Avira’s top-12 check list for greater internet security

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Your active participation in is necessary. But do not worry, you only need to observe a few basic internet security rules that have more to do with common sense than with technical knowledge. Simple ways of going about this are at the top of your instant-relief list and should always be heeded:

  1. Installing an up-to-date virus protection and switching on automatic updates

A virus protection with the latest update of the latest virus signatures is the basic protection that each device should have – be it a PC, laptop or smartphone. The software itself must also be constantly up-to-date, which is why updates should not only include the signature but also the program itself. A free virus protection is sufficient for most applications, but those who intensively browse the internet should invest in the additional functions that are available from the vendors.

  1. Use an active and correctly configured FireWall

No computer should be roaming the internet without an activated FireWall. Usually it makes sense to reject all incoming connections; no services that must be accessible from outside (the internet) run on a normal PC.

  1. Everything is always up-to-date.

Software contains errors. This applies to the operating system as well as to the application programs. That’s why it is important to fix the error immediately after it has become known. Updates, patches, fixes, – every vendor offers software patches that fill dangerous security gaps.

  1. Using strong passwords

Even if it hurts: secure passwords are more complicated than your cat’s name or 123456. Modern password-cracking software hackers use cracks a simple, six-digit password in under a minute. And all security measures are undermined by anyone who has the password. Numerous tricks let you memorize passwords better, for example, by using the first letters of a long sentence. Password safes are also helpful. They automatically insert passwords into websites and applications when necessary. Then you only have to remember a difficult password (for the safe). Likewise: every account or access needs its own password that is changed regularly.

  1. Browser safety inspection

The browser is probably the most widely used program on computers. That’s why it should always be up-to-date and dangerous default settings must be changed. The following aspects are especially important:

  • Executing active codes/Disabling contents. Examples of active contents are Java, ActiveX applets, Silverlight, Flash, etc. These settings can be used for all websites (general settings). Exceptions can also be defined for guaranteed benign websites.
  • Preventing identification. Modern browsers can signal to websites to store fewer records about the visit (do-not-track). If the browser does not support this function, then the corresponding extensions (“add-ons”) take over.
  • Deactivating cookies.Websites should not be able to identify visitors unless this is expressly desired. Identification is mostly done using cookies. Cookies can be disabled, even for each individual website. Extensions that disable and block cookies are available for all browsers.

Security software, such as Avira Browser Safety for Google Chrome or Firefox, can alleviate some of these tasks or take over these tasks completely. The browser extension thus warns against websites with malicious software and prevents tracking.

  1. A user account does not need administrator rights

A user account without administrator rights reduces the risk posed by the operating system and the programs installed on it. This is one of the reasons why many corporate IT departments restrict access to administrator rights.

  1. Caution: a perennial issue, e-mails

Do not open unidentified attachments. Documents or supposedly exciting photos and videos can hide malware – any suspicious e-mail should be scanned beforehand.

Do not respond to undesired (spam) e-mails. Never respond to undesired mass mailings (spam), not even to unsubscribe yourself from the respective mailing list. The sender uses the logout attempt merely to confirm that the address is valid and will only send you more spam. 

Spam is a scam. Always. Buying products from a spam e-mail usually means you get nothing or cheap junk in return. In any case, you have unwittingly thus supported spammer, and encouraged him to flood the internet with millions of annoying e-mails.

  1. Online banking with caution

A reputable bank will never intentionally ask for personal information via e-mail. If the e-mail looks as if it could be genuine, then it you should make a quick verification call to the bank. Alarm bells should also be ringing whenever the bank’s website looks different (even if only slightly) than usual.

  1. Two-factor authentication secures online accounts

Most major website operators, such as Google, Facebook (in the security settings) or PayPal, now enable login with two security settings, for example with a password and smartcard or by sending a code to your smartphone. The setup is quite simple and described quite well by the respective vendor.

