Ex-NSA Guy Points to Mac Security Flaws

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Whereas Apple develops its iOS with security a part of the process, with OS X development security seems to be more of an afterthought. ‘Bug bounty’ programs are one direction suggested for Apple, but until there is a change in the current approach, the vulnerabilities remain open to any would-be hackers.

At the recent RSA Conference in San Francisco, Wardle gave a presentation titled “Writing Bad@ss OS X Malware,” in which he challenges Apple’s OS X developers to change their way of thinking – especially considering that the majority of the malware getting into Macs (now measuring hundreds of thousands) is “amateur, even basic,” according to Wardle.

More advanced Mac attacks, such as the ‘Rootpipe’ backdoor, have been difficult for Apple to patch, and failed ‘fixes’ have been covered by thehackernews.com, computerworld.com, securityweek.com, forbes.com, and others in the first half of 2015.

AV-Test, a leading independent computer security testing firm, recently tested 10 different Mac OS X security software packages (you can read the full report here), writing that:

“The legend that Mac OS X is supposedly invincible is not borne out by the facts. In the aftermath of major attacks by Flashback, the police Trojan Browlock or Shellshock, the number of assaults on Mac OS X continues to increase.”

In AV-Test’s analysis, Avira Free Antivirus for Mac earned a 100% detection score against 160 new Mac-specific viruses and malware. If you’re taking chances with no security on your Mac, do yourself a favor and take care of it right now.

Source : blog.avira.com

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Avira In Free Security Package By Deutsche Telekom

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At Ce Bit in Hanover, T-Systems CEO Reinhard Clemens said: “Customers are often unsure when it comes to security software. Since the Snowden revelations, they are also anxious and asking for a ‘made in Germany’ protection solution. Deutsche Telekom wants to make it easy for as many people as possible to secure their smartphones and computers. That is why we are expanding our existing offering to include an easy-to-install package version from Germany.”

Our very own Avira Antivirus will take care of the security part of said package and protect your Windows PCs and Macs, smartphones and tablets with the iOS and Android operating systems, and servers and networks against malware, using an integrated real-time scanner. Thanks to its cloud-based scanning Avira Antivirus achieves unparalleled security and lightning fast performance. Of course it also reliably scans your downloads, folders, and hard disks.

“Avira Browser Safety” will be included in the package as well. The browser extension protects personal information when surfing the internet and blocks malicious websites as well as tracking by advertising networks, so that they can no longer track what a user is searching for or purchasing online.

Source : blog.avira.com

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Regin: Is Government Malware Stoppable After All?

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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.

Regin mainly affects companies, research institutes, governmental organizations, and individuals who have access to networks of special interest. This is why Avira has worked together with the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) to add new Regin detection routines to the widely implemented and proven tool Avira PC Cleaner.

How can the Avira PC Cleaner help me?

The tool can now detect the identifiable elements of Regin and remove them from the infected system. “PC Cleaner came about as a result of the German anti-botnet “botfrei.de” initiative which is backed by the BSI. The software was also further developed with the support and know-how of the BSI. Users now have an easy-to-use tool available to them which can track down Regin malware”, explains Dr. Dirk Häger, head of operational network defense at the BSI. If PC Cleaner detects Regin, the affected system can be cleansed and the relevant files quarantined. Even after a successful system cleanup, it is worthwhile running further scans to make absolutely sure that Regin has not infiltrated other areas of the network. This also makes PC Cleaner an early warning tool. If Regin is detected, affected organizations should definitely think about taking further steps to protect their IT infrastructure.

The really unique feature about Avira PC Cleaner is that it doesn’t need to be installed. This means there are no conflicts with other vendors’ antivirus solutions installed on the computer. As such, PC Cleaner gives users the chance to get a second opinion. This is why it is also called a 2nd opinion scanner, although it isn’t a replacement for a fully-fledged antivirus solution. As a result, PC Cleaner is ideal for detecting Regin and for checking the computer for any other malicious software. It is based on the proven malware detection capabilities of Avira antivirus solutions of which there are millions of installs.

Source : blog.avira.com

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How to Prevent Holiday Shopping Hacks

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As the holiday times approach, many of us increase our online shopping. But if the 2014 year taught us anything, it is that online criminals have figured out that hacking into the IT systems of retail stores is an easy way to make money. This year there were no fewer than a dozen major retail stores whose customer data was stolen or whose POS systems (Point of Sale systems… their electronic cash registers) were compromised in order to steal customer credit card numbers.

