Personal contacts, photos, videos, apps, emails, text messages — smartphones today contain a plethora of personal information, and the thought of losing or having a smartphone stolen is extremely worrisome to many people. Our security research team recently conducted a survey of 167,904 customers worldwide and found that consumers in the United States are among those most likely to lose or have their phone stolen. We then wondered, who is affected more by a stolen or lost cell phone in the US, men or women?
Men carry out more security sensitive transactions on their phones
Men in the US use their smartphones more often to take care of online banking, download apps, and believe it or not, shop more than women do. Women, on the other hand, use their smartphones more to text and to connect with friends on Facebook and other social networking platforms. Now, the logical conclusion would be that men are more at risk if they were to lose or get their cell phone stolen. You might think that online banking and credit card information stored in browsers and apps would be more appealing to smartphone thieves than personal information, status updates, and maybe even gossip. But that is simply not the case. Read more…
In an article explaining the differences between antivirus and anti-malware, and which tools protect you from both, Lifehacker recommends that you install their favorite, avast! Free Antivirus. AVAST “scans for as much as possible, and has an on-access scanning engine that protects you from threats while you surf the web, install applications, and open files.”
Viruses, Malware, and Trojans…Oh, My!
The name “Antivirus” became popular over a decade ago, when computer viruses were making headlines and being featured on nightly news broadcasts. Consumers became aware of the term, therefore marketers adopted it to describe the protection security software offered.
“Today viruses are the minority when it comes to malware,” explains Jiri Sejtko, Director of the AVAST Virus Lab. “More common than viruses is malware like Trojans, Worms, Backdoors, Exploits, Adware, and PUP (Potentially Unwanted Programs), which can include communication clients, remote desktops and password revealers, just to name a few.”
Cybercrooks are driving the change. Back in the day, it was enough for a hacker to have his ego stroked by playing practical jokes, but the diversity of the early market and platforms kept early viruses from spreading far and wide.
“The focus of online criminals has shifted and therefore malware has changed, “ said Sejtko. Read more…
PC Magazine awarded avast! Mobile Security the Editors’ Choice Award for free Android security apps thanks to its “huge array of powerful tools and fine-grained controls.”
A major concern for smartphone owners is the increasing threat of malicious software targeting Android OS. Max Eddy, software analyst for PC Magazine, writes that, “avast! is well-positioned to guard against new threats that use novel attack vectors we’ve yet to imagine.”
Running quietly in the background, with no system slow-down or stuttering, “avast! will also keep an ever-vigilant eye on your device, warning you as soon as it detects something it doesn’t like,” he writes in his June 2013 review.
But these days, it’s more likely that you will fall victim to theft and loss instead of malware. Eddy explains, “In this department, avast! has an impressive slate of features and controls.”
In case your phone walks off somewhere, you can use the my.avast web portal where you can remotely locate, lock, or wipe your device, and set off the alarm. Eddy said, “I was particularly impressed that the alarm was not only loud, at 96 dB, but also highly illustrative. ‘This phone has been lost or stolen,’ said my S III, cycling between that phrase and what sounded like a Star Trek warning klaxon.”
Make sure you install avast! Mobile Security, the Editors’ Choice for free Android security suites, on your smartphone and tablet. It is available for free in the Google Play store.
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In the “real world” of monthly bills and rising expenses, a decision about antivirus protection often comes down to the best protection for the money – and that’s where avast! Free Antivirus wins out over the rest.
In the May 2013 Real-World Protection Test by AV-Comparatives, avast! Free Antivirus was up against 19 paid-for internet security suites which could cost the customer up to $60 per year. avast! Free Antivirus passed the tests with honors and was the only free solution to receive the Advanced+ rating!
The test created a real-world scenario using a typical setup that many of us have; Windows 7 and software such as Adobe Flash and Acrobat Reader, Java, etc. To show how well antivirus products protect the user’s computer when surfing the web, the testers pitted AVAST and the others against threats we encounter in everyday life. They used 431 current dangerous exploits, URLs with known malware, and even a few malicious files from email attachments. avast! Free Antivirus blocked 99.3% of the threats.
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 Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and now, Instagram.
With the release of the summer blockbuster Star Trek: Into Darkness, I started thinking about the Star Trek universe, Trek-nology, and what it would be like if avast! Antivirus was adopted by Starfleet. Wouldn’t it be amusing to hear the voice of the computer echoing through the bridge, “avast! Virus Database has been updated”? As Captain Picard would say, “Make it so!”
Our beloved U.S.S. Enterprise, space station Deep Space 9, the far-flung Voyager, and even the sentient android Data experienced computer malfunctions, some of them caused by a virus. Here are a few episodes that come to mind as I imagine the possibility of avast! in the Final Frontier.
ST: TNG The Contagion
Captain Jean-Luc Picard is a student of archaeology. When a distress call comes in from the U.S.S. Yamato, engaged in an archeological investigation looking for the legendary planet Iconia, the Enterprise responds right away. But not in time to save the 1000+ crew and ship from destruction due to a computer virus. The weaponized virus was transmitted by a scan from an Iconian probe and caused dangerous systems failures by overwriting software. The Enterprise becomes infected when it downloads the Yamato logs. During the investigation, a Romulan Warbird shows up and an interstellar incident becomes imminent.
