Avira, time2win and eSports … it’s time to win!

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For those of you who don’t know what eSports is, let me explain. eSports is short for ‘electronic sports’ and is a term for competitive video gaming. It’s exactly what you probably think it is by now: Two gamers sitting in front of their PCs, playing games against each other. So far, so good. But eSports is more: It’s professional gamers sitting in front of their PCs, playing live before an audience of several thousand spectators, competing for a huge prize pool. eSport players are becoming almost as famous as the ‘real’ sport stars with fans screaming their names and them giving autographs. The latest huge tournament, the League of Legends World Championship finale in Berlin, Germany, sold out their 17,000 tickets in just 90 seconds. You find this unbelievable? Then take a look at this video.

As of now, this fame and fortune is only reserved for the best – and that’s where our new partner, time2win comes in. “We strive to elevate eSports onto a new level”, says Björn Rüssel, COO of time2win in the press release. “Competitive eSports including prize money should be accessible to everybody. Everybody deserves a realistic chance to win prizes!”

Besides time2win-tournaments, with prizemoney set by time2win and its partners, other modes like challenges and buy-in-tournaments will be usable on the platform as well. “We know, that players don’t just want to participate in our own tournaments, but also try and test the other features we offer. The starting capital for our money features can be won in our time2win tournaments”, comments COO Björn Rüssel.

By the way, the best time to join the fun is now, with the stress test starting on November 9th. In this open test phase of the platform, 41,000 euros will be distributed as prize money and gaming equipment worth over 10,000 euros will be raffled off.

With all the fun you’re having, you shouldn’t forget the most important thing: Make sure that your PC stays secure – and that’s what we from Avira are here for.

Source : blog.avira.com

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Sharing and the fine art of stopping malware

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There are an array of technical and business issues that have to be solved: What format do the files need to be in? Who pays for the bandwidth? And the list goes on and on.

Regardless of these technical issues, there are a number of advantages to sharing – particularly for the average computer user. This user – let’s call him Joe Six-Pack – gets much faster and deeper information about any potential threats than if he kept news of his malware misadventures all to himself.

Just from the perspective of Avira, cooperation has its organizational costs – but brings clear benefits down the road.

Avira was one of a “Gang of Five” security companies that set up MUTE, the Malware URL Tracking and Exchange back in 2008.

Avira web developers were volunteered by the company and shared their expertise to set up the backend infrastructure for the group’s members to combine and share their collections of malicious web addresses. The initial outline of Avira’s system specs could be placed on four PDF slides. Today, the system is far more complex and requires a whopping 44 slides to describe its operations. And that is not all of the sharing. Avira also founded VIREX, a web-based application for helping security analysts organize their bits and pieces of malicious code, clean samples, and URLs. Yes, Avira is proud of its sharing efforts.

But you could still ask, what does Avira get out of its investment in sharing — addition to fresher bits of malware? I can think of two primary benefits.

1. Greater back-office expertise in coordinating data flows.
2. Experience in collaborative working outside of the company environment.

Put these two advantages together and there is a third one:

3. Avira expertise that can fit under the banner of other companies as an OEM product.

That is exactly what we have done with the recently announced Lavasoft deal. We’ve licensed our new  Avira URL Cloud (MURL) and program classification service (AUC) to Lavasoft and they’ll  use this to beef up the security levels in their Ad-Aware Web Companion.

Sharing is a good thing – whether in a real or a virtual sandbox.  It makes life a better, richer, and yes, more secure experience.

Source : blog.avira.com

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Serialization vulnerability: 6 in 10 Android devices can be hijacked

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If one day, you were asked by your dearly trusted Facebook Messenger app to log in because your session had expired, would you do that? If the answer is yes, you might have just shared your Facebook credentials with an impostor app disguised in, otherwise legit, Facebook Messenger app. A group of researchers at IBM revealed a vulnerability in the Android OS that allows evil-witted guys to mischievously replace an application you trust with something that resembles it but is meant to cause you harm instead.

“In a nutshell, advanced attackers could exploit this arbitrary code execution vulnerability to give a malicious app with no privileges the ability to become a ‘super app’ and help the cyber criminals own the device,” IBM said. The ‘Serialization’ vulnerability is explained in great detail in the paper titled “One Class To Rule Them All“.

Google provided patches that address the exploit, but their way to the end users’ devices is gonna be slow-paced and toilsome, since there are device manufacturers in-between.

As mobile addiction continues to rise, we are paying less and less attention to the legitimacy of the apps we’re installing, while relying fully on the “need an app for this purpose now” impulse. Latest discoveries in terms of vulnerabilities and exploits, plus unfortunate examples of personal data leakage fortifies the need for an increase awareness in consumers rows.

To play it safe, we at Avira highly recommend to use an advanced mobile security solution, such as Avira Antivirus Security and only download applications from trusted sources.

Source : blog.avira.com

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Mac AV ready for OS X 10.11 alias El Capitan

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 Codename: Made in California

Named after a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park, the latest version of operating system suggests that there are no major changes compared to the previous version of OS owing to the close geographical proximity of their names.

This is probably true, as long as you’re talking about the small changes to the design or the improvements to window management and the integrated apps. Lift the hood though, and you’ll see Apple has prepared an OS upgrade that is designed to offer stability and security with performance enhancements and Rootless mode, which protects system-critical files from being written to even by the root user.

