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July 24th, 2015

Can hackers get under the hood of your car?

Driving under the influence of alcohol or texting while driving is still a bigger risk to your safety on the road, but the hacking experiments conducted on technology-heavy cars might be an indicator of break-downs to come.

Security researchers have proven that modern cars can be hacked.

Security researchers have proven that modern cars can be hacked.

Two security engineers proved that a car is not just a transportation device to get from point A to point B, but a vulnerable combination of individual software systems that can be hacked.

Back in 2013, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek hacked a 2010 Ford Escape and a Toyota Prius. The two researchers demonstrated the ability to send commands from their laptop that did things like jerk the steering wheel, give false readings on the speedometer and odometer, sound the horn continuously, and slam on the brakes while going down the road.

They have done it again, this time with a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Read more…

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July 18th, 2015

How to thoroughly wipe your phone before selling it

Make sure your Android phone is wiped clean before you sell it.

Every day, tens of thousands of people sell or give away their old mobile phones. We decided to buy some of these used phones to test whether they had been wiped clean of their data. What we found was astonishing: 40,000 photos including 750 photos of partially nude women and more than 250 male nude selfies, 750 emails and texts, 250 names and addresses, a collection of anime porn, a complete loan application, and the identity of four of the previous phone owners.

How did we recover so much personal data?

The problem is that people thought they deleted files but the standard features that came with their operating system did not do the job completely. The operating system deleted the corresponding pointers in the file table and marked the space occupied by the file as free. But in reality, the file still existed and remained on the drive.

Read more…

July 17th, 2015

Patches from Adobe, Oracle, and Microsoft released

Avast Software Updater helps you apply software updates.

Earlier this week, we told our readers about the three Flash Player zero-day vulnerabilities that were found in stolen files that were leaked from the Hacking Team. We advised Avast users to disable Flash until the bugs are fixed.

It doesn’t look good for Flash. Because of the continuing security problems facing the 20-year old platform, Google and Mozilla each announced this week that their Web browsers will eventually be dropping default support for Adobe Flash, and Facebook’s new security chief wants to kill Flash. For now you can still use it, but the reports of it’s death are not greatly exaggerated…

Read more…

July 13th, 2015

Adobe Flash zero-day vulnerabilities threaten your security

Last Friday, Adobe confirmed two new “critical” zero-day flaws in the Adobe Flash Player browser plugin 18.0.0.204 – and earlier versions – for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Today, a third flaw was found. Adobe Flash Player is a widely distributed multimedia and application player used to enhance the user experience when visiting web pages or reading email messages.

We recommend disabling Flash until the bugs are fixed. 

Three "critical" zero-day flaws in Adobe Flash Player discovered

Three “critical” Flash zero-day flaws in Adobe Flash Player discovered

Security experts say the two flaws were found in stolen files that were dumped earlier this month from Hacking Team, an Italian security firm that sells communication interception and surveillance software to governments around the world. The third one came from the same documents.

“Successful exploitation could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system,” Adobe said in their blog. “Depending on the privileges associated with the user account targeted, an attacker could install programs on the system, alter or delete data, create new accounts with similar user rights, or cause a denial-of-service.”

Read more…

July 11th, 2015

Does Avast slow down my computer?

When your computer slows to a crawl, it is very frustrating. One of the worst things that people do when trying to restore the performance of their PC is to remove the security software. Getting rid of your protective barrier just opens you up to threats that could make things even worse.

So you know that you need a security product on your computer, but you don’t want any software to impact the speed or performance. That’s why an excellent choice is Avast antivirus products.

Avast got the highest rating for Performance from AV-ComparativesAvast provides high detection rates and good protection against malware, but it does not degrade system performance or annoy users by being resource hungry.

But don’t take my word for it.

AV-Comparatives, a well-known and trusted third party testing lab, recently tested 20 antivirus and internet security products. Avast Free Antivirus topped every single one of them – paid security suites and free antivirus protection – and received an Advanced Plus three star award for the May 2015 Performance Test.

Reasons why your PC may be slow

It is not always security software that is responsible for a slow system. Other factors can play a role, which means that with a few tweaks your systems performance can be improved.

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July 9th, 2015

Top 10 most annoying browser toolbars

It usually happens after you download something free. You go back online and your browser suddenly looks unfamiliar. There’s new buttons and weird icons in the place of what you used to have. A strange search page from a company you have never heard has taken the place of your homepage.

How did I get that annoying toolbar?

 

Avast Browser Cleanup removes annoying toolbars

You have inadvertently downloaded a browser toolbar that came bundled with other software.

