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.
CEO AVAST Software
The AVAST forum is one of our largest and most active communities, with more than 300,000 users. The most active people on the forum are called Evangelists. They spend a great deal of their free time answering user questions and helping to sort out issues of all kinds. You can meet them on the AVAST forum, where you can get assistance and support any time.
Because of the Evangelists’ extensive experience and knowledge, we asked them to share their top tips on maintaining a secure computer or device. Here are their main tips:
- Keep Windows and all other programs up-to-date (especially browsers and avast! Antivirus) and use only official sites for updating. For more convenience, you can use the avast! Software Updater feature to do it. Avoid P2P, cracks, patches and pirated software. On Android, use Google Play as the app source.
- Don’t be a happy clicker, especially on social media sites and while installing programs. Always install programs via the custom mode and read the screens before clicking next. If something looks fishy, it probably is.
- Take care about the sites you visit, knowing that legitimate websites can also be hacked. Use avast! SafeZone for web browsing whenever possible, especially while using online banking. AVAST also provides a full isolated environment called avast! Sandbox.
- Use different and strong passwords: Numbers, upper and lower case letters, symbols, etc. avast! EasyPass could help you manage this.
- Keep your anti-malware protection always on, for instance, while gaming and installing programs. Community games are usually safer than the supposed official games you find online. Take extra care – or avoid completely – free public cheats for multiplayer games, especially downloaded from third party URLs.
- Be alert for social engineering scams and emails. Do not open attachments from an unknown sender. Remember that not everyone is really your friend. Always use common sense.
- Have backup strategies: When, what, local and remote. Remember: Better safe than sorry. AVAST offers an online backup solution too.
- Use a firewall that manages the access of applications to the internet. Take care on open WiFi hotspots. At home, be sure to use strong WiFi passwords.
Special thanks to our AVAST forum members who have contributed these tips: Bob, Charyb, Essexboy, Omid, George Yves, Iroc, Donovan, Polonus, Ylap, Mac, Para-Noid, Coolmario, Dwarden and Jeffce. If you ever have a question, please log on to the AVAST forum and ask. Our forum evangelists are happy to assist you.
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, Google+ and Instagram.
Maybe you noticed that we have launched an avast! manufacturer’s forum on CNET.com. Please note that it is not intended to replace our long-standing avast! Forum (forum.avast.com), which will continue to be our main forum. Nonetheless, there is a huge community around CNET.com/download.com, of which many within the community are already avast! users. We are doing our best to be closer to our community and to help in the several main places they go for help. CNET members can find the CNET avast forum at http://forums.cnet.com/avast-forum
Known as “CharleyO” on the avast! Forum, Charles O. Prince is one of the 15 most-active avast! Forum members, with more than 6,500 posts since he joined in early 2004. Like his fellow forum members Bob Gostischa (“bob3160”) and Lisandro Souza (“Tech”), as well as many others, Charley helps avast! users around the world with their technical questions. In lieu of my traditional “5 Questions with [person]” interview format, I decided to let Charley paint for us a bigger picture as to how he came to be such an avid supporter of avast! over the years – followed by only 3 questions this time. I think you’ll find his personal IT history fascinating. – Jason Mashak
From the time I started at AVAST Software, I began hearing the name “Bob” a lot, but never saw the guy, and his handle on the avast! Forum – “bob3160″ – sounded to me like some new industry buzz word, a new kind of machine that would change the way we all live. When I finally asked someone about “Bob,” I was shocked. “He’s one of our biggest fans on the user forum, and he helps us with a lot of stuff in the US.” Bob ranks third on the avast! Forum in terms of post count, with over 15,000 as of this writing (about 4,000 posts ahead of our CTO, Ondrej Vlcek). I began to laugh that the ‘avast! secret weapon’ might be a retiree in the southwestern desert of the USA.
Early in 2011, Bob and some other avast! Forum “Evangelists” came to visit us in Prague, and I think we were all affected in some way by his positive demeanor, charismatic personality, warm heart, and sincerity. It made me think that, yes, it’s “bob3160″ and others like him who are indeed the avast! secret weapons. It was an honor to interview Bob, and we hope he returns soon to visit us in Prague. – Jason Mashak
1. How long have you been using avast! antivirus solutions and how influential would you say avast! Forum members have been in their development?