  1. Human weakness

Cyber ​​criminals are only too happy to exploit human weaknesses in order to spread malicious software and, unfortunately, are successful in doing so again and again. Typical examples are:
banner ads suggesting you’re their 1,000,000th visitor. The banner is the same for everyone who sees it – the offer or winnings are very questionable.
Very popular among cyber criminals are supposedly lurid videos or photos on social networks: car accidents, scandalous scenes from popular TV shows, scantily clad women or spectacular sporting events. Clicking on the link takes you to sites teeming with malware.
Incredibly sounding offers, such as leftover tickets for soccer’s World Cup or the Olympics, cheap brand name watches or holiday offers. What sounds too good to be true is just that: not true.

  1. Do not grant WLAN access to everyone

You own hotspot is set up with Android and iOS in just seconds. If you assign a password using just a few seconds of extra effort, then your connection is not only convenient but also secure.

  1. Security has to be desired

When in doubt, it is always easier to quickly click on a link than to look at the web address more closely and clarify whether that online pet food distributor is really behind it. Security implies effort. That must be clear to everyone. Thus, software should only be installed from safe sources. Attachments in e-mails are, in principle, suspicious, and it is best to leave strange looking websites aside. Even if the contents appear to be exciting funny, extremely cheap, or otherwise appealing. A virus or Trojan horse digs itself into your own computer in a few fractions of a second and can virtually only be combatted by a reinstallation.

Avira and its antivirus solutions offers a number of (free) tools that can clean and check your PC. The Avira PC Cleaner, for example, offers a second opinion and can be used in parallel with other antivirus products. It does not require installation, registration or additional drivers.

The Avira Rescue System can also be very helpful whenever a Windows PC does not start up or no longer responds for other reasons. This tool scans your computer and tries to repair it. These and additional tools are available here.

Source : blog.avira.com

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What’s the game plan with AI? Limits and opportunities in AI

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Artificial intelligence-powered computers can already beat the best mankind has to offer when it comes to chess and Go. But how did it get that way? And what can’t the best of AI do? Taking a look at how AI has developed its game-playing prowess can give us a few clues as to the next move.

Game theory with AI

Computer scientists have a long affair with games and have developed a number of programs pitting human intelligence versus the computer. But while making a program that excels at Tick-Tack-Toe is one thing, designing a computer program that can beat chess Grand Master is another. Given the intellectual intensity of chess, achieving this task has been the Holy Grail of programmers since the beginning of the computer era.

IBM takes the lead with Deep Blue

The first triumph for computers came when IBMs Deep Blue supercomputer out dueled Garry Kasparov in 1996. Not only did this take lots of computing power, it required LOTS of data – IBM engineers looked through over 700,000 grandmaster games for their needed info. In short, computer chess meant you were playing a compilation record of Greatest Hits of the Chess World. Of course, the computer did well – but it still needed someone to compile the great moves by chess champions of the past. Just think of this as the original Big Data approach – using a huge mass of data to reach a very specific conclusion.

Google goes for generic excellence at gameplay

DeepMind, Google’s AI-focused subsidiary has upset this equation with its latest rendition of AlphaZero, an algorithm that can achieve amazing game performance in chess, Go, and shogi (Japanese chess) – soundly beating world champions in each case.

Beating grandmasters was not the real achievement of AlphaZero. The most important features of this particular algorithm collection are that it is tabula rasa (that’s Latin for blank slate) and it is a generic AI. As a blank slate, AlphaZero starts out with no existing knowledge — except the specific game rules – and quickly learns as it goes. The concept of playing against itself over and over and learning from this experience is called “reinforcement learning” in computer terms.

Secondly, AlphaZero was designed to be a generic AI – easily used in a number of more specific processes due to its ability to automatically learn categories as it goes. That’s why its ability to excel at each of these three games without additional customization is such a big deal. AlphaZero can’t be applied to every task, but you can clearly get the idea that the software engineers want to come up with an AI that can be easily used for a wider range of activities.

