Certifi-Gate: Open door to access millions of Android devices Without permission

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The recent glut of Android vulnerabilities hasn’t reached the end. Yet another one has popped up on the platform of choice for hundreds of millions of users. Recently, a mobile research team at Check Point Software Technologies documented under the code name ‘Certifi-gate’ an array of vulnerabilities hidden in the layer between mobile Remote Support Tool apps (mRST) and system privileged areas on an Android device. In some cases, mRST apps are preloaded on devices by cellular operators and/or vendors to ensure they can provide their customers faster and more efficient technical support for their devices, when and if needed; but these support plug-ins can also be installed later from Google Play.

An attacker could build a malicious application to masquerade as the original remote supporter with system privileges on the device, and therefore obtain untethered and silent access to highly sensitive resources like storage, contacts, photos, geo-location, microphone etc.

Am I at risk?

Avira Vulnerability Checker app is designed to accurately detect whether your device is susceptible to a host of exploits, including the newly-discovered Certifi-gate.

In seconds after install you will have a clear indication whether you’re safe or not.

How can I protect myself?

If test above turns positive, then:

  • If your device came preloaded with the troublesome support plugin, it’s impossible to remove the affected components or to work around. The advice here is to make sure that your device always runs on the latest Android version that’s crafted for it. If this is already the case, you should contact your device manufacturer to receive information regarding security updates.
  • If the remote support plugin that puts you at danger was „retrofit” by you, make sure this is up to date. If it’s already running the latest version, we encourage you to uninstall it until its maker builds in the patches that closes down the vulnerability.

On top, we insist on adopting these prophylactic measures as a natural practice for your mobile digital life:

  • Use a mobile security solution. Avira offers one of the most efficient and robust security & mobile antivirus products, for free: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.avira.android
  • Examine carefully each application before installing it to make sure it’s legitimate, and only install apps from trustworthy sources, such as Google Play.

Source : blog.avira.com

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Our Avira Browser Is Looking For A Name!

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Heard about our newest product? If not, you’ll want to meet:

The Avira Browser

We’re not reinventing the browser. We’re leveraging our 30 years of expertise to select the best tools for you; we combine them, maintain them and optimize them. The end result? Comprehensive internet security complete with end-to-end encryption and real-time cloud scanning – for free. The Avira Browser.

There’s one thing missing though … A catchy name. And that’s where you come in.

Here’s your chance to name a browser!

Even cooler than naming a star after your favourite aunt, you get the chance to name a browser that will be used by millions … And if that’s not enough, the top three ideas get a FREE license to Avira Antivirus Pro and a cool Avira T-Shirt (your aunt would love that, too).

To participate just mail us your idea for the Avira Browser name until August 14th at: contest@avira.com. Make sure to write the name in the subject line – you can leave the body of the e-mail empty.

Finally, we´d like to advise you that – by participating in this contest – you accept the terms and conditionswhich can be found here.

May the inspiration be with you!

Source : blog.avira.com

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Big Giveaway: Share Your Internet Security Story!

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Everyone who has ever been online most likely had some kind of encounter with online security. Perhaps you’ve lost some (or even worse all) of your data or your device was invaded by an especially persistent virus. There are more than enough dangers out there! But fear no more: Sticky Password partnered with us and other companies to offer anyone who shares one of their true stories about encountering a danger like that the opportunity to win a cool security bundle – which by the way includes Avira Antivirus Pro!

The best thing: participating in the giveaway is rather easy: Send your story to mystory@stickypassword.com. That’s it. Now you only need to hope that you’ll be one of the lucky winners. The best thing about? Even if you don’t win you can help others by anonymously sharing your experiences and learning moments.

Are you not sure whether your story qualifies? Take a look at an example:
One winner of the giveaway shared some tips he has used when helping resolve “hundreds (maybe thousands) of computer problems for friends, family, and a host of clients. What can absolutely help is learning and following a set of behaviors with your PC, and knowing what a scam looks like.” His tips include: “Have a place [or someone who you can trust] to get questions answered: the dumbest question is the one you never ask.” and “Install some sort of ad-blocking software, or learn how to tell whether or not a popup is a legitimate message.”

Source : blog.avira.com

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Avira Offers PRIVATE WiFi Encrypted VPN in new bundle

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Users who purchase the new bundle will be fully protected against malware and data theft. Our Antivirus Pro is built upon some of the most cutting-edge antivirus technologies available, allowing millions of users around the world to no longer worry about malware.

PRIVATE WiFi Encrypted VPN completes the package perfectly, as it provides users with a personal VPN (Virtual Private Network) to automatically encrypt data transferred over any WiFi network.

