Summertime means vacation time, and many of us brag share our plans on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. A recent survey by MoneyGram found that nearly one-third of consumers aged 18-49 post details about their vacations on social media before or during their trip, essentially broadcasting to the world when they will be away, where they are going, and what they will do – and more than just friends are watching.
“Sharing summer travel plans can serve as an invitation for criminals to target family members with the relative in need scam,” warns MoneyGram, a leading global money transfer company. In the so-called “family scam,” cybercrooks target elderly family and friends of people traveling on vacation with frantic late-night phone calls or emails from a hijacked account. They make up an emergency situation and instruct the victims to wire huge sums of money to “rescue” their relatives from nonexistent predicaments. Some AVAST users have experienced this firsthand.
According to MoneyGram, victims of family scams lost an average of $1,551 each time money was sent to a scammer – with a total of more than $8.5 million in attempted transactions during summer 2012.
“When families go on vacation, they don’t do their relatives any favors when they post Facebook pictures and tell everyone how long they’ll be gone,” said Barbara Fore, an elder-related-crimes investigator for the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in an Orlando Sentinel article. “Criminals are monitoring things like Facebook all the time, and they can often find out just about everything they need to know to run their cons.”
MoneyGram advises that “the safest way to respond to a frantic phone call is to simply hang up and call your relative directly to verify the situation, or verify the identity of the person on the other end of the line or email by asking questions with answers that only true friends or family members would know. These steps often reveal the attempted fraud, preventing any further emotional distress or monetary losses.”
Our first “#useAVAST” Hashtag challenge is over and it’s time to announce the results. As always, YOU have proven what an engaged and creative community AVAST has. We’ve seen plenty of Facebook and Google+ posts and Tweets with your personal recommendations. It has convinced us that we should be giving you this opportunity more often, so Be free to expect some more fun.
As announced in the previous blog, we have selected winners in two categories:
- Most creative/funny recommendation
- Most convincing recommendation
All entries are valuable to us and we appreciate your inventiveness and always-willing-to-participate attitude! Congratulations to the winners! Please contact us at email@example.com to claim your 1-year license for avast! Premiere, our best-selling antivirus protection.
The Hashtag system, created by Chris Messina in 2007, became Twitter’s trademark. The other social networks, notably Instagram, Google+, and Tumbr followed Twitter’s “Hashtag policy”; however it was still not available on Facebook, until now! Finally, users of the biggest social platform can follow and create conversations across the world, by adding a simple Hashtag symbol (#) before the word.The AVAST Social Media team is very excited about this feature and would like to introduce you to a new #hashtag challenge available across the social media platforms.
Now the fun part: Utilize the following Hashtag: “#useAVAST” to let everybody know why you personally recommend our free Antivirus solution. Be creative, be funny, be free.
We will award in two categories:
- Most creative/funny recommendation
- Most convincing recommendation Read more…
The title of this blog post may make you think that we will discuss the security of your Facebook account. Not this time. However, I will analyze an attack which starts with a suspicious email sent to the victim’s email account.
The incoming email has the following subject, ‘Hey <name> your Facebook account has been closed!‘ or ‘Hi <name> your Facebook account is blocked!‘. The email has a ZIP file attachment with name <name>.zip, which contains a downloader file named <name>.exe. <name> stands for a random user name. After a user downloads and executes the executable file, he is presented with the message saying that “Your Facebook connection is now secured! Thank you for your support!” It tries to convince you that there was a problem with your Facebook account, which was later successfully solved by executing the application from the email attachment.
Let’s look inside the executable file!
In the coming weeks, secure.me will be fully integrated into AVAST and even get a new name, but you will still enjoy the safe and carefree online experience that you have grown to appreciate. If anything, it will be enhanced through the joint powers of AVAST and secure.me.
We invite you to continue your relationship with secure.me here on AVAST. Become an AVAST fan, follower, and blog reader to stay informed about the latest in security and privacy. As you make the transition with us, we ask that you take a look around, and give our famous avast! Free Antivirus or one of our premium paid products, avast! Pro Antivirus, avast! Internet Security, or avast! Premier a try. You can compare products here, and look for deals at the avast! Store.
Thank you and welcome to AVAST!
One of the most commented upon features of avast! Antivirus is the female voice of our notifications. The familiar message AVAST virus database has been updated is heard by nearly 200 million AVAST users around the world every day, and has been described as “sexy” and “comforting.” But you don’t have to stick with the standard voice – you have a variety of choices for the AVAST voice.
Visit the avast! Voices tab on our Facebook page and you can choose from different languages or a variety of themes including Pirate, Redneck, or Bengal Tiger. Listen first, and then download your choice. Change as often as you like.
And for those of you who need some silence, here are directions to disable the notifications you don’t want to hear.
Read how California-girl, Aubrey Anthony, got to be the voice of AVAST notification messages in our blog.