Security as an AI-powered game with Avira

Avira AI is usually called Applied AI or machine learning – falling between the IBM and the Google examples. We use this for two primary uses – identify incoming threats and monitor individual smart device behavior.

Now in our third generation, Avira uses AI to analyze vast amounts of data, recognize patterns and anomalies, and provide users with a faster detection than is possible with traditional signature for antivirus. As with IBM and chess, we have a huge databank of malware samples which is used for machine learning our AI-powered detection engines.

Our new SafeThings security product uses AI to categorize smart devices, learn their data usage patterns, and detect anomalies. To top this off, the AI uses the information to automatically take the best action to secure the device without disturbing the owner. This is a machine learning type of AI where a less extensive quantity of data is needed.

Someone still has to make the rules

In all organized games – whether chess or malware detection –  there are established rules. While some may be quite basic, others are more specific. For example, the knight in chess has a very specific move which is quite different from that of the king. Identifying malware has stringent requirements to prevent causing a false positive alert. While the AlphaZero needed only 24 hours of learning time for its exceptional performance in these three demanding games, it still started with the given set of rules.

Even the best AI cannot do what philosophers have termed creatio ex nihilo (Latin for creation out of nothing) — create or amend the rules for a more exciting time. Otherwise, we would be hearing about innovative AI—inspired ways to utilize your chessboard and player pieces.

While Google is showing us that AI can successfully be applied to a wider spectrum of our daily activities, it is a human that has the first – and last word –  over the rules to the game.

Source : blog.avira.com

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Google pulls 500+ vulnerable apps from Play Store – Updated Nov. 2017

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Update 11/06/2017

According to media reports, fraudsters managed to get fake WhatsApp apps published in Google’s Play Store. One of these fake versions has already fooled more than 1 million users to download the app. Don’t fall for it!

Original post

After the eight hijacked Chrome extensions that were pulled from Google’s browser webstore at the beginning of the month, Google now removed over 500 apps with more than 100m downloads from its Play Store. That’s a rather high number, especially if you’re considering that they have been removed all at once.  So what happened?

Beware of SDKs bearing gifts

If you know apps, you know that app developers usually try to make at least some money out of them – and one of the most common ways to do so is to deliver advertisements to customers in order to generate revenue. Igexin, a Chinese-made software development kit (SDK), promises developers to help with exactly that by making it easy to perform targeted advertising services. Sounds good, right?

But all was not good. Researchers at Lookout started to investigate some suspicious traffic Igexin was creating by downloading large encrypted files from servers that were known to have dished out malware in the past.

“This sort of traffic is often the result of malware that downloads and executes code after an initially “clean” app is installed, in order to evade detection,” says Lookout in their blog article. With other words, the SDK could have easily been used for malicious activities, making the users its victims and siphoning their personal data.

More than 500 apps compromised

The only two compromised apps mentioned by name were Lucky Cash with more than 1 million downloads and SelfieCity which was downloaded more than 5 million times. Other apps include games targeted toward teens, weather apps, photo editors — you name it. All in all the vulnerable apps were downloaded more than 100m times.

There is no need to be worried though: as soon as Google was informed about the apps, they were pulled from the app store and their developers were informed.

Does that mean the story gets a happy end? Well, kind of. You can be sure though that incidents like this will increase rather than decrease and that you will not always be that lucky. That’s why it is important to also make sure your mobile devices are as secure as possible and have an up to date antivirus installed.

Source : blog.avira.com

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Bad Rabbit – the not so cute ransomware

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Yesterday, Avira labs recognized an attack by a new ransomware variant called Bad Rabbit. It is the typical file cryptor that will make all your personal files unreadable and will force you to pay a ransom for decrypting them. It overwrites the MBR file to deliver this message to the victim after the computer reboots.

