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Posts Tagged ‘Internet Explorer’
May 1st, 2014

Microsoft issues patch for Internet Explorer (and Windows XP too!)

Microsoft issues patch for Internet Explorer bugWe informed you a few days ago about a new vulnerability in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which allows attackers to execute code remotely, ultimately giving them full control over your PC. The vulnerability targets Internet Explorer versions 6 through 11. AVAST took immediate action and issued a new definition update which addresses this specific vulnerability and protects our users running Internet Explorer.

Today Microsoft announced that they would release a security update to address the issue affecting Internet Explorer.  Most customers have automatic updates enabled and will not need to take any action because protections will be downloaded and installed automatically. Microsoft advised those manually updating, to apply this update as quickly as possible, “now is the time,” wrote spokesperson Dustin Childs in the bulletin.

To enable Automatic Update, open the Control Panel, go to the Windows Update and click the “Check for Updates” button. Find detailed instructions here.

AVAST continues to support Windows XP users.In a surprise move, Microsoft also decided to issue a security update for Windows XP users. If you read this blog, you know that support was discontinued on April 8, and you are also aware that AVAST will continue to support Windows XP for home and business users.

This doesn’t mean that Windows XP support will start up again. In fact, Microsoft encourages “customers to migrate to a modern operating system.”  On a company blog today, an executive wrote about Windows XP, “… the reality is that the threats we face today from a security standpoint have really outpaced the ability to protect those customers using an operating system that dates back over a decade.”

There you have it. Straight from the horse’s mouth. We suggest you make the switch to Google Chrome.

Thank you for using avast! Antivirus and recommending us to your friends and family. For all the latest news and product information, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram. Business owners – check out our business products.

April 29th, 2014

Internet Explorer users: AVAST has got your back – for FREE

AVAST protects users running Internet Explorer.

Avast antivirus protects agains the Microsoft® Internet Explorer bug
Microsoft announced a new vulnerability in Internet Explorer, which allows attackers to execute code remotely, ultimately giving them full control over a PC. The vulnerability targets Internet Explorer versions 6 through 11 and was published under the name CVE-2014-1776. Out of all the Internet Explorer users, Windows XP users are most vulnerable as Microsoft recently stopped supporting the operating system and will therefore not issue any security patches, including one to fix this problem.

AVAST gave its word to Windows XP users that it would continue to protect them: AVAST has issued a new definition update which addresses this specific Internet Explorer vulnerability, protecting its users running Internet Explorer.

Windows XP users browsing on Internet Explorer in even more danger

On April 8, 2014, Microsoft ended its support for Windows XP, terminating automatic updates to the operating system, and even worse it will stop providing anti-malware signature updates as of next year. It’s remarkable that it has only been three weeks since the cut off and its users are already being confronted with a major security flaw, which will affect and put Windows XP Internet Explorer users at risk the most… Will this now make Windows XP users migrate?

Windows XP users: We promised we wouldn’t leave you hanging

Prior to the Windows XP support end date, AVAST committed to supporting Windows XP by creating protection modules and detections specifically designed to cover XP vulnerabilities and security problems for at least the next three years. Currently 45 million of our more than 200 million customers use Windows XP. Of those 45 million, more than 20% run Internet Explorer and our latest update 140428-1 covers them from the CVE-2014-1776 Internet Explorer vulnerability. Even with the update, we urge Windows XP users migrate from Internet Explorer to another browser. The latest version of Internet Explorer available on Windows XP is version 8, making it outdated and lacking a number of security improvements that were already unavailable before the official support end date. We recommend Google Chrome as an alternative to Internet Explorer, as it is fully compatible with Windows XP, updating itself automatically.

Explore the Internet with caution

Windows XP users aren’t the only ones at risk. We recommend users always use caution and think twice before opening any links. This particular flaw accesses deleted or misplaced objects in memory, thus corrupting the browser’s memory address space. This in turn gives attackers the opportunity to execute code remotely by hoaxing users via email or instant message to visit sites specifically designed to exploit the vulnerability. Once Internet Explorer users click on the malicious link, attackers can gain the same user rights as the person currently logged into Windows. This means if someone clicks on the link while logged into Windows in the administrator account, the attacker would have full administrative control over the PC and the data on it.

AVAST supports everyone

AVAST believes that everyone has the right to protection while using the Internet and therefore offers Windows and Mac users free antivirus. We are devoted to supporting all of our customers and do not believe in turning our backs on Windows XP users. All AVAST Antivirus users with virus definitions 140428-1 or newer are protected against the CVE-2014-1776 vulnerability.

