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
New vulnerabilities in the Oracle’s Java Runtime Environment (JRE) have been recently discovered in the wild (first vulnerability originally reported by Fireeye, the second described by Esteban Guillardoy). The vulnerabilities targets newest version of JRE (1.7) and even with the latest update (JRE 1.7 update 6) your machine is in danger and easily exploitable. According to the Oracle’s patching cycle the patch is out of sight. So scary and Java again! But it is even worse!
The most successful exploit kit has quickly adopted these bugs which was predicted by the Brian Krebs earlier. So, all the current Blackhole campaigns use these exploits in order to infect victims. In addition, the exploitation is confirmed to work using Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome and also Safari on multiple platforms including Windows, Linux and MacOS.
Do you really think this can’t be worse? Oracle knew about these (and also other) vulnerabilities since April according to the Adam Gowdiak, the founder and CEO of Polish security firm Security Explorations.
Have you received an email saying a friend tagged you in a photo on Facebook? Use extreme caution before clicking to see photos in the attachment. In a typical phish, cybercrooks are using a fake Facebook photo notification email designed to spread malware allowing them to gain control over Windows-based computers.
Avast Virus Lab detected the malware as Win32:Trojan-gen and added the definition to the database yesterday, so all avast! users are protected.
The email looks innocent enough with the familiar blue header and logo. Serious Facebookers may know that Facebook never sends you photos that you’ve been tagged in as attachments; rather they send links to the photos. Unfortunately, most of us are too busy to notice the difference.
Please share this warning with your Facebook friends, and recommend that they get avast! Free Antivirus, so they’ll always be protected. You can share avast! by clicking on our recommend avast! app here.
A single phishing campaign can send millions of emails to consumers in an attempt to part them from their money. Hundreds of phishing websites are established online every day, designed to lure consumers to give up personal information. And it appears that there is no slow-down among the hardworking cybercrooks because the number of phishing attacks targeted at consumers remain high, reports The Anti-Phishing Working Group, an organization that tracks and reports phishing occurrences.
Social engineering and technical trickery are the cornerstones of phishing whose goal is to steal consumers’ personal identity data and financial account credentials. Spoofed emails that appear to be from legitimate businesses, lead consumers to fake websites, which can look the same as the real thing, tricking them into divulging data such as usernames and passwords. Cybercrooks can also use technical tricks to install specially designed malware onto PCs in order to capture online account user names and passwords and misdirect consumers to counterfeit websites.
Among industries, financial services are targeted by phishers more than any other. Cybercrooks have a new variation that cons financial advisers into wiring cash out of their clients’ online investment accounts. USA Today reports that, “Cybercriminals have discovered that investors now routinely rely on email to authorize personal advisers to execute financial transactions. Search engines and social networks have made finding and profiling potential victims, and their advisers, easy.”
How can you protect yourself against phishing?
The avast! Mail Shield scans all incoming and outgoing email and attachments for malware. For the highest level of home protection, avast! Internet Security has a comprehensive spam and phishing filter, which analyses all incoming email based on various criteria to determine whether it is legitimate.
Steps you can take:
- Have good habits – do not respond to the links in an unsolicited email or on Facebook
- Protect your passwords and don’t reveal them to anyone
- Do not give sensitive information to anyone—on the phone, in person or through email
- Look at the website’s URL (web address.) In many phishing cases, the web address may look legitimate but the URL may be misspelled or the domain is different (.com when it should be .gov)
- Keep your browser up-to-date and apply security patches
- Do not open attachments from unsolicited email
If you believe you have compromised sensitive information about your accounts, contact your financial institution, credit card company, or appropriate authorities.
The My avast! account was created so you can manage all your avast! software and services from one area. You can enter your account by clicking on the avast! icon in the system tray in the bottom right corner of your computer. This opens the avast! user interface. In the Summary section of the UI, you can see if the device you are using is connected to your My avast! account. To the right of that is a link to connect, http://my.avast.com. Click this link to log in and connect the device to your account.
Once you are there, you can see all your avast! protected devices in one place. This is quite useful if you have multiple devices like a PC, tablet and mobile phone. The section called Security Info gives you a summary of protection for each device. If your avast! Antivirus license is expiring soon, it will remind you and give you the opportunity to renew.
For those of you with Android phones, your My avast! account provides valuable information related to avast! Anti-Theft. You can change the settings, for example, add a friend’s number to communicate with your phone if it gets stolen, remotely wipe or lock the phone or stealthily send SMS commands. The Locator Map finds the position of the phone, so you can track it.
Check out your My avast! account here, http://my.avast.com.
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.
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.
Question of the Week: How do I know my avast! Antivirus is protecting me against the latest viruses?
With avast! Antivirus 7, you get each virus signature sent to you in real-time via a connection to the AVAST Virus Lab cloud, rather than needing to wait for a traditional database update. Your database will be continuously updated with the latest definitions.
To ensure this works efficiently, the auto update should be turned ON so that your virus definitions are updated automatically whenever you are connected to the internet. When you open the program’s main window, it will tell you the current security status of your computer. By clicking on “Show details” you can see the current status of the virus definitions.
If you have reason to believe that your virus definitions have not updated, you can access various features of the program by clicking on the orange avast! icon located in your computer’s system tray instead of going through the main user interface. When you right click on the avast! icon, a short menu will appear. Click Update > Engine and virus definitions to see if your virus definitions are up-to-date.
Tell your friends on Facebook about how great avast! Antivirus protection is by clicking here. You could win an iPod Touch!
Got a brand new smartphone and want to be protected from all the dangerous malware that’s out there? So you go and get some Android antivirus software. But, what you don’t know is that you just got tricked. And, it’s going to cost you some money. Yes, even if you downloaded if for free.
The latest trend in Android malware is to hide behind something that seems to be legit. Guys at GFI Labs pointed that out, so let’s take a closer look behind the scenes and add some interesting info from the AVAST Virus Lab’s perspective. Imagine yourself as a virus maker. You create an app that will do something evil like steal or delete people’s texts (you’re a nice virus maker), or you want to milk the cow even more and you create an app that’s going to get you some money from the victim by making it silently send text messages to premium-rate phone numbers.
But, how do you spread your evil milking machine among Android users? Just take a look at the apps that are already popular and trusted, like Angry Birds, Opera Browser, or even better, an antivirus app! What can feel safer than installing antivirus on your phone, right? So you take your evil app and make it look, for example, like avast! Mobile Security or any other antivirus suite. Then you make it available for free download, easy to find, placed on a web page that is not guarded like the Play Store, Amazon App Store, or any other genuine Android market. Most of the people only download apps from these genuine stores, but there are always some of them that somehow get tricked or that are just unlucky and run into some fraudulent apps like the one I’m talking about.
Let’s take a closer look at one of the cases. Android:FakeInst-AB Read more…