I first discovered avast! in 2003 while looking for a replacement for Norton, which at that time was using my computer more than I was.
After testing quite a few alternatives, I finally settled on avast! since the protection it offered was excellent and it wasn’t a system hog like the others.
It actually allowed me to gain access to my computer again, something I really had not enjoyed for some time.
2. In terms of innovative practices, can you think of any other product or service that has such a feeling of ‘community’ and user-co-development as that fostered by AVAST?
I honestly can’t – and I do belong to several other forums, even though my involvement with the other forums I frequent isn’t the same as it is with the Avast forum. I consider the Avast Forum my home away from home. Read more…
In recent years, the need for a Community Manager has become essential, especially when your entire business operates online and your ‘community’ is a global one. Julia was an excellent choice for this position at AVAST, as her experiences both as a traveler and living as a foreigner have given her insight into the myriad ways communications take shape. I’ve worked closely with her on various projects, and she has a natural ability to empathize with community concerns, promote community interests, and ensure that the avast! Community stays in focus (in the light of our overall company direction). –Jason Mashak
1. I recall that one of our first conversations was about your studies of literature and languages, and so I’m curious how a background in humanities helps you in your current role as Community Manager for AVAST?
The fact that I manage to communicate in several languages helps a lot. But, frankly, I would need to learn at least another 8 languages to be able to cover typical daily communications, as the community of our fans is very multilingual. The first thing that came to mind after reading this question was the “KIS rule”: KEEP IT SIMPLE. Twitter limits you to 140 characters and Facebook to 420, so you’re forced you to follow that rule. It confirms what I already suspected attending university: make your text as simple as possible.
2. What challenges do you encounter in terms of interacting with the avast! Community via Facebook, Twitter, etc.? Read more…
From the time I started working at AVAST, I kept hearing about our avast! Forum “Evangelists” – Community members who have helped us greatly over the years by providing tech support to other users, product feedback (including ideas for improvements), and more. In short, they have been the true heartbeat of AVAST ever since the avast! Forum went LIVE in 2002. As of March, 2011, the top forum evangelist, with almost 55,000 (55 THOUSAND!!!) forum posts, is the Brazil-based user known as “Tech” – known to his family and friends as Lisandro Souza. I was especially interested in interviewing him, as was interested primarily in his motivation for helping AVAST over the years. –Jason Mashak
1. For avast! users who have never visited the avast! Forum, considering that it’s not only a tech-support community, how would you summarize the full range of activity that happens there?
It’s a true Community. We share knowledge, dreams, friendship, professional and leisure readings and thoughts. It’s a very open-minded place, no fanboyism, freedom. There is room for techies and non-techies. You can learn. You can share. You can help and receive help. You can interact with the developers and “interfere” in the future of it in some cases: you really participate. You can rest with some threads about technology and non-avast related. Although, some of us miss the Off Topic forum (sorry Pavel, couldn’t resist…). If you never being in a forum, come, feel the atmosphere!
2. What have been some of the most fulfilling moments for you as an avast! Forum member?
The first troubleshooting with “Vlk” [Ondrej Vlcek, CTO] and Jindrich Kubec [Virus Lab Director]: the professionalism and warm reception caught me! Read more…
We have noticed that many people are posting technical or sales questions as blog comments. While we really want to help everyone, it is difficult to do it through the blog. So please, if you have questions about the product or sales, you can get much quicker and better assistance through our support center and forums.
- support.avast.com - the support page should be your first stop with any avast! questions. It contains already prepared answers to the most commonly asked questions: how to install avast!, inserting the license key, and combining avast! with other security programs. The support page is the place to register and submit tickets directly to us for your technical and licensing issues.
- forum.avast.com - avast! support forum is the place where you can find more detailed information about avast! and discuss your issues with developers and other avast! users. This is the place for information about virus removal, infected scripts in websites and features in the new 5.0.