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October 14th, 2013

Five wonderful things the Czech Republic has given the world

beer (1)
Where beer flows like water

The Czechs love their beer. Monks living in the region started brewing in monasteries just a few centuries AD. The Czechs gave the gift of Pilsner to the world back in the mid-1800s, and ever since then citizens have supported their own industry by consuming more beer per capita than any other country in the world. These days, Czechs drink on average about 161 liters of beer per person each year.  Not surprising when bottled beer is cheaper than bottled water!

“Beer is known to free up your brain for creative problem solving,” said Jindřich Kubec, Director of Threat Intelligence, “and since AVAST has some of the highest detection ratings of any antivirus out there, it shows that we are doing lots of “problem solving.” ;-)

Sweet success

Back in the day, refined sugar came in unwieldy big blocks that had to be sawed at, hacked, and cut through. This physical effort resulted in numerous boo-boos and aching fingers holding onto dainty tea cups (Czechs don’t always drink beer ;) ). One day, the wife of Jakub Kryštof Rad, the man who ran the local sugar refinery,  grew tired of having to bandage her appendages every time she wanted a little sweetener. She asked him why he couldn’t package sugar in a more manageable size for teacups. Mrs. Rad inspired her husband to create what we know today as sugar cubes.

“Speaking of sugar,” said Vladimir Saur, Traffic Manager at AVAST, “every day someone brings chocolate to the office, and we are living proof that dark chocolate improves brain function. Well, only when our boss leaves us at least a little bit!”

As unique as a fingerprint

CSI fans will dig what 19th-century physician and scientist Jan Evangelista Purkyně revealed in his work in physiology.  His discovery that all human fingerprints are unique and his subsequent classification of fingerprint patterns advanced criminology and forensic science.  A century later, Czech scientist Jan Janský learned that human blood could be classified into four distinct groups, which led the way to the A-B-O system we use today.

“Just like Sherlock Holmes hot on a the trail of a “whodunit” mystery, the researchers in the avast! Virus Lab follow clues to discover what malware does, why it does it, how to classify it, and most importantly, how we can stop it,” said Filip Chytrý , avast! Virus Lab researcher.

Mick Jagger lights up the castle

You will think you have entered a fairy tale when visiting the Czech Republic. With over 2,000 castles, the country has the highest density of castles, ruins, chateaux, and villas in the world. The most significant of them all is the Prague Castle, the largest medieval castle in Europe.

“One of the attractions to working for our great company, is its location. Prague is a fairy-tale city with magical beauty, said Marcela Římalová, Senior Worldwide Recruiter for AVAST Software. “After the Velvet Revolution, The Rolling Stones were invited by President Havel to play a concert. They noticed that the Prague Castle was dark at night, so they graciously paid for it and four of its grand halls to be illuminated. It’s a view we still enjoy today.”

source: http://www.praguewelcome.cz/en/

source: http://www.praguewelcome.cz/en/

 

avast! Free Antivirus

Powered, no doubt,historic-avast by Czech beer and chocolate, Pavel Baudiš, a young researcher at Prague’s legendary Mathematical Machines Research Institute came upon a sample of the Vienna Virus on a floppy disk. After he wrote a program to remove it, he showed it to his friend and colleague Eduard Kučera and, together they started what’s now the world’s most popular and trusted antivirus software. AVAST Software is celebrating its 25th anniversary soon and launching the newest version -  avast! 2014.

“When we started this company behind the Iron Curtain in 1988, we could not imagine that it would grow to protect more computers worldwide than any other firm,” said Eduard Kučera and Pavel Baudiš, founders of AVAST Software, “No one can say what the next 25 years will bring. But one thing is certain, the AVAST team – now spread over several countries – is talented, energetic, and committed to making sure that everyone in the world has access to computer security that works.”

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 FacebookTwitter and Google+.

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September 27th, 2013

avast! Free Antivirus wins VB100 award

vb_award_enAVAST Software, maker of the most trusted antivirus in the world, avast! Free Antivirus, has achieved a VB100 award in the latest Virus Bulletin VB100 comparative review. 

The VB100 award is given to those products that detect 100% of viruses “in the wild,” using the freshest malware sample sets available, as well as samples not previously seen. In this round, the testers also used a range of items including a wide selection of educational software, designed for use either in schools or in home-teaching environments. avast! Free Antivirus scored 100% for each malware set tested.

“The core sets were dealt with flawlessly, easily earning Avast a VB100 award for this month’s efforts,” said the Virus Bulletin experts conducting the test.

The second standard measured is the number of false positives generated when scanning. A false positive warning happens when a file is erroneously tagged as a virus or malware, when in fact the file does not possess such malicious code and is not a virus or malware. avast! Free Antivirus had zero false positives and got a perfect score on both standards showing it has what it takes to handle newly emerging malware and accurately detect previously unknown malware.

Speed and performance measures are also taken and avast! Free Antivirus earned the highest Stability rating, Solid: No issues observed, as opposed to Stable, Fair, or Buggy.

The Virus Bulletin annual conference, the premier technical event of the antivirus/security industry, will be held the first week in October in Berlin. AVAST will be attending, so we hope to see you there.

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 FacebookTwitter and Google+.

 

August 29th, 2013

How schools can save big with AVAST Free for Education

Keeping kids safe while they are online is a major concern for educational institutions from schools to libraries to museums. Schools in the United States spend a lot of money on education technology—it was estimated at $56 billion dollars in 2012. That’s about $400 per student per year. A portion of that is earmarked for security software and support. In fact, an average school district pays over $14,000 for antivirus protection. Because of declining budgets, 5 percent of schools can’t even afford this protection.

AVAST gives away Security Software for FREE

 

AVAST offers avast! Endpoint Protection Suite software for FREE to schools, universities, libraries, and other educational institutions in the USA (and its territories). The award-winning security software is available for up to 30,000 devices, can be centrally installed and managed, and also protects servers – all at no cost to educational institutions. It’s free, and there is no catch or hidden surprises.

You can find out more information here: www.avast.com/education

In the same way that avast! Free Antivirus gets shared between family and friends, we ask you to share with anyone that could benefit from this program. This fun infographic is a great way to do it!  :)

edu01-w600

 

 

August 28th, 2013

Lost or Stolen Smartphone: The Consequences are Bigger for Women Than for Men, Our Study Finds

shocked woman (1)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

phone usage men_women

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…

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August 21st, 2013

Do you know the difference between antivirus and anti-malware?

ku-bigpicIn 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…

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July 11th, 2013

avast! Mobile Security gets Editors’ Choice Award from PC Magazine

pcmag_blogPC 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.

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 FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Instagram.

July 3rd, 2013

avast! Free Antivirus is the best deal for the Real World

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.

AVComparatives Real World test

 

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 FacebookTwitter,  Google+, and now,  Instagram.

May 16th, 2013

avast! in the Final Frontier

startrek

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.

 

Shields up!

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.

Read more…

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December 13th, 2012

Is Google Protecting Me After All?

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 (Source: AVAST)

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…

November 22nd, 2012

Avast is now free for schools and libraries in the USA

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.


Read more…