For nearly 10 years, AT&T has been bringing an annual developer conference to their partners and collaborators. This year, they creatively chose to combine their conference with a hackathon in order to encourage the participation of budding developers and to support young talent in achieving career-related goals.
This year’s conference and hackathon, which took place on January 2-5 in Las Vegas, Nevada, was packed with an array of topics split into six main sessions: devices and wearables, IoT, real-time communications, video, network advances and the connected home.
I’ve put together several of the sessions that stood out to me as especially relevant to the evolution of today’s technology.
Your home and the devices in it will be a viable target for cybercrooks in 2016.
Back in the good ol’ days of the early 2000s until just a few years ago, all we had to be concerned about was security on our desktop computers and laptop. In the intervening years, mobile devices have become so ubiquitous that hackers have turned their sights on them, especially Android devices.
But starting in 2015, everyone began to realize just how close to home cybersecurity really is. Home networks are the new gateway, and 2016 will be the year that vulnerabilities in the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable devices combined with weak home router security will lead to personal attacks.
The weak link is your home router
“The security situation with home routers is actually pretty bad,” Ondrej Vlcek, COO of Avast told Fast Company. “Most of the companies do a relatively good job of . . . patching the vulnerabilities, but the problem is that no one updates the firmware in the routers. The user doesn’t at all, and usually the ISP doesn’t either.” He added that we saw the most attacks on routers by far in 2015.
“Right now, attackers are targeting routers en masse,” said Pavel Sramek, an Avast Virus Lab research analyst. “It’s highly probable that they’ll expand their target list to network-attached storage and “smart” TVs as well, since the security aspect of these devices has been almost completely neglected by their manufacturers so far.”
“Many of the companies and engineers don’t really think about security,” says Vlcek. Data, for example, is often transmitted without any encryption, making it easy to steal or fiddle with.
Since this is the time of year to look forward, I asked several of our Avast Virus Lab research analysts about what to expect in 2016 for home networks, wearable devices, and all the gadgets that make up the Internet of Things.
David Vávra is our team’s talented Google Developer Expert (GDE) for Android. Throughout this autumn, he attended a collection of valuable Android conferences. In this post, David walks us through his experiences and outlines his most interesting takeaways from the conferences.
Droidcon Stockholm (September 3-4)
Droidcon Stockholm was a two-day event held in Debaser Medis, a classic rock club in Stockholm. As you might imagine, it proved to be an interesting venue for a tech conference! The organization was a little more “punk” than most other conferences, but the conference was still jam-packed with talks containing strong content and served as a great opportunity to network with fellow industry professionals. Fun fact: Czech beers are quite popular in Stockholm. We visited a place where they served five different Czech beers on tap.
One talk that I found to be especially useful discussed building Android SDKs from Fabric, a platform for mobile developers from Twitter. It was also interesting to take a closer look at Spotify’s automated testing environment in a talk Sustainable test automation. As for me, my presentation at the conference dealt with Android TV development. All the Droidcon talks can be found here.
Avast SecureMe is the world’s first application that gives iPhone users a tool to protect their devices and personal data when they connect to Wi-Fi networks. The free app scans Wi-Fi networks and tells users which of them are safe. Since many users use Wi-Fi networks without knowing whether or not they are safe, Avast SecureMe will create a secure connection in order to keep them safe.
Avast SecureMe includes a feature called Wi-Fi Security. People who use open Wi-Fi in public areas such as airports, hotels, or cafes will find this helpful. This feature’s job is to scan Wi-Fi connections and notify you if any security issues are found, such as routers with weak passwords, unsecured wireless networks, and routers with vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers. Users have the option to label Wi-Fi networks that they frequently use as trusted — this way, the app won’t need to check the networks every time.
What’s the risk that my personal data will be stolen?
If you use unsecured Wi-Fi when you log in to a banking site, for example, cybercrooks can capture your login credentials which can lead to identity theft. On unprotected Wi-Fi networks, crooks can also easily view your emails, browsing history, and personal data if you don’t use a secure or encrypted connection like a virtual private network (VPN). For more details on this point, see our recent Wi-Fi hotspot experiment to see how widespread the threat really is.
Avast SecureMe is a simple way to find and choose safe networks.
