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May 14th, 2015

Technology mistakes to stop making today

We love our fans and followers on Twitter because they frequently alert us to great resources. It happened today when we received a tweet from @LoveNerds4Ever letting us know that Avast Antivirus was mentioned on a Sacramento (California) News10 video segment. Thanks, Shawna!

The guest on this video segment is Ryan Eldridge, co-founder of Nerds on Call, a computer repair Business in Sacramento. He spoke to reporter Keba Arnold about technology mistakes that people typically make. These simple, but oh, so important points, are ones that we continually try to make, and Ryan puts it all together in one good video.

Watch Tech mistakes to stop making now.

The security recommendations that Ryan makes:

  • Run updates on your computer and mobile phone. Program updates and security patches are very important to keep your device up to date and running optimally.
  • Download apps and programs from places you know and trust. On your mobile phone this would be the Google Play Store or Amazon App Store. For your computer, he says it’s a little bit harder, but suggest that you visit download.com, CNET’s well-known download site where you can read user reviews and see the reputation of the app before you download.
  • Ryan reminds computer users that when they get a new device antivirus software may be pre-installed, but it is a trial for a limited time.  After it expires, you need to get protected with a quality antivirus product. Ryan recommends Avast Free Antivirus for your computer, your Mac, and your mobile phone.
  • Ms. Arnold confesses that she has one email address that acts as a catch-all for everything. Ryan says this is a no-no because if a hacker breaks into that email address, then he has access to everything. Ryan suggests that you have separate email addresses for friends and family, work, one for shopping, and one for banking.
  • Passwords, admittedly are a pain in the you-know-what. Ryan suggests using an algorithm, or a kind of personal code, to construct your own passwords. For example, you can use a line from your favorite song, say Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Use the first letter of each word, use letters from the website name, and end with a series of numbers. Each password will be unique and known only to you.

And Ryan, we have a tip for you! Small businesses like yours need security protection too, and consumer antivirus like Avast Free Antivirus, doesn’t do the trick when you need to manage multiple devices, platforms, and people in remote locations. Adding to our collection of free products is the new Avast for Business. Avast for Business is free to use for as long as you want and for an unlimited number of admins and devices.

May 6th, 2015

Support for older Avast versions will end

At the end of this month, Avast will end product enhancement support for older consumer versions of Avast Antivirus – we will not be ending security support for these products. Customers will continue to receive threat updates and will continue to be fully protected. The versions are 8.0.1497 and lower of the following products: Avast Free Antivirus, Avast Pro Antivirus, Avast Internet Security, and Avast Premier.

People using older versions will continue to receive virus definition updates and be protected. However, we recommend everyone to upgrade to the new version to benefit from better detection rates and new features.

Avast boxshots

Update to Avast 2015 for maximum protection.

A good antivirus program is a necessity to protect your Windows PC from malware attacks, to keep your computer running smoothly, and to protect your online identity and personal data. Over the past 3 years, Avast engineers have improved our database of known virus definitions, the mechanism in which  zero- day and widespread malware are detected, and the frequency of streaming updates sent to our customers. Avast 2015, with its unique Home Network Security feature which scans your home network for potential risks, is our best performing security product yet.

After May 31st, 2015, Avast will no longer provide patches or technical support for versions 8.0.1497 and lower. Please update to the latest version so you can benefit from the enhanced features and higher detection rates that protect your computer from malicious attacks. This update is also recommended because the latest version is compatible with Windows 10.

If you are running an older version of Avast, you can easily move to the latest version of Avast 2015.

How to check for the latest version and do a program update

If you need to update later, here’s a quick way to do it.

  • Right click on the orange Avast ball icon in the system tray.
  • Select Update from the menu and then click Program.

The update screen in the Avast user interface shows you the overall progress of the program update. When it’s done you will be asked to restart your computer. Click Yes to reboot immediately. Once the computer is restarted, information about the update may appear. If you are using a paid subscription, then your protection will be valid for the remaining period of your subscription.

 

Why to upgrade

  • Better detection rates
  • Easier technical support
  • We fixed bugs and problems that still might exist on your current version
  • Receive further program updates to ensure best protection
Av-Comparatives data

Avast 2015 has better detection rates than older versions. Update as soon as possible for maximum antivirus protection.

If you prefer an older version of Avast and require technical support, you will still receive virus definition updates and be protected, but our support team will ask you to update the product first before we can assist you.

 

May 5th, 2015

BYOD increases the need for Anti-Theft protection

smartphone and tablet

The convenience of BYOD can go down the drain if the employee loses their device. Protect it with Avast Anti-Theft.