A dangerous Trojan named ZeuS is making its way among Facebook users. This old Trojan horse has infected millions of computers over the years, stealing banking credentials and other personally identifiable information. Zeus can lie dormant on infected computers until the unsuspecting victim logs into their bank’s website. Once you’re logged in, cybercrooks can steal your log in credentials and empty your account without your knowledge.
The virus is spread through phishing messages either from a funny or shocking video from a friend posted on their page or in a message to you, or through an ad for videos or products. If you click the link to watch the video, a notification will say that you need to update the player. When you click update, you are actually downloading the Trojan. Clicking the Play button automatically gives your “Like” to the virus page, and it’s through this action that the link will spread to all of your friends.
All avast! Antivirus products detect and block Zeus if a user tries to install or run the .exe file, but the best way to protect yourself is to avoid it! avast! SafeZone is recommended for safe banking, financial transactions, and shopping online. It gives you a private, secure, and isolated desktop which keeps you safe from keyloggers like the ZeuS Trojan. avast! SafeZone is available in avast! Pro, avast! Internet Security, and avast! Premier.
Please share this with your family and friends.
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 Instagram.
Social media profiles affects college admission, job searches, and careers
A 24-year-old high school teacher in Georgia, USA, lost her job after an anonymous e-mailer complained about a Facebook picture of her sipping wine and drinking beer while on vacation in Europe. An Arizona woman was fired after ranting on Facebook when she was passed over for a job promotion. An 18-year-old Buckingham Palace guard was fired after he called Kate Middleton a ‘stupid stuck up cow’ in a Facebook post. A star high school football recruit lost his scholarship to the University of Michigan because of vulgar tweets.
By now, you know that you should not reveal personal information to strangers or on your Facebook profiles, and that you should utilize the privacy settings on social networking sites. You also need to be careful with what you are posting online because potential employers or college admission officers could be looking at your page.
A newly published report tells us that 1 in 10 people between ages 16 and 34 have been turned down for a new job because of photos or comments on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networking sites. “The majority (two-thirds) are not concerned that their use of social media now, may harm their future career prospects and are not deterred from using it,” states ondevice research, “They are also more likely to have altered their social media profile to look good to their friends, as opposed to prospective employers.”
If you can’t live without social networking, especially Facebook, during your job search, use it to your advantage.
- Give your profile a makeover. Prune old posts to highlight what’s great about you instead of what you ate for lunch in 2010. Either delete or restrict the view to images and albums that don’t show you in your best light. Get a handle on tagged photos by setting ‘Review Posts Friends Tag You in Before They Appear on Your Timeline.’
- Build a compelling professional profile. Show off your strengths and accomplishments. To keep it personal as well as professional, add interests, hobbies, volunteering, educational information, and professional pictures.
- Follow and engage with companies and career–related groups on LinkedIn and Twitter so you’ll know about company hires and other news.
- Add value to the company you are interested in by participating in conversations, answering questions, and sharing links. Make sure you use solid grammar and communication skills.
If your Facebook profile is beyond help, then consider deactivating it for a time. The deactivation option gives you the flexibility to leave and come back whenever you want. Select Account Settings>Click Security in the left-hand column>Click Deactivate your account.
A low-tech type of identity theft is threatening Facebook users in South Africa. Facebook “cloning” has been around for years, but has had a revival this past week. We learned about it in a personal way – the brother of an Avast colleague, Richard B. from South Africa, had his profile cloned and notified Richard.
The way it works is that a cybercrook copies the victim’s profile photos, then uses them to create fake accounts. Then, using the victim’s details, a friendship request is sent to friends. The clue that something fishy is happening comes when you receive the request, but thought you had already ‘friended’ that person. One Facebook user explained in an article on ENCA.com that he received a friendship request from his sister while she was sitting next to him.
Cloned accounts can be used to send spam messages, initiate scams, and possibly steal personal information that could be used for more serious identity theft. In the recent cases, there are reports that once the request has been accepted, the scammer starts soliciting money from ‘friends’.
It can also be used for social media sabotage. An experiment conducted in 2011 showed that the implications of this type of social engineering range from mere trickery to damaging reputations. You see, through the ‘trusted friends’ password recovery feature, it is possible that someone can reset your password and gain access to your account.
Check privacy settings and be cautious about who you friend and what you share. This video explains about the recent attacks and how to avoid your profile being cloned.
edit: changed image
The avast! Be Free photo contest has been active for over a week now, and we have received thousands of photos. We asked you to interpret what our slogan Be Free means to you. Here are some of the photos that we think does a good job. Look through the gallery and vote for your favorites.
Enter your photo via the Facebook app, or simply tag it #avastBeFree and enter it via Instagram or Twitter. The image will appear in the Facebook Gallery where you can vote. Invite your friends to vote too. The last day to enter is Wednesday, May 29th. The last day to vote is Monday, June 3rd.