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January 28th, 2014

Data Privacy Day at AVAST

Tuesday, January 28 is Data Privacy Day, an international effort to empower and educate people to protect their privacy and control their digital footprint. Here at AVAST, we will take the whole week to talk about privacy, and how we can make the protection of privacy and data a greater priority in our lives.

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Make sure you take the My Privacy IQ quiz to test your knowledge (and maybe win a free license and avast! teddy.)

What is the difference between privacy and security?

While privacy and security overlap in certain ways, they are distinct concepts. Security is defined as “freedom from danger or risk” and “precautions to guard against crime, attack, etc.” You use antivirus software to help protect against a security breach or having your personal data stolen by cybercrooks.

Privacy is “the state of being free from intrusion or disturbance in one’s private life.” This summer, we saw how closely connected these two concepts are when Edward Snowden revealed, through a security breach, how big data companies were complicit with the NSA snooping into normal people’s private lives.

Read more…

January 27th, 2014

Essentials packing list for FETC attendees

The AVAST Free for Education team is excited to be attending FETC 2014 in Orlando, Florida for the first time! As part of our preparations we’ve been making an essentials packing list, which we thought we’d share with you…

boothPersonal essentials

  • Comfy spring clothes We checked the weather report and were excited to see that it’s going to be warmer than the snow we have in Europe at the moment. No winter coats for us.
  • Suitable shoes We know that there will be plenty of walking and standing, possibly some skipping too (depends on our mood), super comfy shoes are one of our “must-have” items!
  • DEODORANT The days at the conference will be long, so we want to smell our best at all times!
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste We don’t want to scare any of our booth visitors off and plan on showing off our pearly whites as much as possible.
  • Passport/Identification We won’t name names, but we’ve seen first-hand how an out of date passport can pretty much render you useless for an international business trip :)
  • Currency Maybe you don’t have to worry about converting your money, but we sure are looking forward to carrying around some green “Benjamins” (okay, maybe more like some “Andrews”, and “Alexanders”)
  • Itinerary We’ve downloaded the FETC app, which we think is especially useful for planning your exhibition schedule (don’t forget to put booth #356 on your schedule!)

Conference essentials Read more…

January 27th, 2014

What is your Privacy IQ? Take our quiz and find out!

AVAST Software is proud to be a champion of Data Privacy Day, celebrated every year on January 28th. We encourage you to make protecting privacy and data a greater priority. Read on to find out if you are a Privacy Pro!

Find out if you are a Privacy Pro or if you need to learn more to protect your personal information online by taking the My Privacy IQ Quiz. Take the quiz here, by submitting your answers, as a comment to this blog post. The first 5 participants who will answer all questions correctly win avast! SecureLine VPN for Android or iOS or an avast! teddy bear. Alternatively you can enter a quiz at our Facebook here. Quiz ends on Monday, February 3rd 

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My Privacy IQ quiz

 

1) Do privacy policies guarantee that your information will be kept private?

A. Yes

B. No

Read more…

January 25th, 2014

The top 5 things we need to know for our trip to Florida

The team that runs AVAST Free for Education is excited to be attending this year’s Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC 2014) in Orlando, Florida, but also a little nervous about what to expect. Here’s the top 5 things we have been alerted to about our trip to The Sunshine State – Florida, USA!

1. Everything will be AWESOME! Americans are a very positive bunch, and describe everything good with an enthusiastic “Awesome!” So we’re prepared that FETC will be Awesome, Orlando will be Awesome, the weather will be awesome, and of course, AVAST Free for Education is TOTALLY AWESOME!! We will fit right in. ;-) Come see us at booth #356.

2. Everyone smiles. All. The. Time. Again Americans are positive bunch, and it shows on their faces. So even when the conference day is nearing an end, and our faces hurt from smiling at Awesome people and telling our Awesome story, we’ll make an effort to keep smiling. It won’t be hard, because we are genuinely happy to be at FETC.

3. Mickey Mouse is the governor of Florida and the capital is The Magic Kingdom. Need we say more?!

4. Americans don’t know where Prague is. We’ve heard that Americans are not too good at European geography. It doesn’t matter; we don’t know where Kansas is (but I promise we’ll find out!) Conference-goers just need to know which state their school and school districts are in, so we can provide them with free business-grade security protection.

5. Alligators live in every body of fresh water in Florida. We sincerely hope that doesn’t include hotel swimming pools.

We can’t wait to arrive in beautiful Orlando, Florida and spend this next week talking to our Free for Education customers, meeting new people, and saving U.S. schools and districts thousands of dollars a year. Stop by our booth #356 and attend our Learning Lab talk on Friday at 11:40.

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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.

