Category Archives: AVG


AVG Launches Powerful New Security and Tune-up Products for 2017

Avast & AVG Technologies combine together to power the latest in flagship security and tune-up products to tackle ransomware, hackers and data thieves, while keeping PCs fast and clean.


Prague, Czech Republic, January 10, 2017 – Avast Software, the leader in digital security products for consumers and businesses, today announced the release of the 2017 editions of AVG’s flagship products, AVG AntiVirus FREE, AVG Internet Security and AVG TuneUp. Released less than 120 days after Avast’s acquisition of AVG, these new products combine the best of both Avast’s and AVG’s technology to deliver unrivalled, family-friendly, security protection together with performance enhancements for customers’ PCs, and a clean, simple look and feel.

People using the AVG AntiVirus FREE and AVG Internet Security products will now gain real-time protection against ‘zero-second’ malware thanks to CyberCapture, the company’s proprietary, cloud-based smart file scanner. The latest versions protect users from viruses and malware including ransomware, prevent hacking, secure web and email activities, and ensure that private data stays private. The new user interface makes it very easy to install, navigate and manage all from one place.

A free performance scan using AVG TuneUp has been integrated into the security products to help customers reduce data clutter and keep their PC running smoothly. The full AVG TuneUp product is enhanced with a completely new Software Updater tool which automatically checks and installs the latest updates for the most popular and critical PC applications to eliminate vulnerabilities, fix bugs and add new features.

  • AVG AntiVirus FREE: the rapid increase in the quantity and impact of cyber threats today means protecting every PC is more important than ever before, and free users now benefit from:
    • Computer Protection: real-time protection that updates people’s security automatically and keeps their computers free of viruses, spyware, ransomware, rootkits, Trojans, and other nasty malware. Using advanced artificial intelligence and real-time analysis, it stops even the newest threats from reaching users.
    • Web & Email Protection: blocks unsafe links, downloads, and email attachments.
    • Pushed Priority Updates: ensures immediate protection and was previously only available in the paid edition.
    • New Passive Mode: allows people to personalize their security by allowing them to run two protection products together on their PC.
    • New Online Shield: scans for dangerous websites, links and downloads to keep users safe while they visit their favorite websites.


  • AVG Internet Security: for ironclad protection, users can upgrade to AVG Internet Security which additionally stops hackers, protects private data and secures payments.
    • Hacker Protection: Prevents cybercriminals from accessing users’ private files, photos, and passwords.
    • Private Data Protection: Allows users to encrypt and hide their most private photos and files, or permanently shred unwanted material.
    • Payment Protection: Ideal for browsing, shopping, or bank protection. It blocks spam and scams, and helps people avoid fake copycat websites to prevent them from accidentally giving passwords or credit card numbers to the bad guy. Uses Avast Secure DNS to protect online payments made, includes Anti-Spam feature.
    • New Secure DNS feature: verifies a website’s IP address using secure DNS servers to ensure the user is not being redirected to fake websites when shopping or banking online, therefore protecting people against fraud, scams and phishing attacks.


  • AVG TuneUp: users can enjoy a range of new and improved features:
    • Automatic Software Updater: AVG TuneUp builds on its core strengths of clearing out unnecessary files and improving PC performance using patented technologies to update most used applications, like Skype, Adobe reader, Flash and Chrome, automatically and silently in the background. AVG customers can choose to rely on the automatic updates, or perform manual checks as desired.
    • Sleep Mode: AVG TuneUp’s patented enhanced Sleep Mode technology improves speed by putting unused applications to ‘sleep’ and only running the necessary ones. This reduces battery and network drain to a minimum so PCs perform like they are just out of the box.

Vince Steckler, Chief Executive Officer at Avast, said, “The combination of AVG and Avast threat detection and analysis capabilities gives us unparalleled insight into cybercrime trends. We tracked, for example, that ransomware alone increased by over 105% between 2015 and 2016 and, based on our data, predict that this is only going to soar. Consumer awareness of security exploits is also at its height given the many ransomware and hacking incidents reported last year. In an age where we are all connecting more of the time, security is becoming a conscious decision and we encourage people to pick the products that are right for their particular needs.”

Download AVG AntiVirus Free, AVG Internet Security and AVG TuneUp at

About Avast

Avast Software (, the global leader in digital security products for consumers and businesses, protects over 400 million people online. Avast offers products under the Avast and AVG brands, that protect people from threats on the internet with one of the most advanced threat detection networks in the world. Avast digital security products for Mobile, PC or Mac are top-ranked and certified by VB100, AV-Comparatives, AV-Test, OPSWAT, ICSA Labs, West Coast Labs and others. Avast is backed by leading global private equity firms CVC Capital Partners and Summit Partners.