Small business owners embrace the idea of employees supplying their own computers, smartphones, and tablets in the workplace. But the savings and convenience can go down the drain if the employee falls prey to a phishing scam and downloads malware or loses their device. Protecting mobile devices has become increasingly more important as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) grows in popularity.

Technical security measures to protect information are of obvious importance. However, many security incidents relate to the theft or loss of equipment.

We can write multiple blog posts about BYOD policies and educating your employees about the latest threats and tricks that cybercrooks play (spearphishing, for example), which is all extremely important, but if you simply lose your device, then all bets are off anyway. You can avoid headaches in the case of misplaced or stolen devices by having a way to remotely locate the missing device and wiping the data away if it ends up in the wrong hands.

Avast Anti-Theft allows users to log on to their desktop account or use a friend’s phone to remotely locate their device, lock it, activate the remote siren, or wipe its data clean.

Learn 5 ways to thwart the thief who stole your Android.

Business owners also need to consider what to do about company data on an employee’s personal device when they are terminated or leave the company. Some companies have resorted to wiping personal devices clean of all data, but that includes contacts, family photos, apps and music, which can lead to unpleasant lawsuits or complaints from former employees. Mobile device management systems (MDMs) are available, but could be overkill for very small businesses.

If you only have a few employees, and do not require a full-blown MDM, then Install Avast Anti-Theft for free from the Google Play store to protect your own devices and those of your employees.

 

May 1st, 2015

TGIF: Avast news wrap up for April 18 – May 1

The Avast bi weekly wrap-up is a quick summary of what was on the Avast blog for the last two weeks.

Woman using smartphoneMost everyone knows their PC needs antivirus protection, but they don’t think about their smartphone. These days smartphones are just about as powerful and have as much or more personal information as our desktop PC at home. We answer the question do Android devices really need protection?

Avast finds porn clicker app named Dubsmash 2 on Google PlayThe answer is a resounding YES. The Avast Virus Lab gives us an example from a trusted download source, Google Play: A porn clicker app slipped into Google Play imitating the popular Dubsmash app. If we cannot completely rely on trusted app stores to weed out nasty apps, then it’s time to add an extra layer of security.

AV-Comparatives internet study 2015Once you decide that you do want to protect your Android device, you can be confident in Avast Mobile Security, Avast’s free security app available on Google Play. A survey by AV -Comparatives said that Avast was the #1 choice for mobile security in the entire world. No need to wait any longer to protect your smartphone or tablet.

newABSOne of the challenges with using a smartphone for so many activities, is that the battery gives out before we do. Our new free app Avast Battery Saver raises the bar with new Wi-Fi based smart profiles that can increase battery life by an average of 7 hours.

battery-saver-infographics-EN one sectionAvast Battery Saver has only been available for a month or so but already 200,000 customers have downloaded it from the Google Play Store. For Earth Day we highlighted battery saver users for their positive impact on the environment. Who knew that Avast Battery Saver would be so green? A cool infographic shows just how much they saved -  not only from their own battery -  but in energy costs too. Now Earth Day can be everyday!

office-workersSmall and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) run the risk of data breaches just like there Enterprise cousins. Luke Walling, the General Manager of Avast for Business, explains that the biggest threat to SMBs is not actually hackers sitting somewhere far away. The biggest threat to your SMB could be sitting in your office!

blog3-enSpeaking of Avast for Business, our new disruptive free security offering for SMBs has 75,000 new customers in just 2 months. If you have a start-up, a small business, if you work in a school or non-profit organization, then it’s time to stop paying for security protection.

Cybercrooks use lots of tricksOur researchers are constantly surprised by the creativity of malware authors. Recently, they found a new way cybercrooks trick people in giving up their banking information. It’s a crafty combination of spam email, social engineering, and a macro code embedded in an innocent looking Word document.

usb_hub_robotMost people have security protection on their computers. That’s great when there are things like the banking malware we wrote about. With all that great protection why is it that they don’t trust the warnings? The Avast Virus Lab explored why some people would rather be right than believe a malware warning.

April 29th, 2015

Avast Mobile Security is the #1 choice for Android users

The most popular mobile security product in the world is Avast Mobile Security.

In their annual IT Security Survey, AV – Comparatives asked, Which mobile anti-malware security solution do you primarily use on your smartphone?

Avast took 1st or 2nd place on four continents: Europe, North America, Asia, and South/Central America.

 Avast Mobile Security is #1 Android protection.

Don’t get burned! Protect your Android with Avast Mobile Security.