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January 21st, 2014

5 security tips from an expert AVAST Evangelist

howto2_enEarlier this month we introduced you to AVAST Evangelist: Paulius Yla. With nearly 10 years of experience gained from supporting users on the AVAST forum, Paulius can be easily called an AVAST expert. He has been using our software since 2003 and participated in testing dozens of AVAST products. Paulius has shared with us 5 basic and MUST-FOLLOW security tips!

Check it out and don’t forget to follow these steps:

  • Antivirus software is a MUST. Don’t believe your friends if the say you don’t need it, it only slows your PC, and so on. It must be installed and must be up-to-date.
  • A Firewall must be enabled too, at least the integrated one.
  • Never use cracked illegal software, especially Operating Systems (OS). You will never know what backdoor can be included in it.
  • Never ignore OS updates, leave automatic updates on. Other software updates are also important. In most cases they are fixing bugs, security holes etc., and improving your internet security.
  • Believe me, the internet is a wild place, so try to avoid sites with a bad reputation or risky sites (peer-to-peer, adult sites, etc.) There is no AV solution which can protect you from 100% of threats, so use your head, too!

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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.

 

January 7th, 2014

AVAST response to open letter from Bits of Freedom

Recently an open letter from Bits of Freedom, a group comprised of 24 digital rights organizations and academics, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in the US and Netzpolitik.org in Germany, was sent to security software vendors. AVAST did not receive the letter “officially,” although our company was listed among the vendors.

The purpose of the open letter was to request a clarification of our policy on the use of software for the purpose of government-sanctioned surveillance of its citizens. In other words, do we look the other way when governments or law enforcement agencies install malware on private citizens’ personal computers to collect data?

It has become very clear that governments will do anything to gain access to as much information as possible,” says Bits of Freedom’s Ton Siedsma. “Requests like these, coming from law enforcement agencies or secret services, lower the general level of protection of all users of antivirus software. The software isn’t just used by suspects, but by all of us. This is something to be very concerned about, so we have asked the antivirus software vendors for transparency on this matter.

AVAST’s Chief Technology Officer, Ondřej Vlček, responded to their questions:

1. Have you ever detected the use of software by any government (or state actor) for the purpose of surveillance?
Yes, we have had incidences where it became apparent that software our programs detected was in fact surveillance software. Although it’s not always 100% clear who is behind this, in some cases we had reasons to believe that it was distributed by government institutions.

2. Have you ever been approached with a request by a government, requesting that the presence of specific software is not detected, or if detected, not notified to the user of your software? And if so, could you provide information on the legal basis of this request, the specific kind of software you were supposed to allow and the period of time which you were supposed to allow this use?
No. We have never been approached by any government agency, but we also don’t think that this realistically would ever happen. It would be very risky for a government agency to ask antivirus companies to ignore and not detect their malware. They can’t expect that security companies would keep this information to themselves; this would therefore risk the news about their malware getting leaked to the media faster than they can think.

3. Have you ever granted such a request? If so, could you provide the same information as in the point mentioned above and the considerations which led to the decision to comply with the request from the government?
No, we have never granted such a request.

4. Could you clarify how you would respond to such a request in the future?
The security and privacy of our users has been the core of our business for 25 years. Whenever we detect malware, regardless of its origin or type, we always protect our users. This includes malware from governments and official institutions – if we detect the malware, no matter the origin of the creator, we create a solution to protect our users.

Categories: General Tags: , ,
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December 29th, 2013

What bugged AVAST users this year: NSA spooked people about privacy

privacy word of yearPRIVACY. It’s the word of the year from dictionary.com. With reports of the NSA turning the internet into a vast surveillance platform, FBI agents and hackers monitoring citizens through home appliances, web-browser tracking cookies multiplying like rabbits, and information you post to social networking sites yourself, the loss of individual’s online privacy and the extensive access of personal data became a mainstream topic in 2013.

In an interview about security issues with SC Magazine, Vincent Steckler, AVAST’s CEO said that the next aspect of security that needs consideration is privacy. Both consumers and corporates are going to need social media protection capabilities, including checking of links for malware, better control of privacy settings, and control over apps. That goes for tracking in browsers as well.

Abandon all privacy, ye who enter here

Ondřej Vlček, AVAST’s Chief Technology Officer, agrees. “’Do not track in browsers’ doesn’t really work,” he says. “It’s up to the servers whether to adhere to [the HTTP Do Not Tracker header] or not. Most commercial services don’t adhere to it.”

Raise your hand if you use your smartphone to surf the web, compare prices, or buy movie tickets? (That looks like most of us.) Lots of people don’t realize that mobile brands, apps and websites ‘track’ their online movements. Vlček said there are plug-ins that remove things like tracking from ad networks, analytics services or Facebook’s Like buttons without breaking the service. He suggests this approach is an important piece of the puzzle for privacy protection.