Beta Test the New AVG 2017!

There are very few opportunities in life where you have the opportunity to be among the first to try something, but with AVG 2017 we are giving you that opportunity.

When I read news stories and see a new car concept is being tested or a movie idea tested on an audience I want to put myself in the group that excitedly goes where few have been before. Taking the opportunity to be part of the early adopter group that tests and helps shape a product or service for the masses.

If being first excites you then look no further and download the beta version of AVG’s 2017 product. Experience the new look user interface and the new features that are the result of the two large security companies combining their technology to bring you and exciting new product to keep you secure online.

There are many new features to test. Go now and download the new version, step where no one has stepped before and run the very latest AVG 2017 product. I’ll give you a hint on what’s new and where to start checking, real-time updates, CyberCapture and passive mode are to name but a few of the new features that need to be explored.

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We have one ask of you though, share the experience with us and let us know what you think through our beta test forum, so we can make sure when we are ready to release it delivers the best experience.

Six security lessons for small business from 2016

Historians will look back at 2016 as the year that cybersecurity moved from being an important issue to a critical one on both sides of the Atlantic. In the United States, the two main presidential candidates traded insults over email security and claims that Russian hackers were trying to influence the election’s outcome by leaking stolen data.

Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton was under fire for allegedly using a private email server for classified documents while working as Secretary of State. Republican candidate Donald Trump was accused of encouraging foreign powers to hack his rival and publish whatever incriminating or embarrassing information they could find. But both candidates agreed that cyber security was a vital issue of national security.

In Britain, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, unveiled a new £1.9billion cybersecurity strategy to ensure the country could “retaliate in kind” against any digital attacks on national infrastructure like the electricity grid or air traffic control systems. But behind the politics, what were the real security lessons of 2016?

  1. The Internet of Things is vulnerable

An attack on Dyn, one of the companies behind the infrastructure of the internet, in early October revealed how the new generation of connected devices has created fresh opportunities for hackers. Major websites – including Netflix, Twitter, Spotify and Amazon – all came under attack. Security analysts revealed that compromised Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as digital cameras and video recorders had been the entry point for hackers. A basic security vulnerability with these devices – factory-default security settings – had allowed hackers to disrupt the internet infrastructure.

The message for manufacturers, consumers and businesses was self-evident: The Internet of Things needs an urgent security upgrade.

  1. Rise and rise of ransomware

You can trace the early origins of ransomware to the days of pop-up bogus “official messages” warning that your computer has been infected, or that you’d been caught doing something illegal. Today, the tactic has evolved into attempts to lock businesses out of their own network, critical files or services until money is handed over. What has made 2016 different is a step-change in the scale of the problem.

The analyst firm Gartner reported $209 million was extracted through ransomware attacks in the first three months of 2016, compared to $24 million that was extracted from US businesses in 2015. Businesses, hospitals and universities have all been targets and an increasing number of victims are paying up to regain control of their network or vital files. A recent survey also revealed that 1 in 3 businesses were clueless about ransomware: either not knowing what it was at all, or misunderstanding what it was.

The lesson for business is clear: understand what it is and its possible impact on your business, and have a plan in place that outlines what to do if a ransomware attack happens.

  1. Rise of encryption

One of the tech stories of the year was the clash between Apple and the FBI over access to data in the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino bombers. The public debate about privacy and security that followed saw the instant messenger (IM) service WhatsApp decide to add end-to-end encryption to users’ messages.

In theory, the move meant that no-one apart from the sender and intended recipient can read messages – not even WhatsApp itself. The move put pressure on other IMs, email services and social channels to reassure users that messages were snoop-proof and encrypted. The need to use encryption to secure your data has never been stronger. Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated and as they do so we need to step up and take proactive steps to stay ahead of them.

There was a two-fold lesson for businesses: firstly, to understand how data was being shared inside and outside their organization; secondly, to consider encrypting the most sensitive files.

  1. Reinvention of the log-in

The password isn’t quite dead yet, but 2016 saw a broad effort to push users towards more secure log-in procedures. Both Google and Apple rolled-out improvements to multi-factor verification and authorization –using multiple devices or security steps to approve a key action or transaction.