You’ll recognize most of these retailer brands whose customer databases have been breached this year:

  • Home Depot (56,000,000 customer records stolen)
  • Target (40,000,000 records stolen)
  • Michaels Art Supplies (2,600,000 records stolen)
  • Neiman-Marcus (1,100,000 records stolen)
  • Goodwill Stores (868,000 records stolen)
  • UPS Stores (105,000 records stolen)
  • K-Mart (unknown; investigation continues)

In addition, several major retailers have had their POS systems hacked:

  • Dairy Queen (400 stores hacked)
  • Jimmy Johns (200 stores hacked)
  • SuperValu (180 stores hacked)
  • F. Chang’s (33 stores hacked)
  • Staples (unknown; investigation continues)

The burden of security ultimately rests on your shoulders. So here are five simple things you can do to protect yourself from holiday shopping hacks:

1. Shop at trusted online retailers

Search engines will lead you to that perfect present no matter where it is, but if you’ve never seen or heard of the retailer before then think twice before entering your credit card and all your personal information.

2. Don’t shop from the free café Wi-Fi

Public, unsecured Wi-Fi access points can be very easily tampered with; the person sitting next to you could be sniffing and recording every transmission, using simple algorithms to identify credit card numbers and ID information. Use a secured Wi-Fi and/or a VPN for your shopping. Consider also using a dedicated e-mail address just for shopping.

3. Use a credit card instead of a debit card

Credit card companies usually have policies in place to protect users from fraud and limit your personal liability. In addition, many credit card companies offer extended warranties and return policies during holiday shopping season.

4. Be careful where you click

Retailers ramp up their e-mail marketing during the holiday season, but e-mails can be easily spoofed by hackers. Instead of automatically following the URL link from an e-mail offer, consider going directly to the retail vendor’s website and then looking for the product you want. Also be aware of phony emails from UPS and other shippers claiming that “your package could not be delivered.” Often these e-mails contain attachments that install spyware and keyloggers.

5. Patch your computer before you go shopping

If haven’t got around to installing that software patch or antivirus security update, now might be a good time to do it. Most hacks prey on the short window of time between when a vulnerability is discovered and when the software vendors patch the hole. If you are not installing the patch, then the hole is still wide open on your computer and you are just asking for trouble.

If you are worried that your personal identity might have been exposed in recent data breach or hack, you can use Avira’s free Identity Safeguard tool to check: it is included free in both Avira Mobile Security for iOS and in Avira Antivirus Security for Android).

Shopping online is actually safer now than it has ever been before, so just take a few precautions and enjoy the holidays!

Source : blog.avira.com

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AT&T Stops Attaching Tracking Files to Mobiles

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The secret codes in tracking files, known as ‘header enrichment,’ consist of strings of numbers and letters that are appended to all data traffic that is transmitted from the phone. The header enrichment codes are used to track customers’ website visits and also which apps they use in order to provide advertisers with targeting information. The codes don’t contain personal identity information per se, but because they are unique to each customer and are transmitted along with any personal identity information that a customer voluntarily provides – such as name, address or phone number – together they create a sort of digital fingerprint that could be exploited.

AT&T said it ended the tracking files because its test project has ended. But competing mobile operator Verizon has a similar tracking number system in place, which Twitter’s mobile advertising division uses to target ads.

If you want to know if your mobile carrier is tracking your device, visit this page on ProPublica.org (go there from your mobile device) and click on the box that says ‘Does Your Phone Company Track You?’

Header enrichment technology was developed because traditional web cookies are a challenge for tracking apps on smartphones and tablets. The Open Mobile Alliance adopted an industry standard for injecting the codes in 2010. In response, Google has proposed an alternative Web protocol that prevents such header injections which, of course, the mobile industry is lobbying to defeat.

Avira’s security software for Android and iOS can scan your apps and emails for malware, and also block Trojans and stop Ransomware from restricting access to your data. Check out Avira Mobile Security for iOSor Avira Antivirus Security for Android for free protection.

Source : blog.avira.com

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If You Face Trojans Trouble Avira Antivirus

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Common examples include trojanized mobile apps (usually spoofed versions of popular apps like Angry Birds and Bad Piggies) and even trojanized antivirus software (it pretends to be scanning your computer, and then suggests that you install a fake AV program to ‘fix’ some problems).

All versions of Avira’s security software detect trojans, so you are safe. But, because Trojan malware relies upon “social engineering” tactics, you should be aware of the types of Trojans that are at play. This month, Avira’s OASYS (Online Analysis System) found an increase in three particular Trojans:

Zbot Trojan

The Zeus Bot family is one of the most widely spread Trojans. It was one of the first Trojans to be sold as a framework via underground forums. By framework, we mean that the Trojan malware itself can be purchased on the black market and customized using configuration tools. The latest versions belong to the Gameover Zeus Botnet – which is used to steal massive amounts of online banking information, email and social network credentials, or just to infect other machines with Zeus or CryptoLocker. The main purpose of Zeus is to gather money through ransom activities or stolen online banking credentials.

