The Avast bi-weekly wrap-up is a quick summary of what was on the Avast blog for the last two weeks.
Spring 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!
Independent 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.
Many 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.
The 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 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.
The 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.
Cybercrooks 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.
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 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.
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.
However, 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.
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”.
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.
Do I really need security on my computer anymore?
Over the years, web standards have improved and the security of operating systems and browsers have become better. Because of these advances, some people question whether they need security protection at all. But you need to remember that in parallel to positive advances in protection, cybercrooks have improved their skills and become more stealthy and targeted.
Hackers are no longer mischievous kids breaking into government agencies because they can. “These days, cybercrooks have to make business driven-decisions like the rest of us because their resources are limited,” said Ondrek Vlcek, COO of Avast.
Current malware is often disguised as legitimate applications, malicious Android apps sneak by protocols of the huge download sites, and home and business networks are being attacked via weakly protected routers.
“Threats are no longer just targeting devices, but accounts and routers. A recent example is the iCloud hack where cybercrooks stole personal photos of more than 100 celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton,” said Vlcek. “This attack happened via their account and can as well be the result of a router hack. No matter which device you use, all Internet traffic flows through your router so you have to make sure it is secure. You don’t have to be Jennifer Lawrence to be attacked.
Not your father’s antivirus protection
Antivirus protection has come a long way since it scanned individual files. Avast has taken modern virus protection to a high art with real-time updates and heuristic scans that detect new threats it’s never even seen before.
Avast performs so well in protecting against “real-world” threats such as Trojans, worms and viruses as well as web and email threats, that it just received the AV-TEST certification for our home user products.
Avast scored perfectly in the detection of widespread and prevalent malware discovered in the last 4 weeks, and had very little incidence of disruptions caused by false positives. Our consumer products have basically no measurable impact on the performance of the computer while doing things that the average user does on a daily basis: Visiting websites, downloading software, installing and running programs and copying data.
Compared to Windows users, Mac users have been relatively unaffected by malware attacks. Cybercrooks, however, are just as aware as antivirus vendors are about Mac vulnerabilities. With the growing number of Mac users, cybercrooks see more potential for malicious activities, especially as Mac users tend to have a false sense of security and not usesecurity software. You only have to read this blog to learn that cybercrooks are adapting Windows malware to target their Mac counterparts.
We should never underestimate Mac security. Avast! Free Antivirus for Mac offers free protection against the latest malware designed to attack Mac operating systems. As all other Avast security products, the Mac version participates in frequent, independent tests. Recently avast! Free Antivirus for Mac was not only certified by AV-TEST but it also received 100% in the latest Mac Security Test & Review conducted by AV-Comparatives in July-August.
We are proud to share the results with you!
More about AVAST’s performance in both tests.
avast! Free Antivirus blocked 100% of malware attacks in AV-Test’s “Real World” detection test.
Respected IT Security and Antivirus Research lab, AV-Test, put 23 antivirus products designed for the home user to the test for real-world malware blocking and detection of false positives in June. The testing scenario replicated the set-up of almost a quarter of AVAST’s 200 million users who still use Windows XP (SP3, 32-Bit, English). Just like your antivirus protection at home, the products were allowed to update themselves at any time and query their in-the-cloud services.
Avast! Free Antivirus scored 100% in protection against malware infections, such as viruses, worms or Trojan horses. AV-Test used widespread and prevalent malware discovered in the last 4 weeks, including malicious email attachements.
Avast! Free Antivirus had zero false positive detections, giving it a perfect score of 100%. False positives happen when your antivirus software erroneously identifies a file or a download as being malicious. The test included false warnings or blockages when visiting websites or when installing and using legitimate software.
Our customers are concerned about the impact antivirus protection has on their computer speed when visiting websites, downloading software, installing and running programs, and copying data. AV-Test measured the influence of each product in daily usage. On a scale with 5 being the lowest possible impact and 25 the highest impact, avast! Free Antivirus has minimal impact on system performance, scoring a very low 8.
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 and Google+. Business owners – check out our business products.
We all see the reminders to update Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, and Java frequently. There is good reason not to put this task off: The trusted researchers at AV-TEST Institute found that 66 percent of affected Windows systems are victims of malware that took advantage of exploits found in Reader, Flash, and Java.
During the 10-year study, they found that Adobe Reader has nearly 37,000 recorded variants that exploit user machines with “high levels of precision.” Java gets the top spot for exploit attacks with a whopping 82,000 attack variations available against the multiple versions of software on 3 billion devices worldwide.
Can I just stop using Java or Flash?
Does avast! Antivirus provide protection?
AVAST is trusted by nearly 200 million people worldwide, and the trifecta of protection, performance, and usability work together to make it the most recommended antivirus protection in the world. If you don’t trust the experiences of 200 million people, how about research from an independent testing lab?
During July and August, when the rest of us were taking vacations at the beach, German lab AV-Test was busily testing 26 home user security products. They focused on realistic test scenarios and challenged the products against real-world threats like detecting brand-new malware, email threats, downloading software, and installing and running programs.
“Avast, once again, has an impressive performance in our tests,” said Andreas Marx, CEO of AV-TEST. Our Facebook fans agree.
Avast! Free Antivirus was pitted against mostly paid-for products, and earned the coveted “AV-TEST CERTIFIED” seal for its stellar performance. AVAST scored perfectly in protecting home users from zero-day malware attacks, and identified and blocked all the malware samples AV-Test threw at it.
“The free edition of Avast has shown stellar performance,” said Marx, “The offered protection was a lot better than many commercial anti-malware products. Avast is one of the top products when it comes to malware detection and blocking of known and unknown threats.” 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…
There are lots of Android security apps to choose from, but avast! Free Mobile Security has got the goods compared to many paid-for solutions, and it’s FREE. Independent German testing lab AV-Test evaluated 30 mobile security products for Android and awarded AVAST with its coveted certification for the product’s excellent protection against malicious apps (99.8%) and outstanding performance and usability (100%).
Great, but does it slow down my phone?
Smartphone owners are concerned about the impact security software will have on the use of their phones. Here are some commonly asked questions along with the results of AV-Test’s analysis:
- Will security software make my battery run down? avast! Mobile Security does not impact the life of your battery.
- Will security software slow down my smartphone when I’m using it to text, send email or access the internet? avast! Mobile Security does not slow down the device during normal usage. Read more…