A growing number of banks and financial institutions began testing biometric verification – fingerprint and voice recognition – seeing it as an important way to reduce fraud. The lesson of the year was that the days of logging in with just a username and password are coming into an end.

Businesses need to think of how they can create and encourage employees and customers to use more secure pathways to access account, order or profile information.

  1. The threat from inside

Reports about cybersecurity tend to be dominated by headlines about hackers, whether individuals, criminal gangs or countries testing other nations’ cyber defences. Looking back at some of the biggest security breaches of 2016 you’ll find a common factor: the loss of data involved someone from inside the business.

In some cases, the leak started with the loss or theft of a company laptop, memory stick or mobile phone. In others, employees shared data they shouldn’t have, either accidentally or by deliberately trying to sell confidential information. According to the Ponemon Institute, the cost to businesses of clearing up data leaks is going up year after year.

The lesson for businesses is to ensure that staff understand security risks, have regular training, and that procedures are in place to cut the chance of confidential data leaking out. Restricting access to only those employees that need it also helps businesses reduce the risk of loss of data and reputation.

  1. No-one is immune

2016 was the year that saw millions of user account details stolen from some of the best-known tech brands – Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Twitter – go up for sale on the Dark Web. It was also the year that the presidential campaign put the spotlight on government security – with a stream of leaked data and questions about unsecure email servers allegedly being used for classified information.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that big brands or big targets are the only game in town. Research by the Federation of Small Businesses in the UK in 2016 found that two out of three small firms had been victims of cybercrime in the previous two years. According to the FSB, the financial costs suffered by small firms from an attack are “disproportionately bigger” than larger firms.

One of the biggest lessons to take from the year is that no business is immune from cyber threats – and the risk to business survival is higher the smaller the company is.

Senior Security Evangelist, Tony Anscombe of AVG Business said: “Cybersecurity has had a high political and media profile this year, thanks to the US presidential elections. But businesses shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that the issue is all about nations waging digital warfare or politicians being hacked. The key lessons of the year are about the rise in ransomware, and the new attack vectors that are being created for hackers by the increasing number of connected devices, often with poor built-in security. Business owners need to be thinking harder than ever about internal security, training and procedures, the tools and tech they are bringing in to their organisation, as well as the security they deploy across their network.”

Celebrate Computer Security Day by getting the best AVG protection for all your devices – FREE!

Yup, that’s right. In honor of Computer Security Day, we are partnering with Softonic to give away ten 1-year subscriptions to AVG’s best antivirus protection: AVG Internet Security – Unlimited.


With it you can protect all your Windows, Mac, and Android devices for yourself and everyone in your family – no matter how many you have.

Entering to win is simple

  1. Like Softonic’s Facebook page
  2. Leave a comment on this post telling us how you keep your devices safe
  3. Share this picture

Easy, right? You have until 23:59 (GMT) on Wednesday, December 7, 2016, to enter. Once the competition closes, we’ll select 10 winners at random from all qualifying entries and notify them via Facebook direct message, then announce them on Facebook the following week. If you’re one of the lucky winners, go to this page to activate your gift license.

And whether you win or not, here are

3 simple things you can do to stay safe online

  1. Cover your bases. From keeping all your applications up-to-date to deleting sensitive files, all the must-dos are in one place, a checklist we’ve put together for you to use to keep yourself – and your family – safe.
  2. Use strong passwords. Don’t know how? No worries! Here’s a foolproof way to make passwords that are super-simple but super-strong.
  3. Run a strong antivirus. You’ll need more than just a virus detector to stay safe these days – something that really beefs up your PC’s firewall, encrypts and password-protects private files, and updates in real time to keep you safe against even the latest threats.

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Good thing AVG Internet Security – Unlimited ticks all those boxes. But even if you don’t win the contest, you can try it for free right now!


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Full terms and conditions.

Seven security predictions for small business in 2017

Digital life for businesses started out with dumb screens, keyboards and the days of the mainframe. This gave way to a simple set-up: a few PCs connected to a server with staff tapping away on keyboards at their desks. Then came laptops, mobiles, tablets and the era of computing on the move.

Next, cloud computing took digital storage and services and put them wherever you and your team needed to work. But with each evolutionary step came new security threats. And in 2017 we’ll see an ever-broadening range of connected devices becoming new “attack vectors”.

Hackers will exploit new methods to get into networks and find new ways to cause business disruption.

