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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 14th, 2014

Windows XP users sticking to the OS despite support cutoff

The majority of AVAST customers running Windows XP said they will rely on AVAST to protect them.

 

Last month Ondrej Vlcek, Chief Operating Officer of AVAST, shared his opinion on the end of Windows XP support by Microsoft, revealing that 23.6% of AVAST’s over 200 million users were still using Windows XP. Since then less than 2% of AVAST Windows XP users have parted ways with the operating system. We conducted a global survey just days before the support end date to find out how aware our Windows XP users were of the support cutoff and what they were planning on doing.

AVAST protects Windows XP usersHow aware were Windows XP users that their support was expiring?

Months ago Microsoft announced that it would no longer support Windows XP, sending daily warning messages to XP users a month before the end date, April 8, 2014. The media, especially technology-focused media, has been buzzing about the end of support. Our survey found that 21% of Windows XP users were unaware that Microsoft would be ending support, despite Microsoft’s efforts and the media attention around the topic.

What actions were Windows XP users planning on taking?

Although Microsoft recommends upgrading the operating system as the first option home XP users should take to protect themselves, AVAST found that only 15% of XP users were planning on upgrading their OS. The second option Microsoft suggests is for XP users to purchase a new PC, as many of the newer operating systems aren’t compatible with older devices. This does not seem like a popular option for many XP users, which is understandable considering the costs that come with purchasing a new PC. Only 5% of Windows XP users plan on purchasing a new PC. The majority of AVAST customers running Windows XP said they will rely on AVAST to protect them.

Windows XP post 2_April 2014How faithful Windows XP users should protect themselves.

The survey also revealed that 27% of Windows XP users were not planning on doing anything. As AVAST users they are protecting themselves since we will continue to support Windows XP users for at least the next three years. This number is relatively high considering the security risks involved with the OS and makes one wonder how many XP users are not concerned about their protection and aren’t planning on upgrading their OS, buying a new PC or seeking AV that will support them. AVAST has been creating protection modules and detections specifically designed to cover Windows XP vulnerabilities and other security problems. We recommend non-AVAST Windows XP users download AVAST for the added protection. avast! 2014 is a light product, both in terms of speed and resource consumption, tailored for older PCs running XP. In addition to this, we recommend users stop using Internet Explorer, as the browser poses an even larger threat when used on Windows XP. The latest version of Internet Explorer for Windows XP is 8, which is outdated and lacks many security improvements available in later versions of the browser. We recommend XP users switch to a safer browser that updates itself, like Google Chrome.

1) Percent of global AVAST users using Windows XP

Related post: AVAST will continue to support Windows XP for home and business users

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: General Tags: , ,
March 12th, 2014

AVAST will continue to support Windows XP for home and business users

800px-Microsoft_Windows_XP_logo_and_wordmark.svgIn “internet years” Microsoft’s Windows XP has been around for eons. It was released in August 2001, and in less than one month, on April 8, 2014, Microsoft will cease to provide support and security updates. The security updates patch vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malware and help to keep users and their data safe. Because of the continued use of XP in homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, and ATMs around the world, this has the potential to create massive security issues.

AVAST will continue to support Windows XP users by creating protection modules and detections to cover vulnerabilities and other security problems for at least the next three years. Our latest version, avast! Free Antivirus 2014, works well with older machines running Windows XP because of its light footprint, speed, and negligible resource consumption, making it a perfect choice even for older machines running Windows XP. AVAST protects more XP users than anyone else. You can get it free now! Download avast! Free Antivirus.

What does this mean for businesses around the world?

The end of Microsoft support means you will no longer get security updates or new support information updates for Windows – for free.  Very large customers will have an option to subscribe to a program called “Custom Support,” an after-retirement support contract, but this is not available for SMBs or individual home users.

In an informal survey of AVAST partners, we learned that many businesses still use Windows XP and have delayed upgrading because of budget limitations as well as software and hardware compatibility issues.

