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December 6th, 2013

Ignoring update warnings makes you a sitting duck for malware

We all see the reminders to update Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, and Java frequently. There is good reason not to put this task off: The trusted researchers at AV-TEST Institute found that 66 percent of affected Windows systems are victims of malware that took advantage of exploits found in Reader, Flash, and Java.

During the 10-year study, they found that Adobe Reader has nearly 37,000 recorded variants that exploit user machines with “high levels of precision.” Java gets the top spot for exploit attacks with a whopping 82,000 attack variations available against the multiple versions of software on 3 billion devices worldwide.

The top 10 list of the most frequently infected file types from AV-TEST.

The top 10 list of the most frequently infected file types from AV-TEST.


Can I just stop using Java or Flash?

Not really. Surfing the web without Java and/or JavaScript is virtually impossible given that practically every website uses it in some way to display images, videos, and interactive content. Currently, there are no direct alternatives to Java or Flash for browsers. There are several alternatives to Adobe Reader which display PDFs on your system. You can see what AV-TEST recommends in their report.

Does avast! Antivirus provide protection?

Yes, provided that users also do their part. “Users who have not installed a good, secure protection software won’t even notice the exploit as it makes its way onto their system,” warns the researchers. “The only way to protect your system against Java-based attacks is to use a good security suite.”

All versions of avast! Antivirus identify and block the JavaScript that attempts to spy on the system in its search for vulnerable software. avast! Software Updater shows you an overview of all your outdated software applications, so you can keep them up-to-date and eliminate any security vulnerabilities.


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Categories: General Tags: , , , ,
  • easternwawoman

    Sure and of course..but are you folks absolutely positive that you do not have a false positive echoing across the web from AVAST today? People online are talking it up about AVAST coming on every few minutes to warn against URL:http://r1—…and a Infection: Win32:Fareit-LM [Trj] I’ve run malwarebyte, AVAST and a few other cleaners and my local machine is clean. Given the loudness online about this…might be something to speak up about..

    • Deborah Salmi

      Thank you for you report. This is a false positive, and the fixed update is rolling out at the moment.

  • Mk68

    Is this the same type of false positive?


    Infection: Win32:Fareit-LM [Trj]

    • Deborah Salmi

      The detection was disabled a few days ago, so it looks that you have outdated virus definitions. You can do a manual update at any time. Right-click the avast! Antivirus icon in the systems tray at the bottom-right corner of your desktop. From the menu, select Update.

  • zaorak

    Well a good article there.

    I have written an article about what avast is, if someone are interested?

  • Willow

    The only extension I have is Avast but I keep getting a warning from Avast …that wants me to buy its browser clean up to fix it, not clicking that! Is this ransom ware from Avast like other forum users are saying? They clicked to fix it and then got the malware, had to call Avast and was told they could fix it but had to buy a year subscription first.