As we have recently mentioned on our blog, October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. And I’m sure we will post more to raise awareness of the risks you personally face, the risks to the institutions you do business with, and to the government itself.
Today, though, I want you to start to broaden your outlook on this issue. While you are getting acquainted with new threats like nation-state funded attacks, cyber-terrorism, and hactivism, I’d also ask you to look at some of the things our legislatures have been proposing in the name of cybersecurity. This includes early efforts to protect critical industry sectors our energy grid or banking systems against cyberattack, and requirements that we move beyond passwords when we access Web sites where we perform transactions or access personal data. As all these initiatives come with costs, none have universal support. But some cybersecurity proposals have generated more controversy than others, including: like the SOPA and PIPA bills that coddled the media industry by conflating digital piracy with cybersecurity and whose proposed remedies would have create a regime of censorship, or the federal development and control of a so-called “Internet Kill Switch“.
There will continue to be a lot going on here legislatively, and anything that changes the government’s role in the Internet will affect you as well. So let’s make also do our job as responsible, informed citizens. Let’s make October National Cybersecurity Policy Awareness Month. Let’s get educated, and involved.
avast! Free Antivirus just earned another VB100 award, this time in the August 2012 Virus Bulletin comparative review for Windows 7 – with a perfect score of 100%.
According to the review, avast! “routinely elicits warm, affectionate smiles from the test team, with this month’s submission promising more of the same.” As well, we were told that “Avast earns another VB100 award fairly easily” in this case.
We offer much thanks to our beta testers, our developers, and our QA team for all their hard work in making software that is easy to stand behind.
A list of other awards and certifications earned by avast! in recent years can be found here: http://www.avast.com/awards-certifications (incomplete list)
When scrubbing toilets and doing other household chores is preferable to thinking of new user names or passwords, then you know it’s a burdensome thing. A new national survey from Janrain, a social software services company, reveals that American adults need to remember five or more unique online passwords. Thirty-eight percent are so frustrated that they think tasks like folding laundry or scrubbing toilets – even solving world peace – might be easier than coming up with another new user name or password combination.
The majority of those surveyed say they try to create strong passwords, using letter and number combinations instead of obvious names or words, like “password,” but the problem is recalling the complicated passwords. Nearly 37 percent have to ask for assistance on their user name or password from at least one website per month.
“With all of the different websites consumers login to on a regular basis – from email and social networks to online banking and e-commerce sites – it’s no wonder people are struggling to remember such a large number of passwords,” Janrain CEO Larry Drebes said. “What’s surprising is that consumers think cleaning their bathroom, or in the extreme cases trying to solve world peace, sounds preferable to adding yet another password to the list.”
If you are experiencing password fatigue, and would like to never worry again about remembering your passwords, then try avast! EasyPass. You get strong, unique passwords for every site you visit – with just one click. The best part is that you access your passwords using one Master Password, so you don’t have to remember lots of passwords or waste time asking websites for help. Download a free trial of avast! EasyPass now.
Thanks for reading the avast! blog. As Jiri Sejtko described in our blog today, serious security flaws in Java version 7 allow hackers to take control of PCs and Macs. The Avast Virus Lab is releasing generic detections and using behavioral and dynamical detection mechanisms to protect our users, however they also recommend that you disable Java in your browsers. The Virus Lab explains the exploit in details on our blog, and here are instructions on how to unplug Java from different browsers.
For Windows: go to Start > Control Panel, click the Uninstall a program link. Find Java on the list of programs. If you have version 7, uninstall it.
For Mozilla Firefox: From the main menu select Tools > Add-ons. In the Add-on management window, choose Plugins. Find any plugins on the list that say Java and click the Disable button. Restart Firefox.
For Google Chrome: Type “chrome://plugins/” (minus the quotes) into the browser address bar. Find any plugins on the list that say Java and click the Disable button.
For Internet Explorer: I have been told that disabling Java in IE is complicated. The U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team (USCERT) has some steps here. This may be a good time to switch to a different browser.
For Safari: Click Preferences > Security tab > uncheck the Enable Java option.
For Opera: Type “opera:plugins” (minus the quotes) into the browser’s address bar. Find any plugins on the list that say Java and click the Disable button.
For OS X 10.7 and 10.8: go to Macintosh HD/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/ and remove the 1.7.0.jdk file. Older versions of OS X run Java 6.
Also, make sure that you have up-to-date avast! antivirus protection because avast! detects the latest Java zero day exploit in real time as Java:Dong-A [Expl] . We would appreciate your recommendation as well. We make it easy to share with your Facebook friends via our Recommend avast! app. Thank you!
edit: added Opera instructions
A Google alert just popped up this review from Android Authority titled: “The best just got better“. And I just love the writeup from the author Simon Hill…
“After trying a number of Android security apps and comparing their performance in independent tests it is easy to recommend Avast Mobile Security as your best option. The sheer variety of features is more in keeping with a premium app, but it is still completely free.”
So if you have an Android phone – and according to the latest data by Gartner there should be about 450 million of you out there – go to Google Play and get the best rated security app. For free.
I’m still having my old Nokia but I guess time has come to get the shiny Galaxy S3 and install as well
Eight months after the wildly popular release of avast! Free Mobile Security, we are pleased to launch avast! Mobile Security 2.0 for Android smartphones and tablets. Adding to its already feature-rich anti-malware and anti-theft capabilities, the latest version of avast! Mobile Security 2.0 is sure to be the best free security solution for Android on the market. You can download it from the Google Play store.
