via USUse a VPN service to access geo-restricted content

Many expats and travelers use a VPN service to access streaming services while living or traveling in foreign countries.  The VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows you to securely connect to a server of your choice, so that it acts as a “proxy” from a different location than where you are.

avast! SecureLine VPN is one of those services. If you are traveling in Europe, then select a server in the U.S. to access geo-restricted sites. When you log on to CBS, Netflix, Hulu, etc, the service will identify the server as coming from the correct location, and allow you to log on.

VPN adds security when using free WiFi

Another benefit of VPN when traveling is the security you get when using free WiFi at hotels and airports. The VPN creates a private ‘tunnel’ through the internet for your data to travel through, and everything – your web browsing history, your email, your IMs, your VOIP, everything –  inbound and outbound through the tunnel is encrypted. Even if your data is intercepted, your identity is protected, since the VPN masks your IP address. Read more about the security aspect in our previous blog, avast! SecureLine protects your Android or iPhone from cybercriminal surveillance.

How to get avast! SecureLine VPN

avast! SecureLine VPN is completely integrated into all of AVAST’s free and premium products and is available for Android and iOS devices and PCs.

avast! SecureLine VPN is available as a monthly or yearly subscription for Android on Google Play, PCs on the avast! website, and an annual subscription for iOS in the Apple App Store.

Ask a question

If you have a question about any of AVAST’s products, please send them to wannabesocial@avast.com. If we answer your question, we will send you an avast! Teddy Bear.

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 27th, 2014

How does avast! SafePrice work?

howto2_enQuestion of the week: I am a long time avast! Antivirus user. After a recent update, I was surprised to see something new called SafePrice. I can’t find any information on it. Please explain what it is (and also how to remove it.)

Thanks for asking. We have received some questions and comments regarding the new avast! SafePrice and its functions, so we’ll clarify what SafePrice does and how we protect your data.

SafePrice is a part of the avast! Online Security browser extension. The purpose of this feature is to help you find the best offers among participating trusted shops and to notify you about cheaper offers by displaying a small bar on the top of your browser. This ensures that you do business with trusted vendor sites, and save time by having better offers on products presented to you, rather than searching for them manually.

All personally identifiable information removed in real time

SafePrice communicates data with our server; specifically the products you are searching for, and the URLs of the shopping sites you visit. All personally identifiable information is stripped from this data in real time, as it comes into our servers, so that the data is completely anonymous. We then check for more favorable prices or coupons with our third party partner, Ciuvo. Ciuvo never receives any of our users’ personally identifiable information.

How can I deactivate SafePrice?

When SafePrice is initially installed, you are shown a welcome layer which explains SafePrice’s functions, including how to permanently deactivate it. If you don’t want to receive SafePrice recommendations, you can disable them directly in the settings of the avast! Online Security web browser protection plugin. In the browser plugin’s settings there is a menu where you can remove the check-mark next to SafePrice, permanently deactivating it.

Ask a question

If you have a question about any of AVAST’s products, please send them to wannabesocial@avast.com. If we answer your question, we will send you an avast! Teddy Bear.

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: How to Tags: ,
March 27th, 2014

Pretty women. Which one will infect you?

which_one_will_infect_you

Malware which opens pictures of attractive women to entice its victims has been around for some time. Last month there were more than usual, so I decided to research malware that pretends to be a regular picture, and the results are pretty interesting.

We looked for executable samples with two distinct characteristics: 1. .jpg in their name, and 2. no older than the last three months. About 6,000 unique files which matched this criteria were found. From these samples, we noticed that pretending to be an image is not a family specific criteria but we identified that Win32:Zbot is represented more than other malware e.g. MSIL:Bladabindi-EV, Win32:Banker-JXB,BV:Bicololo-CY, etc.

The important message is that most of these samples are distributed by scams which are sent by email or posted on social media sites. An example of an email scam is pictures below. If you are interested in what the social media scam looks like and how to protect yourself, you should read one of our previous blog posts.

scam_mails

Read more…

March 26th, 2014

Quality not quantity. Spammers you could do hell better than this

Spam_In any line of business – and I guess this is not only common sense but also part of any basic “marketing 101” class – you will learn that it’s important to know WHO your customers are.  So I’m surprised that in the spam-sending business the spammers haven’t figured that one out yet. And I mean it.  Their customer-understanding, user-insights and target-group-defining in general are just BAD.  In fact, it’s so bad that if they don’t get better fast they might just go out of business…

Read more…

Categories: Marketing Tags:
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 26th, 2014

Barack Obama … soon the last Blackberry user ?

Barack_ObamaIf you are a smartphone user and take pride in the phone brand you are using (yes, most users do…) you have for sure noticed the 5-day media frenzy over president Barack Obama’s alleged switching from Blackberry to Samsung… that was promptly denied by the White House and of course by Blackberry, as well. Here’s a taste of the newspaper stories…

 

Read more…

Categories: Marketing Tags:
March 25th, 2014

AVAST is the most known antivirus brand in the world. What does this mean for our business partners?

Over the years AVAST has gained an impressive number of users: Over 200 million worldwide.

How did AVAST grow into the most trusted security product provider in the world? 

We got there by launching a very successful freemium business model. We give a quality product, avast! Free Antivirus, away for free. Customers like it and recommend it to others. In addition to the free product, we offer paid-for consumer solutions and a business products line.

AVAST Software does not invest money into advertising; we are mostly growing via recommendations and huge social media communities.

The free product is great, but how do the paid-for products compare? av

We all know very well that when making a decision to buy a product, we would rather go for something which is known and our friends, family or colleagues recommend instead of getting something which we have never heard about and none can really refer to.

While making sales and offering products to customers, partners are often asked for testimonials. Recommendations provided by your existing, satisfied customers, are available but usually it is not enough! Especially in the IT and security sectors, it is crucial to show your customer proof provided by IT authorities and official comparatives results. Although AVAST is known as a provider of free software, at the same time, our products score top positions in many comparative tests. Read more…

Categories: SMB/Business Tags:
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.

IMG_20140324_131116

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

FCH_7529

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!” :)

IMG_4833-3139341175-O

 

First traditional meal: Read more…

Categories: General 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 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.