“It has become second nature to connect various apps like Instagram, SocialCam, Angry Birds, CityVille, and Spotify to your Facebook ID. You just click ‘agree’ without even really knowing what you are agreeing to. What you don’t realize is that social apps linked to your Facebook profile can pretty much track your and your friends’ whole life.”
This quote, from Christian Sigl (co-founder of secure.me, which is now part of AVAST), originally appeared in Mashable in September, 2012.
Back then, we wanted to give users a heads-up and create awareness to think twice before sharing personal data with apps – regardless if via smartphone or the Web. Part of the message was that you never know what can happen with your data and in whose hands it could end up in.
Today, we know where the data went: The NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ, have accessed data from Angry Birds and other smartphone and tablet apps, including sensitive information like age, location, education level and sexual orientation. The data accessed was collected directly from phones including geolocation, handset model, handset ID, software version and more – but personal information like sexual orientation, age and education level probably came from social media connect options.
Rovio, the company behind Angry Birds, has reacted and denied that they provide data to the NSA. Instead, they point out that they will rethink relationships with the ad networks they work with. “The alleged surveillance may be conducted through third party advertising networks used by millions of commercial web sites and mobile applications across all industries,” Rovio announced.
Regardless of how this data landed on NSA desks, giving away your customer’s personally identifiable information to a third-party organization is never a good move.
Users couldn’t really have done anything to avoid their data from ending up with the NSA, the only preventative action that could have been taken would have been limiting the amount of personal data that could be collected from social networks. Social network data isn’t meta data, this is information people share voluntarily. So of course, we know today that the NSA can access very sensitive and personal information if they want to – they will find a way if you’re of interest to them. Most of us aren’t though and one thing you can do to limit the amount of data that’s collected is to avoid online oversharing with apps and social networks.
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.
Lithuania is a small European Union country, located in Northeastern Europe. Nearly 10% of 3,000,000 Lithuanians are protected by avast! Antivirus. Among them is one special person: Paulius Yla, an AVAST Evangelist.
“Evangelist” is the term we use for those people who willingly volunteer their personal time and expertise to help others benefit from avast! Antivirus. The most active place for evangelists is on the AVAST forum.
Four years ago, we organized a big meeting for AVAST Evangelists in our Prague headquarters. It was a unique, emotional meeting for both sides: The AVAST team and the AVAST Evangelists. It was an opportunity to meet people we knew only from the cyberworld – The AVAST forum. This is when I met Paulius in person. Paulius, who under the username “YLAP” on the AVAST forum, has been helping users precisely since January 20, 2005, 02:48:04 PM. During his years on the forum, Paulius has generated over 1,800 posts and helped countless of people. But the forum is not the only space where Paulius is active. You can also meet him on Facebook sharing useful tips, so do not hesitate to follow him, as Paulius is a great AVAST expert.
We value our evangelists greatly and there are no words to express our gratitude to Paulius and the others for all their work and for being “AVAST ambassadors” all over the world. In the past we have introduced you to Bob Gostischa (USA), Lisandro Carmona (Brazil) and Charlie O. Prince (USA). It’s time to meet more of the AVAST Evangelists and welcome them officially, and thank them for helping you also on social channels. Please say “Labas” (hi in Lithuanian) to Paulius and get to know one of our experts.
On September 30th, Facebook introduced changes on the New Graph Search. Currently available only on desktops, it will be rolled out in phases. Since its release in January 2013, Graph Search has gone through a great transformation. Users are now allowed to search for status history, images, check-ins, comments - basically anything. The goal is to provide users with enhanced search options, so they can find interesting information without leaving the social network.
How does Facebook Graph Search work?
The top search bar works similarly to a browser search engine. The exception is that it searches within Facebook itself and requires specific search commands to make your search successful. For example, imagine you are a passionate bowler. You would like to set up a bowling team, however you don’t know any fellow bowlers in your hometown. Now you can log in on Facebook and search using the following search terms:
People who checked in at Bowling Alleys in Los Angeles, California
You will see all your friends who may have gone bowling without your knowledge, as well as other people, you may or may not know, who checked in. You can interact with them and, for example, establish a Facebook Interest group, to finally create your dream bowling team.
Another example: You love to travel and you would like to investigate places you are planning to visit ahead. Search for:
Images taken in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
to preview all public pictures of the place you want to visit. Moreover you can see the comments, recommendations, and tips from others. A final example:
TV shows my friends who live in Dallas, Texas like Read more…
AVAST Community: Without YOU, we would be nothing
There is no exaggeration in this statement. The AVAST Community keeps helping us by sharing security Tips, supporting each other on the AVAST forum, helping to translate our product, most importantly, by recommending our products.
You also helped us create the great communities across social media. Every day thousands of AVAST users gather on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram to praise the AVAST products, ask us questions, request support, or simply share your AVAST stories. It is extremely valuable for us to receive your feedback, positive or negative. Positive comments stimulate and motivate us for further hard work; negative one helps us to improve our service and products. Following our blog from January 2013, we would like to share with you some of the messages we have received lately on social media.
Tell us your AVAST story, and we will share it with our Community. Thank you all!
Protection: AVAST helps to find lost mobile devices
It’s free: AVAST allows you to control your expenses, without compromising quality
Hiew V.Y. from beautiful Kota Kinabalu in Malyasia wrote this winning #SecurityTip during Round 2 of the AVAST #SecurityTip contest.
First and foremost, I cover myself with Mobile Security & Antivirus. Like the old saying goes:
[A]lone in the dark,
[V]arious dangers lurks,
[A]ctive protective is a must,
[S]afety ensured by professionals,
[T]rust we can get from AVAST.
