Lisandro Carmona

Lisandro Carmona

17 February 2016

Surviving my 25 day Offline Holiday

If you’re reading this, you probably read Part I of my social experiment, 25 Day Offline Holiday: Can a techie do it? I’m trying to live without the Internet for 25 days while I’m on vacation in Chile. Well, not absolutely without. It's available, but I’ve banned myself from receiving or answering emails or messages, playing with the apps on my phone… that sort of thing.

I am on an Offline Holiday. Can I survive it?

I discovered that I can run without a fitness app tracking my progress I discovered that I can run without a fitness app tracking my progress

Day 8. Today, while running under the sun and watching the fields, I wondered what Bob would think about my 25-day experiment? Bob is my fellow Avast evangelist and like me, he’s extremely active on the Avast Forum. He makes presentations all over the United States about security, anti-malware, and how to be safe while connected. I guess he’s never recommended Avast to anyone offline. All he must be doing, while I'm on my offline vacation, is teaching people to be protected, have their antivirus fully updated, and so forth.

And what about David, another Avast evangelist? I wonder if he is solving all the issues on the Avast Forum? Would he survive in England without being connected? What about Asyn? Has he recommended that you read any Avast Blog articles yet? And Polonus? Is he fighting off online malware?

I’m not sure what my friends are doing, as I’ve been offline for over a week now.

Look for yourself: Join the Avast Community Forum and meet real people that can guide you through online security. Tell them I said hello.

Day 9. Nothing new. I’m bored because I can only read the local newspaper. I have a lot of time to watch movies. My health is very good: I lost some weight. But I don’t know for sure. Maybe it’s wishful thinking since I’m not following my app.

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Security News

Lisandro Carmona

15 February 2016

25 Day Offline Holiday: Can a techie do it?

To get away from it all, I decided to take an unplugged vacation. But can I survive it?

Chile's Atacama Desert is the perfect destination for an "Unplugged" holiday Chile's Atacama Desert is the perfect destination for an "Unplugged" holiday

The day before I left Brazil for my vacation, a young lady who works with me said, “My vacation concept is different than yours.” She said that her vacation is time to take a break, to disconnect. So she unplugs all her devices and goes offline.

I’ve thought I could do the same while traveling to Chile. I won’t write about the trip itself, but about my Offline Holiday. For sure there are a lot of free Wi-Fi hotspots, and I have Avast SecureLine and Avast Wi-Fi Finder, so I could be secure the entire time. But, that’s not the point.

I just want to see what will happen in my life, and in my body and mind, being 25 days offline.

Day 1. I’m using Windows Preview Pro 11102, my machine is fully updated and Avast Software Updater shows that all the software on my computer is OK. I can’t believe that I will disable Avast!

Yes, as a rule you should keep your protection fully updated and on. But, I ran a full scan before beginning this offline journey and with no connection to the internet, I am not afraid. I am traveling for the first time in this new country, but my favorite apps do not work and I have no internet. Thankfully, I’ve installed an off-line map and GPS app. This option is showing me the way.

Day 2. I thought it would be easy, like when I stopped smoking 15 years ago. “I can manage it,” I told myself.

I’ve disabled some of my startup items. Why should I start a browser, an online backup, and an email client if I’m offline? I’ve put my smartphone in airplane mode and the battery stays charged all day. Isn’t it good?

My fitness app did work. GPS is there, but without internet it’s not loading. So I’ve moved to my backup fitness app that I tested offline before. Worked. Good. I don’t need anything more.

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Security News

Lisandro Carmona

4 January 2016

Internet of Things: What you need to do to protect yourself

The Internet of Things (IoT) join together physical devices that we use every day with information technology.

Make sure your Internet of Things is secure We can use devices to monitor our health and fitness, our houses, our environment, and our factories and cities.

Using internet-connected devices expands our ability to control and monitor in the real world. The IoT is literally changing our lives.

The Internet of Things has the potential to fundamentally shift the way we interact with our surroundings. The ability to monitor and manage objects in the physical world electronically makes it possible to bring data-driven decision making to new realms of human activity – to optimize the performance of systems and processes, save time for people and businesses, and improve quality of life." ~ McKinsey Global Institute study

The potential economic impact of the IoT is astounding – as much as $11.1 trillion per year by 2025 for IoT applications, projected by the same study.

But is there a downside?

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Security News

Lisandro Carmona

7 October 2015

Life beyond the screen: Coming face to face with technology addiction

Don't let technology become an addiction

Image via Telegraph Online

Believe it or not, there's more to life than what's happening online! In its beginnings, technology was intended to make our lives simpler and more convenient. When technology becomes an addiction, however, it can become dangerous to our mental and physical health, not to mention our personal lives.