Here are seven emerging threats to watch out for next year:

  1. Biometric hacks

From Apple’s TouchID fingerprint scanning to banks trialing voice or retinal recognition, biometric security has been growing fast in recent years. The traditional log in to an account via username and password is being replaced by more sophisticated technologies.

But is it any more secure? Hackers and security experts have used photographs to beat biometric checks, including claims last year that a high resolution image of an eye could be used to hack retinal scans. Researchers have shown how high definition video of someone’s face, complete with a couple of blinks, is enough to break in to some devices.

Hackers have even shown that impersonation can crack voice recognition. It can be bypassed simply by grabbing a short recording of someone’s voice, either by making a spam call or stealing a voicemail message, so expect to see more biometric hack stories in 2017.

  1. Connected car hacking

Security researchers made headlines in 2015 when they hacked a driverless Jeep and drove it off the road. Since then trials of driverless cars and autonomous systems – like Tesla’s autopilot mode – have clocked up millions of road miles.

We’re still a few years away from seeing truly autonomous cars for sale on garage forecourts, but the threat of cyber-sabotage was enough to prompt the FBI to warn in 2016 that owners of connected cars would need to ensure software was secure and up-to-date. As more cities and States in the US open up to driverless trials, and more road tests get under way in the UK, there is sure to be more news about car hacking next year.

  1. Internet of Things hacks

A major botnet attack on Dyn, one of the companies behind the infrastructure of the internet, in late 2016 revealed the vulnerability of the Internet of Things. The attack – which caused disruption for major websites like Netflix, Twitter, Spotify and Amazon – started with hackers exploiting factory-default security settings in hacked digital cameras and video recorders. As more and more previously inert, unconnected devices connect to the internet – from fridges, to toys and thermostats – expect news of more Internet of Things-related hacks.

  1. Mobile hacks

2016 will be remembered as the year that mobile web browsing overtook desktop browsing for the first time. Hand in hand with mobile browsing comes mobile malware and an ever-rising tide of malicious software designed specifically to target Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android mobile operating systems.

Through 2016 Google stepped up its efforts to clear malicious apps from the Google Play store, while Apple quickly released security patches for iPhones after the discovery of the “Pegasus” malware package that could read users messages or steal contact information. As mobile usage grows, there’ll be more news than ever of mobile malware.

  1. Virtual reality hacks

Virtual reality headsets generated the biggest tech buzz of 2016. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gave a sneak look at what Oculus Rift has in store in the future; while Google unveiled its new Daydream headset. But as VR grows, expect to hear more about the location and personal data being collected by devices. As more and more apps are developed for VR tech, it would be no surprise to soon hear about the first hacks of VR in-game payment systems.

  1. Contractors under attack

But it’s not just devices that are vulnerable: it’s people. It’s become a fact of digital life that hackers will look for easy routes into their targets. So, if they want to hack a big business … they look at its contractors.These are often smaller businesses with more limited security systems, processes and resources. There’ll be more news in 2017 of major hacks that originate with small businesses in the supply chain – and there’ll be a growing expectation on small firms to step up their security if they want to win big contracts.

  1. Cloud under attack

A list of the “treacherous 12” vulnerabilities of cloud computing was unveiled at a major conference in 2016. These ranged from hacked APIs and broken authentication to denial of service (DoS) attacks.  But the benefits to business of being able to access data wherever they are – and cut the cost of IT infrastructure by using cloud services – make it an attractive proposition that’s unlikely to lose its appeal any time soon.

But as more businesses adopt cloud storage and services, do not be surprised to read more reports of businesses being locked out, hacked or losing data. It’s a story that’s not going to go away.

Tony Anscombe, Senior Security Evangelist, AVG Business suggests what may be in store for the New Year, “Overall, I think the big story of 2017 is going to be about the broadening range of tactics, channels and platforms that hackers try to exploit to steal data and extort money from businesses. The buzz around new tech – particularly IoT devices – needs to be tempered with serious questions about security.”

“Manufacturers are racing to get products to market and security is being left behind… businesses of all shapes and sizes need to be careful about what new tech they adopt and how they use it. They also need to bridge their knowledge gaps, 1 in 3 businesses we recently surveyed were clueless about ransomware for instance. Small businesses, in particular, need to be more aware of how their data and systems can be hacked and exploited

The 24-hour working day: SMBs and our changing world of work infographic

An understanding of the evolving work environment and the roles of small and medium-sized businesses through a comparative analysis of the technological differences between the US and UK SMB world.