Bad Rabbit - the not so cute ransomware - in-post

This threat comes to the victim’s computer as a drive-by-attack. We’ve identified the payload as being downloaded from h(tt)p://1dnscontrol(.)com/flash_install.php behind. It seems that for this attack, the criminals have not gone for an ordinary phishing attack (where the payload is mostly attached) but instead more likely used a malicious advertising banner or hacked website.

They haven’t chosen phishing for spreading the infection but they have used another famous social engineering method to get on the user’s computer. The dropped file needs to be executed by the user with admin rights to work. So, they probably decided that hiding it as a Flash Player installer was the best method. Recently we have seen quite often type of malvertising (a combination of malware and advertising) where you might need to install Flash Player first before watching the banner. Many people click daily on a fake Flash Player icon thinking that it is a new update:

  
If the malicious fake Flash Player is executed it drops the malicious DLL as C:\Windows\infpub.dat. This is launched using rundll32 and it drops a dispci.exe (the file decoder) and a cscc.dat (utility tool) file into the windows folder (c:\windows). In parallel, it also tries to spread these files on related computers in the network via brute forcing the administrative shares (\\computername\admin$) with a list of hardcoded credentials (e.g. sex, qwe123, qwe321, …)

For the dropped files in the Windows folder, it creates three task jobs.

It is interesting here to notice how the cybercriminals label the task job names because “Drogon”, “Rhaegal” and “Viserion” are dragons from the world-famous Game of Thrones series. But not only those ones. They also use the name of another character, “GrayWorm”, as the product name for the exe file. It is not the first time that the criminals mix popular culture icons with malware as we have seen before with Mr. Robot, James Bond, Pokemon, and much more.

This ransomware also has some special techniques to avoid leaving traces behind after the infection. One interesting method is deleting the usn journal.

Fsutil.exe usn deletejournal /D c: provides the solution to delete the journal cache. The cache detects, among other things, what changes have been made in a file after an encryption. In this way, only the cybercriminals (or anyone) can keep this information.

The file decoder sheds a light on what kinds of users the cybercriminals would like to target if you look at the list of file types.

It especially checks for filetypes of Virtual machines (e.g. vhdx, vmdk, vbox,…). This means they are also targeting the corporate arena and not just the “home user”.

The file decoder gives us an insight into what would happen on the victim’s computers’ if he paid the ransom.

The user should disable their antivirus or anti-malware program and should click on the decryption.lnk on the desktop. Additionally, after the files are decrypted, the filecoder plus the created task will be deleted from the system. Anyway, we recommend never to follow these instructions from cybercriminals.

The camouflaged file cscc.dat is originally a sys file which is part of the open encryption solution called “DiskCryptor” used by the ransomware.

This encryption method doesn’t change the file extension like many other file encryptors such as Locky. It remains the same but appends a string at the end of the file where “encrypted” can be read.

This time, it looks like the criminals spent more time creating the onion link page. It even has a loading animation of a decryption.

But don’t worry, Avira is already protecting you against this ransomware.

Source : blog.avira.com

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More stars for Avira from AV-Comparatives

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Avira won additional stars from AV-Comparatives in the independent agency’s latest Performance Test, Malware Protection Test and also had a top-level performance in the monthly Real World Protection Test.

Avira Antvirus Pro received the AV-Comparatives highest Advanced+ *** rating in the latest Performance Test, placing in the top category of AV products with the least impact on computer performance. The test tackled the performance issue head-on by looking at a range of factors such as installing and launching applications, copying and downloading files, to browsing websites. Each factor was individually scored before AV Comparatives aggregated the results into the final score.

The lag resulting from an AV products’ use of system resources is a common complaint industry wide. We are quite pleased with Avira’s ranking in this independent test.

Avira Pro also won the Advanced ** Award in rating for AV-Comparatives’ Malware Protection Test by blocking out more than 20.000 malicious samples with an overall detection score of 99.97%. The September 2017 test looked at an AV program’s ability to guard against malicious files before, during, or after execution. As a new variant of their previous File Detection Test, this one also looks as detection rates with and without a cloud connection and adds in required user activity.

