Millions of users access Social Networks every day in order to share, engage, and look for information as well as entertainment. The transparency of social networks come with a risk and we are very often expose ourselves to hackers and scammers that can take advantage of information we share. Social platforms constantly improve security and privacy settings, to deliver a safe experience to the users, but who has time to follow all this news? Well, you can relax and rely on us. AVAST specialists are here to deliver this information in an accessible way.
Last month we warned you against the four sneakiest Facebook scams. Now we have a summary of the latest security and privacy related news. Check it out and enjoy a secure social media experience!
At the end of July, Facebook announced that it will migrate all users to the https connection. HTTPS - Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure is a communication protocol primarily used to ensure a safe internet connection. For Facebook users, this means a safer experience, when communicating between a browser and Facebook servers.
Facebook first offered it to users in 2011, as an optional setting. However from now on it will be a default one, so the good news is that you don’t have to change any settings.
Now this is what you will see in your browser, when accessing Facebook.
New anti-bullying features on Facebook
During the last week of July, Facebook announced that,
Child psychologist Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, is working with Facebook to develop what he says is the first emotionally-intelligent bullying prevention system on a social network.
This time of the year – summer in the Northern Hemisphere – is the time to enjoy yourself while traveling. You want to protect those precious photos and videos that you take of your children or friends having adventures. In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s winter. For students, it’s time to do a little computer housekeeping that was avoided during the year. Backing up your PC is not hard, and the tips you get here from the most active Evangelists on the 300,000 member AVAST Forum community will have you backing up your PC with ease.
The Four Ws of Backup
What to backup: Types of documents and data. The first suggestion from our evangelists is that you organize your files into intuitive folders that are easy to find and easy to backup. Establish priorities. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.
- Decide which things you don’t want to lose… Documents, spreadsheets, email account details, registration keys, address book, bookmarks, photos, etc. If you identify what’s important to backup first, not only is it easier to do the backup task, but you also avoid increasing your internet traffic with big files that do not need to be restored. Read more…
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…
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.
Users of social networks save and share huge amount of data and become a favorite target of potential attacks. Therefore we, at AVAST Software educate You about online security and how to protect your privacy on social media. Check a new security feature, introduced recently by Twitter.
With a growing amount of new users and increasing numbers to log in, Twitter decided to introduce a new feature. Login verification is another security level, preventing from compromising email phishing schemes, as well as breaching of passwords.
How does it work?
“In the cross hairs of anonymous”
The hacktivist group Anonymous announced phase one of a massive cyberattack, called Op USA, on U.S government and banking websites scheduled for next Tuesday, May 7. The White House, the NSA, and the FBI are included on a list of high profile government targets, and 133 financial institutions including the Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citibank are listed as banking targets.
Communicating through Pastebin on April 21, an Anonymous spokesperson stated, “Anonymous will make sure that this May 7th will be a day to remember.” They wrote that the reason for the attack is “…multiple war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan…”.
Anonymous posted a list of targets and mapped out the method of attacks writing, “You can not stop the internet hate machine from doxes, DNS attacks, defaces, redirects, ddos attacks, database leaks, and admin take overs.” Read more…
Question of the week: I have avast! Free Antivirus on my computer and I love it, but isn’t antivirus for a smartphone overkill? I mean, there are not so many threats to a phone, are there?
This is a question being asked by lots of security firms lately, and the answer is a resounding, YES. As smartphones and tablets become increasingly popular, so do threats that target mobile devices exclusively. Two particular studies published lately have pointed to an increase in mobile malware over the past year.
Android is in the bull’s eye
Results of the AV-Comparatives 2013 Security Survey (pdf) are in, and once again AVAST leads among consumer preferences. Since AV-Comparatives is an independent testing firm, we always look forward to what they have to say. Here are some highlights:
According to survey respondents, AVAST remains the most widely used antivirus solution worldwide, claiming first place as the most used computer antivirus in Europe and South/Central America.
We are also glad to report that AVAST is the only brand to be among the top three most-used brands in all four global regions surveyed.
At the time this survey was conducted, AVAST was protecting just over 184 million PCs, Macs, and mobile devices.
To make the above news even better, the survey’s respondents requested AVAST as their top interest for future testing. Read more…
By now, avast! users are aware of the importance of creating strong computer passwords, and guarding their Social Security number like a trained Doberman. But what about the humble four-digit personal identification number (PIN)? PINs are security features just like passwords. They give access to your mobile phone, credit card, bank account, and numerous other things. My garage door opener even has a keypad and PIN. Because it’s the key that unlocks so many doors, literally and figuratively, it pays to keep your PINs safe.
Here are some things to remember when choosing a PIN:
- Be more original than 1234. One in 10 people use this number combination. Together with 1111 and 0000, these three combinations make up nearly 20% of PINs. Think of it this way, if you find an ATM card on the floor, you have a 1 in 10 chance of getting the correct number if you type 1-2-3-4 .
- Using your birthdate as a PIN is a bad idea. Everyone carries their driver’s license in their wallet with their ATM card. The birthday information gives a wallet thief both the lock and key in a convenient location. One study said that one out of 15 wallet thief victim’s also had their ATM raided!
- Forget about your address too. Your house or apartment number is also printed on your driver’s license, so it’s easily found.
- Keep LOVE in your heart, not on your phone. 5683, which spells out “love” on the keypad is very popular. Use a less popular word, maybe 9278, which spells “wart.”
Here are some tips to secure (and remember) your PIN:
- Use the bank assigned number. Just don’t write it on your ATM card.
- An old phone number, student or work ID is good, as long as they’re not listed anywhere.
- Choose a meaningful number. The score of the big game (your favorite basketball team won 80-58, so the PIN is 8058).
- Base the number on a phrase instead of a word, such as 2432 for “Avast is FREEking awesome” (AIFA).
- Hide the number in a fake contact. If you have too many PINs to remember, make up a fake contact with a fake phone number and keep it in your phone. Just don’t let the battery run out!
A serious new vulnerability notice about Java exploits has been issued by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity Division. Java 7 Update 10 and earlier contain a vulnerability that can allow a remote attacker to execute malware on vulnerable systems.
A French researcher called Kafeine discovered that a number of websites using the exploit are able to download files directly to the victim’s computer, and execute actions such as installing ransomware. “Hundreds of thousands of hits daily where i found it,” he wrote on his blog. “This could be a mayhem.”
Disable Java in web browsers
Some webpages may include content or apps that use the Java plug-in. There is no fix for this yet, so it is recommended that you protect yourself by disabling Java in your particular browser. Please see our previous blog How do I disable Java in my browser for instructions.
For a higher level of security, it is possible to entirely prevent any Java apps from running in a browser by de-selecting Enable Java content in the browser in the Java Control Panel under the Security tab. Disabling Java through the Java Control Panel will disable Java in all browsers.