Apple shows openness regarding update policy

Apple changed its update strategy right from OS X Mavericks and now issues its new OS X versions free each year. Ever since OS X Yosemite, the OS Developer Preview which accompanies Apple’s annual keynote has also been followed by a public beta which gives every  interested user access to the latest OS X version. This increases pressure on developers as nobody wants to deal with the shame of having a substandard program that attracts bad press.

At Avira, we not only follow the keynote on our screens with a huge amount of excitement – we also test the Developer Preview the very next day with our Mac AV product to give recommendations to the tech-savvy users of our products as soon as possible. Testing Developer Previews in good time is just as essential as resolving any issues. Precisely this needed to be done the last time OS X Yosemite was updated.

With this update, Apple made it mandatory to sign kernel extensions. The kernel extension of Mac AV was affected. This makes real-time protection possible, and it just refused to work. You’d think it’d be as easy as signing the kernel extension and sending it off to the customer, wouldn’t you? Well, it didn’t turn out to be as straightforward as that.

The development cycle

This is because quite a bit of time passes from the moment a developer starts to update the source code until an update is released to the customer. First, development takes place in a two-week rhythm. This results in an improved product that can pass the test-automation process – during which the product is really put through its paces. Following that, it is presented internally at Avira and handed over to the Avira Beta Center the very same day.

The Beta Center is a curious place where volunteers try out Avira’s latest products and provide qualitative feedback to support our developers in improving our product. If you’re interested in contributing toward improving Mac AV, please sign up – we’ll take all your feedback on board.

Following the two-week beta phase, we usually let the product rest for a further week before releasing it to the end customer at the end of the three-week development period. That’s the theory anyway. As we’re also still in a development phase, this period may extend to five weeks.

Talking about the current example of the public beta of OS X El Capitan, things are getting a bit tight. As the initial Developer Preview released on June 8 was followed four weeks later by the public beta, and as our Mac AV product entered beta testing on July 15, this meant a week had already passed since the public beta of El Capitan appeared until we were able to provide a copy of Mac AV to our tech-savvy users with a clear conscience that it also ran on Apple’s beta version. For everyone else, this version will be issued three weeks later on August 4.

Mac AV OS X 10.11

Ready for fall release

We are well prepared to deal with any eventuality in advance of this fall’s wide-scale roll out of OS X El Capitan . If you want to take part in Apple’s public beta or are interested in product development, we recommend joining the Beta Center to ensure maximum compatibility with Apple’s beta versions.

Source : blog.avira.com

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Avira Threats Landscape: Visualizing threats for you

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Every day, thousands of different malicious programs are trying to infect as many devices as possible. The goal is the same for all of them: Get your data and if possible your money as well.

We have always been the firsts to learn about the threats that loom over every owner of a PC, Mac, tablet, or smartphone, but us having all the insights is not enough. While studying threats, keeping an eye on where they appear, and adapting our programs accordingly makes sure we keep our users as safe as possible, it’s still complicated to explain to the rest of the world why being protected is that important.

Sure, one reads about the newest threats, but only other people are affected by them, right? Especially big companies or governmental institutions seem to be the targets, so why bother at all. And that is where people are wrong. While the media most often talks about high profile cases, everyone else is at risk just as well! Every day there are millions of threats which have only one goal, namely to infect your devices. Be it your smartphone, laptop, Mac or PC – each and every one of them is at risk. Just think about the latest iOS and OS X exploits or the different ways cyber criminals try to gain control over what’s on your computer.

In order to make our point we decided to share our insights with you in form of an interactive map. Our Avira Threats Landscape allows you to not only see which countries are the top targeted ones but also which threats are popping up the most and how many threats were detected in your country. Take a look at it, you won’t regret it. And when you see just how far reaching and widespread those threats are, make sure to warn your family and friends as well.  The most important thing though: Stay protected!

Source : blog.avira.com

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Give your PC some superpowers By Using Avira Antivirus

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So now that I got this out of the way, here are two important observations by Captain Obvious:

1: This blog post is about shameless self-promotion.

2: You’ll be safer (and perhaps mildly amused) after having read it.

So here’s the newsflash: we’ve just launched a superhero campaign that’ll unleash your PC’s superpowers: www.avira.com/en/try-superpowers

The campaign offers our free Antivirus software, as well as free trials to premium software. Take a look at the short descriptions for your PC’s new superpowers:

Strength

Wield superior PC protection, forged deep within the A.V.I.R.A. labs. The process of forging summons otherworldly code, to withstand attacks from any breed of alien forces

Speed

Be one with an accurate, effective weapon – able to navigate and propel you with supersonic speed through cyberspace. Your PC will be faster, your boot up time—shorter, your streaming—smoother, your PC—cleaner and you’ll even free up space on your hard drive.

Stability

Control and stabilize your PC’s elements, with a driver updater tool that’s forged from the remnants of a star. Your hardware will run smoother, your gaming will be faster and it will help prevent system freezes and crashes.

And of course, the page gives you the option at the bottom to share it with your friends and family – just in case you don’t begrudge them your new-found superpowers.

Source : blog.avira.com

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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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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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