Small and medium-sized businesses play a huge part in western economies. AVG Business explores SMBs’ roles in these economies as well as their effects on owners. The infographic also looks at how the world of work has changed over the years, comparing US and UK SMBs as new technologies are increasingly used in marketing and new business.

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AVG TuneUp’s New Deep Sleep Mode Tackles Slow PCs

Are you tired of a sluggish PC? The new release of AVG PC TuneUp puts speed, battery & network draining programs to sleep to give you that extra performance boost.

It puts unused programs into a smart sleep mode that reduces their draining impact on PC performance, battery life, network and storage to nearly zero. The update also includes a revamped Disk Cleaner which now detects and removes even more leftover and cache files than before.

Get the latest version right here: Click to Download AVG TuneUp with new Sleep mode

Even in 2016, PCs face one stark reality: the more you use them and the more you install on them, the slower they become. That’s because a lot of programs remain active, even when they’re not being used.

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Enhanced Sleep Mode – a quick guide

The new version of AVG TuneUp comes with a significantly improved Sleep Mode, which stops inactive programs from draining your PC, giving you back that fresh out-of-the-box performance.

We have combined our Startup Manager feature – which detects items that automatically run when you turn your computer on – with what we used to call Program Deactivator (now known as Sleep Mode). Sleep Mode now shows a single list of all the applications that are draining your PC’s performance, giving you smarter detection across even more programs.

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The list shows which applications are draining the most power and with one click, you can select the ones you want to put to sleep. You also have the option to put apps on an ‘Ignore’ list, which is useful for those programs you really want to keep running in the background, such as remote assistance tools or power management apps for laptops. Turning off all other programs running in the background will reduce performance and battery draining; and whenever you need a certain program, AVG TuneUp will turn it back on again as soon as you access it.

The newly enhanced Sleep Mode isn’t the only improvement we’ve made to AVG TuneUp.

Enhanced Disk Cleaner – a quick guide

Most of us will have experienced an issue with disk space. This is often due to applications piling up their leftover cache data, log files, crash reports etc. on your disk. We’ve catered to the latest applications and Windows features to help you to get rid of even more digital junk files on your machine. Here’s what we added to our Enhanced Disk Cleaner:

  • Added cleaning for new Microsoft Office versions
  • Cleans wasteful Windows Defender leftover files
  • Clears the Windows 10 settings sync cache
  • Clears the Windows font cache
  • Clears the Windows Search cache
  • Clears the SnagIt thumbnail cache
  • Removes log files from Evernote
  • Removes list of recent files from MPC-HC (Media Player Classic)
  • Removes list of recent files from Notepad++
  • …and much more!


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Our Browser Cleaner also removes even more browsing caches, database leftover files, user caches and traces from Windows 10 Edge, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
…plus a ton of fixes and improvements!

So, what else is new? We’ve looked hard at all your feedback and polished things up. For example, our Live Optimization now smoothly handles whitelisting an application you don’t want de-prioritized. In addition, we’ve revamped our notification system to show you more meaningful messages about our features (such as Program Optimizer, Economy Mode) when you need them.

To check out your new features, launch your AVG TuneUp (it should auto-update) or download AVG TuneUp here.

Why AVG is the #1 AntiVirus & Security Product for Staying Safe While Online Dating

In an increasingly interconnected community where more relationships are formed through online connections, people not only need a way to safeguard their information, but to protect themselves from cyber threats.


Short Version: Since 1991, AVG products, which are now part of Avast, have been one of the most popular providers of online security software, offering a free-to-download antivirus product for Windows, Mac, and Android devices. For those wanting additional features and functionality, the subscription option, AVG Internet Security, automatically scans your system and gets rid of any harmful malware and viruses while keeping your security up to date against the latest threats. For online daters, that means instant peace of mind. While you browse through a dating site, the HMA! Pro VPN application will automatically encrypt sensitive information, hide your location, and keep you safe online. You can maintain your privacy on a dating site by using AVG Internet Security, the #1 resource for security software.

Tony Anscombe, AVG Product Evangelist, has made online security his life’s work. For over two decades, his job has been to speak directly to consumers and raise awareness about cyber-security issues by writing blog posts and articles and giving lectures around the world.

Photo of Tony Anscombe, Senior Security Evangelist at AVG

A while back, in London, he gave a memorable presentation to a group concerned about privacy online. Before the talk, he asked their permission to do some digging and see what he could pull up about an attendee’s online footprint — using just her name.

Even those who consider themselves very private often leave a trail. Someone who knows what they’re doing (like Tony) can follow old accounts and access data that users may not want to be public knowledge.

