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February 11th, 2014

How to have a Safer Internet Day everyday

Safer Internet DayLet’s create a better internet together”.

Today, over 100 countries celebrate Safer Internet Day by focusing on how people, including teens and kids, use connected technology and what we can all do to make things better.

Since AVAST is trusted by over 200 million people worldwide to protect their devices, we asked some of them to share #OneGoodThing about how we can keep safe so we can use technology freely at home, school, and work.

#OneGoodThing

Kids can be adventurous, and not think about the consequences – online as well as offline. Khizer’s advice: Good protection and involved parents.

The Internet is a treasure of fun and knowledge for kids, but nowadays it’s full of unethical stuff and it is necessary to keep them safe.  Children should be friends with their Parents. If you find something that should be in the knowledge of your parents. Just tell them. Remember they will always support you.  ~Khizer J. from Pakistan

But Steve knows that the internet can’t be a babysitter, and has some strong advice for parents:

No matter if you have the strongest antivirus or parental controls, if you let your children play online unsupervised, they are at a high risk of being preyed upon. The real advice is to be next to them and teach them good secure online habits. You wouldn’t let your kids play around in Detroit without you, would you? As close to it as it may be, the internet is a bit worse than Detroit. ~Steve N. from the USA

Kevin’s dad has a good idea. This is what we call a “teachable moment.”

I’m a kid myself but a thing my father does when he gets a email from someone who is trying to trick him, to give them money, he shows that to me to make me see how such emails look like, and what I should look out for. ~Kevin G. from Denmark

Kids, and some adults too, can be careless about their privacy. These two AVAST mom’s share some basic tips that everyone should follow:

Listen up, kids. NEVER give your password away, even to your “best friend”. And if you want to choose a good password, remember that a long password is more important than a “difficult” password. The longer your password is, the harder it will be for bad guys (or gals!) to crack. ~Sheila E. from Canada

My main advice for my children’s safety when they are on the Internet is certainly not trust just anti-virus, even if it is as good as Avast. Most importantly, my first advice,  is think well before you click! ~Virginie M. from France

Not everyone is who they claim to be on the internet, so Eric warns kids to be careful about talking to strangers.

Be careful when chatting to others on the internet, the person might actually be a grown up pretending to be a child.  So never give personal information (like your address or phone number) and if they ask you to do something you think is wrong – you don’t have to do it (especially if they say they’ll hurt you or your family) & tell your parents, or a grown up. ~Eric E. from Ireland

This piece of advice sounds like it comes from personal experience. We’d like to hear the rest of the story, Brooks! ;)

Don’t go to any websites that you wouldn’t want dad to know you were on! ~Brooks S. from the USA

If you have something to add about being safer on the internet, please share your tips using the hashtag #onegoodthing.

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+. Business owners – check out our business products.

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February 6th, 2014

avast! bug bounty program update

bug-bounty (1)

A year has passed since we launched the Avast Bug Bounty Program. Let’s see some results:

  • Almost one hundred submissions
  • 25 submissions rewarded about $10,000 total
  • One critical bug was rewarded $3,000

As you can see, this is a useful program – it helps AVAST keep our users secure and make our programs as strong as possible! After evaluating the past year, we have decided to change the rules a bit.

Bug Bounty updated rules

To encourage further research, we will double the bug bounty rewards. The base payment will be $400 and the maximum reward could go up to $10,000 per one submission.

We will remove Sandbox or DeepScreen escapes from the list of bugs that are eligible for a reward. The reason for this is that we are focusing on a new technology that should eradicate Sandbox escapes entirely.

You can find the complete rules here. Happy hunting!

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+. Business owners – check out our business products.

Categories: General Tags: ,
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January 31st, 2014

How to use avast! Mobile Security: Privacy Advisor

howto2_enAt AVAST we work hard to improve your security and privacy. Mobile malware is increasing. If you aren’t yet convinced that this is an issue, please read the latest blog from the avast! Virus Lab, How are you doing Mr. Android?

Nowadays, besides the traditional way to get money – sending premium SMS – the collection of personal info and browsing habits are also trending. How do cybercrooks monetize this data? Managing the ads that are shown in your smartphone or tablet, suggesting apps, sending offers by email or displaying them in-apps.

If you use avast! Mobile Security, then you can run a Privacy Advisor scan to categorize all the apps in your device:

  • Collect location information: Because of their nature, some apps need to capture your location. These would be GPS navigation tools, outdoor sports tracking and weather apps, for example. Some of them do it for statistical reasons. However, the majority of them do it just to customize local (targeted) ads.
  • Collect device or mobile network information: Some apps use the device info for developer and statistical reasons. Your mobile network info is also captured.
  • Collect user behavior data inside the app: This data are mostly useful for the developers as they adjust and customize their own apps according to their customers’ use, and to separate free from paid features.
  • Show in-app banner advertisements: This is an annoyance. Impatient users could drop the use of the app due to this kind of ad.
  • Show in-app full-screen advertisements: This is a huge annoyance and if it occurs, it is an invitation to uninstall the app. This is why the developers only show them a few times while the app is running Read more…
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January 28th, 2014

Data Privacy Day at AVAST

Tuesday, January 28 is Data Privacy Day, an international effort to empower and educate people to protect their privacy and control their digital footprint. Here at AVAST, we will take the whole week to talk about privacy, and how we can make the protection of privacy and data a greater priority in our lives.

