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


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 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 9th, 2015

How to find the best protection for your Android phone? Independent tests.

Recently we told you about malware inside of Google Play and we also alerted you to the resurrection of Simplocker, a dangerous ransomware that has started its second infection wave. Hopefully,  you are convinced that you need to seek a top security application for your Android device. It’s just not safe out there any longer.

AV-Test of Avast Mobile SecurityHowever, how can you be sure that our security application is doing its job correctly and extensively?

Some people doubt marketing talk on vendor websites, but we know you cannot start testing every apk file or entering the dark side site of Internet just to see if our solution works. That’s why Avast has chosen to submit our products to third party, independent testing labs.

AV-TEST runs Avast Mobile Security through the paces

AV-TEST is a well-known testing laboratory for mobile security. Recently, they tested 31 mobile security products for Android focusing “on malware detection and usability, including performance and false positives”.

They used 2,950 different malware samples and Avast Mobile Security blocked 100% of them. The malware set was a very recent one: malware in the wild in the last 4 weeks.

More?

Avast Mobile Security did not commit any mistake when tested with 1,932 legitimate apps from the Google Play Store and 981 legitimate apps from third party app stores. The better of the two worlds: protection and usability.

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”.

Avast Mobile Security earned the AV-TEST certification.

Avast Mobile Security earned the AV-TEST certification.

The testing Lab gives a thumbs up for all the other security features that you can find in Avast Mobile Security:

  • Anti-Theft for remote lock, wipe and locate your lost or stolen device. NOTE: For those of you who do not have automatic update turned on, please do an update ASAP so you can keep Anti-theft working optimally.
  • Call Blocker from specific or unknown numbers and a SMS Filter for unwanted content.
  • Safe Browsing that protects against malicious websites and/or phishing.
  • Backup for personal data on cloud storage.
  • Firewall that allows control over your connection usage over 3G/4G/Wi-Fi/Roaming.
  • Network Meter that gives you easy to understand information about your data plans.

Don’t you want to try it? You can download Avast Mobile Security for free on Google Play.

 


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!


April 7th, 2015

Don’t take the bait: Beware of web attack techniques

Mousetrap with cheese

When it comes to cybercrime, it’s always better to be in the know. Here are a few ways that web attacks can find their way onto your device. Don’t be fooled — most cybercrooks design attacks to  take place where you’d least expect it.

  1. Social engineering preys on human weakness

“A lot of attacks are still using social engineering techniques; phishing emails – ways of convincing the user to give up valuable information,” said Avast CEO Vince Steckler.

In a phishing or spearphishing attack, hackers use email messages to trick people into providing sensitive information, click on links, or download malware. The emails are seemingly sent from organizations or individuals the potential victims would normally get emails from, making them even more deceptive. Last July, Avast took a look at the Tinba Trojan, banking malware that used spearphishing to target its victims.

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An example of an injected form from Tinba Trojan targeting U.S. Bank customers.

Web attacks also take place through SMS Text Phishing, also known as SMSishing. This method has become one of the most popular ways in which malicious threats are transmitted on Android devices. These text messages include links that contain malware, and upon clicking them, the malicious program is downloaded to the user’s device. These programs often operate as SMS worms capable of sending messages, removing apps and files, and stealing confidential information from the user.

  1. Malicious apps attempt to fool you

Malicious programs can disguise themselves as real programs by hiding within popular apps or games. In February, we examined malicious apps posing as games on Google Play that infected millions of users with adware. In the case of malicious apps, cybercrooks tamper with the app’s code, inserting additional features and malicious programs that infect devices. As a result, the malware can attempt to use SMSishing in order to collect additional data.

Durak-game-GP

The Durak card game app was the most widespread of the malicious apps with 5 – 10 million installations according to Google Play.

  1. Ransomware uses scare tactics that really work

Another name that made headlines was a group of malware dubbed ransomware, such as CryptoLocker, and its variants CryptowallPrison LockerPowerLocker, and Zerolocker. The most widespread is Cryptolocker, which encrypts data on a computer and demands money from the victim in order to provide the decryption key. Avast detects and protects its users from CryptoLocker and GameoverZeus.  

Make sure you back up important files on a regular basis to avoid losing them to ransomware. Ransomware made its way from desktop to Android during the year, and Avast created a Ransomware Removal app to eliminate Android ransomware and unlocks encrypted files for free.

Count on Avast apps to keep mobile malware at bay

To keep your devices protected from other ransomware, make sure to also install Avast Free Mobile Security & Antivirus from the Google Play store. It can detect and remove the malware before it is deployed.

Install Avast Ransomware Removal to find out if your Android devices are infected and to get rid of an infection. Avast Ransomware Removal will tell you if your phone has ransomware on it. If you are infected, it will eliminate the malware. Android users who are clean can use the free app to prevent an infection from happening.Once installed, you can easily launch the app to scan the device, remove the virus, and then decrypt your hijacked files.


April 3rd, 2015

TGIF: Avast News Wrap-up for March 18 – April 2 2015

The Avast biweekly wrap-up is a quick summary of what was on the Avast blog for the last 2 weeks .