The Avast SecureMe app includes a VPN to protect your privacy
Avast SecureMe features a VPN to secure your connections while you conduct online tasks that you’d like to remain private. This could include checking emails, doing your online banking, and even visiting your favorite social network sites. Avast SecureMe connects to the secure VPN when it detects that you have connected to a public Wi-Fi network, making all transferred data invisible to prying eyes. For convenience, you can disable the protection for Wi-Fi connections you trust, such as your home network.
Try it for yourself! You can download Avast SecureMe free of charge on iTunes.
Many of us have found ourselves in situations in which we need Wi-Fi connection and are unable to find it easily. Since we’ve become used to being connected to safe and steady Wi-Fi networks at home or in the office, it can become frustrating and inconvenient when we’re unable to establish a quick connection and gain secure online access.
For those seeking a fast, reliable and secure Wi-Fi connection, we’re happy to introduce you to Avast Wi-Fi Finder. Our new app gives you the opportunity to have a fast connection regardless of your location while continuously providing you with privacy and security. Whether you’re at the gym, a hotel, cafe, bus station or library, Avast Wi-Fi Finder has got you covered.
Have you ever served as a beta tester for one of our mobile apps? The release of the latest and greatest Avast Mobile Security is right around the corner, and we want YOU to help us make our mobile security app the very best it can be.
It’s important to emphasize that the beta version of Avast Mobile Security isn’t available to everyone quite yet – the latest version of the app will make its way onto your device as soon as it’s released.
Becoming a beta tester for Avast Mobile Security now only requires three easy steps
Getting the latest news and updates about our app is easy as pie. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Visit this link.
2. Click the “BECOME A BETA TESTER” button. Avast Mobile Security will automatically update itself upon its imminent launch. You simply have to wait until the new design appears on your phone.
3. Once you receive the update, we’d love it if you could share your thoughts about the app with us in our Google+ community.
Once you’ve opted to become a tester using the link above, you’re all set to go! Thanks for becoming one of our valued beta testers.
Believe it or not, there’s more to life than what’s happening online! In its beginnings, technology was intended to make our lives simpler and more convenient. When technology becomes an addiction, however, it can become dangerous to our mental and physical health, not to mention our personal lives.
Our team had a wonderful time meeting and networking with the crème de la crème of security industry professionals at this year’s Virus Bulletin Conference in Prague, of which we were a proud platinum sponsor. Throughout the conference, a handful of Avast employees presented talks a variety of today’s most prominent security-centered topics. For those who weren’t able to make it to the conference, we’d like to provide a brief recap of the content that was covered.
Taking a close look at denial of service attacks
In their presentation, “DDoS trojan: a malicious concept that conquered the ELF format“, senior malware analysts Petr Kalnai and Jaromir Horejsi discussed the serious issues relating to distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
Abstract: DDoS threats have been out there since the Internet took over half of global communication, posing the real problem of denial of access to online service providers. Recently, a new trend emerged in non-Windows DDoS attacks that was induced by code availability, lack of security, and an abundance of resources. The attack infrastructure has undergone significant structural, functional and complexity changes. Malicious aspects have evolved into complex and relatively sophisticated pieces of code, employing compression, advanced encryption and even rootkit capabilities. Targeted machines run systems supporting the ELF format – anything from desktops and servers to IoT devices like routers or digital video recorders (DVRs) could be at risk.
Some days ago we wrote about scams targeting senior citizens. This group is at risk because generally speaking, they have less computer education than younger people who have grown up in the digital world. I recommended the reading to my mother, thinking she will benefit from it. She thanked me, but said that there were “some things” she did not understand.
In the Avast blog we do our best to write in simple terms. However, we know much more about security and, quite frequently, explains things in technical writing. So, I’ve take some time to write what will be useful for your mother (and mine). What about recommending her to read this?
Computer and mobile security essentials for senior citizens
With millions of applications waiting to be installed in our gadgets, you not only need to be concerned about quality, but you also need to take the proper measures in order to avoid your phone becoming infected by malware. Unfortunately, we already know that Google Play and the Windows Store aren’t immune to malware. Even the Apple Store has its bad days, so we’re not trying to scare you. These days, malware is a continuing, growing threat.