Avira Pro pulled in a good performance in the monthly Real World Protection test of 355 live malware samples. Avira identified 354 of them with just one missed detection. The monthly test results will be compiled and released in December.

AV testing has a lot in common with the crash testing of cars by Euro NCAP and the NHTSA – there can be a lot of stars and a lot of very detailed reports on methodology.

As AV-Comparatives stated in their latest report, they don’t recommend buying a product based on a single test. “We would suggest that readers consult also our other recent test reports, and consider factors such as price, ease of use, compatibility and support.”

We agree. We are most proud of our consistent scores over time at stopping malware and of course the ratings for usability and customer service. We’ve won a lot of stars over time – and we always want more. And even better, Avira is awarded as ‘product of the year 2016’ with the best performance in protection and usability in the industry.

Source : blog.avira.com

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Support Scam: Your browser has been locked for support (that you just don’t want)

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With viewers’ browsers as a target, online scareware/scam pop-ups keep spiking in early August. The typical message for the latest wave of scareware promises users that the website has updated browser support and that these users need some special help to get back online. Along with this message, the scam often maximizes the browser and makes it impossible for the user to close it or click anywhere else.

We call it a support scam. The notices claim to have a malware infection or similar and try to scare the user with this news. These pages are absolutely annoying for the customer. While some may not be directly harmful, others redirect users to adware applications. — Oscar Anduiza, malware analyst at Avira.

The newest wave of support scam has the Avira Protection Services racking up over a hundred thousand new detections daily in early August. 

Crossing the grey line

While support scam can appear out of nowhere if you surf to “normal” sites it most often happens in the grey zone where users are streaming online content that may or may not be completely legal.

We see this more commonly in the grey/dark zone. Especially with the illegal movie and TV streams that are streaming copyrighted content like Game of Thrones, and on some porn sites.  — Oscar Anduiza, malware analyst at Avira.

Most of them are related to some kind of advertisement redirection or pop-up.

Keeping that browser clean 

Even if not visiting illicit streaming sites, there is a chance that a service scam will be encountered. However, staying secure is not too complicated.

  • Have an Antivirus installed and up-to-date. This will help ID and stop any additional malware from being bundled with the service scam.
  • Listen to your Antivirus. If the Antivirus signals that something is not quite right – even if it messes up that streaming experience – listen to it.
  • Stay updated. Think of it as a vaccination. The more up-to-date your device is, the less apt you are to catch something nasty.

Source : blog.avira.com

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BKA: Database with 500 million login credentials found – Are you there?

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A stash of 500 million login credentials, including email addresses and passwords, has been found says the German BKA (BundesKriminalAmt – Federal Criminal Police Office) on its website. The database was found on an “underground economy platform”. Yes, 500 million is a huge finding!

More details provided by the BKA? Unfortunately not really…

Unfortunately, the press statement (in German only) doesn’t say where the data comes from and therefore it’s not possible to give more precise details about this finding. Perhaps the BKA found the same database 1.5 months after Bob Diachenko’s finding. His find included data from LinkedIn, Dropbox, Lastfm, MySpace, Adobe, Tumblr, Badoo, and much more.

To check if your login credentials are included, the BKA recommends that you visit the website of the Hasso-Plattner-Institute and use their Identity Leak Checker tool. After you’ve entered your email address, you’ll receive an email including the result. If you really want to be sure your login credentials are not compromised you should also check them against haveibeenpwned.com.

How to protect yourself in the best possible way

Even if you don’t find yourself in these data sets, the sheer amount of stolen credentials alone should make you think about your account security. The following tips should help you to protect your accounts even more:

  • Passwords such as 1234 are a no go. You also shouldn’t use any other password from our list of the worst passwords of them all.
  • You should change your passwords on a regular basis – yes, even the passwords of your email accounts.
  • A password manager simplifies your life and you just have to remember one password: The master password.
  • Whenever possible, you should activate the 2-factor authentification of your accounts. It might be less convenient but it’s way more secure.
    • An antivirus also ensures that trojans, keylogger, and similar malware don’t have a chance on your devices!
    • It’s essential that programs and software are up-to-date! Security gaps in applications are one of the biggest security risks for your devices. If you don’t have the time or if you’re not in the mood to take care of this, then use a Software Updater.