Frank Mayer, an AVAST partner in Greece said that most of his customers are still using Windows XP, but because of the ongoing financial crisis in the country, “I see no change in the near future. In this crisis, no one easily spends money on new PC’s and /or Operating systems.”

“In Romania, most computers in public institutions still use Windows XP, and about 75% of them cannot support an upgrade to Windows 7 or 8 due to hardware limitations,” said Claudiu Chirita of Easy Media SRL. “The same situation is present in the SOHO segment where software upgrades will involve hardware upgrades or replacement.

How many still use Windows XP? What’s the risk? Read more…

November 4th, 2013

First upgrade to avast! 2014, then to Windows 8.1

win_upgradeAre you ready to make the move to Windows 8.1? Reviews says that with Windows 8.1, Microsoft made some significant improvements, including restoring the much-missed start button. Make sure that your upgrade experience goes smoothly by installing avast! 2014 first.

Avast! 2014 has Windows 8.1 certification which ensures that it meets compatibility standards and performs well on the Windows platform. Older versions of avast! Antivirus do not carry that certification, so if you update to Windows 8.1, it will disable avast! and you will be unprotected.

Make sure you stay protected when upgrading to Windows 8.1

Update to avast! 2014 before you upgrade to Windows 8.1. Here’s how:

  • Open the avast! user interface
  • Click on the Maintenance tab
  • Click Update Program
  • The Update screen shows you the overall progress

programupgrade_progress

  • When it’s done, you will be asked to restart your computer. Click ‘Yes’ to reboot.
  • Once your computer is restarted, you might be asked to install Google Chrome as your default browser. We recommend this safe browser, but you have the option to decline.
  • Click ‘Continue’ to complete the upgrade.

After this, the latest version of avast! Antivirus 2014 is installed on your computer and ready to use. You can now make the upgrade to Windows 8.1 and remain 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.

October 28th, 2013

Loyal fans make AVAST the most popular antivirus

Avast! Antivirus is the most trusted and popular antivirus in the world and a leader among worldwide antivirus vendors.  “With nearly 200 million customers in 43 languages — a staggering 1 million users in 38 different countries — it is used by more people than rivals AVG Technologies, Symantec and McAfee combined,” wrote Jon Swartz in a recent USA Today article.

Data from the October report by OPSWAT shows that AVAST leads overall in worldwide product market share for antivirus and encryption applications. Microsoft Security Essentials is the only other vendor that comes close.

OPSWAT

“Avast has held its own in the hotly contested consumer-security market – it ranks in the top five, based on market share, in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific – because of a fiercely loyal user community,” said Heidi Shey, security analyst at Forrester Research. “Fans, especially for a consumer product, go a long way. Avast users have even volunteered to help translate their product into different languages as a result.”

Microsoft makes an unusual suggestion

Microsoft admitted earlier this month that “Windows users should install antivirus above and beyond its own Security Essentials,” describing its protection as merely a “baseline” that will “always be on the bottom” of antivirus software rankings. Lifehacker comments on Microsoft’s announcement saying, Microsoft’s new approach means you’re best off using a third-party tool in your arsenal, like our current favoriteAvast.

Please share this Facebook post with your friends, so they can make the switch to the most popular (and trusted) antivirus in 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 FacebookTwitter and Google+. Business owners – check out our business products.

Categories: General Tags: , , ,
January 2nd, 2013

Serious Internet Explorer vulnerability discovered

A flaw in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) 6, 7 and 8 could allow hackers to take control of a Windows-based computer if the user browses to a malicious website. Security Advisory 2794220 was issued over the weekend and soon after a team blog reported that,We are only aware of a very small number of targeted attacks at this time. This issue allows remote code execution if users browse to a malicious website with an affected browser. This would typically occur by an attacker convincing someone to click a link in an email or instant message.”

Microsoft has made a temporary fix available for the zero-day vulnerability until it can deliver a formal patch.