In the case of one woman, he was able to find old dating profiles where many personal details lay hidden. He’d never met her, but suddenly he was an expert on her.

As Tony rattled off her favorite song, favorite car, and where she vacationed last year, she sat dumbfounded. She hadn’t imagined so much information existed about her online. “That’s remarkable,” she said.

When you enter the world of online dating, you don’t want to reveal too much information to the wrong people. The AVG product line, one of most popular brands of security software, provides the best options to keep you safe while flirting over the web. Since 1991, this tech-savvy team has backed up singles online with state-of-the-art protection from phishing, spamming, malware, viruses, and other threats to personal information.

“We believe everybody has a right to a certain level of protection,” Tony said. “If somebody’s got a laptop or a phone today, there are so many cyber threats that it’s essential they have a security product to protect them from bad guys.”


AVG’s Free Online Security Protects You on Any Device


AVG security products provide protection, performance, and privacy for people, and you can get a great product immediately at no cost. If you want more features, you can also sign up for the free 30-day trial of AVG Internet Security to experience enhanced firewall, disk cleaner, automatic updates, and other functions that keep all your devices running smoothly.

Whether you’re a fan of desktop dating using your Mac computer or you like to date on the go with your Android phone, AVG Internet Security protects consumers from the latest threats ranging from malware to email spam.

Anyone can be hacked, even Mark Zuckerberg, if proper measures of protection aren’t in place. To keep your dating profile as safe as possible, Avast also offers proactive solutions like the HMA! Pro VPN application, which encrypts your Internet connection and hides your location to keep you and your information safe. In the unlikely event you are hacked, its Remote Virus Removal service can get rid of any viruses or malware on your computer and restore your devices.

Screenshot of AVG's antivirus product page

As his family’s resident IT guy, Tony said he uses AVG Internet Security to manage everyone’s software, sometimes running a scan for his son or updating the software for his parents. “I’ve become their remote IT manager, and I can do all that from my phone,” he said. “There’s a whole host of protection products to choose from.”

The company sees 1 billion malware attacks per month, blocks more than 500 million malicious URLs per month, and blocks around 50 million phishing attacks per month. When it comes to protecting people on their mobiles, in 2010, the AVG AntiVirus for Android app was the first antivirus app available on Google Play to surpass 100 million downloads. Free for the first 30 days, the AVG app comes with a device lock, app backup, and other features to protect mobile users.

My favorite is the Camera Trap, which takes a picture of anyone snooping on your phone or tablet. If a nosy partner tries and fails to unlock your device, it’ll snap a photo and email it to you. Caught red-handed!

A Security Expert Gives 4 Safety Tips to Online Daters

With 20 years of background working as a technician and consumer advocate, Tony has plenty of expertise regarding how to date safely on the web. He takes his security-conscious perspective everywhere he goes.

Sitting at the airport during our phone interview, he looks around and sees people on their phones, most likely using public WiFi to surf online. Unless it’s encrypted, he told us, that traffic can easily be turned into public information.


Screenshot of AVG AntiVirus Free

“Especially when you’re dating, you’re sending lots of personal contact information back and forth,” he said. “All of that is flowing in free texts. It’s like sending a love letter via postcard. Everyone along the delivery train is probably going to read it.”

To help you secure your information, Tony shared four essential tips for safely creating an online dating profile.

1. Research Your Electronic Footprint Beforehand

Tony is happily married but tells singles if he were online dating, his first step would be “to actually go out on the Internet and find out what’s out there about me already.”

This is as easy as Googling your name or your username. You’ll see what someone searching for you will find — hopefully, nothing too embarrassing — and you can make sure your virtual identity appears the way you want it. Goodbye, embarrassing LiveJournal profile from 2005.

You can also set up Google Alerts to let you know automatically if any new information about you enters the public domain. That way no one can share any details about you without your knowledge.

2. Create a Separate Email Account With a Unique Password

When you actually set up your dating account, you should have an escape route mapped out, just in case. That means creating a profile that is totally separate from your other online identities: new email account, new username, and new password.

You don’t want people to be able to cross-reference your dating profile with social media accounts. A burner email account will lead any potential stalkers to a dead end, with no way to find your more permanent profiles.

“If everything doesn’t work out on the dating site,” Tony said, “you can kill your existence.”

3. Make Sure Your Pictures Don’t Reveal Your Location

You may not intend to broadcast your location when you post a picture, but for someone who knows where to look, that could be exactly what happens.

