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July 31st, 2014

Security basics: Internet scams and your identity

If you’re afraid “to do something wrong” when you sit behind your computer, this new series is for you.

AVAST has expertise in developing security products and we want to bring you a complete series about internet danger, with good practices to avoid scams, loss of money, and identity theft. You’re just about to join a tutorial that will help you avoid such threats in the virtual world.

Privacy July 2014 B (2)

First, being afraid to do something wrong is healthy because it will slow you down, which can be a good thing since most mistakes are made due to rushing through something. Computers, smartphones and tablets are advanced tech devices. Those of us who did not have the opportunity to learn and gather knowledge and experience on using these devices when we were young, can be a little shy with them. Searching for information about how to do something with your device is not always easy because people tend to use complicated language. Making it simple and easy-to-understand is a task that we assume with pleasure.

The Basics

The internet is a space for sharing and dialog. However, alongside this encouraging environment you will face some areas where you need to exercise caution: Inappropriate content for children like adult sites; sites which promote hateful content such as racism and intolerance; and cybercriminals who use different methods to steal your personal, banking, and credit card data.

You may be tempted to think that no one will be interested in your computer, or that your computer cannot be found in the internet jungle. That would be a mistake.

Cybercriminals hide in the jungle and misuse your computer as a base to attack others, and spread viruses (malware) or spam. Think of it this way – the banking systems and e-commerce sites have, in general, a much bigger and more sophisticated security arsenal than your own computer (smartphone or tablet), and yours is the weakest point in this chain.

So let’s start from the same place.

Here’s The Rule: All safety measures you take in real life should be applied when you use the internet: Visit only trustworthy sites and stores, do not share your personal data with anyone, lock the doors, and put an alarm. AVAST believes security implies prevention: Be prepared before something bad surprises you.

Your identity is up for grabs

Your personal data or your credentials for a particular site (username and password) are quite valuable to cybercrooks. With this data, scammers act on your behalf; sending emails (like the phishing ones we’ve written about lately), shopping with your credit card, and doing things that can cause harm to you, not only financially but also for your reputation. They could share false information about you, photos and personal data. This could led to problems when, for instance, you are looking for a new job, but also in your personal and family life.

Create strong passwords to protect your online accountsTaking care of your passwords is essential. Use different passwords for each service or internet site. You should create the so-called strong passwords: CAPS letters, symbols, and numbers. AVAST offers an automated solution for your passwords called avast! EasyPass. This way, using different and secure passwords, cybercriminals can’t easy guess your credentials, enter in sites, or shop in your behalf.

Do not answer unsolicited emails or sales promotions that promise you a financial return after you make a small payment. Never help or join into the financial operations of a third party, close to you or not. Do not trust in NGOs that ask for donations, rather look for the official sites to contribute. Never giveaway your banking data for “personal credit and rewards” announcements, for example, bogus companies offering jobs that ask for a preliminary payment. Scams that prey on your emotions are prevalent. Dating scams in-the-wild ask for money to make a trip to meet your  love interest personally. In fact, after you pay, you’ll never see your love again. Beware of these types of scenarios.

How can we avoid these scams? Generally, they ask for a quick and secret decision and, often they have spelling and grammar errors because many still originate from foreign locales and rely on online translation software to spread the scams all over the 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 Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram. Business owners – check out our business products.

July 18th, 2013

Six reasons to use avast! SecureLine VPN when traveling

Whether on business travel or vacation, you don’t want to worry about the security of your devices when you connect to the internet. Using a WiFi network in a café, airport, or hotel is a serious security risk that requires additional protection to secure your data and computer.

avast! SecureLine VPN is now completely integrated into all of AVAST’s free and premium products. Here’s the top 6 reasons why you should use avast! SecureLine VPN:

1. Hides your data from thieves – avast! SecureLine VPN encrypts your public WiFi communications. That means that someone snooping on you will see a bunch of gibberish instead of your email, files, passwords, etc.