    Sounds like work? It is! But with the previously mentioned tools, you will be able to reduce your efforts to a big possible extent — and we also offer an all-in-one package: The Avira Free Security Suite includes all related to your protection, privacy, and performance. If you’d like to enjoy some more services we’re also offering Avira Prime.

Source : blog.avira.com

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Back in Black malware at your power company could put out the lights

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Malware can do more than just hold up your device for ransom; they just might flip off the electrical power switch for an entire city. New malware is targeting the power grid infrastructure, say analysts, and this first attack is likely just a taste of what could come in the future.

The malware, called Industroyer or Crash Override, came into view in late 2016 when it knocked about 700,000 homes off the grid for few hours outside the Ukrainian city of Kiev. And that’s the good news. The bad news is that this malware knows its way around the power grid, can send out malicious commands to mission-critical equipment, and once configured and deployed, can be scaled out without direct hacker involvement.

There’s a SCADA in the lightswitch

This attack targeted several SCADA protocols used in Europe. SCADA, short for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, is the system of hardware and software controls behind almost every industrial process. Once activated, the Crash Override malware cycles through a range of circuit-breaker addresses, trips them, then repeats the process.

Malware targeting SCADA was not a big surprise. With origins dating back to intersection of manual controls and mainframe computers – it has been described as “insecure by design” by experts. Efforts to make SCADA more secure are something like putting a band-aid on a chest wound.

Following an even earlier hacker attack (also in Ukraine) on the power grid, the industry has taken a two-pronged approach: trying to prevent attacks and, almost more importantly, getting quickly back online afterwards.

Tidy hackers at work

Investigators aren’t exactly sure who wrote this malware – although some fingers are pointing towards Russia. What they are sure of is that these hackers did tidy work – without recycling old code or leaving digital fingerprints behind – and that more events are coming. There simply have been too many resources invested in creating this malware for this to be a one-off event. Besides, the malware has additional features and payloads not even activated this time. Investigators have raised the specter that this attack was just a POC (Proof of Concept) for getting the bugs ironed out of the malicious software before they move on to a real target.

Electrifying points to consider

Most people, myself included, are absolute strangers to the intricacies of high voltage systems. However, there are three points from this event that are applicable to everyone online.

  1. It can happen to you – The simple awareness that bad things can indeed happen is critical – for both power managers and individuals.
  2. Be prepared for bad events – Preventing or reducing the damage means having an action plan prepared. For this malware, Dragos recommended having robust backups of engineering files. For the average computer user, preparation should mean a combination of having files backed up, antivirus software in place, and software fully updated.
  3. Stay involved – “Human defenders are required” is the last line of the Dragos report. This is true for your online security. The best defense against a social engineering or customized spear-phishing attack is you.

Source : blog.avira.com

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A short time ago, in a Galaxy, Mac, and Windows device not far, far away

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There is an upheaval in the Force and Luke File walker is on the move. A malicious horde from the Dark Side has invaded, subverting minds, stealing data, and emptying bank accounts. To counter this threat, Luke is going through millions of devices, scouring them for suspect code and cleaning up the damage left behind. He is guided on this critical journey by the whispering of the Force, the power of artificial intelligence, and a small support crew at a remote outpost.

Luke Filewalker is alive and active…

…and we don’t even need that missing  map piece of the right star system to find him. He has been located on one relatively insignificant planet rotating about a star in the Orion arm of the Milky Way galaxy which is itself in the Local Galaxy group within the Virgo Supercluster of galaxies.

Got that? It’s the third rock from the sun – not the red one.

