The holiday season is coming up and we expect that many will opt to shop online to avoid the big crowds in city centers, malls and stores.
In America, Cyber Monday, the cyber version of shopping day Black Friday, was born in the mid 2000s. Cyber Monday sales have steadily increased since its inception and according to IBM Digital Analytics, sales grew 8.5% in 2014. According to ComScore, purchases are now also being made from smartphones with overall spending from mobile devices in the millions.
Americans aren’t the only ones who have embraced Cyber Monday, many other retailers around the world have come together to offer deals on the Monday after U.S. Thanksgiving and in China, Singles’ Day (November 11th) has become a major ecommerce day with 27,000 online merchants participating in 2014.
This is not only an exciting time for online retailers and online shoppers but also for cyber criminals. I spoke with our senior malware analyst, Jaromír Hořejší about how cybercriminals are preparing for Cyber Monday:
Facebook’s Safety Check feature was created in October 2014 in response to the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011. In a Facebook post about the feature, Mark Zuckerburg described the mission of the feature:
Over the last few years there have been many disasters and crises where people have turned to the Internet for help. Each time, we see people use Facebook to check on their loved ones and see if they’re safe. Connecting with people is always valuable, but these are the moments when it matters most.
This is how it works:
1. Facebook will prompt users that might be in the area of a natural disaster to inform others about their status using the Safety Check feature.
2. Users can click the “I’m safe“ button to let their Facebook friends know that they are safe.
3. Facebook will alert you of friends that used Safety Check and allow you to look over the list of friends who could potentially be affected by the disaster.
Safety Check is only offered to individuals that are located in a disaster area. Although the feature was originally created to respond to natural disasters, it has recently been utilized to help users connect with others in the wake of social crises. Zuckerberg told CNET that Facebook is still developing the policy to determine exactly when Safety Check will be activated. He was also quoted saying that he won’t post each time Safety Check is activated because “unfortunately, these kinds of events are all too common.”
For more information about Safety Check, you can read through Facebook’s page about the feature.
Over the weekend, we ran a fill-in-the blank contest on our Facebook page in celebration of the launch of Avast 2016 products. Participants had the chance to win a 1-year license for Avast Premier 2016, and could do so by finishing the following sentence:
“The best celebrations always include ______________.”
Avast is the official Windows 10 consumer security software provider.
Yesterday, Microsoft released the first major update to Windows 10 for PCs and tablets since its initial release in July. It’s so large and improves so many features that it has been categorized as a whole new version instead of merely a patch or service pack.
Many of the features that have been in preview mode, including Cortana and Microsoft Edge, have significant upgrades. Additional capabilities in Cortana are only available in the USA for now. Improvements were also made to Mail and Calendar, Maps, Groove, Photos, Skype, and Xbox.
The Microsoft company blog states, “With this update, there are improvements in all aspects of the platform and experience, including thousands of partners updating their device drivers and applications for great Windows 10 compatibility.”
Avast 2016 is compatible with Windows 10
Avast is the official Windows 10 consumer security software provider. For best results with the new version of Windows 10, please make sure you also upgrade your Avast antivirus protection to the latest Avast 2016 version.
Avast is a recipient of the Windows 10 Compatibility Award from AV Comparatives.
image via windows.microsoft.com
Facebook has become more concerned about its users’ security. The social giant understands that education is the key to providing users with a secure experience. We have already seen the Facebook “dinosaur” guiding us via privacy settings. Now Facebook pops out a short guide to improve the security of our profiles. We strongly recommend not to ignore it and take those steps to ensure that your profile is properly protected.
Step 1. Take control over your login
A hackathon resulting in creative prototypes of apps and hardware.
It had all the makings of a classic hackathon: An all-nighter in a weird location fueled by coffee and good ideas. Located in the parking garage of our current Avast headquarters, R&D teams participated in the event with the goal to invent cool things we can implement in our new HQ building, which is nearly completed.
We dubbed the hackathon Párkathon, because our new HQ building has a sausage-like curve to it. In the Czech language sausage is “párek” + hackathon = Párkathon.
Here’s what it looked like:
The Párkathon started on Thursday and continued through the wee hours of the morning all the way through Friday evening. Some people were so psyched about their projects that they continued at home or even stayed at the office during the weekend to finish . On Monday morning, the epic hackathon ended with a demo session and attendees voted for the winning team. The prize was a barbecue party for that team. And they kindly invited all the other Párkathon attendees.
Some of the projects that came out of Párkathon include:
iZasedáček – an interactive version of the office seating plan. This app let’s people quickly find who sits where and localize empty chairs. It includes floor maps of the building.
