Protecting over 230 million PCs, Macs, & Mobiles – more than any other antivirus

Archive

Author Archive
November 7th, 2014

Home Depot discloses that 53 million customer email addresses were stolen

Home-Depot-ApronThe Home Depot security breach last spring has gotten worse. In addition to the 56 million credit-card accounts that were compromised, around 53 million customer email addresses were also taken, according to a statement from Home Depot about the breach investigation. Home Depot assures its customers that no passwords, payment card information like debit card PIN numbers, or other “sensitive” information was stolen.

The breach occurred when cybercrooks stole a third-party vendor’s user name and password to enter their network in April 2014. The hackers then deployed unique, custom-built malware on Home Depot’s self-checkout registers in the United States and Canada.

The company said that as of September 18, the malware had been eliminated from the network.

Request your free identity protection

The Home Depot is notifying affected customers and still offering free identity protection services, including credit monitoring, to any customer who used a credit or debit card at one of its 2,266 retail stores beginning in April. Customers who wish to take advantage of these services should visit homedepot.allclearid.com or call 1-800-HOMEDEPOT (466-3337).

The Fallout

Home Depot said that customers should be on guard against phishing scams, which are designed to trick customers into providing personal information in response to phony emails.

  • Review your credit card statements carefully and call your bank if you see any suspicious transactions.
  • Be aware of phone calls or emails that appear to offer you identity theft protection but are truly phishing schemes designed to steal your information. Always go directly to The Home Depot’s website or to the AllClear ID website, or call Equifax for information rather than clicking on links in emails.

Get more information from Home Depot’s Facebook page.

 

Avast Software’s security applications for PC, Mac, and Android are trusted by more than 200-million people and businesses. Please follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+.

 

November 5th, 2014

Your home network is at risk of cybersecurity attacks

Router vulnerabilities and weak passwords allow cybercrooks easy access to your home network.

Avast Home Netowrk Security scan

Your router is a weak link in your home’s network security.

That little router box provided by your ISP or that you bought at Radio Shack and forgot about, is a weak link in your Internet-connected household. Many homes in the United States use a wireless router to connect multiple devices, but unsecured routers can create an easy access point for hackers.

Think for a second – do you know what your wifi router password is? Did you know that your wireless router even has a password? If you are not sure, you are not alone.

What do you have to lose?

Only everything on your computer! That includes banking or financial information, personal information, browsing history, and photos.

Why is this an issue now?

”Today’s router security situation is very reminiscent of PCs in the 1990s, with lax attitudes towards security combined with new vulnerabilities being discovered every day creating an easily exploitable environment, ” said Vince Steckler, chief executive officer of Avast. “The main difference is people have much more personal information stored on their devices today than they did back then.”

We did a study of this issue and found that 4 out of 5 Internet-connected households in the U.S. are at risk of getting attacked through their wireless router. And 16 out of 100 surveyed said they have already been victimized by hackers.

The problem – PASSWORDS.

Avast found that more than half of all routers are poorly protected by default or easily-hacked password combinations. When you check yours, this could be what you find:

  • admin/admin
  • admin/password
  • admin/<no-password>

The 25% of consumers we surveyed that are using a “unique” password use their address, name, phone number, street name, or other easily-guessed terms as their passwords. Not too much better…

What is the risk?

Avast Home Network Security

Avast Home Network Security scans your network for vulnerabilities.

One of the biggest risks on any wifi network is DNS hijacking. This happens when malware gets in your unprotected router and sneakily redirects you from a known site, such as your bank’s website, to a fake site that looks just like the real thing. When you log in, cyberthieves capture your login credentials and then use them to access the real site. Scary stuff.

Avast 2015 reacts to home network vulnerabilities

To address these issues, Avast recently introduced Avast 2015, which includes the world’s first Home Network Security Solution that protects users from home network threats including DNS hijacking and weak passwords.

Open the Avast user interface, click Scan from the menu on the left, then choose Scan for network threats. Avast will take a look at your router and report back any issues. In most cases, if there is an issue to be addressed, then it will direct you to your router manufacturer’s website.

The Home Network Security Solution is available in free and paid versions of Avast. Get it at www.avast.com.

Avast Software’s security applications for PC, Mac, and Android are trusted by more than 200-million people and businesses. Please follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+.

October 23rd, 2014

Avast 2015 simplifies security for you, your PC, and your home

Blog-Post_2015-Launch-CBack in the old days, when we only had a desktop PC, security was simpler. But now, with multiple devices and an increasing variety of attack methods, keeping everything secure and up-to-date can be a daunting task. Avast 2015 simplifies the task with the best antivirus and anti-malware protection possible, the ability to remove annoying browser toolbars, one-click scanning for malware, updates, network security, and PC performance, and the world’s first home network scanner.