Thanks to geo-tagging, when you send your potential match a quick selfie, you could also be sending your exact whereabouts.

“A lot of Internet safety is as much about education and the person behaving responsibly as it is about the technology. Our technology is there as a line of defense to support your good behavior.” — Tony Anscombe, AVG Product Evangelist

“You need to start thinking about if you’re advertising your location,” Tony explained. “If you’re sending a picture in its raw format, and you have your location setting turned on on your camera, your GPS coordinates are attached to it.”

If you’re not ready to share your home address with someone you met online, be sure to extract that data from any media you send.

4. Pay With a Burner Credit Card

“I would also recommend somebody get a burner credit card to pay for a dating profile,” Tony said. “That way it keeps people away from your permanent life.”

You can pick up a prepaid card at the supermarket or buy a virtual visa online. However you go about it, the point is keeping your primary credit card safe from hacking. This way, if the company itself is hacked into — as AshleyMadison was in 2015 — your payment information won’t be compromised.

“Make sure, whatever you’re doing, you’re using different, complex passwords,” he added. “You don’t want to be the next victim of a data breach.”

The Company Continues Growing & Updating Their Safeguards

In 1991, AVG was a small company based out of the Czech Republic. Their security products soon generated high demand, and the company grew to have hundreds of millions of users, and to be known as one of the most reliable products on the market.

By 1998, they were selling products in Europe and the U.S., and in October they were acquired by Avast, an industry-leading maker of the most trusted security software in the world.

Photo of the AVG logo

Because of AVG’s relentless support, singles signing up on a dating site don’t need to feel vulnerable to online scammers or hackers anymore. Daters have the power to keep themselves safe from cyber threats by downloading the AVG software or apps.

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Crypt888 Ransomware Has Facelift as It Seeks Fresh Victims

We’ve been following the slow evolution of an interesting strain of ransomware we have named ‘Crypt888’, which is unlike other strains that have reported on over the past few months.


Crypt888 has been focused on experimenting with user interfaces rather than improving its code, serving up ransom instructions in a variety of languages including Italian and, most recently, Czech.

In June 2016, AVG’s Virus Lab released six free decryptors for the recent strains of ransomware. We continue to monitor the situation, ready to update the tools as the ransomware evolved.

Our research uncovered one strain, Crypt888, behaving differently to the others. Instead of improving the code, the malware authors were focused on experimenting with the user interfaces such as changing the language of the ransom message.

This means that the underlying Autolt script remains the same in the previous versions … but oddly, the ransom instructions are served up in the Czech language only in the latest version.

This is how we identified and tracked the evolution of Crypt888’s.

Tracking a threat

Crypt888, also known as MicroCop and Mircop, is one of the many ransomware strains discovered in 2016 and its evolution has been very specific. After analyzing various samples, we found that the wallpaper containing ransom instructions is the only part of Crypto888 that has changed.

The underlying AutoIt script has remained more or less the same in all the known versions of this strain. So too has the encryption algorithm, encryption key, file names, and various other components, which is not so usual. While this means our decryptor can rescue your encrypted files, it means that the way in which Crypt888 presents itself keeps changing. In the latest version, the instructions appear in Czech.

Changing the language in which the ransom message is delivered has been a hallmark of this particular threat. We tracked several evolutions of Crypt888 from its first appearance in June this year.

  • The ‘Guy Fawkes’ version, June 22, 2016: first known version of this ransomware
  • The ‘Business Card’ version, July 8, 2016: this version appears and looks like a test version as there are no payment instructions
  • The ‘Italian’ version, July 29, 2016: this version had several new features and the errors in the language suggest machine translation
  • The ‘Czech’ version, September 21, 2016: the latest variety appears in yet another language, again with errors suggesting the author is not a native speaker

The first encounter

The first known version of Crypt888 appeared as black wallpaper with the image of a Guy Fawkes mask, a notorious symbol usually associated with Anonymous. The message accused the victim of stealing 48.48 Bitcoins ($30,000) from ‘the wrong people’ and requesting its return.

The threat intimated there would be repercussions but there were no details about how to comply with repayment or how the decryption process would work after payment was made. This is probably the reason why we found only one transaction to the provided bitcoin address so far.

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Testing, testing, 1 – 2 – 3

A few weeks later, we identified a second version. This time, the wallpaper with the story and related accusations were gone. In fact, there were no payment instructions at all and instead, the wallpaper contained the “business card” (as seen in this video).