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Make sure you take the My Privacy IQ quiz to test your knowledge (and maybe win a free license and avast! teddy.)

What is the difference between privacy and security?

While privacy and security overlap in certain ways, they are distinct concepts. Security is defined as “freedom from danger or risk” and “precautions to guard against crime, attack, etc.” You use antivirus software to help protect against a security breach or having your personal data stolen by cybercrooks.

Privacy is “the state of being free from intrusion or disturbance in one’s private life.” This summer, we saw how closely connected these two concepts are when Edward Snowden revealed, through a security breach, how big data companies were complicit with the NSA snooping into normal people’s private lives.

Read more…

January 27th, 2014

Essentials packing list for FETC attendees

The AVAST Free for Education team is excited to be attending FETC 2014 in Orlando, Florida for the first time! As part of our preparations we’ve been making an essentials packing list, which we thought we’d share with you…

boothPersonal essentials

  • Comfy spring clothes We checked the weather report and were excited to see that it’s going to be warmer than the snow we have in Europe at the moment. No winter coats for us.
  • Suitable shoes We know that there will be plenty of walking and standing, possibly some skipping too (depends on our mood), super comfy shoes are one of our “must-have” items!
  • DEODORANT The days at the conference will be long, so we want to smell our best at all times!
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste We don’t want to scare any of our booth visitors off and plan on showing off our pearly whites as much as possible.
  • Passport/Identification We won’t name names, but we’ve seen first-hand how an out of date passport can pretty much render you useless for an international business trip :)
  • Currency Maybe you don’t have to worry about converting your money, but we sure are looking forward to carrying around some green “Benjamins” (okay, maybe more like some “Andrews”, and “Alexanders”)
  • Itinerary We’ve downloaded the FETC app, which we think is especially useful for planning your exhibition schedule (don’t forget to put booth #356 on your schedule!)

Conference essentials Read more…

January 27th, 2014

What is your Privacy IQ? Take our quiz and find out!

AVAST Software is proud to be a champion of Data Privacy Day, celebrated every year on January 28th. We encourage you to make protecting privacy and data a greater priority. Read on to find out if you are a Privacy Pro!

Find out if you are a Privacy Pro or if you need to learn more to protect your personal information online by taking the My Privacy IQ Quiz. Take the quiz here, by submitting your answers, as a comment to this blog post. The first 5 participants who will answer all questions correctly win avast! SecureLine VPN for Android or iOS or an avast! teddy bear. Alternatively you can enter a quiz at our Facebook here. Quiz ends on Monday, February 3rd 

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My Privacy IQ quiz

 

1) Do privacy policies guarantee that your information will be kept private?

A. Yes

B. No

Read more…

January 25th, 2014

The top 5 things we need to know for our trip to Florida

The team that runs AVAST Free for Education is excited to be attending this year’s Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC 2014) in Orlando, Florida, but also a little nervous about what to expect. Here’s the top 5 things we have been alerted to about our trip to The Sunshine State – Florida, USA!

1. Everything will be AWESOME! Americans are a very positive bunch, and describe everything good with an enthusiastic “Awesome!” So we’re prepared that FETC will be Awesome, Orlando will be Awesome, the weather will be awesome, and of course, AVAST Free for Education is TOTALLY AWESOME!! We will fit right in. ;-) Come see us at booth #356.

2. Everyone smiles. All. The. Time. Again Americans are positive bunch, and it shows on their faces. So even when the conference day is nearing an end, and our faces hurt from smiling at Awesome people and telling our Awesome story, we’ll make an effort to keep smiling. It won’t be hard, because we are genuinely happy to be at FETC.

3. Mickey Mouse is the governor of Florida and the capital is The Magic Kingdom. Need we say more?!

4. Americans don’t know where Prague is. We’ve heard that Americans are not too good at European geography. It doesn’t matter; we don’t know where Kansas is (but I promise we’ll find out!) Conference-goers just need to know which state their school and school districts are in, so we can provide them with free business-grade security protection.

5. Alligators live in every body of fresh water in Florida. We sincerely hope that doesn’t include hotel swimming pools.

We can’t wait to arrive in beautiful Orlando, Florida and spend this next week talking to our Free for Education customers, meeting new people, and saving U.S. schools and districts thousands of dollars a year. Stop by our booth #356 and attend our Learning Lab talk on Friday at 11:40.

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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+. Business owners – check out our business products.