Vundo Trojan

The Vundo Trojan family is most likely used to display advertisements for rogue and fake AV programs. To hide itself in your computer system, Vundo uses several tricks to disable local firewalls and anti-virus software, as well as to disable Windows updates. To have better control over what the user is doing, Vundo Trojans usually install a combination of “Browser Helper Objects” and “DLLs.” They are used to display advertisements in the browser as well as to initiating drive-by downloads.

Reveton Trojan

The Reveton Trojan family is a typical ransomware which is based on the Citadel Trojan, which itself is based on the Zeus Trojan. Reveton’s payload is usually some sort of ransomware. In Germany they are called BKA Trojaner. They use official logos from law enforcement agencies to look legitimate. Such ransomware blocks the access to the desktop by displaying an official-looking page which tells the user that his computer had been used for illegal activities such as downloading pirated software, child pornography, or copyright violations. Usually some anonymous prepaid cash service like Ukash or Paysafecard is needed to unlock the PC.

How to Remove Trojans:

If you run Avira on all your devices, you should be safe. If you suspect a Trojan malware infection but you don’t know what brand of antivirus software is running on the computer, try using Avira’s free PC Cleanerto run a scan (it works with whatever existing antivirus software is there). If the computer won’t boot at all, you can use Avira’s free Rescue System to create an emergency boot disk.

If you need more help you might try visiting Avira Answers, which is an online community of helpful computer experts.

Be safe out there!

Source : blog.avira.com

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Avira wins Virus Bulletin best AV detection award

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This represents a streak for Avira wins for best AV detection rates and superior product quality. This latest Virus Bulletin VB100 testing took place from October 2013 to April 2014.

Free, yet fast and reliable

The Avira Free Antivirus was complimented for being fast and user friendly as the Virus Bulletin lab experts concluded “it installs fairly rapidly, and presents a slick and attractive interface which is simple to operate and provides a fairly complete set of controls.”

Recent improvements to the core product were credited with quick scanning speeds, with very light computing overhead. Just like in the previous rounds of testing, “detection was as excellent as ever, and this solid coverage extended to the certification sets.”

All of these features helped our free antivirus maintain an excellent record of passes with 0 fails registered by the Virus Bulletin testing.

Keeping it professional

The strong performance of Avira AV was confirmed by the lab’s review of our Professional Security Antivirus as well: “the interface has the same professional feel and sensible layout, and the installation process is also very speedy and simple.” Just like for our free solution, our detection got a perfect score of 100. The testers also complimented the new fine-tuning options that contributed to good scanning speeds, very little lag time and low resource consumption.

An impeccable track record

Our whole team is super excited about continuing the streak of awards for superior protection and product quality. “It is the fifth consecutive VB100 Award we achieved in the last 12 months and shows that we have sustainable high detection rate with zero false positives in the Virus Bulletin tests” said Philipp Wolf, our Executive Vice President Protection Labs.

We’re proud of these results and are honored to have been recognized with this award.

Find out more about VB100 (virus) test procedures and you can read the full Windows 7 report available in the latest edition of Virus Bulletin.

Source : blog.avira.com

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Mobile threat landscape — is Android really safe?

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Emerging mobile threat landscape

We are already seeing the effect. For example, the number of mobile viruses tripled over the past year to now measure 2.6 million by our latest count.

They are facing PUA (potentially unwanted applications) for example. There are also apps that collect a heavy-handed amount of personal data, or others that spam users with unwanted messages and notifications. This is what we call the ‘grey area’ of mobile software. Android users are particularly affected.

Security industry is evolving

Even so, one of the current industry debates calls into question the need for providing mobile security software, such as Android Antivirus, based on the supposedly high level of security in app stores.

At Avira, using complex generic detection algorithms, we have been able to identify a daily average of a few thousand apps containing adware on Android, not to mention several hundred malicious apps that we classify as either PUA or malware.

We recently took for example a sample of 30,000 apps which we define as malicious, PUA, SPR or aggressive adware. Of these apps 13,011 were found on Google play, where 233 were malware and the rest falling into the other threat categories.

Our mission at Avira is to protect users against all threat vectors, whether PC, tablet or smartphone. Given most people now take their devices to work, we also no longer believe the problem fits neatly into a consumer vs. business box. It affects everyone.

The battle against security threats in mobile ecosystems like Android is only beginning. It promises to be larger and more sophisticated than the PC one ever was.