On steps I take personally, don’t ever click and access anything that I’m not certain about, and disbelief any vaguely unbelievable things.
Since AVAST is one of the most trusted mobile security apps with more than 50 million users, we decided to ask:
The first prize for best answer was a Nexus 4 smartphone and a 1-year license for avast! Mobile Premium, our new upgrade to avast! Free Mobile Security with premium anti-theft features. Congratulations to Hiew V.Y. for winning Round 2. Five participants also won a 1-year license for avast! Mobile Premium after asking their friends to vote for their tip. Congratulations to:
- Guylaine H. from Canada
- Ghazala N. from Pakistan
- Parag S. from India
- Muhammad T. from Pakistan
- Darshan S. from England
ROUND 3 has begun
Don’t miss your opportunity to share your knowledge and experience with others in Round 3 of the #SecurityTip contest. This week’s question is all about social media. Click here to go directly to the entry form.
When you answer the question, remember to include #SecurityTip, and after you publish it, ask your friends to vote by using the links in the app. The top 5 most voted tips for the week will receive a 1-year license for avast! Internet Security. Our favorite tip will win a brand new Nexus 7 tablet.
Millions of users access social networks every day in order to share, engage, and look for information as well as entertainment. The transparency of social networks come with a risk and we very often expose ourselves to hackers and scammers that can take advantage of information we share. Social platforms constantly improve security and privacy settings, to deliver a safe experience to the users, but who has time to follow all this news? Well, you can relax and rely on us. AVAST specialists are here to deliver this information in an accessible way.
Last month we prepared a security and privacy update following the most important changes on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Check what has changed since than to enjoy a secure social media experience!
At the end of August, Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan published an official blog post, as a response to rumors and extensive discussion on the company’s Data Use Policy. One of the biggest concerns were related to how Facebook displays our data to its clients advertising on the social network. Currently pages can target us even by our name.
Advertisers may also be able to reach you on Facebook using the information they already have about you (such as email addresses or whether you have visited their websites previously).
#AVASTtip: There is not much space for us users to really influence it, but Facebook is open to user feedback. If you would like to comment or express your opinion, you can do it here .
Millions of users access Social Networks every day in order to share, engage, and look for information as well as entertainment. The transparency of social networks come with a risk and we are very often expose ourselves to hackers and scammers that can take advantage of information we share. Social platforms constantly improve security and privacy settings, to deliver a safe experience to the users, but who has time to follow all this news? Well, you can relax and rely on us. AVAST specialists are here to deliver this information in an accessible way.
Last month we warned you against the four sneakiest Facebook scams. Now we have a summary of the latest security and privacy related news. Check it out and enjoy a secure social media experience!
At the end of July, Facebook announced that it will migrate all users to the http connection. HTTPS - Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure is a communication protocol primarily used to ensure a safe internet connection. For Facebook users, this means a safer experience, when communicating between a browser and Facebook servers.
Facebook first offered it to users in 2011, as an optional setting. However from now on it will be a default one, so the good news is that you don’t have to change any settings.
Now this is what you will see in your browser, when accessing Facebook.
New anti-bullying features on Facebook
During the last week of July, Facebook announced that,
Child psychologist Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, is working with Facebook to develop what he says is the first emotionally-intelligent bullying prevention system on a social network.
Anna Shirokova has joined the AVAST Social media team along with two other Community Managers: Albert Soriano and Anca Elena Amariei to create our A-Team. Anna is a native Russian speaker, living in Prague. When I met her for the first time, Anna was constantly busy with her mobile updating statuses across social media, I thought: She could be the one. With her creative spirit and great technical background, Anna became a perfect candidate to join our FREEking great Social Media team, to grow, engage and manage AVAST communities for the Russian market. Russian users: You can be looking forward to a first hand AVAST Russian experience. Анна Добро пожаловать в AVAST
How did you learn that AVAST was looking for new Queens / Kings of the FREEks, and what turns you on about social media? Read more…
Albert Soriano, our new Spanish community manager, joins Russian manager Anna Shirokova and French manager Anca Elena Amariei, to form the A-Team! Albert has an interest in social media and new technology, plus he’s a long-time AVAST user – a perfect combination for a Prince of the FREEks. He’s a university student studying Multimedia engineering and somehow he still finds time to write articles about video games and new technology for a Spanish digital magazine called Ñews.es. We are happy to welcome Albert to AVAST.
How did you learn that AVAST was looking for new Queens / Kings of the FREEks, and what convinced you to apply for this role?
Curiously, I learned that AVAST was looking for some new Queens/Kings of the FREEks through Twitter. I saw a tweet from AVAST offering a job as part of the social media team and I said: “¿Why not? I spend a lot of time on social networks and I love technology so that’s a perfect job for me! “ And here I am! Read more…
Millions of people use social networks like Facebook and Twitter every day to share photos, comments, and ideas with their friends and followers. These popular platforms have become magnets for cybercrooks and are used to spread different types of scams. Hackers take advantage of the easy accessibility of data we put online to manipulate or steal them.
The security of AVAST users is a total priority for us. Therefore we monitor and warn you about new threats we discover on social media. We have noticed that while trying to be creative, scammers also run out of ideas and certain type of threats repeat periodically. Hence, we have gathered the top 4 sneakiest scams and prepared a summary of the most typical malicious behavior recently distributed via social networks.
Facebook Photo Scams
Most of us are softies and scammers know it. Who wouldn’t “like” a photo of a child in need if it could help them? Especially if it says: Each time you like the photo, you donate one cent to…, or If I collect 1,000,000 likes my parents will… Like my photo, please! Scammers count on our sympathetic hearts to respond to these calls for help, and we do by clicking like and share. Read more…