Be particularly careful if you are using versions 6, 7 or 8 of the IE browser. Versions 9 and 10 are not affected by the vulnerability. Check which version of IE you’re running by opening IE, click the Help question mark icon on the right and choose About Internet Explorer. To upgrade an older version of IE,  go to Start > Control Panel > Windows Update.

We recommend switching browsers for a more secure one like Google Chrome. In addition to being more secure than IE 8, it is also faster and supports HTML 5, giving you a better browsing experience. Download free Google Chrome here.

November 5th, 2012

avast! is first Free Antivirus to be Windows 8 Compatible

Avast! is the first free antivirus software to be offered in the Windows store after being tested and passing the rigorous requirements for Microsoft® Windows® 8 operating system compatibility. Avast! Free Antivirus earned the coveted compatibility certification and the right to display the “Windows 8 Compatible” logo.

“Avast has a track record of receiving Microsoft Windows certifications, and Windows 8 is not an exception,” said Ondřej Vlček, Chief Technology Officer of Avast. “Having avast! in the Windows store provides Windows users with a certified PC security solution that is far better than what they would have with the pre-bundled Windows Defender antivirus previously known as Microsoft Security Essentials.”

Windows Defender is basic virus and malware protection that provides similar protection, uses the same antimalware engine, and has a look akin to Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE).  Performance tests by AV-Test, a respected antivirus software testing lab, show that avast! Free Antivirus has notably surpassed that of MSE in all 2012 monthly Real-World tests. While it does a good job on common widespread malware, as do most good brands, MSE lacks the cutting edge protection against new unknown “zero-day” attacks of which avast! Free Antivirus excels in detecting.

Earning the certification gives avast! Free Antivirus the right to display the “Windows 8 Compatible” logo after passing Microsoft’s technical requirements for compatibility and reliability with Windows 8.

“The logo is an indication that the app has been developed and fully tested to work great on a given platform. Because of all the innovations in Windows 8, getting the logo this time was not simple, but getting it early on shows a clear dedication of my team to our users, making sure they can start moving to this new exciting platform immediately,” said Vlček.

Windows® is a trademark of the Microsoft group of companies.

October 30th, 2012

Windows 8 considered safer but few desire to buy a new Windows 8 PC

This past weekend, Microsoft splashed TV advertising for it’s new Windows 8 operating system during college football games in the U.S. and on TVs in 42 other countries. Despite the initial thrust, an AP survey of 1,200 adults in the U.S. showed over half hadn’t heard of the new OS, and those that had some knowledge of it showed little interest in buying a new laptop or desktop computer running on Windows 8.

We did our own survey of over 350,000 computer users across seven languages (English, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, and Czech) before the launch and found that most expect the new Microsoft Windows 8 operating system to be safer, but only 8% of respondents said they will buy a new computer any sooner because of it. Read more…

August 17th, 2012

AVAST one of few to protect against Microsoft vulnerabilities

According to study by NSS Labs (here),  avast! Internet Security and 3 other security products out of total 13 tested protect users against Microsoft vulnerability withing XML Core Services and against vulnerability in IE 8  (IE8 has approx. 15% share). Both exploits were patched by Microsoft in June and July respectively but users who failed to update are of course at risk.  A good news for avast! Free Antivirus users… you have the same protection against those exploits as users of the paid-for avast! Internet Security suite.

PS:   having everything up-to-date and patched is of course one of the golden stay-secure-rules.

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November 11th, 2011

Hot on the trail of Duqu with Microsoft’s MAPP

The Duqu malware has raised the specter of Stuxnet II, with some in the security community claiming that this new Trojan is a reverse-engineered copy of Stuxnet – the infamous malware that may have sold more newspapers than it damaged nuclear centrifuges. Unlike Stuxnet, Duqu is designed to steal data from the targeted organization, not just destroy equipment. First noticed this summer, Duqu self-destructed after 30 days, than vanished again into cyberspace.
Read more…

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