 

How great is the risk of infection on an Android smartphone?

The risk of your Android smartphone becoming infected depends on several factors. In the US and Europe most people use official stores such as Google Play for installing apps. The risk is much lower than in many Asian countries, especially China, where app stores are not subject to stricter controls. Because of these unofficial app stores, along with numerous rooted phones, the chance of installing a dangerous app is highly increased.

In Asia, the smartphone is often used as an alternative to the PC. People frequently use it for online banking which make them vulnerable to Zeus Trojan malware. Zeus is commonly delivered via a link or an attachment in a phishing message or through a text message via WhatsApp, SMS, or Twitter. This threat will similarly increase in Europe and the US as banking apps get more popular.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

The Avast Virus Lab has more than one million samples of mobile malware in its database, and reports that 2,850 new mobile threats are created every day by hackers. The threat situation can change quickly and dramatically so it is best to use preventative protection and install security software on your smartphone. At this point though, protecting important data in the event that your phone is lost or stolen is more critical than malware protection.

The AV-Comparatives survey says that Android users in North America protect their phones more than anywhere else in the world with 31 percent of respondents reporting they have protection. South America, Asia, and Europe are much lower at 17 percent.

Protect your Android smartphone and tablet with Avast Mobile Security and Avast Anti-Theft: Free from the Google Play store.

 

April 22nd, 2015

Avast highlights Battery Saver users for their positive impact on the environment

Today is Earth Day. It’s a day that people, organizations, corporations, and governments around the world demonstrate their commitment to protect the Earth and help advance a sustainable future. Every action, no matter how small, counts -  from eating less meat to recycling or composting to reducing your energy footprint; it all contributes to a cleaner, greener world now and in the future.

Avast users do their part to save the Earth

Since our minds are on all things green this Earth Day, we want to highlight a particular bunch of Avast customers. These Android users simply came to Avast to find a way to save some of their smartphone’s battery power. Little did they realize when they installed Avast Battery Saver on their Android device that together they were making a difference that even we were surprised about.

In the first month that Avast Battery Saver was available, 200,000 customers downloaded and actively used it on their Android phone or tablet. This infographic shows how that cumulative use added up to real energy savings.

Do your part for Earth Day, and save up to 20% battery power everyday! Install Avast Battery Saver for free from Google Play.

battery-saver-infographics-ENsm

Install Avast Battery Saver for free from Google Play.

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April 17th, 2015

TGIF: Avast news wrap-up for April 3 – 17

The Avast bi-weekly wrap-up is a quick summary of what was on the Avast blog for the last two weeks.

house cleaning serviceSpring has sprung and it’s time to clean the dust and grime away after a long winter. In a departure from our regular security-oriented blog posts, we share 10 spring cleaning tips to combat grime. Don’t forget you can also clean your mobile devices! But you barely have to lift a finger because Avast GrimeFighter Safe Clean will remove the grime from your Android mobile devices with the touch of a button. If only window washing were so easy!

Screenshot_shieldsIndependent testing lab AV-TEST gave their coveted certification to our popular mobile security application, Avast Mobile Security. If you are still on the fence regarding protecting your Android smartphone then read How to find the best protection for your Android phone? Independent tests.

Don't forgetMany smartphone owners are more worried about losing their device then they are about becoming infected with malware. That’s why we created Avast Anti-Theft. Make sure you have the latest version of our free app so if your phone gets lost, you can track it via your My Avast account or using SMS notifications from your friend’s phone. Turned Android auto-updates off? Manually update Anti-Theft to stay protected. explains how you can use Avast Anti -Theft to recover your lost Android device.

Battery-Saver--1920x1200The mobile development team released a handy little app called Avast Battery Saver. This free app from Google Play helps you save some battery power. But not just any app can do it. The blog post Fear and loathing on Google Play: An in-depth look at today’s battery saving and cleaning apps gives us the scoop on apps that promise to save battery life with task cleaning.

How to use Avast productsHow to extend the life of your phone’s battery is a question that we all have when the juice starts running out. The Avast Battery Saver app can help save about 20% but there are other ways to save battery life. We give you the tips and also share the future of smartphone batteries.

laptop using Wi-FiThe unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot at the local cafe can be bad news if thieves capture your login credentials. Android users with Avast Mobile Security have a built-in feature called Wi-Fi Security that warns them if any issues are detected. We are now seeking iOS beta testers for an app called Avast SecureMe that will include the same type of feature for iPhone users. Check our blog Wi-Fi Security feature foolproofs your network connections both in public and at home and scroll down to the bottom for the beta test sign up link.