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Security News

Lisandro Carmona

28 September 2015

Making technology simpler: Thanks to my mother

Some days ago we wrote about scams targeting senior citizens. This group is at risk because generally speaking, they have less computer education than younger people who have grown up in the digital world. I recommended the reading to my mother, thinking she will benefit from it. She thanked me, but said that there were “some things” she did not understand.

Learning to surf internet Friends and family can help senior citizens enjoy a safe online experience

In the Avast blog we do our best to write in simple terms. However, we know much more about security and, quite frequently, explains things in technical writing. So, I’ve take some time to write what will be useful for your mother (and mine). What about recommending her to read this?

Computer and mobile security essentials for senior citizens

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Mobile Security, Security News

Lisandro Carmona

14 September 2015

Avast Mobile Security: So much more than just another security app

With millions of applications waiting to be installed in our gadgets, you not only need to be concerned about quality, but you also need to take the proper measures in order to avoid your phone becoming infected by malware. Unfortunately, we already know that Google Play and the Windows Store aren’t immune to malware. Even the Apple Store has its bad days, so we're not trying to scare you. These days, malware is a continuing, growing threat.

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Mobile Security, Security News

Lisandro Carmona

11 September 2015

Ads: Love or hate?

Ad-injection is an increasingly annoying and dangerous problem

Ad injecting in action on Amazon Malvertising attacks. Image via Google Security Blog

There are basically two reactions people have when they see ads in their browser. Some think they add interesting content and possibilities, insights and ideas or even, opportunities. The other group considers them as a distraction, an invasion and a disruption to what they were doing.

But most everyone will agree, once you begin something on your laptop or mobile, especially if it's work-related task, you want to continue what you started. Lots of people get so into what they're doing that they don’t see or think of anything else, and when an unwelcome ad comes through, it breaks the concentration. Some will say this is a man's perspective. But even some women I talk to agree; even though they always say they are multitasking and (cough, cough) never lose focus.

When it comes to security, ads are becoming more and more a vehicle for malware. Ad-injecting malware is really a threat nowadays. Once on your device – computer or mobile – the malware will drop new ads into any (or most) sites you visit, sending ad revenue back to remote cybercriminals. For example, malicious porn ads use this type of redirection and clicking techniques.

Research conducted by Google from June to October of 2014 concluded that deceptive ad injection is a significant problem on the web today. They identified tens of millions of instances of ad injection and detected 5.3 million different IP addresses infected with adware, 5% of the total testing group. The research also found that Superfish, one of the notorious businesses that have ad injection libraries, was alive and well, not only pre-installed on Lenovo laptops, but breaking SSL protections for any other computer running it in background.

Ways to control unwanted ads in your browser

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Security News

Lisandro Carmona

14 August 2015

10 ways to ensure your security while shopping online

That online shopping increases day by day is not news. If you are an average user, you are probably already aware of the normal precautions and have taken them yourself. Ease of use and convenience when browsing for different products or searching for the best prices has improved greatly. However, at the same time, online threats and frauds have also increased exponentially. Therefore, from time to time, all of us must review our behavior and think again if our habits are secure.

Follow a few simple tips to stay safe while shopping online Follow a few simple tips to stay safe while shopping online

Best practices while online shopping

1. Use your own computer or mobile device when shopping. It seems obvious, but you cannot trust a computer that does not belong to you, even your best friend’s computer. It might not have appropriate protection and it could already be compromised by malware. So, always use your own device, install an anti-malware solution and before you start doing anything that involves your money, scan your network to discover if it is safe.

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Tips, Security News

Lisandro Carmona

14 July 2015

Do third-party app stores pose a threat to mobile security?

Android Malware Malware detected on Android

Over time, we've noticed the presence of some fairly heated user debates disputing the necessity of security or antivirus apps for Android devices. This could have been sparked by our recent post which argues that you can't always rely on the security of Google Play or because of the myth that antivirus companies create viruses to sell more software.

Certain security gurus claim that if users stick to downloading and purchasing apps using only the Google Play Store, nothing bad will happen to their devices. However, we found that this line of thinking is not 100% correct, as was demonstrated through the discovery of a rogue Dubsmash app or in the infamous case of apps on Google Play posing as games and infecting millions of users with adware. Despite these findings, there are some users who still feel that they're safe whenever using Google Play. This feeling of false security could have negative consequences; for example, when your data or financial information is stolen or when you have to resort to resetting your device in order to cleanse it of malware.

So, we know we can't rely on the Google Play Store all the time, but are third-party stores more secure? Of course not. In this case, how is it still possible that it's not a problem to use third-party stores? First of all, it's necessary to point out that there are certain legitimate and clean third-party stores, such as Amazon and FDroid. At the same time, there are tons of shady stores and even more black market .apk files promising to deliver you the latest features of a cracked app.

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Mobile Security, Security News

Lisandro Carmona

18 June 2015

Samsung phones vulnerable to hacker attack via keyboard update


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Mobile Security, Threat Research, Security News