Home network scanner

Avast identified a growing area of insecurity close to home (actually right in your home!): Your home Wi-Fi network. Easily hacked passwords make home routers an effortless entry point for hackers or even free-loading neighbors. Avast 2015 security solutions include the first-ever home network scanner, which will help you prevent hacker attacks on your router and network.

One-click Smart Scan

To help simplify device security for your family, Avast 2015 now allows you to use a one-click smart scan to scan for hacker threats, software that needs to be updated, your home network security, and your PC‘s operating status.

Unique cleanup and updater features

One of the weakest links in people’s security is out-of-date software. Hackers take advantage of old software, but it’s actually one of the simplest areas to defend. With the improved Avast Software Updater, you are notified when there is a patch or update to the software you’re running – regardless of who it’s from.

PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) like toolbars and search resets are not only annoying; they’re dangerous. They collect information distributed to advertisers or anyone willing to pay for it. The improved Avast Browser Cleanup removes annoying toolbars and search settings, allowing you to choose the settings you want and accelerate PC performance.

The Avast 2015 security solution is available in four variations for home use—Avast Free Antivirus, Avast Pro Antivirus, Avast Internet Security, and Avast Premier—and in 45 languages. Avast also provides world-class protection for businesses and mobile devices. Visit www.avast.com to learn more and download.

Avast Software’s security applications for PC, Mac, and Android are trusted by more than 200-million people and businesses. Please follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+.

 

October 22nd, 2014

Avast 2015 protection expands to include your home router

Blog-2015-Launch

Our digital world has expanded from desktop to mobile and now increasingly to the Internet of Things. The gadgets we own and use every day are “smart” – from watches that track our fitness to TVs that know the types of shows we like to watch to digital thermostats that control the temperature in our homes.

This level of connectivity brings its own security risks. To keep our users ahead of the curve, all of Avast 2015 security solutions come with the only home-network security tool designed to identify vulnerable home networks. Our new Avast Home Network Security scans a user’s home network and routers for potential security issues that could allow a hacker attack.

“Security risks have expanded out from the PC to the home network as more devices than ever connect to the Internet via home routers. As a result, home networks have become the hub of personal computing,” said Avast Chief Executive Officer Vince Steckler. “Our research determined that nearly 80% of all home routers in use today are thinly protected by common, easily hacked passwords, making routers an easy entry point to the home network for hackers. Avast 2015 addresses these issues head-on with several important new features.”

Avast Home Network Security scans for misconfigured Wi-Fi networks, exposes weak or default Wi-Fi passwords, vulnerable routers, compromised Internet connections, and enabled, but not protected, IPv6. It also lists all devices on the network so users can make sure only their known devices are connected.

To help our users, we provide guidelines on how to fix vulnerabilities so they can be sure their network is fully protected.

Protection from DNS hijacking

One of the biggest risks users of vulnerable routers face is DNS hijacking. Cybercrooks use malware to redirect you from the site you want to visit, like your online bank, to one that looks like it, but is fake. You log in as usual and the bad guys now have your user name and password.

Avast SecureDNS encrypts Internet traffic between Avast-protected devices and Avast’s DNS server to prevent users from being directed to hijacked sites. Avast offers users SecureDNS as part of our Pro, Internet Security, and Premier products.

Avast 2015 is available now. Download it for your PC or Mac.

Avast Software’s security applications for PC, Mac, and Android are trusted by more than 200-million people and businesses. Please follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+.

 

October 17th, 2014

Ebola scams spread faster than actual disease in panic-striken U.S.

shutterstock_204144223 (2)

Cybercrooks use popular stories in the news to deceive people into giving up confidential information.

The dreaded disease Ebola that is spreading rapidly throughout West Africa made landfall in the US recently, and since then many news agencies have sensationalized the “outbreak” with constant coverage. Panic has grown as politicians raise the public’s fears and medical experts are confusing people with contradictory information. These things all combine to create the perfect atmosphere for scammers.

It’s quite common for cybercrooks to use social engineering techniques to fool people during a big news event, and we have seen an increase in phishing attempts. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) issued an alert today to remind users to protect against email scams and cyber campaigns using the Ebola virus disease as a theme.

“Phishing emails may contain links that direct users to websites which collect personal information such as login credentials, or contain malicious attachments that can infect a system, “ says the advisory.