Read more…

October 12th, 2013

Cyber awareness tips for people on-the-go

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Most AVAST users take their devices with them to school and work, so we asked for security tips for people on-the-go. Congratulations to Bruno V. from Brazil who wrote the winning tip:

#SecurityTip:

To spend the day with no worries in the rush of daily tasks you need to have the following:

By accessing sites and emails never forget to log off the user account to leave.

Never go to unknown links to check for new information, the rush at the moment you can access places where you usually do not enter.

When doing a search, be wary of information and programs that promise many things without much effort.

Have a program to secure permanent protection, accurate and reliable. In short, have AVAST installed on your computer!

While you take care of your routine, AVAST cares for you!

AVAST protection without worries! 24 hours of dedication to its main asset, you!

Some tips were quite practical, like this one from Val A. of the Philippines:

#1. In rainy days, use Waterproof bag when on the go
#2. Secure the laptop , tablet, smartphone with a password before login (don’t share your password with everyone)
#3. Avoid gadgets in direct sunlight (this is one of the basic protocol)
#4. Disconnect Bluetooth every after use
#5. Don’t let others borrow your laptop, tablet or smartphone specially those whom do you never meet before.

AND LASTLY
#6. Please.  Read the User Manual, Guidelines, Safety and precautions of your laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Thanks to all our Facebook fans who shared their security tips with us. These are valuable suggestions for cyber awareness (and rainy days) that we will continue to share with others. Bruno won Round 4 of our #SecurityTip contest and receives a Nexus 7 tablet and a 1-year license for avast! Internet Security. Five participants also won a 1-year license for avast! Internet Security for getting the most votes for their tip. Congratulations to:

  • Celedonia S.  from Peru
  • Postolachi D. from Romania
  • Alejandro C. from Mexico
  • Abdul W. from Pakistan
  • Reginald R. from Indonesia

Follow AVAST

During this month, we’ll talk more about cybersecurity with AVAST experts and share tips that you can adopt and share.  For all the latest news, fun and contest information, please visit our blog often and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+.

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October 11th, 2013

How to use new graph search on Facebook?

facebook-suchmaschine-graph-searchOn September 30th, Facebook introduced changes on the New Graph Search. Currently available only on desktops, it will be rolled out in phases. Since its release in January 2013, Graph Search has gone through a great transformation. Users are now allowed to search for status history, images, check-ins, comments -  basically anything. The goal is to provide users with enhanced search options, so they can find interesting information without leaving the social network.

How does Facebook Graph Search work?

The top search bar works similarly to a browser search engine. The exception is that it searches within Facebook itself and  requires specific search commands to make your search successful. For example, imagine you are a passionate bowler. You would like to set up a bowling team, however you don’t know any fellow bowlers in your hometown. Now you can log in on Facebook and search using the following search terms:

People who checked in at Bowling Alleys in Los Angeles, California  

You will see all your friends who may have gone bowling without your knowledge,  as well as other people, you may or may not know, who checked in. You can interact with them and, for example, establish a Facebook Interest group, to finally create your dream bowling team.

Another example: You love to travel and you would like to investigate places you are planning to visit ahead. Search for:

Images taken in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

to preview all public pictures of the place you want to visit. Moreover you can see the comments, recommendations, and tips from others. A final example:

TV shows my friends who live in Dallas, Texas like Read more…

October 9th, 2013

Attempted hack against AVAST

Yesterday, several companies had their websites hijacked by pro-Palestinian hackers. We can confirm that there was also a hacker attempt against the AVAST site – we assume from the same group – but we took immediate steps and therefore were able to contain it.

According to published reports, the hacked companies’ accounts, used to manage their DNS records at their vendor, Network Solutions, have been reset. This allowed the hackers to take control of the websites in question. It’s unlikely that any of the sites that were attacked lost control of any of their own servers, so customer data most likely was not compromised.

“We ourselves received a notification from Network Solutions saying our email had been changed. We knew we had not requested that so we immediately took action and changed our passwords, which protected us,” said Vincent Steckler, AVAST CEO

Stay cyber aware when company accounts get hacked

Hackers have been busy recently– Adobe announced on Thursday that it has been the target of a major security breach in which sensitive and personal data about millions of its customers have been put at risk.

If  you get a notification from an online provider  that your email address or a password was changed – no matter if it’s from your bank, an online shop, or any other online site – and you didn’t request these changes, you need to take steps to protect yourself by immediately changing your passwords for these sites.

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+.

Categories: General Tags: , , , ,