Your holidays start on the Internet: tips for booking vacations online


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Everything is possible online nowadays: reading newspapers, ordering books and clothes, flirting, checking out recipes – and of course booking vacations online. Hotel comparison sites are immensely popular, every airlines offer online booking services, and instead of combing through endless travel-agency brochures, you now simply visit Expedia, Opodo or Travelocity. While it’s all very easy and convenient, it isn’t without its risks. Whether it’s a dodgy low-cost website which goes bust before your vacation starts or a seemingly harmless invoice attached to an email which is infected with a virus – at Avira we find that a little caution goes a long way.

Many problems with online booking stem from legal issues. In some instances, the difference between provider, organizer or contracting party is not clear to the customer. In case of questions and complaints, it is important to know whom to contact. Whether you can even make any claims and how easy that is differs immensely depending on the location of the company you signed the contract with. On top of that, costs often aren’t as transparent as they could and should be, with hidden additional transfer costs or trip-cancellation insurance suddenly selected on the final page before the last confirmation click without it ever being mentioned beforehand.

Low-cost portal or not, no operator offers its services for free. The cheaper the offer, the greater the risk that the small print conceals hidden costs. Free hotel room? Perhaps a minimum stay is involved, or you need to pay service and agency costs. Extremely cheap flight and accommodation? There may be compulsory shopping trips planned involving visits to carpet makers, jewelers, and leather factories.

Internet transactions always involve risks – even if they have become safer over the years. You should always transfer money over an encrypted connection. For that, the online travel agent has to offer a SSL-secured Web session. Operators usually make a specific point of mentioning this at the virtual checkout, but you can also tell the session is encrypted by the little padlock icon or the different color of the Web browser’s address bar. This type of encryption is extremely secure and cannot be cracked without a reasonable amount of effort – effectively meaning no risk is involved.

However, other risks are beyond the user’s control. Hackers often manage to crack the websites of legitimate online travel operators. In 2005 the Japanese tour operator Club Tourism had to admit that hackers had stolen the information of over 90,000 customers. In 2009 a website in the USA which government officials use to book travel was compromised. And only in April 2013 Traveltainment, a subsidiary of the Amadeus Group, had to concede that hackers had broken into its servers and stolen the personal details, including payment information, of an unknown number of customers. This theft caused harm when customers opened their emails containing phishing software which the thieves were able to send as they knew the customers’ email addresses and booking details. A comprehensive security software solution like Avira Antivirus Pro offers protection against such attacks and should therefore be a staple on every computer.

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Avira Tech Support : Blog

Online dating is the latest trend – But is it also safe and secure?


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The Internet is new territory, apparently. To government officials perhaps, but not when it comes to finding a partner. According to a study, 30% of relationships begin online[1]. And many of those are made to last offline: in 2013 16.4 % of all new partnerships in Germany began with the couples flirting online[2]. It’s great when things work out with the neighbor, but just as searching for a partner in the supermarket, bar or swimming pool isn’t without its risks, the online world has its pitfalls too. Take untruthful profiles for example. “Men make themselves taller, women younger”, that’s what a former product manager of Yahoo Dating said summarizing her experiences. These sorts of little white lies are relatively harmless as they’re easy to spot on the first date. It gets more difficult when something doesn’t add up about the job, and the chosen one doesn’t turn out to be a doctor after all, but unemployed, in debt, and on the hunt for some funding.

Cyber scammers have created an entire industry from people’s desire to be together. The “romance scammers” search the lonely hearts sites specifically for woman with whom they initially email and call for weeks at a time to establish trust only for them to then ask for money for medical treatment, medication for mom, a trip to their sweetheart’s country or whatever it may be. The meet-up itself isn’t risk-free either. Blackmail through secretly or openly filmed sex tapes has already happened more than once, just like alleged pregnancies which nobody will ever find out about if the victim contributes to the abortion costs. While this is dramatic, generally the worst thing those who flirt online have to fear is enduring an endlessly boring evening on the first date.

Here are a few simple tips that will help guard against both dangers – criminality and boredom. On the first date, meet in public and never at your home. Tell a friend, relative or your parents where you will be and arrange for them to call you at a set time so you can give them the all clear. By the way, you can also use the call to your advantage to fake an emergency and escape a boring date early.

Spam messages from those looking for love can also end up in your mailbox through no fault of your own, and people who date online are more likely to open the wrong attachment by mistake. Not every jpg image is what it appears to be, and those ominous-looking Word, PDF, and PowerPoint attachments from romance-seeking Natashas from Belarus are also best sent directly to the recycling bin. The latest version of a comprehensive antivirus software solution like Avira Antivirus Pro, Avira Internet Security Suite or Avira Free Antivirus blocks viruses, worms and Trojans and, in the best case, also evaluates websites before you click them. This minimizes digital dangers and searching for a partner online doesn’t lead to additional risks.