Watch March Madness with SecureLine VPNMarch Madness wraps up on April 6th. Even if you are traveling abroad, all you basketball fans can watch the game using a VPN service. Stay safe during March Madness using Avast SecureLine explains why you should always use VPN when connecting to a public Wi-Fi hotspot, plus the added benefit of being able to watch geo-restricted content online.

laptop and routersSpeaking of Wi-Fi – Just like in real estate, one of the most important things for your router is location, location, location. 5 things you can do to boost your Wi-Fi network shares helpful things that you can do yourself to make your Wi-Fi signal stronger within your home or business.

IMG_20150328_115931I run because I really REALLY like Beer!

Team Avast rocked it at the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon.

WBDWorld Backup Day was a good reminder that we need to take time to prevent data loss on our PCs and mobile phones. We discovered that one of the main reasons that people do not back up their data is because they are lazy.

Remote AssistanceThe family IT expert knows how frustrating it can be to help someone solve a computer problem over the phone. Avast makes it easier with our Remote Assistance service. Now you can Help others with their computer issues using Avast Remote Assistance.

For those of you who like to DIY, you can learn How to use the Avast Virus Chest and what actions you can perform on files inside the chest.

avtest_certified_homeuser_2015-02With all the security improvements in browsers and operating systems, some people have questioned whether they still need antivirus protection. The business of malware has changed, but it can still be devastating if you are targeted. COO Ondrek Vlcek explains why Avast is not your father’s antivirus protection.


April 1st, 2015

Help others with their computer issues using Avast Remote Assistance

Avast Remote Assistance gives you access to any other computer with Avast installed.

Do your friends and family always call you when they run into a problem with their computer? Forget driving across town to help them out – if they are also Avast users, you can remotely access their computer.

remote assistance mum-EN

Avast Remote Assistance makes it a lot easier on the family IT person.

 

How to use Avast Remote Assistance

If you are the IT expert, the person in need of help has to request assistance from you. Instruct them to open the Avast user interface. The easiest way to find it, is to go to one of the four tiles on the Overview screen, and click on the small menu icon in the top right corner. A drop-down selection will open. Choose Remote Assistance.

remote-assistance-UI

Customize your Avast Overview screen for fast access.

Next, tell them to click the blue Get Assistance button. Avast will generate a code that they need to provide to you.  They can transfer the code to you by telephone, email, or chat. Make sure they understand that by sending the code they are granting you remote access to their computer. After you take control, this dialog disappears automatically.

When you receive the code, you will copy it into the box on your Avast’s Remote Assistance screen.  Follow the directions to connect. When the connection is established, this dialog disappears and the remote desktop window appears.

To close the connection, press the Alt+Shift+End shortcut.


March 31st, 2015

Stop what you’re doing and back up your work

Today, we celebrate World Backup Day with a reminder of how important it is to back up our data.

post-backupday-universal-EN

Data loss can occur when least expected, and it’s a shame that so many irreplaceable digital memories are lost. For businesses, it can be costly – the kind of costs that can close the doors!

So take the pledge today, and then get busy.

“I solemnly swear to back up my important documents and precious memories on March 31st.”

What is a backup?

A backup is a second (and sometimes third) copy of all your important files — for example, your family photos, home videos, documents and emails. It’s not something you do once a year and forget about; a good backup plan will be continuous and include multiple layers to not only recover your data but also include steps for data preservation.

The rule of thumb for backing up is

  • 3 copies of anything you care about – Two isn’t enough if it’s important.
  • 2 different formats – Example: Dropbox + DVDs or Hard Drive + Memory Stick or CD + Crash Plan, or more
  • 1 off-site backup – If the house burns down, how will you get your memories back?

Experts advise that you store two copies of your files in external storage media. That can be a local drive on your computer, an external hard drive, you could print documents, burn a DVD, etc. You can backup important files or your entire computer. Another copy should be kept off-site. Many people use an “online drive” like Drop Box or Google Drive. “Cloud” backups are great for people who want to keep only their most important documents safe because there is usually only a certain amount of storage that’s free.

Don’t forget to back up the data on your mobile devices

Thirty seven percent of respondents we surveyed said they do not back up their data. Don’t wait until your device is lost or destroyed – today is the day to do your first backup!

If you have an Android mobile phone or tablet, install our free Avast Mobile Backup to back up your contacts, call logs, SMS text messages, and other data to your Avast account or Google Drive.


March 31st, 2015

Why people don’t back up their mobilephones and other facts

Devastation. The feeling you get when you realize your mobile phone is missing. All those photos, contacts, and other stuff – gone forever. Why? Because it wasn’t backed up.

mobile backup survey

Just in time for World Backup Day, Avast conducted a global survey to find out whether or not people back up data on their mobile devices. We received responses from 288,000 users in countries including the United States, Germany, India, Mexico, and Russia.

In order to get an idea of which kinds of data users store on their devices, we began the survey by asking respondents for what purposes they use their mobile devices aside from making calls and sending text messages.

In response, we found that two out of ten people use their mobile device to take photos, 18% browse the Internet, 17% listen to music/watch videos, and 16% use social networking apps like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Why do people not back up their data?