Apparently Starfleet’s ships don’t come equipped with virus protection software because the Yamato was destroyed when hostile, malicious threats took over their computer system, and the Enterprise was threatened as well. Avast’s shields protect different aspects of computer functions. If anything suspicious is detected, the file system shield will prevent the program from being started or the file from being opened to prevent any damage being caused to your computer and data.
The latest version of Android 4.2, code-named “Jelly Bean” has been released some time ago. While being just an incremental update to the major 4.0 release “Ice Cream Sandwich”, Google introduced some major new features within that update. While offering multi-user support and improved notifications, a new feature which is being promoted heavily, is the built-in app scanner which should protect Android devices from being infected by malware.
The client side app scanner of Android 4.2 is the next step in Google’s attempts to protect their Android ecosystem from malware threats, after introducing Bouncer, a server-side malware scanner used by Google to analyze apps that are being uploaded to Google Play Store. Bouncer was announced in February 2012 and is Google’s approach to prevent malware from being uploaded to the Google Play store as a first line of defense.
Now, some authors claim that third party mobile security tools are most likely not needed anymore, because Google now already pre-checks all mobile apps. I’ve been closely monitoring all those changes and improvements because I wanted to make my own mind on how successful these attempts by Google would be and to find out how our Android antivirus scanner delivered within our free avast! Mobile Security suite (http://www.avast.com/free-mobile-security) would stack up to what the operating system vendor itself would be able to provide.
Since months before the release of avast! Mobile Security in December 2011, our virus lab was working on setting up the initial state of our Android malware database. The database contains signatures of all the malicious files our virus lab guys find over time and is being extended day-by-day to contain definitions of the newest threats in real-time. Currently, tens of millions of Android devices owned by our users download those definitions every day to their avast! client side scanners. So I just went to our virus lab and asked the guys there to provide me with some statistics on the growth of our Android malware database.
As I already stated, Bouncer was thought to be the first line of defense, and tries to protect the main source of app downloads from malicious offerings. Could it be that as a result of introducing Bouncer, our malware database stopped growing or started to decline in size when Bouncer was introduced? Has Google been successful? See for yourself:
Android Malware Database History (Click to enlarge)
Obviously, since February 2012, our Android malware growth has not started to decline; it has not even stalled its growth, but has been continuously growing since that point in time. Read more…
Starting this week, we have made most of our Avast antivirus products and solutions free for use by schools and libraries in the US. This is just the first step and if it is successful, we will extend it worldwide. We are doing this for a couple of reasons. First, even though schools need security products, in these tough budget times, they need the ability to focus their spending on teaching. A couple of us here at Avast used to run the government and education sales at Symantec some years ago. We know that schools spend a lot on security—money that could be better spent on teaching.
Avast! Free Antivirus won the top rating for malware removal from independent research organization AV-Comparatives last month, and this month is the only antivirus solution that also received the ADVANCED+ award for performance. The latest performance test measured the impact on system resources and speed of 19 antivirus products, and avast! Free Antivirus was the best scoring FREE product again.
AV-Comparatives performance testing is a series of real-world scenarios that includes downloading, extracting, copying, and encoding files, installing and launching applications, in addition to an automated testing suite. The ranking system is three-levels: “Standard,” “Advanced” and “Advanced+” awards. To receive the “Advanced+” award, avast! Free Antivirus was compared to mostly paid-for antivirus suites based on how much impact the product has on system resources, including protection against ‘real-world’ zero-day malware attacks, detection of a representative set of malware discovered in the last 2-3 months, false positive rates, and scanning speed. Avast was the highest scoring free product and out-shined a host of paid-for products and other free products.
These results are proof that it is not necessary to pay for excellent quality antivirus protection. Avast! Free Antivirus provides award-winning high protection rates against malware without degrading the system performance or troubling users.
avast! Free Antivirus just earned another VB100 award, this time in the August 2012 Virus Bulletin comparative review for Windows 7 – with a perfect score of 100%.
According to the review, avast! “routinely elicits warm, affectionate smiles from the test team, with this month’s submission promising more of the same.” As well, we were told that “Avast earns another VB100 award fairly easily” in this case.
We offer much thanks to our beta testers, our developers, and our QA team for all their hard work in making software that is easy to stand behind.
A list of other awards and certifications earned by avast! in recent years can be found here: http://www.avast.com/awards-certifications (incomplete list)
The My avast! account was created so you can manage all your avast! software and services from one area. You can enter your account by clicking on the avast! icon in the system tray in the bottom right corner of your computer. This opens the avast! user interface. In the Summary section of the UI, you can see if the device you are using is connected to your My avast! account. To the right of that is a link to connect, http://my.avast.com. Click this link to log in and connect the device to your account.
Once you are there, you can see all your avast! protected devices in one place. This is quite useful if you have multiple devices like a PC, tablet and mobile phone. The section called Security Info gives you a summary of protection for each device. If your avast! Antivirus license is expiring soon, it will remind you and give you the opportunity to renew.
For those of you with Android phones, your My avast! account provides valuable information related to avast! Anti-Theft. You can change the settings, for example, add a friend’s number to communicate with your phone if it gets stolen, remotely wipe or lock the phone or stealthily send SMS commands. The Locator Map finds the position of the phone, so you can track it.
Check out your My avast! account here, http://my.avast.com.