You should, however, pay particular attention to potential risks posed by revealing personal information. Even if endlessly long email conversations over many weeks are rather counterproductive, you should not be forthcoming with your personal information. Before you give your address and telephone number to the person you’ve been messaging, you should be absolutely sure that you won’t regret it. It’s a good idea to have a throw-away email address you only use for dating purposes. Another good tip is to stay completely within the dating provider’s web environment as it usually doesn’t allow real identities to be inferred from online identities. Above all choose the dating provider cautiously. Services you pay for sort at least some chaff, in the form of joke or fake profiles, from the wheat. All the best for your next date

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Avira Tech Support : Blog

Expanding your security zone: Being online while traveling


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It’s been a few years now since Internet connections were limited to homes and offices. Cheap mobile flat-rates are your permanent link to Facebook, Twitter, and emails. And when you can’t connect for cost reasons or due to poor reception, WiFi hotspots are increasingly available at many central locations. German telecoms operator Deutsche Telekom, for instance, plans to expand its network of WiFi hotspots to 2.5 million access points by the end of 2016. And when the legal risks are eliminated in Germany with the amendment of the Duty of Care Act, more private access points will be available again. This would pave the way for unrestricted surfing enjoyment were it not for one or two other digital threats lurking around every corner.

Major weakness in public WiFi
Hotspots in particular are notorious for their lax security. Anyone can see the wireless signals between the device and the hotspot’s access point. Communication often continues via an unsecured connection even after the user has logged in, which must also be carried out unencrypted. Anyone with a notebook and the right software sitting anywhere within a range of a few dozen meters can then read whatever data you and the world are exchanging. As a user, you have no influence over whether and how the provider encrypts wireless traffic. Even when data packets between device and Wi-Fi router are encrypted, it only helps guard against the unwanted eavesdropper at the neighboring table. Every piece of information is still directly readable on the router and all Internet nodes behind it.

How to secure your data on public WiFi
To ensure your data stays private, you’ll need to encrypt it. You can do this in a variety of ways that we’ll look at now. Emails can be protected using special encryption programs like EnigMail or GnuPG. While installing them isn’t always easy for total novices, when the system’s up and running anyone can use it. There are also a few web-mail services offering encryption under the “E-mail Made in Germany” initiative. You can also secure all your browser activities. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), usually identifiable by the little padlock icon in the address bar, protects the data transferred between Firefox, Internet Explorer or Chrome and the node on the Internet. You just need to access a website starting with https://… instead of http://. Plug-ins for many browsers can also take care of this automatically if required, such as HTTPS Everywhere for Firefox and Chrome.

Instead of securing each application separately you can also secure all data traffic, from the start until the end of transfer, by using a virtual private network (VPN). Companies usually install a VPN on users’ devices that they use for business. Private users too can protect their privacy using a VPN. To use it, you need to have software installed on your smartphone, tablet or notebook and a node which creates the tunnel only after you have logged in correctly. Countless companies like OpenVPN and Hotspot Shield offer free or reasonably priced VPN connections. These types of connection are only one narrow 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 (e.g. hackers) in the direct vicinity of the hotspot cannot eavesdrop on your network connection.

The risks are more manageable if you log into the Internet using a cellular network data connection. The data between the device and the cellular network provider’s base station is encrypted and not shared with other users. This means snoopers who are standing nearby won’t be able to eavesdrop on the connection. That said, as soon as the data leaves the base station, it is, in principle, freely readable again. Here too, only a VPN will protect information right from the start until the end of its transfer.

Encryption also becomes a key consideration if you use cloud services. Whether you use OneDrive from Microsoft, Google Drive, Dropbox or Wuala – in principle, all of these online storage providers have access to every file stored in the cloud. The only thing that will help here is to encrypt the data on the device itself before sending it to the cloud. In the past, it was possible to recommend TrueCrypt as a secure encryption software solution. However, after its development came to a somewhat unclear stop, it is questionable whether the software isn’t a backdoor for intelligence services. Possible alternatives, for which security questions still remain, include AxCrypt, BlowFish Advanced, GnuPT/GnuPG, and Gpg4Win. Boxcryptor even explicitly supports all major cloud storage services, making the job easy. By the way, if you don’t want to put the effort into encrypting files and emails, you should at least secure your passwords, PINs, and TANs. Password safes like KeePass are easy to use, available for many operating systems, and are the better alternative to Post-it notes kept stashed beneath your keyboard. In addition, you should always 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.

Safeguarding the dilemma of small size
The sheer portability of tablets, phablets, and smartphones also has a down side: What fits easily into your pocket will also fit easily into someone else’s. The loss or theft of portable devices has been on the rise for many years owing to the value of these prestigious digital objects. You’re limited in what you can do to protect yourself against this. If you’re traveling and distracted even for a brief moment while sitting at a table, you won’t notice that lightning-fast grab which leaves you deviceless. To ensure that the most you lose is only the device itself, you should keep an up-to-date backup of your data. In this respect, cloud services are perfect – provided the data is encrypted. Other important countermeasures include adequately long log-in codes or PINs as well as software like Avira Android Antivirus Security, which helps you find and track your smartphone or tablet again, or at least wipe the data on it remotely and make the device unusable for the thief.

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Avira Tech Support : Blog

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.

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Avira Tech Support : Blog

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.

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Avira Tech Support : Blog

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.

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Avira Tech Support : Blog

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.

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Avira Tech Support : Blog

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.

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Avira Tech Support : Blog

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.

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Avira Tech Support : Blog

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

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.

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Avira Tech Support : Blog