Free programs, like Adobe Reader, often include add-ons like toolbars or browser extensions. Most of the time, during the installation of the software, an opt-out option will be presented for the add-on. But, lots of people click through without reading, and when they’re finished they discover they have downloaded something they didn’t intend to.

To keep this from happening in the first place, slow down and read the screens. You could save yourself lots of time and headaches if you do.

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July 1st, 2015

Shopping online just got a little more risky

One of the largest e-commerce platforms, Magento, has been plagued by hackers who inject malicious code in order to spy and steal credit card data or any other data a customer submits to the system. More than 100,000+ merchants all over the world use Magento platform, including eBay, Nike Running, Lenovo, and the Ford Accessories Online website.

The company that discovered the flaws, Securi Security, says in their blog, “The sad part is that you won’t know it’s affecting you until it’s too late, in the worst cases it won’t become apparent until they appear on your bank statements.”

Minimize your risk for identity theft when shopping online

Minimize your risk for identity theft when shopping online

Data breaches are nothing new. The Identity Theft Research Center said there were 761 breaches in 2014 affecting more than 83 million accounts. You probably recall the reports of Sony, Target, Home Depot, and Chic Fil A.

We have heard lots about what we as individual consumers can do to protect ourselves: Use strong passwords, update your antivirus protection and keep your software patched, learn to recognize phishing software, and be wary of fake websites asking for our personal information.

But this kind of hack occurs on trusted websites and show no outward signs that there has been a compromise. The hackers have thoroughly covered their tracks, and you won’t know anything is wrong until you check your credit card bill.

So how do you minimize the risk of online shopping?

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June 28th, 2015

Weekend wrap-up: Cyber security news from Avast

Here’s your wrap up of security and privacy related news from the June 17 – 27 posts on the Avast blog:

 

cruise shipIt’s summertime in the Northern Hemisphere and many people are going on or planning their vacation. Beware of fake vacation packages and beautiful rental properties that are not as they seem. These Vacation scams can ruin your holiday, so read up before you become a victim.

samsung_swiftkeyMore than 600 million Samsung phones were reported to be at risk because of a vulnerability found in the keyboard app SwiftKey. The best way to protect yourself is to use a virtual private network (VPN) when using an unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot. If you have a Samsung S6, S5, or S4, you need to read Samsung phones vulnerable to hacker attack via keyboard update.

Read more…

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June 27th, 2015

Businessman hackers brought down in USA and Europe

Cybercrooks run their organizations like businesses these days. They have multinational offices, marketing departments, business development, and technical support teams. Maybe they also need some security…

Major cybercrooks get arrested

Major cybercrooks taken down

 Malware entrepreneur sentenced to 57 months in prison

One such malware entrepreneur, Alex Yucel, sold malware through a website that he operated, to other hackers. The Blackshades malware allowed hackers to remotely control their victims’ computers. They could do such things as log the victim’s keystrokes, spy through webcams, and steal usernames and passwords for email and other services. They could also turn their computers into bots which were used to perform Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on other computers, without the knowledge of the victim.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Alex Yucel created, marketed, and sold software that was designed to accomplish just one thing – gain control of a computer, and with it, a victim’s identity and other important information. This malware victimized thousands of people across the globe and invaded their lives. But Yucel’s computer hacking days are now over.” See the Department of Justice press release here.

Yucel sold the software for as little as $40 on PayPal and various black market forums. Read more…

June 26th, 2015

Avast CEO speaks out about U.S. and U.K. spy agencies

For as long as there have been governments, there have been spy agencies, and for as long as there have been spy agencies, they’ve done spying. Spy agencies are always looking for ways to get information. Information is valuable, always has been, always will be. ~Avast CEO Vince Steckler

New documents from the many that were leaked by former US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden were published this week in The Intercept. They reveal that the U.S.’s National Security Agency (NSA) and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), spied on security companies including Avast, AVG, Kaspersky Lab, and Antiy. The spy agencies seem to be targeting non-American security companies; Avast and AVG are based in Prague, Czech Republic; Kaspersky is based in Moscow, Russia; and Antiy is Chinese. Together, these companies have nearly a billion users. No U.S. or U.K. -based companies were included in the list.

“Geopolitically, it makes sense that the NSA and GCHQ are targeting products that are prevalently used by foreign governments, like Kaspersky in Russia or CheckPoint in Israel,” said Steckler in an interview with RT News. “On the flip side, Russian or Chinese spy agencies may be similarly targeting products that the American government heavily uses, for example Symantec and McAfee. We’re hearing just one side of the story.”

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