Users are encouraged to use caution when encountering these types of email messages and take the following preventative measures to protect themselves:

Thank you for using avast! Antivirus and recommending us to your friends and family. For all the latest news, fun and contest information, please follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+. Business owners – check out our business products.

 

Categories: General Tags: , , ,
October 15th, 2014

“Poodle” security hole has a nasty bite

poodles

“Poodle” bites on open WiFi networks with multiple users.

A security hole called Poodle could allow hackers to take over your banking and social media accounts.

Yesterday, Google researchers announced the discovery of a security bug in version 3 of the Secure Sockets Layer protocol (SSLv3). This web technology is used to encrypt traffic between a browser and a web site, and can give hackers access to email, banking, social accounts and other services.

Poodle bites multiple users in unsecure open WiFi networks, like the ones you use at coffee shops, cafes, hotels, and airports.

“To exploit the vulnerability, you must be running javascript, and the attacker has to be on the same network as you—for example, on the same Starbucks Wi-Fi network you’re using,” explained Kim Zetter in a WIRED article.

Avast experts strongly recommend that our users protect themselves when using free WiFi with avast! SecureLine VPN.

Poodle is not considered as serious a threat as this past spring’s Heartbleed bug which took advantage of a vulnerability in OpenSSL, and or last month’s Shellshock bug in Unix Bash software.

SSLv3 is an outdated standard (it’s a decade and a half old), but some browsers, like Internet Explorer 6, and older operating systems, like Windows XP, only use the SSLv3 encryption method. Google’s security team recommends that systems administrators turn off support for SSLv3 to avoid the problem, but warns that this change will break some sites.

Thank you for using avast! Antivirus and recommending us to your friends and family. For all the latest news, fun and contest information, please follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+. Business owners – check out our business products.

October 14th, 2014

Adobe gathers data from your eBook reader

Image from http://www.quickmeme.com

Security and privacy violations in Adobe’s Digital Editions eBook and PDF reader were discovered last week.

“This is a privacy and security breach so big that I am still trying to wrap my head around the technical aspects, much less the legal aspects,” researcher Nate Hoffelder wrote in The Digital Reader blog post.

If you check out eBooks from your local library and read from a digital reader like a Nook, Kobo, or other non-Amazon eBook reader, then you have probably used Adobe’s free Digital Editions software.

Hoffelder said that Adobe is gathering user data on the eBooks that have been opened, which pages were read, and in what order, as well as metadata such as title and publisher –and all of it is being sent to Adobe’s servers in plain text. That means anyone who is interested and has the means, say, the National Security Agency or your ISP, could be reading over your shoulder. That’s not good. In fact, it’s very bad, as well as illegal.

It is hoped that Adobe’s Tuesday update will include a plug for the Digital Editions leak, but more likely it will be next week. In a statement to the American Library Association, Adobe reports they “expect an update to be available no later than the week of October 20” in terms of transmission of reader data.”

Thank you for using avast! Antivirus and recommending us to your friends and family. For all the latest news, fun and contest information, please follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+. Business owners – check out our business products.

October 13th, 2014

Big updates coming from Microsoft, Oracle and Adobe this Tuesday

Patch Tuesday Oct 2014

Pour yourself a cup of coffee; this could take a while.

One of the biggest “Patch Tuesday” fixes is happening October 14, when vital updates will be available from three companies at the same time.

We are all used to the monthly Patch Tuesdays from Microsoft and Adobe, but this month the quarterly updates from Oracle, the parent of problem child Java SE, coincide, making it a pretty big day for securing your system. Avast experts agree that one of the most important steps you can take to securing your data and devices is to make sure that you keep your software up-to-date.

Microsoft

Microsoft leads off the normal Patch Tuesday with the release of 9 security updates across products including a critical patch of Internet Explorer, all supported versions of Windows, and the .NET development framework.

Oracle

Oracle’s Critical Patch Update is a collection of patches for multiple security vulnerabilities. It contains 155 new security fixes across hundreds of Oracle products; 25 of them for Oracle Java SE. Oracle warns that “these vulnerabilities may be remotely exploitable without authentication, i.e., may be exploited over a network without the need for a username and password. “ That’s not good, if you were wondering.

“I would suggest removing Java if possible or at least turning it off in all your browsers,”  advises Jiri Sejtko, director of AVAST Virus Lab operations. Here are removal instructions for the most popular browsers: How do I disable Java in my browser?

Adobe

It is hoped that Adobe’s Tuesday update will include a plug for the big Digital Editions e-book and PDF reader hole, but more likely it will be next week. In a statement to the American Library Association, Adobe reports they “expect an update to be available no later than the week of October 20” in terms of transmission of reader data.