Protection on the move with your personal VPN

“Avira and PRIVATE WiFi Encrypted VPN have a common mission: to offer people best-in-class digital protection, wherever they are. In a world with increasing mobility, we decided to provide our customers with protection on the move: our German engineered antivirus that fights against all types of viruses, combined with a professional encryption service that prevents any phishing attacks from happening” said Thorsten Bruchhaeuser, EVP Sales and Business Development at Avira.

With all the hidden dangers encountered by users accessing public WiFi hotspots, it has become essential for users to add an extra layer of protection for their sensitive data. A VPN will encrypt Internet traffic and protect the users’ WiFi connection from prying eyes and hackers. No attacker will be able to intercept the signal anymore and grab sensitive data out of “thin air”.

Alok Kapur, President and Chief Operating Officer of PRIVATE WiFi said “We are excited to join forces with Avira in creating a complete protection bundle. Users who purchase the package will be in possession of the best weapons to fight against all types of digital attacks and they will no longer have to worry about their private data ending up in the hands of others without their consent”.

Our new product bundle from Avira will be distributed via its partner network globally and will be available both in German and in English.

 Source : blog.avira.com

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The Avira Online Essentials Dashboard: what’s essential about it?

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Nowadays, taking care of your digital security is no longer reduced to downloading an antivirus program to your personal computer and hope not to catch any viruses while surfing the web. Your digital life has become an extension of all your most important daily activities and you now have to worry also about things like the photos and videos stored on your mobile devices or your email account being breached. Not to mention, how do you protect your close ones when IT isn’t exactly their cup of tea?

Avira Online Essentials: Your dedicated dashboard to manage your security across multiple devices

What if we told you that we can grant all our users access to a dashboard that allows them to manage the security level across all the devices they own and for as many users as they wish? This dashboard is real, it’s called Online Essentials and it is truly…essential, see it for yourself in the video below.

The Avira Online Essentials dashboard gives you an overview of the security applications installed on all your devices and helps you do so for other users as well. You won’t have to worry anymore about your mom’s antivirus expiring without you knowing, it has never been easier to help her keep her computer’s protection up-to-date.

Surfing the web is also safer now that Avira has integrated the Browser Safety feature in the Online Essentials dashboard. You just have to make sure to install our browser extension and we’ll keep you away from malicious websites. To get any worries related to phishing attacks off your mind, we added the Identity Safeguard feature to the menu, so that you can be the first to know about data breaches that may have an impact on your email account.

You’ll enjoy being able to protect and manage your computer, tablet and smartphone’s security in one single place but wait, there’s more. In case you have trouble locating your mobile device, the anti-theft feature helps you find it, block it or even wipe all personal data stored on it remotely. This way, you make sure to prevent any unauthorized access to your private information. A full data report on your device can also be exported from the dashboard to help the police find your stolen smartphone or tablet.

There’s a lot of other cool stuff you can do directly from the Online Essentials dashboard, like organizing a remote connection session in case you need to take over the control on one of your devices from distance.

The best news about the Avira Online Essentials dashboard? It’s free for all Avira users! Register now and unlock all the cool features: http://www.avira.com/en/avira-online-essentials.

Source : blog.avira.com

Avira Tech Support : Blog

Employee Testimonials: 29 Years of Avira

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A company builds its success on quality products & services brought to people by talented, dedicated employees. We are no exception to that rule, the Avira employees being…simply awesome.

We are lucky enough to count among Avira employees people who have been with the company for 9, 10 or even 18 years. Despite the fact that some of them were just kids when our business was in the process of being created, when the moment came, they joined Avira and their time spent here rewarded them with beautiful memories and unforgettable successes. The company thrived simultaneously, becoming the chosen Antivirus provider for millions of users around the world.

Source : blog.avira.com

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Avira Launches Android Optimizer

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Our team is excited to announce the release of Android Optimizer, a FREE mobile version of our PC optimization tool you already know called System Speedup. The app dramatically enhances your smartphone’s speed and performance in three easy steps: Analyze – Clean – Optimize. Our new app can be used not only to remove junk files but also to identify all previously installed apps threatening to slow down the device.

Android Optimizer excels at boosting the overall performance of smartphones and tablets through a powerful set of key features. You can access the app to safely remove sensitive data from the device, delete browsing and calls history and, consequently, improve the stamina of the battery. Another important advantage for Android users is that they will be able to benefit from more space for photos, videos and other apps.

Key Features

  • One Tap Boost: automatically cleans up junk files and frees up memory, without any data loss.
  • Memory Optimizer: shows a list of all active processes, their memory footprint, and enables the user to terminate the unwanted ones.
  • Application Manager: lists all current installed apps, their storage footprint, and enables the user to uninstall the unwanted ones.
  • Junk Cleaner: scans for and lists potentially useless files that fill up the storage on the device, including caches, duplicate files, large files and APK files (Android app kits).
  • Privacy Cleaner: Empowers the user to wipe sensitive data off their phones (browser history, call logs, clipboard data, Facebook cache, messenger cache, WhatsApp cache,…)

“Smartphones are the new feature phones if we look at the sales volume of these devices. Unfortunately, one year later to the purchase, Android devices tend to be technically obsolete. We decided to jump in and fix this problem, by making it easier for users to understand the background actions of their apps and empower them to optimize their devices with one tap”, said Andrei Petrus, Product Manager of Avira.

