Avast simplifies how you protect your privacy with new products for 2016.
Count the number of devices you own. If you are like most modern digital-age people, you have a smartphone, half of you own a tablet, and most all of us have a desktop or laptop computer connected through a home router.
Now think about all the private information that you have on those devices. Bank account numbers, passwords, photos, messages and emails – all of them needing some form of protection to stay out of the wrong hands.
In a survey we did this year, 69% of you told us that your biggest fear is that the wrong person would see your personal information. In fact, Americans are so scared of having their financial information get into a bad guy’s possession, that 74% said they’d rather have nude photos of themselves leaked on the Internet! The problem is that most people are not doing anything to protect their privacy, for example, 40% of Americans don’t even lock their smartphones.
“While people are rightfully concerned about privacy, there is a disconnect between that concern and the steps they take to protect themselves,” said Vince Steckler, chief executive officer of Avast. “Users have a multitude of devices and passwords to keep track of, which can be overwhelming. When users feel overwhelmed, they tend to default to unsafe practices that put their privacy at risk.”
The new Avast 2016 for PC and Mac, the redesigned Avast Mobile Security, and the new kid on the block, Avast SecureMe, will all help reduce the complex task of protecting your private, personal information.
So time to face your fear and take steps to protect yourself. Here’s some tools that Avast is launching today to help you:
We’re happy to announce that Avast Free Antivirus on Windows 10 64-bit has been certified by ICSA Labs! After being tested in the ICSA Labs Anti-Virus Certification Testing Laboratory, Avast Free Antivirus on Windows 10 64-bit has satisfied the requirements for the Desktop Server AV Detection module within the Anti-Virus Corporate Certification Testing Criteria.
If you found a USB stick, would you plug it into your laptop to see what’s on it?
Sounds like a risky thing to do, but in a recent experiment in four major U.S. cities, that’s exactly what happened when 200 unbranded USB devices were left in public places. One in five people let their curiosity get the best of them and plugged the flash drive into a device. These “Nosy Nellys” proceeded to open text files, click on unfamiliar web links, or send messages to a listed email address. All potentially risky behaviors!
“These actions may seem innocuous, but each has the potential to open the door to the very real threat of becoming the victim of a hacker or a cybercriminal,” said Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) the trade association that commissioned the experiment.
Every time you plug an unknown flash drive into your computer, you’re taking a risk because a USB drive can spread malware, as well as attract it. Here are some dramatic examples:
Stuxnet and Flame were spread by USB device
The infamous Stuxnet worm and Flame malware, alleged American-Israeli cyber weapons designed to attack and spy on Iran’s nuclear program, relied on USB sticks to disseminate attack code to Windows machines.
Americans don’t trust that technology will be kept out of the hands of bad guys.
Forget about zombies, vampires, and ghosts. Americans don’t fear things that go bump-in-the-night as much as they do their own government. The annual Survey of Fear conducted by Chapman University asked Americans about their level of fear in 88 different topics ranging from crime, the government, disasters, personal anxieties, technology, and others. The majority of Americans said that they are “afraid” or “very afraid” of the corruption of government officials.
The misuse of technology, financial crime, and privacy-related issues took up half of the Top 10 fears of 2015. After two years of high-profile data breaches and the revelations of government spying from the Edward Snowden leaks, it’s not too surprising. Here’s the list:
- Corruption of government officials (58.0%)
- Cyber-terrorism (44.8%)
- Corporate tracking of personal information (44.6%)
- Terrorist attacks (44.4%)
- Government tracking of personal information (41.4%)
- Bio-warfare (40.9%)
- Identity theft (39.6%)
- Economic collapse (39.2%)
- Running out of money in the future (37.4%)
- Credit card fraud (36.9%)
Does your Chrome browser seem a little “off”, but you can’t figure out why? Maybe it’s eFast.
Here’s another reason to slow down when installing software, especially free software. A new Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP) disguised as the Google Chrome browser is sneaking onto users computers bundled with legitimate software, hidden deep within the ‘Custom’ or ‘Advanced’ settings that most people skip over. Once installed, eFast, as it has been called, serves up ads and tracks your online activities and sells personally identifiable information to advertisers.
“Read the installer screens to make sure what they actually install,” warns Michal Salat, researcher in the Avast Virus Lab. ” The Next->Next->Next->Done approach is exactly why we deal with PUPs daily. If there isn’t an option not to install some additional software, terminate the installer immediately. Better safe then sorry.”
