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February 10th, 2016

Online dating scams target divorced, middle-aged women

mature woman looking out of the window on a rainy miserable day

Romance, or Sweetheart, scammers troll for lonely, vulnerable people on dating sites

 

Lonely hearts still waiting for their soulmate are easy prey for online dating scams.

Many people search for love through online dating sites, dating apps, or social media. Unfortunately, before you find your prince (or princess), you have to eliminate the frogs.

“Romance” scammers, sometimes referred to as “sweetheart” scammers take advantage of vulnerable people, especially divorced women over 40, by posing as an eligible romantic prospect.

How romance scams work

It all starts with a fake online profile. Scammers may use a fake name or steal the identity of a real person. There is often more than one person perpetuating the scam – there have been reports of a room full of people working from the same script. Often they portray their fictional selves as living overseas or on active duty in the military. This gives them a good reason for why they cannot meet their intended in person.

Romance scams are a long form of social engineering. The scammer can take weeks building an interesting backstory that draws their victim in, but they often express strong emotional feelings in a short period of time, which keeps the victim psychologically engaged. They use words filled with love, share personal information, and sometimes even send their victims small gifts.

Once trust is established, the scammer will push to take the communications to email or an instant messenger service. The new online lover will soon have a problem which requires money to fix. It could be a personal emergency like a family member who needs immediate medical attention, or some kind of financial hardship like a failed business or street mugging.

Read more…


February 9th, 2016

Find reliable, secure Wi-Fi hotspots with new Wi-Fi Finder app

Avast Wi-Fi Finder for Android finds secure Wi-Fi connections, wherever you are.

Everyone loves saving their data by using free Wi-Fi hotspots, but that can be risky if the hotspot is unsecure. Hackers can eavesdrop on what you’re doing, see your messages, watch the sites you navigate to, and even steal usernames and passwords. Wi-Fi FInder mapWi-Fi Finder list view

How to find safe Wi-Fi hotspots

New Avast Wi-Fi Finder is an Android app that can help you find reliable, fast, and secure Wi-Fi connections, wherever you are.  With the mobile app’s user-friendly map interface, it’s easy to find hotspots recommended by people around the world. Avast Wi-Fi Finder helps you select a secure Wi-Fi connection without the worry of going over your data plan or the frustration of slow data connections. Avast Wi-Fi Finder is free for Avast Mobile Security users. Download Avast Wi-Fi Finder from the Google Play Store. For iOS, download Wi-Fi Finder from iTunes. Read more…


February 4th, 2016

Sharing personal information plays part in Neiman Marcus hack

Data that you share on social media could end up for sale on the Dark Web.

Adjust your privacy settings on social networks. You never know who may be watching!

Adjust your privacy settings on social networks. You never know who may be watching!

The luxury retailer Neiman Marcus is the latest victim of a data breach. At the end of January, Neiman Marcus notified their online customers that unauthorized individuals attempted to access customer’s online accounts by trying various login and password combinations using automated attacks. The hackers were able to accurately guess the username and password combinations and access some online accounts. Neiman Marcus reported that only a small number of these accounts were used to make unauthorized purchases.

Personal information shared on social sites combined with Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and username and passwords for sale on the Dark Web, are making data breaches of this type more common.  Cybercrooks, terrorists, and nation states buy information from shady sites, then use it to break into banks, launder money, or make trouble for big U.S. companies like Neiman Marcus Group.

“These bad guys are assembling portfolios of individuals,” said Avivah Litan, an analyst at Gartner in an interview with DataBreachToday about the breach. “They’ve got a big database of American citizens and all the data associated with their identity, and lots of different people are buying up this data on the Dark Web. And they’re using this data to get to their targets.”

Unsafe practices make hacker’s jobs easier

Responsibility for customer safety belongs heavily with the organization. They should encrypt any customer contact information and use stronger authentication methods than just a username and password. But, we as consumers make the hacker’s job easier by using the same username and password on multiple accounts. Once one set of credentials is compromised, then hackers will test them to get access to other websites.

We can take steps that make it harder for a cybercrook to gather information on us and break into our accounts.

Read more…


February 3rd, 2016

How to create strong, unique passwords for all your accounts (and remember them!)

One of the best ways to protect yourself online is by using strong passwords. Yeah, right.

Do you write your passwords on sticky notes?

You’ve seen the rules before

1. Use long, strong passwords that mix letters, numbers, special characters, and capital letters

2. Avoid using the same password on different websites.

But since we have so many to remember, the average is 19 per person, then most people default to using easy-to-remember passwords. The most popular passwords for the past few years have been 123456 and password.

 Is it safe to store my passwords in the browser?

Most browsers offer to store your passwords, and on the surface it seems like a convenient way to keep them handy. But the problem is, when you store passwords in your browser, they are stored on your device along with the information necessary to decrypt them – which makes them easy to hack.

One password to rule them all

What if you could remember only one password, but still follow the rules for creating strong, unique passwords? Cue the angels, because Hallelujah, you can!

Avast Passwords is a password manager free to all Avast 2016 users. Avast Passwords helps you manage passwords across all your devices and all you need to remember is one main password! Read more…


February 1st, 2016

The cat and mouse game of internet security

Virus Lab analysts can see real-time threats on the monitoring wall

Virus Lab analysts can see real-time threats on the monitoring wall

Security is an evolutionary business rather than a revolutionary one.