Source : blog.avira.com

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We are growing – both in business results and teams

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As our business grows along with our core mission to protect our hundreds of millions of users across their entire digital lives (e.g., Avira Browser Safety, Avira for Android), we are expanding several teams.

These teams are located in our two German offices, Tettnang HQ and our newest location in Munich, as well as in Bucharest. Our Bucharest subsidiary and R&D centre just this year also celebrated its 10th anniversary.

We are scouting for talented people who can master state-of-the-art technologies like Hadoop, Android or Couchbase. Our recruiting process has gained an extra degree of internationality recently as we begin to draw engineering and business talent from outside of traditional engineering recruiting hubs of Silicon Valley and Europe.

Naturally we are striving to find the best match for each of our openings. For example, our desired Hadoop Engineer should be a database engineer who will be in charge with scaling our mission-critical infrastructure and real-time services that power our consumer applications. Or say we wish to hire a JavaScript expert who will develop exciting new applications of high quality standards, and will ship end-user-facing applications to hundreds of millions of users.

Another position is the Product Manager that will be responsible for launching some of Avira’s most strategic products from vision to feature-section and road-map to a successful start in the market place.

We are also looking for an experienced Machine Learning Engineer who will help us build solutions that enhance the richness and quality of our product utilising machine learning algorithms and other  big data analytics techniques.

Besides growing the company’s current staff, we have the opportunity to build from scratch two new teams. We are building a Mobile Development Team with focus on Android and technologies like Java. Here, we are looking for a dedicated Mobile Development Manager and passionate Mobile Developers that will be responsible for delivering Avira’s Mobile Security Solutions.

At the same time, we are developing a multi-lingual Customer Service Team in order to offer 24×7 support to our global user-community. We want to find technology enthusiasts with knowledge of the following languages: Dutch, Spanish, Italian, French, and Portuguese. Also, we are looking for a Call Center Operations Manager and a Call Center Business Performance Analyst.

All our openings are detailed on the Avira Career page. Please feel free to check them and spread the word to your network.

 

Source : blog.avira.com

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Bitcoin for Beginners: How to Secure your Crypto Wallet

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Cryptocurrencies – as these new virtual online currencies are known – have no transaction fees, no bank fees, no government regulations, and no telltale ways to track them. They are real currency, but stored as encrypted digital keys instead of paper in your wallet.

Unfortunately, the very same characteristics that make cryptocurrencies attractive make them very easy to steal, unless you take extra steps to secure your computers and Internet connections. In this post, we’ll show you how.

Once you have obtained your Bitcoins or other cryptocurrency, there are essentially three ways to store them: 1) in an online wallet; 2) in a software wallet on your PC or mobile device; 3) in a paper wallet that (ironically) you print out. There are a few hardware-based wallets being developed – similar to the tokens you might use to secure PayPal and banking transactions – but they are still new.

Like anything else digital, all of these storage methods can be vulnerable to hackers and malware such as keyloggers. Before cryptocurrencies were invented, only large companies and banks had to worry about sophisticated and targeted attacks on their computer systems – and there have been at least a dozen major hacks on Bitcoin exchanges, results in tens of millions in losses. Now that you can store real money directly on your computer, the Bad Guys have motivation to attack your computer, too.

And because cryptocurrency is not governed by any sort of central bank, a hacked PC, a stolen laptop, or even a hard-drive crash could mean that your digital money is gone. Forever.

So take these minimum precautions to protect yourself:

  1. Secure your PC and mobile devices – To prevent keyloggers, spyware, backdoors and other vulnerabilities that allow hackers in, be sure to install antivirus on every computer and mobile phone that connects to the Internet. Consider also using safe-search and a browser extension, to avoid stumbling onto dodgy websites.
  2. Secure your Internet connection – Make sure the firewall on your network router is active, or activate the VPN (Virtual Private Network) feature in Avira’s security software. And don’t trade cryptocurrencies on a public Wi-Fi hotspot! Or if you use an iPhone, consider using a personal VPN app like Private WiFi.
  3. Back-up your (encrypted) data – Be sure to use a backup service that encrypts your data in-transit as well as at rest. Services such as DropBox can be secured with two-factor authentication.
  4. Protect your passwords (and paper wallets) – Use common sense and don’t let others see your passwords. Paper wallets for cryptocurrencies contain your private key (usually in the form of a QR code that any reader can decode), and if stolen will let the thief use your digital currency just like cash.

Even if you don’t plan to use Bitcoin for your next purchase, you probably have a lot of sensitive information on your computer or smartphone that is worth securing just as if it were cash. So take a few minutes to review your security. You’ll be glad you did.

Source : blog.avira.com

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