2. Keeps eavesdroppers from listening to your VOIP calls – avast! SecureLine VPN makes your voice or video conversations through the internet using Skype or Viber, for example, safe and secure by encrypting your conversation. This allows you to talk to people without fear of being eavesdropped on by cybercrooks, your ISP, and even the government! Read more…

October 3rd, 2012

Avast supports National Cyber Security Awareness Month

This month we celebrate National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), an initiative designed to educate people that all of us have a role in protecting our digital lives. Cybersecurity is our business at Avast, but we realize that the internet is a shared resource and securing it is Our Shared Responsibility, which is the theme for October 2012′s NCSAM.

Avast Software is proud to be a champion along with other organizations, companies, and government agencies that support National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

Avast! users, you are among the most tech savvy and conscientious of internet users. Please join with us wherever you are – at school, at work, in the community – to educate young people, train employees, and help raise community awareness for a safer digital society. We’ll post tips and interesting facts that we hope you will share along with a  recommendation for  avast! Antivirus protection.

You can follow simple steps to keep yourselves, your personal assets, and private information safe online. Here are a few tips all Internet users can do to practice cybersecurity during NCSAM and throughout the year:

  • Set strong passwords and don’t share them with anyone
  • Keep your operating system, browser, and other critical software optimized by installing updates
  • Maintain an open dialogue with your family, friends, and community about internet safety
  • Limit the amount of personal information you post online and use privacy settings to avoid sharing information widely
  • Be cautious about what you receive or read online – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
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January 27th, 2012

Here comes the Sun. There goes the Internet.

Last year, the Egyptian government shut down the Internet for 5 days during the anti-government protests. Last week, some websites on the Internet voluntarily blacked out to protest SOPA. What would happen if the whole Internet went black? Scientists thought it could happen this week.

The massive solar storm that bombarded Earth’s magnetic field Tuesday morning caused minor disruptions to spacecraft and power grids, and airline flights were rerouted to avoid downtime in radio communications. Scientists speculated that if the angle of the electromagnetic burst would have been different, we may have experienced a major power failure like one that happened in a 1989 solar storm. Six million people in Quebec lost electricity then, and the effects were felt through many parts of the continental U.S. because of the inter-connectivity of the power grids. This storm was much stronger.

What would it be like if we lost the Internet for an extended amount of time? For many businesses it would be catastrophic. But on a personal level, it would be freeing. Certainly, communication would be different. If I want my friends to know my status, I actually have to talk to them. Commerce would look differently too.  If I needed to buy something, I would have to visit the bank to withdraw money and then go to the store to make my purchase. Knowledge would still be at my fingertips, but I would have to look in a book to find it. And if I wanted to watch the humorous antics of a funny kitty, I would have to go over to my mom’s house to see Jasmine the cat push her catnip toy across the floor. It actually doesn’t sound like too bad of a day.

What would you miss the most if the Internet disappeared? How would your life change? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

 

January 13th, 2012

Internet blackout scheduled in protest of SOPA

Last Modified: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 9:09 a.m.

Last night I spent an inordinate amount of time on reddit looking at pictures of baby hedgehogs, reading a Q&A with a theoretical physicist, and catching up on the intended blackouts protesting the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its sister bill, Protect IP Act (PIPA).

Haven’t heard about SOPA? It’s no wonder, since the mainstream media has been curiously silent on the issue. Maybe it’s because most of the big news outlets are owned by companies supporting SOPA. Nonetheless, reddit and others, such as Tucows, Cheezburger, game developer Red 5 Studios, and hacktivist group Anonymous, hope to make the issue broadly known with a coordinated internet blackout scheduled for January 18th. Things will really get interesting if the “nuclear option” is implemented where the likes of Wikipedia, Google, Facebook, Ebay, Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Mozilla, Twitter, and PayPal “go simultaneously dark” to join them in protest of the bill. Read more…