Mousetrap with cheeseCybercrooks use a variety of attack vectors to reach their victims. Targeted spearphishing attacks use email messages to trick people into providing sensitive information while malicious apps for Android disguise themselves as innocent games. The scary ransomware locks up all your files and demands ransom for the key to unlock it – on both PCs and and mobile devices! Avast keeps you aware of cybercrooks latest tricks in Don’t take the bait: Beware of web attack techniques.

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April 15th, 2015

How to extend the life of your phone’s battery

How to use Avast productsIf you have a smartphone, you are basically carrying around a pocket-sized laptop with a built-in camera and phone. Denser electronics have allowed for some powerful features to be built into a small package, but the weak link is the battery that runs it all. Battery energy has yet to match the quick growth of features on electronic devices.

Where does the juice go?

The power it takes to keep the device running all day depends upon what you do as well as your operating system, settings, and network (Wi-Fi, CDMA/GSM, 2G/3G/4G), but battery manufacturers say typical Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries provide up to ten hours talk time and up to 300 hours standby time.

Apps drain the battery. They sit in the background pinging servers, keeping track of where you are, and waiting for signals. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS use power looking for routers and satellites or other Bluetooth devices. The display uses lots of power too, especially at full brightness and if you do graphic-intensive activities like play games.

The environment also has an impact on Li-ion batteries. They suffer from stress when exposed to temperatures above 30°C/86°F. This high heat accelerates capacity loss which cannot be restored. Likewise, cold can decrease electricity flow, making your device sluggish.

When do I need to replace my battery?

Conventional wisdom says you’ll probably need a new phone battery each year. Factors like charge and discharge cycles, exposure to high temperatures, and aging decrease performance over time. Manufacturers say the life of most Li-on range between 300 and 500 cycles. Beyond this lifespan, batteries gradually diminish below 50 percent of the original capacity.

If you notice that your battery depletes rapidly, fails to hold a full charge, or feels abnormally warm then most likely it’s time to replace your phone’s battery.

How to save battery life?

Battery SaverEveryone knows it can take hours to charge a lithium-ion battery and depending on your use, it sometimes doesn’t even last through the workday. Here are some tips to conserve battery power.

  • Use Avast Battery Saver. Our free app from Google Play optimizes phone settings using ‘Smart profiles’ which activate automatically based on time, location, and battery level. This saves up to 20% on one charge.
  • Avoid full discharges and charge the battery more often between uses.
  • Limit exposure to extreme temperatures, especially heat. Don’t leave your phone in a hot car. Room temperature is best.
  • Lower your screen brightness. You can experiment, but usually anywhere above 50% is still readable. Some phones let you set it to auto-adjust.
  • Turn off vibrate, ringtones, and the flash on your camera.
  • Keep apps updated. The updates often improve battery usage by making the apps more efficient.
  • When in areas with no cell coverage, turn the device to airplane mode or even turn it off. Otherwise, the phone will continue to search for a signal and that eats battery.
  • Limit graphics-intensive activities like gaming and watching videos.
  • Turn off WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS when you don’t need them.

Read more about Avast Battery Saver, Fear and loathing on Google Play: An in-depth look at today’s battery saving and cleaning apps.

The future of smartphone batteries

The race for a safe, cheap, long-lasting, energy-rich battery is on. With electric cars, wearable tech, and the Internet of Things running our households, inventors, scientists and business people are searching for the breakthrough that will change batteries forever. The next-generation of batteries may well be built with silicon-based electrodes, take advantage of the oxygen we breathe to recharge power cells, or be organic.

Just last week, a super-fast (1 minute!) chargeable aluminum-ion battery with a high-charge storage capacity developed at Stanford University was announced. This low cost, durable (it was able to withstand more than 7,500 cycles without any loss of capacity) battery is not ready to be mass produced, but it holds promise.

Until that time comes though, used the Avast Battery Saver free app to extend the life of your phone’s battery. :)

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April 10th, 2015

Turned Android auto-updates off? Manually update Anti-Theft to stay protected.

Don't forget

Remember to update Avast Anti-Theft if you don’t get automatic updates.

Notice: Coming updates will affect remote command capabilities in past versions of Avast Anti-Theft. Manually update Anti-Theft to stay protected.

Due to coming changes in push notifications, previous versions of Avast Anti-Theft will no longer be able to receive commands from your my.avast.com account. If your applications are automatically updated from Google Play, it’s not necessary to do anything – you can use Anti-Theft normally. However, if you have automatic updates switched off, please manually update Avast Anti-Theft to the latest version. This will allow you to remotely control your device from your Avast account. Commands sent via SMS will continue to work as usual, as well as any data sent to your Avast account.