Researchers at Malwarebytes says that eFast actually installs a new browser rather than hijacking your existing one. If you already have Chrome installed, it will replace it making itself the default browser. The fake browser uses the same source code for the user interface as the real thing making it difficult to tell the difference. It is so tricky that it even replaces shortcuts on your desktop that look similar to Google Chrome.
Believe it or not, there’s more to life than what’s happening online! In its beginnings, technology was intended to make our lives simpler and more convenient. When technology becomes an addiction, however, it can become dangerous to our mental and physical health, not to mention our personal lives.
Almost exactly two months ago, we reported on some fake apps found in the Windows Phone Store. Unfortunately, the news hasn’t stopped there – instead, it seems that this third-party app store is becoming an increasingly popular platform for the bad guys. Today, we‘ve uncovered quite a large set of fake apps which includes scams imitating legitimate popular apps such as Facebook Messenger, CNN, BBC, and WhatsApp.
There are two perpetrators behind these fake apps: Ngetich Walter and Cheruiyot Dennis. Between the two of them, they have 58 different apps available in the Windows Phone Store, all of which are fake. The majority of the apps have certain things in common — they collect basic data about users and display various advertisements that are mostly driven by a user’s location. A portion of the apps try to lead users to pages that force them to submit a request to purchase something. Let’s take a closer look at two of them:
Our team had a wonderful time meeting and networking with the crème de la crème of security industry professionals at this year’s Virus Bulletin Conference in Prague, of which we were a proud platinum sponsor. Throughout the conference, a handful of Avast employees presented talks a variety of today’s most prominent security-centered topics. For those who weren’t able to make it to the conference, we’d like to provide a brief recap of the content that was covered.
Taking a close look at denial of service attacks
In their presentation, “DDoS trojan: a malicious concept that conquered the ELF format“, senior malware analysts Petr Kalnai and Jaromir Horejsi discussed the serious issues relating to distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
Abstract: DDoS threats have been out there since the Internet took over half of global communication, posing the real problem of denial of access to online service providers. Recently, a new trend emerged in non-Windows DDoS attacks that was induced by code availability, lack of security, and an abundance of resources. The attack infrastructure has undergone significant structural, functional and complexity changes. Malicious aspects have evolved into complex and relatively sophisticated pieces of code, employing compression, advanced encryption and even rootkit capabilities. Targeted machines run systems supporting the ELF format – anything from desktops and servers to IoT devices like routers or digital video recorders (DVRs) could be at risk.
Avast Free Antivirus just received another AV-Test certification for its stellar protection against real-world threats, performance in daily use, and usability.
Yay! It’s like collecting another trophy for the display case or another blue ribbon to hang on the wall, but what does it really mean? How is this type of testing useful for you, our customers?
Ondrej Vlcek, Avast’s Chief Operations Officer explains,
Because of the overwhelming growth of malware targeting consumers and businesses, labs like AV-Test Institute have become an invaluable independent source of data to Avast. Their research has influenced our engineers to expand their knowledge of malware, revolutionize diagnostic and detection methods, and facilitate strategies to get real-time updates to hundreds of millions of people who put their trust in our antivirus products.”
Here’s a little background on the testing lab.
AV-Test Institute is an independent lab designed specifically for testing and researching malware. Located in Magdeburg, Germany, they inhabit 1200m² (12,900 ft²) of space with 3 server rooms and a variety of main and secondary laboratories.
Cybersecurity is not limited to your office or home. Nowadays, many of us use the same devices for work and personal business, so when traveling we need to be extra diligent to protect our devices and the data we have on them. If you use common sense and a bit of Avast technology, all your devices – laptops, smartphones, and tablets, can remain secure wherever you are.
Here are a few things you can do before you go and while you’re on-the-road:
1. Install antivirus protection. Your first and best line of defense on your PC or Android device is antivirus protection. Install it and make sure it is up-to-date.
2. Keep your operating system and software up-to-date. Hackers take advantage of software with security holes that have not been plugged, so take time regularly to make sure that your software and apps have patches and updates applied.
3. Lock down your device. Make it a habit to lock your PC and phone with a PIN, password, or even a fingerprint. Avast Mobile Security even allows you to password-protect your apps. Before you travel, make sure your critical apps, like access to your bank, are protected.