Source : blog.avira.com

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Is Government Malware unstoppable?

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What is Regin?

According to Virus Bulletin, we are looking at a multi-staged threat (like Stuxnet) that uses a modular approach (like Flame), a combination that makes it one of the most advanced threats ever detected. Researches show that Regin has been used in espionage campaigns for the last 6 years. This sophisticated backdoor Trojan affects Microsoft Windows NT, 2000, XP, Vista, and 7 and it is able to take control of input devices, capture credentials, monitor network traffic, and gather information on processes and memory utilization.

Protection against government malware

In this context, we would like to remind our users that Avira is a founding member of IT Security made in Germany and we pride on providing our customers a guarantee of Quality and Reliability.

We thus committed ourselves, among other things, to:

  • Exclusively provide IT security solutions no other third party can access.
  • Offer products that do not cause the transmission of crypto keys, parts of keys or access recognition.
  • Eliminate vulnerabilities or avoidance methods for access control systems as fast as possible once detected.

Additionally, we would like to clarify our standpoint on malware developed by government. Whenever we discover a new piece of malware, we are adding detection for this for all of our customers, regardless of the source of the malware. It is the case for recently discovered Regin as well, since our Antivirus products already detect all known Reging samples.

We strongly believe that no malware is unstoppable, not even government malware. Users need to make sure that they are protecting all of their digital devices with the latest technology, keeping their operating system, 3rd party applications and of course their antivirus software up-to-date.

Source : blog.avira.com

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How to safely access the Internet while on vacation

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Posting your latest vacation photos to Facebook whenever you want is easy to do now even while abroad, especially as the EU has now capped roaming costs in Europe. Maximum price caps for data roaming have been introduced at 23 euro cents per Megabyte, with an automatic cost-brake kicking in to cut off the mobile Internet connection once the limit of 59.90 euros per month has been reached. That said, roaming charges further afield can be much higher, with costs varying depending on the cellular network provider even in a few European countries like Switzerland. You really need to know the terms of your cell phone contract, even if you only want to connect to the Internet occasionally to, for example, retrieve the weather forecast. Most installed apps communicate constantly with the Internet in the background; they also collect data, send location information, and attempt to download and install their latest versions. What’s more, it’s tedious and sometimes completely impossible to deactivate these resource-hungry apps.

Protect your wallet
The best thing to do is to contact your network provider before going on vacation, as contracts are not always clear and transparent – especially those notorious bundle deals which combine SMS, talk-time, and data allowances. If you use up your allowance for data and you’re still in credit in terms of your SMS and talk-time allowances, the bundle offer remains valid, but data is charged at a much higher standard price. In such cases, it makes more sense to buy a temporary international roaming bundle. Many providers offer these and they often include cheap-rate talk-time and SMS allowances. You can now also do this while abroad. They will send you information on the current tariff conditions when you first register with the foreign network and provide you with updated conditions afterwards.

Monitor your usage
Knowledge is power, and that also applies to the costs you accumulate. Many providers offer an app which lets you see how much you’ll be charged for the talk-time you’ve used. This lets you pull the emergency brake and deactivate the mobile data connection if it gets too expensive. Another option is to use your precious data resources more economically. Opera and Chrome browsers let you compress websites before you download them, resulting in data savings of 80 to 90%. However, this method has one disadvantage: since Opera and Google servers compress the data, they can tell which websites you’ve been visiting.

Pros and cons of WiFi hotspots
Privacy and data security are important vacation topics anyway. WiFi hotspots are often used to connect cheaply to the Internet. One global company offering access is Fon, which says it has over 13 million hotspots worldwide at around 3 US dollars per day to use. This would pave the way for unrestricted surfing, were it not for one or two digital threats lurking around every corner. WiFi hotspots are notorious for their lax security. Anyone can see the wireless signals, with communication often continuing over an unsecured connection once the user has logged in. The user has no influence on this as the hotspot provider defines how the connection is secured. What’s more, anyone who has access to the hotspot provider’s Wi-Fi network and is near the hotspot can see the data.