Put simply, most people don’t think it is necessary to back up their data. Globally 36% and nearly half of Russian’s do not think it is necessary (48%).

Almost a quarter of the world attributes not backing up their data to laziness (24%). Thirty-two percent of Indian people admit that they are too lazy to do a back up.

Thirty-six percent of British respondents claimed not to back up their data because they believe their data is not valuable, compared to only 22% of global respondents citing this as their reason for not backing up their mobile data.

What is more valuable to mobile users: hardware or data?

Now that we established that lots of people don’t care about their data, are too lazy to prevent its loss, or don’t think its worth the trouble, we then asked users what they would be more upset about losing: their data (that has not been backed up) or their device (the hardware).

Globally, 64% of people would be more upset about losing their data that has not been backed up rather than the device itself. Respondents in Mexico backed up this claim most significantly, with 78% of Mexican users claiming they would be more upset about losing their data than losing their hardware.

Which data are people worried about losing?

Across the board, users were most heavily concerned about losing the contacts stored on their mobile device (25%) and photos (21%). Despite these concerns, 37% of respondents said they do not back up their data. Brazilians are the least likely to back up their data (45%), yet 64% of Brazilians would be upset about losing it.

Why you should back up your mobile data

We use our mobile devices to make important calls, capture valuable moments, browse the web, to use our favorite apps and so much more. Anything can happen to your mobile device in a split second; it could fall into the toilet, go missing (either through loss or theft) or even get run over by a car! Yet, as we discovered, many do not back up the data they consider indispensable.

How to back up your data

You can back up your data in many ways: by connecting your mobile device to a PC (like nearly one-third of global users do. See below.), connect to a Cloud service (like Dropbox, iCloud, or Google Drive) or use a mobile back up app like Avast Mobile Backup.

When people actually do back up their data, how do they go about it?

The majority of those who do back up their data back it up on a monthly basis (41%), while another 8% back it up on a daily basis.

Most people back up their data by connecting to a PC (32%) — only 17% back up their data to the Cloud. When we inquired about this difference in numbers, 46% of users expressed their reluctance to back up to the Cloud due to privacy concerns. Germans were the most concerned about their privacy when it came to Cloud back up (61%), with Spanish (58%) and American (57%) respondents close behind them.


March 30th, 2015

Avast at the Prague Half Marathon 2015

March 28th, 2015 – It was a gray and chilly Saturday morning when some of Avast’s fittest gathered to run in the 17th edition of the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon. As the biggest running event in the Czech Republic, this year’s race drew in over 12,000 participants. Thirteen brave Avastians ran the event’s full 21 kilometers and 12 (also brave) Avastians ran in relay teams. The relay teams consisted of four members, three of whom ran five kilometers and a fourth who ran six. The Avast runners chose to support the Committee of Good Will – Olga Havel Foundation, an organization that works to support handicapped, abandoned and discriminated individuals in their integration into society.

Avast runners

Avast’s runners before the half marathon

Let the race begin

 
The race took place in Prague’s historic city center along the Vltava River. Both the start and end points of the race were positioned in Jan Palach Square, named after Jan Palach, a student who immolated himself to protest the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1969. At the starting line, I found myself stretching and warming up next to thousands of fellow participants. As we eagerly waited for the race to begin, some sort of miracle occurred – the sun’s rays made their way through the clouds, warming our cold bodies and lifting our spirits. Then, at noon, the starting pistol was fired and we began the race, appropriately accompanied by the sounds of Bedrich Smetana’s “The Moldau”. This celebrated piece of classical Czech music evokes the sounds of the Vltava River, the body of water that served as the backbone of the race.

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Step out of your comfort zone

 
The Prague Half Marathon was the first official race that I’ve taken part in. I ran five kilometers as part of one of Avast’s three relay teams. Intimidating is definitely a word one could use when describing the experience — when the race began, literally thousands of people ran past me and it soon became somewhat of a struggle to keep up in the constant stream of runners. However, it was great having my colleagues there for moral support. During the first kilometer, one of my colleagues passed me, giving me a cheerful greeting en route to complete the race’s full 21 km.

As I ran, I let the Vltava’s breeze cool me off while I basked in the sun’s warmth and admired Prague’s breathtaking views. Within just two kilometers, I had passed some of the city’s most famous sites, including the Charles Bridge, National Theater, and Dancing House. Out of the corner of my eye, I could even see the Prague Castle on the other side of the river. Upon reaching the five kilometer mark, I handed my baton chip over to my teammate, who continued on and crossed the Vltava to meet our third runner.
 

The results

 
Each of the Avast relay teams completed the half marathon in just under two hours. The individual runners, who ran the full length of the race, all finished within two and a half hours. To top it all off, Avast’s fastest runner, Adam Simek, came in 88th place out of the 12,500 runners who participated, completing the half marathon in a remarkable one hour and 18 minutes!

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A message to my fellow Avast runners: You guys all did an amazing job and I hope you have all recuperated from the run :) I look forward to running with you again next year!

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IMG_20150328_115931 IMG_20150328_144607

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