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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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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