Best approach for now
The easiest way to avoid such risks is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This encrypted tunnel protects information right from the start to the end of its transfer. To use it, you need to have software installed on your mobile phone, tablet or notebook and a node which creates the tunnel only after you have logged in correctly. Companies like OpenVPN and Hotspot Shield offer free or reasonably priced VPN connections. These types of connection are merely a restricted type of VPN where the connection between the device and the server is secured by the provider; after that, data packets escape into the Internet unencrypted. Despite this, at least third parties in the direct vicinity of the hotspot cannot eavesdrop on the network connection. That said, the question remains as to whether the VPN provider handles the information with due care; after all, it can read all the data as plain, unencrypted text.

Public PCs at hotel or Internet cafes can be extremely dangerous to use while on vacation. The computers are often infected with viruses and Trojans that log key strokes (with spyware known as ‘keyloggers’) to intercept your private data. If you absolutely need to transfer sensitive information using such a device, you should take a secure operating system environment with you on a DVD or write-protected USB stick and use this to boot the computer.

The best thing to do is to send as little personal information as possible over an unsecured connection while on vacation. In addition, you should enable the firewall on your device and install the latest version of a security software solution such as Avira Antivirus Pro, Avira Internet Security Suite or Avira Free Antivirus (also available for iOS & Android).

Source : blog.avira.com

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Airplane WiFi – Secure surfing or danger for onboard electronics?

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The “fasten your seatbelts” signs turn off and you can finally recline, fold down the tray table, and switch on your notebook or tablet. Many airlines now even offer WiFi access in the cabin, so you can surf the Internet, post to Facebook, and write emails without restriction. Hard to believe, given that it wasn’t long ago that you couldn’t even leave your cell phone switched on during the flight. So, is it safe and secure to use WiFi and portable devices? There are two major aspects to this question:

  • First, whether airplane systems are secure, even though WiFi radio waves are used to communicate and passengers have access to the digital infrastructure aboard the airplane.
  • And second, whether passengers’ devices are also safe and secure, as they share the airplane WiFi network with all other users in the cabin.

Hacking airplane systems

A clear answer can be given to the first question, at least at the moment: Yes, the airplane is still safe and secure. The radio waves are irrelevant to the onboard electronics in terms of power and frequency, as the cockpit and internal technology have to be able to cope with completely different types of possible interference. In addition, there is no potential risk of airplane systems being hacked into. Every airplane manufacturer separates the in-flight entertainment and WiFi systems from the critical airplane systems. Furthermore, they use data and signal formats to communicate, which are incompatible with Ethernet; they also don’t use the TCP/IP protocol. Frequently, additional security functions are integrated into the systems, such as specific transmitter restrictions and extremely strict time intervals, within which data must be exchanged between communication partners. And even if there was a widespread failure of the electronics system, irrespective of what measures are taken to deal with it, all flight-critical systems have a mechanical backup – cable controls and hydraulic systems instead of servos and electronic actuators.

This doesn’t mean, however, that airplanes are immune to potential security loopholes. Researchers are repeatedly discovering weaknesses in various systems, such as those involved in satellite communications, which could theoretically be exploited. By exploiting this bug, false positioning data can be transmitted to the airplane while in flight causing a change of course; however, other experts have given the all-clear. Even if a person were able to exploit this security loophole, the pilots themselves could just simply make a course correction. Other means of communication are available in each passenger airplane which allow verification of positioning data and flight plans. On top of this, the flight-control center would also spot each course change and alarm the pilots.

The statistical probability of mounting such attacks successfully is far below the other typical causes of failure, technical or human error, which are also rare. Airplane manufacturers also want to save costs and are trying wherever possible to integrate standard IT components that transfer and process data using standard IT formats.

Airline operators have set out countless operational cases where digital data would improve services, shorten ground times, and resultingly save costs. Whether over the short term or long term, manufacturers will eventually meet these requests and integrate an ever greater amount of standard IT equipment into airplanes. Hopefully the security measures will be tightened to meet the aviation industry’s more stringent requirements.

Security measures above the clouds

So how about the information on your notebook or tablet? WiFi access aboard an airplane is just like a standard public hotspot – no difference from the one in the airport or at Starbucks. Those who use the WiFi network share the wireless network with all other users. Whether airplane manufacturers integrate specific security measures in their switches and routers is information that currently only they know. For this reason exactly, the same security measures that are also suitable at Starbucks or in the airport should apply: Either you encrypt all data traffic using a virtual private network (VPN), which companies usually install on professional users’ devices anyway, or you encrypt each app’s data. In the case of email, this can be done using encryption programs like Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), EnigMail or GnuPG. For browser-based communications, it can be achieved using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology, usually identifiable by the little padlock icon in the address bar. Plug-ins for many browsers can also take care of this automatically if required, such as HTTPS Everywhere for Firefox and Chrome. Naturally, the internal firewall should be enabled on each device and the latest version of a security software solution such as Avira Antivirus Pro, Avira Internet Security Suite or Avira Free Antivirus should also be installed and active.

Source : blog.avira.com

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