Tuesday’s patch will probably include a fix for bugs in Adobe Flash Player.

avast! Software Updater shows you an overview of all your outdated software applications, so you can keep them up to date and eliminate any security vulnerabilities.  All avast! security products inform you whenever any of your 3rd party applications are out-of-date and you can apply updates manually by clicking the ‘Fix now’ button next to each conflicting application. avast! Premier can be configured to perform these updates automatically.

Thank you for using avast! Antivirus and recommending us to your friends and family. For all the latest news, fun and contest information, please follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+. Business owners – check out our business products.

October 1st, 2014

Millennials take responsibility for their own cybersecurity

A new trend has started – people are taking responsibility for their own safety online!

ncsam_facebook_cover_photo_2014

AVAST Software is a “champion” and supporter of NCSAM.

Last October when National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) was getting started, it was reported that the incoming workforce of millennials was lax about cyber-risks. They engaged in risky online behavior like:

  • Connecting to unprotected public WiFi networks
  • Using a storage device that wasn’t their own
  • Sharing a password with a non-family member
  • Never changing their online banking password

2014 brings more awareness among “Digital Natives”

For this year’s NCSAM, a new survey was done by defense contractor Raytheon in partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance. It showed that awareness of online safety is rising, with 70% of millennials saying they follow cybersecurity concerns and are up-to-date on the topic. Eighty-seven percent believe they are personally responsible for their online safety.

Millennials are known as the “Facebook generation” or “Digital natives” because they grew up in the “digital age” with internet-connected devices. But just because they were born after the digital age began, doesn’t mean they were any more concerned about security than the so-called digital immigrants who had to replace analog skills with digital. But this year, maybe because of the high profile data breaches that have occurred repeatedly, millennials are concerned about their devices being infected by malware, credit or debit card theft, someone hacking into financial information, or falling victim to online scams or fraud.

While many are aware of the risks – roughly 60% have experienced some sort of online violation – identity theft, a computer virus, or a bad experience on social media – they’re still engaging in some risky behaviors, such as 72% using public WiFi that doesn’t require a password.

Interestingly enough, this increased awareness is also driving interest in a career in cybersecurity with millennials expressing a desire to make the Internet safer and more secure. The problem is that almost two-thirds of the total don’t know or aren’t sure what the “cybersecurity” profession is.

Building_Tomorrows_Cybersecurity_Workforce-NCSAM2014

STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

Read more…

September 29th, 2014

Avast safeguards your teen’s smartphone

Teenagers are responsible for their smartphones. Help them keep it safe with a few easy additions.

teens-smartphone

Seven out of ten high schoolers take a smartphone to school. Not only are these phones being used for surfing the Internet or social networking, but they help kids navigate around campus, connect with teachers and other students, and follow streaming campus news. Many parents see equipping their teenager with a mobile phone as a safety tool and a way to keep in closer contact, especially if an emergency arises.

The first thing to do after buying your teenager a smartphone

Most kids are using a device with an Android operating system and no added security protection. The first thing you should do is to download a security app to protect the phone and data on it.

The newest version of avast! Mobile Security & Antivirus is out now, with a completely re-imagined user interface, making it simpler and even more user friendly than it was before. Avast! Mobile Security is free, and it will instantly begin protecting your child from downloading bad apps, protect against spyware and block malware, and backup contacts, SMS/call logs, and photos.

Install avast! Mobile Security and Antivirus from the Google Play store.

 

The second thing to do after buying your teenager a smartphone

High school students are busy people, with lots of activities, so it’s likely that your teen’s smartphone will be misplaced. Avast! Anti-theft is a stand-alone app that can be installed separately from avast! Mobile Security. You can use the phone locator features to find the lost or stolen phone, control it remotely, and lock it down.

Once you install avast! Mobile Security, you will be asked to set up the anti-theft module. You can read about that and the remote features you’ll have access to from your my.avast.com account in our avast! Mobile Security FAQs.

Install avast! Anti-Theft from the Google Play store.

Other things to do

  • Set up a password for the smartphone. This is easy to do and will serve as the first line of defense against nosy people and thieves.
  • Add important numbers to the contact list. Add your mobile number as well as a work line, grandparents, the school, and emergency contacts.
  • Know the school’s rules. If phone usage is prohibited during school hours or allowed only during breaks, that’s important information to know.
  • Talk to your kids about privacy. This includes a conversation about uploading photos and videos, sexting, and oversharing on social networks.

Thank you for using avast! Antivirus and recommending us to your friends and family. For all the latest news, fun and contest information, please follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+. Business owners – check out our business products.