How do I use Avast Anti-Theft to recover my lost Android device?

During set-up you were asked to provide one or two friend’s phone numbers. If you haven’t done that step, do so now. The Avast Anti-Theft installation and configuration FAQ shows the steps.

You can use the friend’s phone to receive an Avast Anti-Theft SMS notification in case your device is lost or stolen or to recover the Avast PIN in case you forget it.

Usually the first thing a thief does is change the SIM card. When Anti-Theft detects a SIM change, it will lock the phone and SMS all the details to the friend’s numbers you set up in the app.

As long as you have updated your app, you can track and control your device remotely using SMS commands from your friend’s phone or from your Avast account. All SMS commands begin with your password. For example, if you set 2222 as your password, the lock command would look like this: 2222 LOCK.

You can find all the SMS commands on the Avast Free Mobile Security page.

April 8th, 2015

10 Spring Cleaning Tips to Combat Grime

After a long winter, it’s time to throw open the windows and let the fresh air in. But first, you need to do a good Spring Cleaning to wash away the grime that has accumulated. Here’s our favorite tips that go beyond the ordinary vacuum and dust routine. Choose the ones you want to do, and don’t forget that your mobile devices can use a good cleaning too (see tip #10)!

house cleaning service

Spring cleaning is not only for your house. You can clean grime from your mobile devices too!

 

Starting from the top down:

  1. 1. Dim light fixtures and dull lamps.  See the gleam again from your light fixtures. Get a soft microfiber cloth or duster and wipe away dust from ceiling lights, fans, and table lamps. I even use a vacuum attachment on lamp shades.
  2. 2. Greasy window treatments. Dirt, dust, grease, and bacteria collect on draperies, blinds, verticals, and shades. It is recommended to have your fabric window treatments dry-cleaned every 5-7 years. For metal or plastic blinds, you can take them down and wash them with dishwashing soap in a bucket of water or a solution of half water, half vinegar. Clean wooden blinds with a soft dry cloth wear a pair of cotton gloves or old socks and wipe the slats down.
  3. 3. Dusty bookshelves. A dusty old library sounds like a romantic notion, but it’s not good in your own home.Working from the top down, remove books and decorative objects from one shelf at a time, dust and return. Maybe you’ll find some old books that are ready to donate while you’re at it.

You walk by it every day:

  1. 4. Grimy doors, knobs, and handles. Grubby hands and jumping dogs can make your doors pretty awful looking, but because you are walking in and out, you don’t even see the grime. Give knobs and handles a quick wipe down with your favorite cleaner and some paper towels. Make your front door welcoming again by cleaning it inside and out with warm, soapy water. Dry it with a soft cloth.

How does that get there?!

  1. 5. Crumby kitchen drawers. I can’t ever figure out how the crumbs get in there; but spring cleaning is a good time to remove everything, wipe out the drawers and return only the items you still use.
  2. 6. Upholstered furniture. After a season of snuggling on the sofa with the dog and a good movie, stick your hand between the cushion and you’ll find old popcorn and plenty of dirt, sticks and leaves. I even found a dead lizard! Get out the vacuum attachments and vacuum upholstered furniture, including under and between cushions. Fluff and rotate cushions and pillows.
  3. 7. Underneath the rugs. You’ll be surprised what’s under there, so move the furniture off the rug and vacuum underneath. You may want to take your rug outside and give it a good old-fashioned beating too.
  4. 8. Underneath beds and behind furniture. Dust bunnies as big as the cat are hidden away, so make an extra effort to get the vacuum way up under there. Allergy sufferers have enough to deal with when the pollen comes, so help them out by minimizing dust.

You will feel cleaner, too. Trust me.

  1. 9. Scummy shower and tub walls.  Soap scum builds up after a season of long, hot showers. Choose your favorite cleaning product and leave it on for at least 10 minutes before scrubbing down the tiles.

This is the easiest one!

  1. 10. Spring Clean your Mobile Devices. We may not be great at washing windows and cleaning floors, but we know how to Spring Clean you Android device! Over time, unnecessary data, system caches, gallery thumbnails, installation files, and residual files can accumulate on your smartphone and tablet. You can regain performance and speed when you clean away all the grime with our free app, Avast GrimeFighter Safe Clean for Android.  Install Avast GrimeFighter free from Google Play.
Avast GrimeFighter for Android is a free app.

Install for Free!