Avast News

Avast highlights the latest security risks at MWC 2018

Robin Selden, 23 February 2018

The future of IoT, the dangers of open Wi-Fi, and an IoT cryptomining experiment are just some of the presentations Avast has in store for the crowds going to MWC in Barcelona.

I am excited to be in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress 2018 this coming week, February 26-March 1. With over 108,000 attendees and over 2,300 companies attending, it should be a big week for sharing ideas.

Presentation: The Future of IoT Security

Avast EVP & CTO Ondrej Vlcek will be speaking at the show about the Future of IoT security, how the number of IoT devices is growing exponentially, and how AI and machine learning can be critical tools in protecting consumers and businesses from IoT threats.  You can find him speaking on IoT security on the main stage at the 4YFN (4 Years From Now) held at MWC Barcelona (Fira Montjuic, Plaza España, Hall 8, Banco Sabadell Stage) on February 27, 2018 at 3pm.  Update: Plus, watch an interview with Gagan Singh, Avast SVP and GM, Mobile, speaking on the future of IoT at MWC:  

The IoT cryptocurrency mining experiment

An experiment at the Avast booth will show you how cybercriminals can abuse your smart TV or smartphone to mine cryptocoins. We will have a smart TV on display mining cryptocoins (using a compromised Amazon Fire TV stick), and onlookers will be able to see in real time how the smart TV heats up as it mines.

This experiment has a second component as well: users can participate with their own smartphone to see how it heats up while mining, and how little of the cryptocurrency (Monero) we can mine throughout MWC, which explains the motivation of cybercriminals not to infect thousands but millions of IoT devices such as smart TVs, webcams or also smartphones. Visitors to our booth can participate in a contest to see who can mine the most Monero on their device by simply registering with our server. Avast will provide power banks to keep everyone’s devices sufficiently charged, though contest participants will see firsthand how mining slows down their device and quickly drains the battery.

An online leaderboard will continually update with contest standings, and at the end of the exhibition, whoever has mined the most will be declared the winner and receive the grand prize of a new phone.  

Booth experiment: Open Wi-Fi

We will also be showing off our Avast Mobile Security and Privacy software, and Avast SecureLine VPN. To make it a little more interesting, we will be conducting a privacy experiment. A Wi-Fi snitcher will provide a special Wi-Fi hotspot at our booth, which simulates a coffee shop’s open, free Wi-Fi. By connecting to this hotspot, participants will be able to see what cybercriminals can see on an open Wi-Fi.

A screen in our booth will show participants their phones, as well as all the apps and addresses they visit. The type of phone they have will be displayed along with the phone’s operating system, internet browser, and the number of existing critical vulnerabilities on the device. This is called “fingerprinting” a device.

If you’re attending MWC, swing by our booth (Hall 7, Stand 7C60) to learn more about these and other important cybersecurity topics that affect your professional digital world and your personal digital life.