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 21st, 2014

So you’re sticking to Windows XP? Here’s how to protect yourself.

It’s the end of Microsoft support, not the end of the world.

AVAST continues to protect Windows XP users.

Abandoned, rusting and full of holes.

For more than a year, Microsoft informed and reminded users to upgrade from Windows XP before their support expired. They warned users that they would be subject to “zero-day” threats forever more. But, even with all that, nearly 30 percent of internet-connected PCs continue to run Windows XP.

We asked our own users, and about 47 million of you stated that you are going to stay with your Windows XP operating system, despite the fact that Microsoft has pulled the plug on updates and support for the aging OS.

Alrighty, then. What now? How do you protect yourself against the coming threats?

Tips to keep yourself protected while still hanging on to Windows XP.

  • Buy a new computer as soon as you can. You can’t escape that one day that will be your only choice. So throw your left-over coins in a jar to start a new PC fund.
  • Clean up your old computer. If you want to keep the old laptop running as long as possible, then clean out the clutter and bloat that slowed it down over the years. avast! GrimeFighter is way cheaper than a new PC, and can breathe new life into your old one.
  • Upgrade the software that you have, but make sure it works with your system (remember, Windows XP is old, and software has moved on.) Make sure to apply any patches to the software you are using to avoid vulnerabilities. avast! Software Updater can help you with that.
  • Ditch Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and use a browser that offers the most advanced security and support. We suggest Google Chrome. They will continue supporting Windows XP until at least April 2015.
  • Use antivirus software and keep it updated. You don’t have to buy an expensive suite – avast! Free Antivirus works just fine, and we pledge to support Windows XP users for the next 3 years.
  • If you don’t need it, lose it.  Remove insecure software that you don’t use, like the Java browser plug-in.
  • Get offline or stay away as often as you can. If you’re disconnected from the network, the cybercrooks can’t find you. And you can be guaranteed they’ll be looking.

AVAST has got your back

AVAST’s COO, Ondrej Vlcek, explained about the dangers of staying with Windows XP in Another Data Breach Crisis Looms as Microsoft’s D-Day for XP Forces Security Scramble, but he also had some good news for users hanging on.

AVAST is devoted to protecting the PC ecosystem by not only supporting Windows XP for at least the next three years, but also by creating protection modules and detections specifically designed to cover Windows XP vulnerabilities and other security problems.

Tell other Windows XP users

Let you friends know that AVAST is protecting Windows XP. Lots of small business owners and people with older PCs and laptops are still running the OS. We can help keep them protected.

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 17th, 2014

Another Data Breach Crisis Looms as Microsoft’s D-Day for XP Forces Security Scramble

win-xp-infographicOpinion by Ondrej Vlcek, Chief Operations Officer at AVAST Software

The termination of security updates by Microsoft to Windows XP will create severe security issues. The already rather unsafe operating system will face even more risks with the missing security updates, but the question is: Should Windows XP users be the only ones worried?

Microsoft recently announced that technical support will no longer be available for Windows XP as of April 8, 2014, ending automatic updates for the operating system. Microsoft will also eventually stop providing anti-malware signature updates to XP users, in 2015. Abandoning Windows XP is a big mistake, especially since Microsoft has not been very successful in transitioning XP users to newer systems. The AVAST database shows that 23.6% of its more than 200 million users is still running Windows XP.

XP users more susceptible to attacks than Windows 7 users

The abandonment by Microsoft will not only affect Windows XP users, but will create a big security problem for the whole ecosystem. Tens of millions of PCs running XP connected to the Internet, unpatched and without security updates, are just waiting to be exploited. The vulnerable OS will be an easy target for hackers and be seen as a gateway to infect other non-XP operating systems. Our telemetry data shows that XP users are 6 times more likely to get attacked than Windows 7 users and once Microsoft stops issuing patches, this can worsen.

The next Target-like attack is brewing

Home users are not the only ones who will be affected by the Windows XP support cutoff, according to reports*, 95% of ATMs in the world still run on Windows XP. These ATMs along with businesses still using Windows XP on their PCs need to be updated, or at the very least seek alternative protection. Medical offices that store confidential patient information and stores that keep customer details, such as credit card numbers, on their computers running Windows XP could easily be attacked. The Target data breach last year was conducted through a trojan that attacked the shops’ point of sales system. If businesses don’t keep their systems safe, we will, unfortunately, see more of data breaches like this. The news of the XP support cutoff was published a year ago, which means that IT professionals should be well aware of the change and the consequences it will have. For those who haven’t taken action yet, the time is now.