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January 21st, 2014

5 security tips from an expert AVAST Evangelist

howto2_enEarlier this month we introduced you to AVAST Evangelist: Paulius Yla. With nearly 10 years of experience gained from supporting users on the AVAST forum, Paulius can be easily called an AVAST expert. He has been using our software since 2003 and participated in testing dozens of AVAST products. Paulius has shared with us 5 basic and MUST-FOLLOW security tips!

Check it out and don’t forget to follow these steps:

  • Antivirus software is a MUST. Don’t believe your friends if the say you don’t need it, it only slows your PC, and so on. It must be installed and must be up-to-date.
  • A Firewall must be enabled too, at least the integrated one.
  • Never use cracked illegal software, especially Operating Systems (OS). You will never know what backdoor can be included in it.
  • Never ignore OS updates, leave automatic updates on. Other software updates are also important. In most cases they are fixing bugs, security holes etc., and improving your internet security.
  • Believe me, the internet is a wild place, so try to avoid sites with a bad reputation or risky sites (peer-to-peer, adult sites, etc.) There is no AV solution which can protect you from 100% of threats, so use your head, too!

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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+. Business owners – check out our business products.

 

January 7th, 2014

AVAST response to open letter from Bits of Freedom

Recently an open letter from Bits of Freedom, a group comprised of 24 digital rights organizations and academics, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in the US and Netzpolitik.org in Germany, was sent to security software vendors. AVAST did not receive the letter “officially,” although our company was listed among the vendors.

The purpose of the open letter was to request a clarification of our policy on the use of software for the purpose of government-sanctioned surveillance of its citizens. In other words, do we look the other way when governments or law enforcement agencies install malware on private citizens’ personal computers to collect data?

It has become very clear that governments will do anything to gain access to as much information as possible,” says Bits of Freedom’s Ton Siedsma. “Requests like these, coming from law enforcement agencies or secret services, lower the general level of protection of all users of antivirus software. The software isn’t just used by suspects, but by all of us. This is something to be very concerned about, so we have asked the antivirus software vendors for transparency on this matter.

AVAST’s Chief Technology Officer, Ondřej Vlček, responded to their questions:

1. Have you ever detected the use of software by any government (or state actor) for the purpose of surveillance?
Yes, we have had incidences where it became apparent that software our programs detected was in fact surveillance software. Although it’s not always 100% clear who is behind this, in some cases we had reasons to believe that it was distributed by government institutions.

2. Have you ever been approached with a request by a government, requesting that the presence of specific software is not detected, or if detected, not notified to the user of your software? And if so, could you provide information on the legal basis of this request, the specific kind of software you were supposed to allow and the period of time which you were supposed to allow this use?
No. We have never been approached by any government agency, but we also don’t think that this realistically would ever happen. It would be very risky for a government agency to ask antivirus companies to ignore and not detect their malware. They can’t expect that security companies would keep this information to themselves; this would therefore risk the news about their malware getting leaked to the media faster than they can think.

3. Have you ever granted such a request? If so, could you provide the same information as in the point mentioned above and the considerations which led to the decision to comply with the request from the government?
No, we have never granted such a request.

4. Could you clarify how you would respond to such a request in the future?
The security and privacy of our users has been the core of our business for 25 years. Whenever we detect malware, regardless of its origin or type, we always protect our users. This includes malware from governments and official institutions – if we detect the malware, no matter the origin of the creator, we create a solution to protect our users.

Categories: General Tags: , ,
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December 29th, 2013

What bugged AVAST users this year: NSA spooked people about privacy

privacy word of yearPRIVACY. It’s the word of the year from dictionary.com. With reports of the NSA turning the internet into a vast surveillance platform, FBI agents and hackers monitoring citizens through home appliances, web-browser tracking cookies multiplying like rabbits, and information you post to social networking sites yourself, the loss of individual’s online privacy and the extensive access of personal data became a mainstream topic in 2013.

In an interview about security issues with SC Magazine, Vincent Steckler, AVAST’s CEO said that the next aspect of security that needs consideration is privacy. Both consumers and corporates are going to need social media protection capabilities, including checking of links for malware, better control of privacy settings, and control over apps. That goes for tracking in browsers as well.

Abandon all privacy, ye who enter here

Ondřej Vlček, AVAST’s Chief Technology Officer, agrees. “’Do not track in browsers’ doesn’t really work,” he says. “It’s up to the servers whether to adhere to [the HTTP Do Not Tracker header] or not. Most commercial services don’t adhere to it.”

Raise your hand if you use your smartphone to surf the web, compare prices, or buy movie tickets? (That looks like most of us.) Lots of people don’t realize that mobile brands, apps and websites ‘track’ their online movements. Vlček said there are plug-ins that remove things like tracking from ad networks, analytics services or Facebook’s Like buttons without breaking the service. He suggests this approach is an important piece of the puzzle for privacy protection.

Read more…