Stairs vs. Elevators - devices for measuring stairs or elevator usage. Including HW prototype – every time someone crosses two laser beams, his walk through is counted. Other use cases are under development.
Other projects that came out of Párkathon
Waldo – a tool for the real-time search of people within the building using iBeacons and GPS. Users can send messages along with a location request inside or outside the building to quickly organize a meeting.
Hacked Earth – 3D visualization of geo-located data on Earth’s surface. Can be used for real-time display of virus attacks around the world or product information like the visualization of app installations. The plan is to use it at reception, meeting rooms, or for events.
FunMon – the real-time monitoring of table football and billiards usage. Uses HW sensors to detect facility usage and allows short-term booking.
Orchestrované zobrazovátko – a system for streaming content to TVs around the building. This is an easy way to show content on any TV. There is also the option to broadcast the same message on a group of TVs or even all of them.
Zasedačkomat – an app for wall-mounted Android tablets in each meeting room. It shows the room availability and allows you to perform basic tasks like reserving the room or releasing it for use.
3D navigation – printing of custom made direction signs for our new building. This task included learning to work with 3D printer.
MemeGen – system for internal memes and jokes.
Avast researchers hacked a Vizio Smart TV to gain access to a home network.
Co-authors: Ross Dickey and Riley Seaman
The Internet is everywhere — in your TV, your light bulb, and even your refrigerator. We are now living in the world of the Internet of Things. With all of our physical devices connected to the Internet, it’s important to understand how someone might access your information or violate your privacy through these devices. As an example, we’ll walk through hacking a Smart TV with the intention of gaining access to the victim’s home network, as well as to illustrate the privacy implications of having Internet-connected devices in your home or office.
Through this experiment, our aim is to show just how much a regular person can be affected by vulnerabilities within a smart device. Throughout our journey, we went through a series of processes that involved (but were not limited to) a simulated Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attack, the injection of an SSID, and the decoding of the device’s binary stream. We dove straight in, making our way through many avenues and curves with the ultimate goal to “crack the salt” (more on that later).
Tis’ the season for scams to circulate on Facebook and other social sites.
It sounds like great fun! Join your friends for a “Secret Santa” type gift exchange, and invite lots of others to the party. Only problem is that it’s a hoax.
Watch out if you get a message on your Facebook Newsfeed (also spotted on Reddit) inviting you to join a ‘Secret Sister’ gift exchange. And don’t pass it on, either. It’s a scam, it’s against Facebook’s Terms of Service for sharing personal information, and it could very well be illegal.
DroidJack isn’t the only spying software out there: Avast discovers that OmniRat is currently being used and spread by criminals to gain full remote control of devices.
There’s more than one RAT
On Friday, I discovered OmniRat, a program similar to DroidJack. DroidJack is a program that facilitates remote spying and recently made news when European law enforcement agencies made arrests and raided the homes of suspects as part of an international malware investigation.
OmniRat and DroidJack are RATs (remote administration tools) that allow you to gain remote administrative control of any Android device. OmniRat can also give you remote control of any Windows, Linux or Mac device. Remote administrative control means that once the software is installed on the target device, you have full remote control of the device.
On their website, OmniRat lists all of the things you can do once you have control of an Android, which include: retrieving detailed information about services and processes running on the device, viewing and deleting browsing history, making calls or sending SMS to any number, recording audio, executing commands on the device and more.
Avast simplifies how you protect your privacy with new products for 2016.
Count the number of devices you own. If you are like most modern digital-age people, you have a smartphone, half of you own a tablet, and most all of us have a desktop or laptop computer connected through a home router.
Now think about all the private information that you have on those devices. Bank account numbers, passwords, photos, messages and emails – all of them needing some form of protection to stay out of the wrong hands.
In a survey we did this year, 69% of you told us that your biggest fear is that the wrong person would see your personal information. In fact, Americans are so scared of having their financial information get into a bad guy’s possession, that 74% said they’d rather have nude photos of themselves leaked on the Internet! The problem is that most people are not doing anything to protect their privacy, for example, 40% of Americans don’t even lock their smartphones.
“While people are rightfully concerned about privacy, there is a disconnect between that concern and the steps they take to protect themselves,” said Vince Steckler, chief executive officer of Avast. “Users have a multitude of devices and passwords to keep track of, which can be overwhelming. When users feel overwhelmed, they tend to default to unsafe practices that put their privacy at risk.”
The new Avast 2016 for PC and Mac, the redesigned Avast Mobile Security, and the new kid on the block, Avast SecureMe, will all help reduce the complex task of protecting your private, personal information.
So time to face your fear and take steps to protect yourself. Here’s some tools that Avast is launching today to help you: