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Archive for the ‘Android corner’ Category
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 24th, 2015

Porn clicker app slipped into Google Play imitating popular Dubsmash app

Everyone from celebrities like Lena Dunham to Hugh Jackman are using the (currently) seventh most popular app available on Google Play: Dubsmash. Dubsmash is an app with more than 10 million Google Play installations that lets users choose a sound, record a video to go along with the sound and send their dub to their friends or social media channels. Dubsmash is not only widely popular amongst teens and celebs, but the app has also caught the attention of malware authors.

Avast finds porn clicker app named Dubsmash 2 on Google Play

Google removed the rouge app after Avast notified them

Avast recently discovered “Dubsmash 2” (with the package name “com.table.hockes”) on Google Play – and no, it was not the bigger and better version of the original app. The app is a so called “porn clicker” and was installed 100,000-500,000 times from the Google Play Store. We contacted Google when we discovered the rogue app and it was removed from the Play Store shortly thereafter. Once the app was installed there was no evidence of an app named “Dubsmash 2” on the user’s device, instead the app installed an app icon named “Setting IS”. This is a common trick malware authors use to make it harder for the user to figure out which app is causing problems. This should also be the user’s first clue that something shady is going on. The “Settings IS” icon looked very similar to the actual Android Settings icon (see screenshot below).

The app’s mischievous activities could be triggered by two actions. The first possible way was by simply launching the “Settings IS” app and the second, which occurred only if the user had not yet launched the app, was via the BroadcastReceiver component within the app. BroadcastReceiver observed the device’s Internet connectivity and  if the BroadcastReceiver noticed the device was connected to the Internet, the app’s true functions would be triggered.

If the “Settings IS” app was opened by the user, the Google Play Store would launch to the actual “Dubsmash” app download page.

Porn clicker "Settings IS"

The rogue icon looked very similar to the Android Settings icon

Once activated, the app sent an HTTP GET request to an encrypted URL. If the request returned a string containing the character “1”  two services would begin to work: MyService and Streaming. Using this method the author could also effectively turn off the start of the services remotely.

The MyService service began by deleting the “Settings IS” app icon from the device’s main menu and scheduled a task to run every 60 seconds in the background of the device, meaning the user never realized that anything was happening. The task would download a list of links to various porn sites from an encrypted URL stored within the app, along with JavaScript execution code. One of the porn links from the list would be launched in the browser and after ten seconds, the JavaScript code (also downloaded from an encrypted URL) was executed, clicking further links within the porn site. In the case seen in the picture below, the function opened a random link from the web page.

Porn links app opened

The developer probably made money on pay-per-click ads.

The second service, the Streaming service, was fairly similar in structure to the MyService component in that it also scheduled a task to run every 60 seconds. The main difference to MyService, is that users could notice the Service tasks did not run secretly in the background. The task would check for changes in the device’s IP address or date. If either of them had changed, a video would launch in the device’s YouTube app. The YouTube app needed to be installed on the device for this to function properly. The video address was also obtained from an encrypted URL.


The encrypted URLs used by the app

After decrypting and further examining the URLs and the video from YouTube, the Avast Virus Lab came to the conclusion that the malware most likely originated from Turkey. The developer’s name listed on Google Play and YouTube hint to this.

We suspect the app developer used the porn clicker method for financial gain. Through clicks on multiple ads within the porn sites, the app developer probably received pay-per-click earnings from advertisers who thought he was displaying their ads on websites for people to actually see.

Despite being undesirable, but basically harmless to the user and less sophisticated than other malware families such as Fobus or Simplocker, this app shows that although there are safeguards in place, undesirable apps that fool users can still slip into the Google Play store.

If you installed Dubsmash 2 (package name “com.table.hockes”), you can delete the app by going into Settings -> Apps -> find “Settings IS” and then uninstall the app.

The Avast Mobile Security application detects this threat as Android:Clicker. SHA-256 hash: de98363968182c27879aa6bdd9a499e30c6beffcc10371c90af2edc32350fac4

Thank you Nikolaos Chrysaidos for your help with the analysis :)

April 23rd, 2015

Avast Battery Saver raises the bar with new Wi-Fi-based smart profiles

Avast Battery Saver increases battery life by an average of 7 hours.

Avast Battery Saver increases battery life by an average of 7 hours.

We’ve recently told you about Avast Battery Saver, an application which saves your Android’s power without hassle. It optimizes phone settings such as Internet connectivity, screen brightness, and timeout according to your needs. We’d now like to announce an exciting new feature of the app: Wi-Fi-based smart power profiles. These profiles are activated automatically based on designated local Wi-Fi networks that are detected.  Users can now assign specific wireless networks to be used within their home or work smart profiles. Not only are Wi-Fi-based profiles more precise than GPS-based profiles, but they are also more efficient and require less energy to detect.

In contrast to other battery-saving applications, Avast Battery Saver learns about your daily routine and thus suggests the best smart profiles for your phone. It doesn’t require you to change your behavior or usage, nor does it affect voice calls, text messages, or the ring volume of your phone.

“Everyone needs more battery life for their mobile devices, but most battery savers shut down the wrong apps,” said Jude McColgan, Avast’s President of Mobile. “Avast Battery Saver learns which apps are most important to the user, and shuts down only those that are less used.”

Avast Battery Saver significantly improves battery life, saving up to 20% on one charge — and it’s free from the Google Play Store.

New Wi-Fi-based profiles have been added to make the app’s convenient features significantly more efficient


  • Smart profiles activate automatically based on time, location, user-designated Wi-Fi networks and battery level.
  • App consumption detects and permanently stops apps that drain too much battery life.
  • Precise estimate of remaining battery life based on actual phone usage and historical data. Battery level is displayed in a percentage and time remaining in status bar notification.
  • The application can turn off Wi-Fi when there are no known hotspots nearby.
  • Your phone limits connections to the Internet to every 5, 10, 15 or 30 minutes, based on your current profile configuration, when its screen is turned off.
  • Emergency mode is activated when your battery level is very low, and it turns off all functions that require significant energy, saving power for when you really need it (e.g. Wi-Fi, data connection, Bluetooth or GPS).


The app currently works with the following four profiles: Home, Work, Night, and Super-Saving Emergency Mode. You can easily access the list of profiles by clicking the Smart Profiles button on the app’s home screen. Avast Battery Saver is available for download in 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.


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 16th, 2015

Wi-Fi Security feature foolproofs your network connections both in public and at home

Wi-Fi Security feature protects your network connections both in public and at home

Protect your Wi-Fi connections using Avast’s Wi-Fi Security feature.

Wi-Fi Security is a feature that is available for Android users within the Avast Mobile Security app as well as within Avast SecureMe for iOS. The feature’s job is to scan Wi-Fi connections and notify you if it finds any security issues including routers with weak passwords, unsecured wireless networks, and routers with vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers.

While conducting user testing, we found that 22% of Avast Mobile Security users make use of the Wi-Fi Security feature, making it the 2nd most used feature within Avast Mobile Security.

“Avast SecureMe and Avast Mobile Security offer users a simple, one-touch solution to find and choose safe networks to protect themselves from the threat of stolen personal data,” said Jude McColgan.

Wi-Fi Security scan notifies you of any issues that are detected

From all the users who tested the Wi-Fi Security feature, more than 10% of the scans performed returned some kind of problem, such as the use of non-encrypted passwords or a router that is susceptible to security threats. The Wi-Fi Security feature currently performs checks for the following four key elements:

  • Non-encrypted, unsecured wireless networks
  • Networks with weak encryption
  • Weak router passwords
  • Routers with known security issues

What’s the risk that my personal data will be stolen?

If you use unsecured Wi-Fi when you log in to a banking site, for example, thieves can capture your log in credentials which can lead to identify theft. On unprotected Wi-Fi networks, thieves can also easily see emails, browsing history, and personal data if you do not use a secure or encrypted connection like a virtual private network (VPN). See our global Wi-Fi hacking experiment to see how widespread the threat really is.

Wi-Fi Security offers two solutions to defend against malware threats

After the Wi-Fi Security feature has scanned your device, you’re presented with two options:

1) Launch Avast SecureLine VPN

2) Click the ‘How to resolve’ button

The first of the two options is meant to be used when you’re connecting to public networks – it’s ideal for cafes, airports, or hotels. On the contrary, users should opt to resolve detected threats if they’re browsing at home using their own devices. When taking this route, you’re redirected to the Avast website in order to set up your router in accordance with our guidelines.

Wi-Fi Security scan notifies you of any security issues that are detected  The feature offers users two solutions to any detected issues  We'll walk you through the process of securing your router on the Avast website

How do I get the Wi-Fi Security feature onto my device?

Avast SecureMe will soon be available in the iTunes Store. Before its widespread release, we will be conducting an invitation-only public beta test. Please sign up hereand the SecureMe team will contact you. If you have already downloaded Avast Mobile Security for Android then you’re all set to start using the Wi-Fi Security feature (you’ll find the “Wi-Fi Security” button on the app’s dashboard). For those yet to download Avast Mobile Security, it is available now from the Play Store.

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 14th, 2015

Fear and loathing on Google Play: An in-depth look at today’s battery saving and cleaning apps

Aavst Battery Saver saves battery power.

Install Avast Battery Saver on your Android device for free from Google Play!

Avast Battery Saver quickly and easily helps you to save your Android’s battery life

Mobile devices are currently evolving at an exceptional rate. Processor speed, display quality and connectivity options have changed dramatically over the past few years. However, battery capacity still seems to be struggling to keep up with the evolving capacity needed to power the enormous amount of new processors and displays.

According to a recent survey answered by 20, 000 people, 60% of Android owners are not satisfied with their device’s battery life.

There are a huge amount of Android applications trying to solve that problem, yet most of them fail to do so. When examining the features available on these apps, it becomes easy to see why many of them haven’t achieved complete success.


Task-killing is the most popular feature available not only within many battery saving apps, but also within cleaners and phone boosters. It most likely originated in Windows’ desktop operating system. Since users had first become accustomed to closing programs on Windows when their PCs began to slow down, this behavior transferred over to mobile devices when the users began to use Android.

However, Android’s system works differently. Android aims to keep RAM full in order to switch between applications more quickly. If there is no free RAM left, Android kills less recent applications. Thus, there is no need for the user to shut down the apps manually. Furthermore, task-killing actually slows down devices because each time an app is shut down, its data must be loaded to RAM again.

Try it yourself

Here’s a small test that you can try: install a task-killer, RAM booster or battery saving app that “cleans” RAM. Click the main button (it’s usually called “Optimize” or “Boost”). You’ll see several apps killed. Then, wait for a few seconds and try it again. Nothing will happen, as you’ve just killed everything.

Now, uninstall or clear the data in the tested app. After you click the “Optimize” button again, almost all of the apps you’ve just killed are shown to be killed again. Looks strange, huh? It might appear that the “Optimize” button doesn’t do anything. In reality, it does kill applications. The trick is that many apps start directly after being killed using Android’s WakeLock feature. Apps with an “Optimize” button have a timer which prevents users from seeing that killed apps are running again after a few seconds. Because of this, there is no sense in using “Optimize”.

More info about task-killing can be found here:



How can I actually save my device’s battery life?

A couple main factors that contribute to saving battery is turning off certain features of your device including Wi-Fi and mobile data and limiting display brightness and timeout.

Avast now brings you Avast Battery Saver, an application which saves power without hassle. It optimizes phone settings such as Internet connectivity, screen brightness, and timeout according to your needs. Smart power profiles are activated automatically based on time, location, and battery level without sacrificing the activities you love most.

Avast Battery Saver also contains a powerful tool to solve the issue of apps draining your battery’s lifespan while not being used. You have the ability to see how much battery every app is draining and force stop any that you’re not currently using. Unlike task-killing, force-stopping is Android’s native solution to prevent apps from unnecessarily running in the background. Once force-stopped, an app will not run again until it’s next manually opened.

Ready to save? Download Avast Battery Saver for free on Google Play.

April 13th, 2015

Avast Mobile Security: What’s not to love?

Mobile is attractive to cybercrooks

Our mobile phones are fantastic little devices — these days, they’re as powerful and can accomplish nearly all the things a regular computer can. While this is convenient for us, it also gives cybercrooks a relatively easy in-road to your private data and financial information. As 2015 rolls along, consumers continue to become more aware of mobile security options available to them, since they will increasingly use mobile apps that contain sensitive banking, financial, and personal health information.

Last year, more than 1 billion Android devices were shipped out to customers around the world. With Android winning the majority of the smartphone market, it offers a tempting target to malware authors. The average user is not especially concerned about being infected with a virus on their phone or tablet, but unfortunately, mobile malware is more than just a myth. Avast currently has more than one million samples of mobile malware in its database, with 2,850 new mobile threats being created every day by hackers.

Even if you think your chances of being infected with malware are low, we suggest that you go ahead and install a good mobile antivirus software. The great thing about Avast Mobile Security is that it’s free, so your investment is minimal – just a few minutes of setup and you’re ready to go.

Avast Mobile Security includes antivirus protection which scans your apps to see what they are doing, and a Web shield that scans URLs for malware or phishing. Malicious apps allow malware to enter your phone, so it’s good to have Avast on your side to detect when a bad one slips by on Google Play or another app store.

Avast Mobile Security is a top-rated mobile security app.

When taking a look at Avast Mobile Security’s features, it’s easy to see why it’s a top-rated mobile security app.

AV-TEST All-Stars

Avast Mobile Security did not commit any mistakes when tested with 1,932 legitimate apps from the Google Play Store and 981 legitimate apps from third party app stores. In addition, all this protection, according to AV-TEST, did not “impact the battery life”, or “slow down the device during normal usage”, and “does not generate too much traffic”.

To compare the choices of mobile antivirus software, you can look at the January 2015 “Mobile Security Test” conducted by the independent labs at AV-TEST. They looked at 31 popular Android security apps. Avast Mobile Security tops the list because it detected 100% of malicious apps without any impact on the battery life or slowing down of the device.

AMS Referral Program

In the latest update of Avast Mobile Security, we added a referral program, so you can recommend Avast Mobile Security to your friends and family. Not only can you recommend the best mobile security app available on Google Play, but you will be rewarded for doing so; you can earn up to three months of Avast Mobile Premium for free!

Here is how it works: For every five friends you send an SMS to recommending Avast, you get one free month of Avast Mobile Premium. Cool, huh?

There you have it — we’re huge fans of Avast Mobile Security, and we think you will be too. Download Avast Mobile Security for free on Google Play.


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 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.