“The free-but-full-featured Android antivirus and anti-theft app has become the highest-rated security solution on Google Play store with a score of 4.7 stars,” said Ondřej Vlček, CTO of AVAST Software. “We protect over 8 million active devices now and we are growing by 1 million active devices per month,” added Vlček.
avast! Mobile Security 2.0 uses the same award-winning antivirus engine as avast! Antivirus products for PC and Mac and is constantly updated with a mobile version of our virus database and latest virus definitions. avast! Mobile Security 2.0 seamlessly integrates the most stealthy anti-theft component in the marketplace: Immediately upon detecting a threat, avast! Anti-Theft jumps into action without alerting thieves to its presence.
avast! Mobile Security 2.0 includes the following new features:
- Remote functions through the web portal - allows you to remotely control your avast!-equipped device(s) from the web. The web portal offers full control of the device to remotely locate, lock, or wipe your lost phone, sound an alarm, SMS and call forwarding, and a lot more. Access the interface on my.avast.com.
- Improved tablet support – with the popularity of Android tablets such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, AVAST has worked to provide better compatibility with these devices, along with delivering a specific user interface tailored for the larger tablet devices.
- Network meter – review your data usage consumed by each app, individually for WiFi, 3G, or roaming networks.
- avast! Widget – from your device screen, the avast! Widget provides you a quick view of your overall security status, and the ability with one tap to access the main avast! Free Mobile Security interface, to run a malware scan of your installed apps, or bring up a dashboard of device health information such as CPU usage, memory usage, and SD Card free space.
- SiteCorrect™ – in a new feature unique to AVAST, our web protection will now detect common URL typing mistakes and can redirect you to the site you intended to visit.
- Custom name for Anti-Theft – this name is used to disguise the app from thieves’ eyes (e.g. label it “Dodo Gadget”)
- Real-time protection of apps – scan installed applications on their first execution
“We’ve now made the avast! Mobile Security product even better, and continue to keep the solution totally free,” commented Vince Steckler, CEO of AVAST Software.
How many times have you seen a prompt to update software on your computer? How many times have you ignored it, and then got worried or annoyed because it kept reminding you? You are not alone in your procrastination. A full 40% of adults surveyed by Skype say they don’t always update software on their computers when prompted to do so. More than half said they needed to see a prompt between two and five times before they download and install an update.
Skype conducted the survey in preparation of International Technology Upgrade Week. We support them in spreading the word about why it’s important to keep software in top condition – having the latest security updates being the most important reason.
One of the ways cybercrooks get malware into your system is through exploiting programs that are old or not up-to-date. Most programs, like avast!, send out regular patches and updates, but a quarter of those surveyed said they don’t clearly understand what software updates do, and an equal percentage don’t understand the benefits so updates don’t get done and vulnerabilities persist. Read more…
avast! Free Antivirus outperformed multiple free and paid-for antivirus products in AV-TEST’s analysis of thirty-one consumer and business internet security products. The test, which concluded in June, included familiar names in the antivirus sector. Even a well-known paid-for ‘Internet Security 2012’ product which sells for $79.99 a year, was bested by AVAST Software’s free antivirus product.
Both home-user and corporate products analyzed by AV-Test.org cover a range of metrics, including protection against ‘real-world’ zero-day malware attacks, detection of a representative set of malware discovered in the last 2-3 months, false positive rates, and scanning speed. avast! Free Antivirus detected 100% of widespread and prevalent malware (such as viruses, worms or Trojan Horses), and its cumulative score earned it the top spot for overall performance among competitors.
AV-TEST uses specially developed processes to examine products in accordance with the high standards of the IT security field. The aim of the research work carried out by AV-TEST is to directly detect the latest malware, to analyze it using state-of-the-art methods and to inform consumers of the results obtained.
Avast! File Server Security performed extremely well in the test. The program scored high detection rates with zero false positives and demonstrated 100% efficiency when tested against viruses “in-the-wild” and on clean sets. Avast! File Server Security also had excellent scores in the Reactive and Proactive (RAP) test, reflecting its ability to detect and accurately identify newly emerging malware and previously unknown malware samples. Based on the fine performance of Avast! File Server Security, the editor’s concluded that, “a VB100 award is earned without difficulty.” This award follows an April VB100 award for avast! Free Antivirus.
VB100 certification is widely recognized within the industry, with its focus on virus detection rates and scanning speeds, as well as a range of additional tests included in comparative test reports. Virus Bulletin has carried out independent comparative testing of antivirus products for many years. The testing platform was Windows Server 2008 R2, the server platform from Microsoft released in 2009. Thirty-seven submissions were tested in this round.
The new version is 7.0.1451 and contains the following totally new features:
- WebRep now supports Opera
- SiteCorrect module for the detection of unwanted websites
And, in addition to the new features, our developers have made the following modifications:
- Changes in the AutoSandbox module
- Outlook plugin redesign
- Windows 8 compatibility updates
- Emergency Updater
- Improvements to Remote Assistance (support for UAC prompts, etc.)
- Improvements to avast! SafeZone™ (protection against kernel-mode keyloggers, updated SafeZone Browser, clipboard sharing, etc.)
We offer very special thanks to our developers, our QA team, and most importantly our loyal users, who have for many years provided us with great constructive feedback. Anyone can complain, but avast! users consistently amaze us with their new ideas.
For more technical info, please visit http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=100247.0
For the millions of you who have avast! already installed, just open your avast! control panel, then go to Maintenance -> Update Program
Or, you may download the new update file directly here http://files.avast.com/iavs5x/avast_free_antivirus_setup.exe