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Posts Tagged ‘SSL’
May 25th, 2015

Explaining Avast’s HTTPS scanning feature

Avast scans HTTPS

Avast Web Shield scans HTTPS sites for malware and threats.

Internet users with basic security knowledge are aware that they should look for the padlock icon in the address bar or the HTTPS in a web address to indicate that a website is secure. We have gotten used to seeing it on bank sites or shopping carts where we input our credit card information. More and more, regular websites are making the switch from unencrypted HTTP to encrypted HTTPS. Last year, search giant Google sweetened the pot by adding HTTPS to their ranking algorithm. That action encouraged webmasters everywhere to make the switch to HTTPS.

But is HTTPS really more secure than HTTP?

The simple answer is not always. As more and more online services are moving to HTTPS, attacks are increasing. An encrypted connection ensures that the connection cannot be modified by anyone else, but it does not guarantee that the actual content being downloaded is safe. Just as with plain HTTP, if a legitimate website is hacked, malware scripts and binaries can be placed into the HTTPS page that appears to be safe.

That’s why it is imperative for security software to check this attack vector. To address this, Avast’s trusted Web Shield technology scans HTTPS sites for malware and threats.

How Avast’s HTTPS scanning feature works (the short version)

Avast is able to detect and decrypt TLS/SSL protected traffic in our Web-content filtering component. To detect malware and threats on HTTPS sites, Avast must remove the SSL certificate and add its self-generated certificate. Our certificates are digitally signed by Avast’s trusted root authority and added into the root certificate store in Windows and in major browsers to protect against threats coming over HTTPS; traffic that otherwise could not be detected.

Avast whitelists websites if we learn that they don’t accept our certificate. Users can also whitelist sites manually, so that the HTTPS scanning does not slow access to the site.

This video gives you an overview, but if any of this didn‘t make much sense to you, read below for a more detailed explanation. You can also explore the FAQ about HTTPS scanning in Web Shield.

What is HTTP and why is it being changed?

HyperText Transfer Protocol or HTTP is the network protocol used to deliver virtually all files and other data on the World Wide Web. When you visit a website you may see the HTTP:// prefix in the address. This means your browser is now connected to the server using HTTP. The problem with HTTP is that it is not a secure way to establish a connection, opening a door to cybercrooks who want to eavesdrop on your activities.

Read more…

October 15th, 2014

“Poodle” security hole has a nasty bite

poodles

“Poodle” bites on open WiFi networks with multiple users.

A security hole called Poodle could allow hackers to take over your banking and social media accounts.

Yesterday, Google researchers announced the discovery of a security bug in version 3 of the Secure Sockets Layer protocol (SSLv3). This web technology is used to encrypt traffic between a browser and a web site, and can give hackers access to email, banking, social accounts and other services.

Poodle bites multiple users in unsecure open WiFi networks, like the ones you use at coffee shops, cafes, hotels, and airports.

“To exploit the vulnerability, you must be running javascript, and the attacker has to be on the same network as you—for example, on the same Starbucks Wi-Fi network you’re using,” explained Kim Zetter in a WIRED article.

Avast experts strongly recommend that our users protect themselves when using free WiFi with avast! SecureLine VPN.

Poodle is not considered as serious a threat as this past spring’s Heartbleed bug which took advantage of a vulnerability in OpenSSL, and or last month’s Shellshock bug in Unix Bash software.

SSLv3 is an outdated standard (it’s a decade and a half old), but some browsers, like Internet Explorer 6, and older operating systems, like Windows XP, only use the SSLv3 encryption method. Google’s security team recommends that systems administrators turn off support for SSLv3 to avoid the problem, but warns that this change will break some sites.

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February 24th, 2014

avast! SecureLine VPN protects you from the Apple Exploit

A major Apple security flaw allows cybercrooks and spies to grab personal information like email, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data. Apple confirmed researchers’ findings that the same SSL/TSL security flaw fixed with the latest iOS 7.0.2 update is also present in notebook and desktop machines running OS X.

Please apply the patches as advised in this post.

It is clear that we need constant protection to cover flaws that will always exist; flaws that we are not even aware of. Reuter‘s reported that

The bug has been present for months, according to researchers who tested earlier versions of Apple’s software. No one had publicly reported it before, which means that any knowledge of it was tightly held and that there is a chance it hadn’t been used.

But documents leaked by former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden showed agents boasting that they could break into any iPhone, and that hadn’t been public knowledge either.

It’s very public now, and that means the race is on between cybercrooks to exploit the flaw and Apple to fix it. You are exposed until the bugs are identified by the vendor, a patch is created, and it’s pushed out or you install it. Your vulnerability increases when you use public WiFi Hotspots.

Your best protection is constant protection

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It’s precisely because we put ourselves at risk by using free WiFi, and we don’t know when the next security crisis is coming that we need constant protection. SecureLine VPN is that protection. Read more…

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