Luke Filewalker is the auto scan and repair component within Avira Antivirus. Every week, Earth week that is, Luke automatically checks the millions of computers where Antivirus has been installed and looks for signs of the Dark Side. If he finds anything suspicious, he can root it out himself or call in reinforcements. And if Antivirus detects unusual signs of Dark Side activity with its real-time protection elements, Luke will jump into action as needed.

His origins within Avira Antivirus have been lost in the murky beginnings of the Computer Era. “‘Luke Filewalker’ is definitely more than 20 years old and was already in use on a lot of different operating systems,” said Sven Carlsen, team leader of disinfection services at the Avira Protection Services.

A short time ago, in a Galaxy, Mac, and Windows device not far, far away …

In each covered device, Luke Filewalker is there to do a quick, full, or other custom scan. The quick scan looks into the most important and essential system locations. It also checks the usual infection paths used by malware. The full scan goes over the complete system. And the other is for customized scan profiles on the device such as scanning “My Documents” or a scan of removable devices. The decision to run each type of scan is primarily automated within Avira Antivirus (when certain requirements are met) without requiring user involvement – unless the user wants to start a special scan.

Once the scan is finished and it detects a malware or unwanted application, the repair will start working. The repair will look for all the leftovers from the malware in order to fix and clean up the mess left by the malicious file.

Luke’s discoveries have varied over time as the forces of the Dark Side have shifted from relatively primitive Trojans into botnets enslaving millions. “He discovers all the threats that we tell him about through our AV engine and AI analysis. Currently, his most common discovery is ransomware,” pointed out Sven.

Luke listens to the Force for directions on discerning the identity and intent of suspect code. Otherwise known as the Local Decider, this Antivirus component decides if suspicious files need to be uploaded to the Avira Cloud – not the Oort one — for additional analysis. After AI discerns whether the file is, in fact, malicious or harmless, the message is sent back to the individual device and Luke steps into action as needed. This information about a potential new threat is then relayed to other Avira Antivirus users.

He is visible as Luke Filewalker only for the Windows version of Avira Antivirus. The scanning services in Mac and Android Avira Antivirus remain incognito. But even if you don’t see him – the Force is still with you – and your device.

 Source : blog.avira.com

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Worldwide botnet Avalanche smashed

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According to Europol, victims of malware infections were identified in over 180 countries. The monetary losses associated with malware attacks conducted through the Avalanche botnet are estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of euros worldwide. Computer users can check their devices with the Avira PC Cleanerto see whether their device was infected and part of the botnet. The free tool scans the computer and removes the malicious software. Users who already use Avira anti-virus software are protected against the botnet.

Within the Avalanche botnet, a total of 20 different botnets have been identified. The targeted activity of the international criminal gang was distributing spam and phishing e-mails, as well as spreading ransomware and banking Trojans for tapping account and transaction data as well as stealing passwords.

To play safe: what PC users should do now

Check and clean the PC

If you do not have an anti-virus software installed, you should check your computer for a possible infection using, for example, the free Avira PC Cleaner. If the computer is infected, Avira PC Cleaner will remove the Avalanche botnet code. Avira PC Cleaner also detects if other malicious software is on the computer and will also remove it as well.

If you already have an anti-virus software installed and want to be safe, you can also use Avira PC Cleaner as a “second opinion” to check your system.

Change passwords

After cleaning your PC, change all passwords for online banking/shopping, payment services, e-mail, social networks, and other applications.

Check the Windows security settings

Open the maintenance center via Start -> Run -> wscui.cpl and check that the network firewall, antivirus, spyware protection, and Internet security are all fully active.

Install antivirus software

To protect against future cyber attacks, we recommend installing an antivirus software. With the free Avira Free Security Suite, your PC is reliably protected against botnets and a wide assortment of malicious software. In addition, you can optimize PC performance and securely surf through a VPN client in public Wi-Fis.

 Source : blog.avira.com

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