AVAST is devoted to protecting the PC ecosystem by not only supporting Windows XP for at least the next three years, but also by creating protection modules and detections specifically designed to cover Windows XP vulnerabilities and other security problems. We have already taken additional steps in our latest product release, avast! 2014, by making the product lighter, both in terms of speed and resource consumption, tailoring it for older machines still running Windows XP. In addition to the security value, avast! 2014 is offered for free, which is especially important for XP users. Upgrading to a newer version of Windows comes with costs, costs that not everyone can afford and is probably a big reason why many users haven’t upgraded yet.

Another reason to ditch Internet Explorer

In addition to Windows XP itself being a security risk, Internet Explorer on Windows XP poses an even larger threat. The latest version of the browser available on Windows XP is version 8, making it outdated and lacking a number of security improvements available in its later versions. Of our existing Windows XP user database, 21.5% run Internet Explorer, leaving themselves open to easy attacks. Google Chrome is a good alternative and is fully compatible with Windows XP, updating itself automatically.

Windows XP users will not be the only ones affected by the end of updates by Microsoft and should not be the only ones worrying about the end date. Users still running Windows XP need to act both proactively and responsibly to ensure safety for not only their own data and PC, but for that of others as well.

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 15th, 2013

The Race to the Top (of the Software list)

Beat Opera graphPeople love lists. Lately, I’ve seen lists for 7 Ways to Look Younger, Worst Dressed at the Grammys,  and our favorite, Top 5 Facebook Software Pages.

Late last year, as the number of fans on our popular Facebook page increased, Julia, my fellow Queen of the avast! FREEks, and I noticed that we were quickly gaining on a very famous name in the software category. This software royalty has been around for decades. No matter what you think of it now, it’s a cornerstone of just about everyone’s internet experience, so we watched with astonished glee as our number of supporters and fans edged closer to their number. In December, our awesome avast! Community overtook …you ready for it? Internet Explorer!

We felt like Lady Gaga taking the First Lady of Pop crown from Madonna!

Dear avast! Antivirus users, this small triumph means that our avast! Facebook page is now #4 on the Top 5 Facebook Software Pages list. Our competitive spirit is up, and now we set our sights on the #3 position in the software category. Our next hurdle is a popular browser with 300 million users.  It should be a piece of cake; we’re only 1 million fans behind. ;-) All we need to do is rally together and we can…

BEAT OPERA!

Beat Opera 2So if you already have a Facebook profile, please like our avast! Facebook page.  When you see how much fun we have there (and there is some fun planned for the launch of avast! 8), I hope you will share avast! with your friends too.

Let the race begin!

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November 3rd, 2011

IE’s long good-bye


It was bound to happen. Some years back, that upstart Firefox tempted us with tabs, add-ons and fun themes. And it seems like only yesterday that Chrome’s speed and minimalist design seduced us even further. Yes, it was bound to happen.

For the first time in ten years, tech blogs are reporting that Microsoft’s web browser, the ubiquitous Internet Explorer, has fallen below 50 percent of global browser usage (you have to factor in mobile browser usage to make the numbers add up). Once the undisputed leader in market share, residing on an astounding 95 percent of the world’s desktops, browser watchers say that IE is in steady decline.

Whether the numbers work or not, and whether IE’s decline can be attributed more to the rise of mobile browsers, than a migration of users to different browsers, we thought it would be fun to look at which browsers avast! users prefer. Here is a breakdown of browser usage among avast! users this year. Looks like our users are ahead of the trend!

Security reminder: An interesting and dangerous fact is that there is still major usage of old versions of Internet Explorer. IE 6 and 7, which are not supported on any version of Windows, are still used by over 25 percent of Internet Explorer users, which equals a bit over 13 percent of all desktop users. Whether you use Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome (or any of the others), to keep your computer secure, please make sure you have the most recent browser version and install any patches that are available.

August 8th, 2011

Four browser nets and one phish

Not all browser nets can catch the same phish. One Friday evening, just before I wanted to go home, I received an interesting email.

It contained sentences like “ We recently reviewed your account, and suspect that your PayPal account
may have been accessed by an unauthorized third party” and words like “protected“, “security” and “unauthorized“.  Of course, at the end of the email, there were directions to click on a “Paypal” link to update information like login name and password.

Read more…