We have no clear explanation why this particular image has been used but we think it was probably a test version based on a fact that there were no instructions or payment addresses provided to victims.

Just in case, however, we released a free Crypt888 decryption tool, which was able to recover files encrypted by both of this and the earlier version.

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The Italian affair

Three weeks later, we identified yet another version of Crypt888 which had multiple changes. While the AutoIt code was once again similar to the previous versions and the same algorithms used – so our decryption tool is still fully functional for this version –  the code was obfuscated.

There was a new image which contained ransom instructions in Italian, with typos and errors that suggest machine translation. In addition, this version of Crypt888 did not create the text file LEGGIMI.txt, which should contain the payment instructions. This means victims would find themselves left with encrypted files and no instructions as to how to recover them.

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Malware researcher S!Ri identified this latest version one month after the Italian version. We investigated further and found its code is no longer obfuscated, and essentially, it’s the same as the first two versions with the wallpaper being the only notable difference.

These ransom instructions this time appear in Czech and are a departure from previous versions in terms of content. Firstly, the ransomware claims that it is a ‘Petya ransomware 2017’. But don’t be fooled – it is not. This is probably a maneuver to fool victims hit by Crypt888 that are trying to find a free fix online.

Petya is a much more sophisticated piece of ransomware and it is not decryptable at the moment. This is not the first time one ransomware strain has pretended to be another; we observed lesser known ones have masqueraded as a more famous one, such as TeslaCrypt, CryptoLocker, or CryptoWall on a number of occasions.

The Czech version also differs in that the ransom amount is ‘only’ 0.8 Bitcoin ($480 at the time of writing). The number reflects an apparent fixation with the digit ‘8’ as it is heavily used across the program: in the ransom amounts, the configuration of the encryption algorithm, the created file names, etc. That’s why we chose the name Crypt888 when we identified it.

Another change is that victims are threatened with a five-day deadline to pay, and two email addresses are provided for the victim to send proof of payment (and to receive the decryption tool, allegedly) yet no penalties are mentioned if the deadline is missed.

Finally, the authors hint in the text about the ransomware’s origin with the sentence which, when translated, means “We belong to Czech/Russian Hackers”. Based on the accuracy of the available text and code quality, it is hard to believe those claims, as it contains many typos, incorrect word order, odd mixtures of text with and without Czech diacritics, and other errors. More likely, the text was created by machine translation, like the Italian version.

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At the time of writing, we have not found any further language variants of this ransomware and can reassure people that our free decryption tool will work for all the versions described here.

We suspect the authors of Crypt888 are still producing new versions of their ransomware. Their technique is in contrast to authors of other ransomware families in that they focus primarily on changing graphics and preparing fake stories rather than on improving their code. We are continuing to monitor for any new variants that will make it necessary to adapt our decryption tool to ensure victims have a means to mitigate a Crypt888 attack.

Avast and AVG combine to better protect your business

We are now one company . . . whether you use an AVG or an Avast product, we will continue to offer and support both AVG and Avast branded products.


In July, we announced that we signed an agreement to acquire AVG. We have now acquired a majority stake in the company, completing the initial tender offer for all of the outstanding ordinary shares of  AVG Technologies. That means we will operate as a single company as of Monday, October 3, 2016 and can officially welcome AVG business users to Avast!  I have been leading Avast’s SMB business since 2015, and will drive the integration of the two company’s business divisions. With an existing SMB business and reseller base that was many times larger than Avast, we will be integrating Avast’s program into the AVG business program.

The acquisition will overnight vault Avast into a leadership position in the SMB security market. Our gain will also be your gain.  By combining the strengths of Avast and AVG under one company, you can now look forward to a stronger threat detection network powered by the largest install base (by far) of any competitor. The new Avast now protects more than 400 million mobile and PC users worldwide, each of which acts as a sensor. Whenever one of these sensors encounters a new threat, the threat is sent to our Threat Labs for analysis and a detection is created to protect the rest of our network. This means your business is already being better protected from the latest threats.

Avast will continue to offer and support both the AVG and Avast branded products for the foreseeable future (more details about this can be found here). We want our customers to be reassured that whether you use an AVG product or an Avast product, we will continue to have experts support you. We are nothing without our customers and partners like you, who helped us get to where we are today.

We are thrilled about what the future will bring and are looking forward to finding new ways to add value for you, our customers. We are looking forward to the innovative products this acquisition will produce and the momentum it will create in the market.



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