“Computer security has been around for 25 or 30 years and the threats keep evolving,” Avast CEO Vince Steckler in a video interview with ValueTech.

The solutions keep evolving too. “If you go back 20 years ago, the big issue was script kiddies and big public splashes of viruses that frankly didn’t cause any harm. These days, things are much more complicated. You don’t have big flaws, big loopholes for bad guys to take advantage of. What this turned into is a cat and mouse game.

Read more…


January 28th, 2016

2016: The Year of Spying Microwaves and Hijacked Cars

The security stakes only seem to be rising when it comes to the threats that affect us as modern-day consumers.

What behavior could a smart appliance reveal about you?

What behavior could a smart appliance reveal about you?

Over the past year, we have seen a list of notable mobile threats that put people’s privacy at risk. Previously unseen vulnerabilities surfaced, such as Certifi-gate and Stagefright, both of which can be exploited to spy on users. Certifi-gate put approximately 50 percent of Android users at risk, and Stagefright made nearly 1 billion Android devices vulnerable to spyware. In 2015, for the first time, cybercriminals were able to attack users on a vast level.

Another mobile threat on the rise in 2015 was mobile ransomware, using asymmetric cryptography, making it nearly impossible to recover the encrypted data on a smartphone. The most common mobile threats in 2015 were adware — often apps disguised as fun gaming apps that provide little value and spam users with ads. We believe that 2016 will be the year in which we see threats moving from smartphones to smart homes — and beyond.

Read more…


January 28th, 2016

What you share online may be revealed to others

Every year we celebrate Data Privacy Day by thinking about what we post online, what methods we use to connect, and the security of the devices we use.

Data Privacy Day

Data Privacy Day  (DPD) is an international effort held annually on January 28 to create awareness about the importance of privacy and protecting personal information. Avast knows that security these days means more than protection against viruses. Online threats put your security and personal data at risk. You not only have to protect your desktop PC, but also your mobile devices. Your privacy can be violated by the apps you use, and bad guys can even invade your home through your home router.  

Fortunately, these threats can be managed when you take the advice of Data Privacy Day: 

STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

Here’s some tips and solutions from Avast to help you manage all the privacy needs on your devices.

Share with care

Think about the consequences of what you post online, especially in social networks. Think about what others could learn about you and who might see your posts in the future ‒ teachers, parents, colleges, and potential employers.

Read more…


January 27th, 2016

Avast for Business makes life easy for IT professionals

Businesses and organizations use Avast for Business, the security solution that’s easy to deploy and manage (and free!).

Business sectors such as education, retail, healthcare, IT consulting firms love and use Avast business security solutions for their ease-of-use and effectiveness against threats. In less than a year, more than one million devices have been secured by our cloud-managed security solution.  A reason for its success is because many businesses, schools, and other organizations lack the IT resources to install costly and complex security solutions.

Read more…


January 26th, 2016

AV-TEST rates Avast Free Antivirus 2016 as a top security product for Windows Home Users

Avast Free Antivirus 2016 obtained highly positive ratings in AV-TEST's recent Product Review.

Avast Free Antivirus 2016 obtained highly positive ratings in AV-TEST’s recent Product Review.

AV-TEST, the leading and worldwide operating service provider for IT security testing services, has recently revealed the results of their Product Review and Certification Report for November-December 2015. AV-TEST describes the details of the review on their website:

Read more…


January 23rd, 2016

Avast’s new Prague headquarters is set to attract the most talented people

Avast's new headquarters are located in Prague's Enterprise Office Center.

Avast’s new headquarters are located in Prague’s Enterprise Office Center.

The opening of Avast’s beautiful new headquarters, Prague’s Enterprise Office Building, is a pretty good cause for celebration. At last night’s Grand Opening event, a few of our executive team members shed light on the moving process, as well as specific details about the building and its potential to open new doors for the company. Avast COO Ondrej Vlcek described the initial concept behind the building:

We modeled the design after some very successful Silicon Valley companies and are bringing that entrepreneurial spirit and drive for excellence to the team.

The building has an impressive collection of features:

  • 45 meeting rooms that provide both formal and relaxed environments.
  • 6-meter-wide stairs thoughout all six floors that serve as a meeting spot for employees.
  • A canteen with free food served daily from the morning until late afternoon. This supports informal contact between groups that traditionally wouldn‘t have lunch together as well as increased cross-departmental communication.
  • A fitness area, hammock room, pool tables, cinema, and library for enrichment and relaxation.
  • A children‘s room that works to support (and lend a hand to) each of our working parents.

 

It’s not hard to believe that such a spectacular working space draws in top-notch talent from across the globe to work at Avast. Current Avast employees also have a lot of positive things to say about our new workspace:

When I saw our canteen, I couldn’t believe it. So many varieties of food, from healthy light salads to breakfasts of champions. — Tomas Penka (eComm Specialist)

It’s fresh and unique, and it provides an atmosphere that invites creativity. – Che Johnson (Corporate Tech Support)

The central staircase impels employees to make use of it and walk more, which has been a healthy surprise. – Petr Prusa (QA Engineer)

Moving into the new year, we’re looking forward to thriving in our new building and seizing the opportunity to demonstrate how we work to keep people around the world safe every day.


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