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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

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 22nd, 2016

Avast opens its new headquarters with a gala event

Avast Building exterior

New Avast headquarters

Avast Software celebrates moving into a beautiful Silicon Valley-style work place.

The grand opening of the new Avast headquarters, held in Prague on Thursday night, was a gala event for employees, friends of Avast, international journalists, his excellence Andrew H. Schapiro U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Chairman of the Board John Schwarz, our two co-founders, and other honored guests.

Opening the event on a stage set up in the expansive lobby of the new building, CEO Vince Steckler summarized his last 7 years with the company. When he started, Avast was still a start-up in many ways with only 3 products, 40 employees, and occupying a modest building. There was no board of directors or proper company structure in place.

Since Mr. Steckler took the helm of the company, Avast has become a global force in security software and delivered award-winning products to consumers, small businesses, and enterprise.

“We are extremely proud of how far we have come,” said Steckler. “Avast is on more computers than any other security software, and we are just getting started.”

Avast lobby

Guests gather in the lobby as the Avast Grand Opening begins

Looking towards the future, Steckler said to a rapt audience, “The Internet of Things has led to an entire new era of security concerns, which Avast is well-poised to address for our customers.”

Read more…

Categories: General Tags: ,
January 16th, 2016

Small and midsize businesses are targeted most often by hackers

“SMBs are not just targets of cybercrime, they are its principal target”

says a U.S. Security and Exchange Commission report from last fall. In fact, the majority of all targeted cyberattacks last year were directed at SMBs.

The New York Times, in its article No Business Too Small to Be Hacked, said that 60% of all online attacks in 2014 targeted small and mid-sized businesses. Of those attacked, more than half (60%) would go out of business within 6 months of a data breach. That’s a lot of broken dreams and heart ache because of a lack of security.

Avast for Business autoshop

Small and mid-sized businesses use Avast for Business to protect from cyberthreats.

Small businesses lack IT expertise and budget

SMBs make attractive targets because they often neglect their security or rely on older consumer security software for protection. Money is always an issue, and sometimes the budget doesn’t allow for an expensive security package.

Just recently, our free, cloud-managed security solution, Avast for Business, passed a milestone – more than 1 million endpoints protected in less than a year. From our relationship with IT admins in sectors as diverse as Education, Non-profits, Retail, IT consulting firms, and SMBs, we have learned that many organizations lack in-house expertise or resources to install costly and complex security solutions.

Read more…

January 15th, 2016

Avast for Business: Zero to One Million endpoints protected in less than a year

Avast for Business takes off

 

Since the launch of Avast for Business, a free, cloud-managed security solution, in February 2015, organizations worldwide have deployed it to protect more than one million PCs, Macs, and servers from cyberattacks and data breaches.

Avast for Business is successful across diverse sectors

Avast for Business is extremely popular with Education, Non-profits, Retail, Healthcare, IT consulting firms, and small business because many organizations lack the IT resources to install costly and complex security solutions. Avast for Business is easily scalable and managed from anywhere. Additionally, Avast for Business starts at a price everyone can afford: Free, making it a natural fit for organizations worldwide.

Education IT admins value easy deployment, management, and the free cost

The sector that has embraced Avast for Business whole-heartedly is Education. IT administrators from universities, school districts, private and charter schools, libraries, and museums all tell us that ease of deployment and management is at the top of their security solution wish list. The fact that it’s also free makes it an easy decision.

Read more…

January 8th, 2016

Microsoft ends support for older versions of Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer icon

Update from an older Internet Explorer to avoid security risks

After January 12th, only the most current version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates.

People using Internet Explorer 8, 9, and 10 will no longer receive security or technical updates after Tuesday, January 12th. This means that the older versions of Internet Explorer can be exploited by hackers which puts your computer and your data at risk. One last patch will be released January 12th with a reminder to upgrade your browser. If you do not upgrade to Internet Explorer 11, you will begin to receive “End of Life” upgrade notifications urging you to make the switch to Internet Explorer 11. Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 users should upgrade to Internet Explorer 11. Windows 7 users with Internet Explorer 9 or 10 should upgrade to Internet Explorer 11.

Choose a different browser

If you want to stay with a Microsoft product, then you also have the option to switch to Microsoft Edge, their latest, most modern browser, but you must also be using Windows 10.

This is a good opportunity to try another browser like Google Chrome, Firefox, or Opera.  We recommend Google Chrome as an alternative to Internet Explorer because of its security features and automatic updates.

There are plenty of alternative browsers to switch to as well; those that specialize in gaming, privacy, media consumption, and other things. Check out this listing of 10 obscure, highly specialized browsers from PCWorld.

Read more…

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