Tag Archives: avast! Mobile Security

Can my mobile phone be attacked by malware?

Mobile malware is a growing threat.

Banking, shopping, email. We do things on our phones that used to only be done on our desktop PC. Hackers know valuable data is stored on people’s phones, and they increasingly find new ways to attack mobile users.


These devices have information on them that is valuable to hackers

The most common mobile threats are adware packaged as fun gaming apps that provide little value and spams users with ads. SMS attacks are malware which sends unauthorized premium SMS or makes premium-service phone calls. This results in a large monthly bill for the user and a significant source of revenue for cybercrooks.

The most aggressive malware is mobile ransomware. Simplocker was the first Android ransomware to encrypt user files, and now there are thousands of variations that make it nearly impossible to recover the encrypted data on a smartphone.

Privacy is an issue with vulnerabilities such as Certifi-gate and Stagefright, both of which can be exploited to spy on users. Certifi-gate put approximately 50 percent of Android users at risk, and Stagefright made nearly 1 billion Android devices vulnerable to spyware.

Avast protects mobile devices from malware

Avast Mobile Security for Android scans mobile devices and secures them against infected files, phishing, malware, and spyware.  The app provides people with the most advanced mobile malware protection available, now even faster with Avast’s leading cloud scanning engine. Install Avast Mobile Security for free!

Avast protects from unsecure Wi-Fi networks

Because cybercrooks take advantage of unsecure routers and Wi-Fi hotspots, we added Wi-Fi Security which notifies the user when connecting to an unsecure router. The user quickly identifies the security level of Wi-Fi hotspots and can evaluate the risks and decide whether to disconnect or use a VPN instead.

Avast protects user privacy

Privacy concerns range from permission-hungry apps to nosy children. Avast Mobile Security’s Privacy Advisor informs the user about what data apps have access to and ad networks included within apps. To defend their personal data against prying eyes, users can now lock an unlimited number of apps on their device using the App Locking feature.

Avast Mobile Security is available for free in the Google Play Store.

Visit Avast at Mobile World Congress

If you are attending Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, February 22 – 25, please visit Avast to see the app in hall 8.1, booth H65.

Avast Mobile Security: Now at your fingertips, 100% free of charge

In addition to the launch of the latest and greatest version of Avast Mobile Security, we’ve also got a few more important announcements about the app. The major news is this: we’re unlocking Avast Mobile Premium for every user!

Information for current premium users

Have you subscribed to the premium version of Avast Mobile Security or Avast Anti-Theft? We have great news for you. Not only will you never have to pay for those premium features again, but we’re also transferring your license over to Avast SecureLine VPN, which protects you from network spies. Read more on our FAQ for subscribers.

News for free users

Our FAQ page provides more detailed information on how to upgrade older versions of both Avast Mobile Security and Avast Anti-Theft to complimentary premium versions.

Why download the new Avast Mobile Security?

If you haven’t already done so, now’s the time to download Avast Mobile Security. We’ve rewritten the app from scratch to bring you a simple, intuitive app that is driven by the world’s most trusted antivirus engine. Avast Mobile Security 5.0 delivers a faster performance and virus scan while consuming less of your device’s battery and resources.


  The completely free, redesigned Avast Mobile Security for Android includes the following features:

  • Leading Mobile Malware Protection: Avast Mobile Security provides users with the most advanced mobile malware protections available.
  • App Permissions: Informs the user about data that apps have access to and ad networks included within apps.
  • Wi-Fi Security: Notifies the user when connecting to an unsecure router.
  • Unlimited App Locking: Users can password protect any and all apps on a device, providing another line of defense against prying eyes.

We’ve already told you how you can become a beta tester for Avast Mobile Security. If you have any more questions about how to become a beta tester for Avast Mobile Security (or any of our other apps), check out our FAQ page.

Follow Avast on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Google+ where we keep you updated on cybersecurity news every day.

Avast 2016 protects your private information

Avast simplifies how you protect your privacy with new products for 2016.

Avast 2016 has got your back

Avast 2016 introduces new products to protect your privacy

Count the number of devices you own. If you are like most modern digital-age people, you have a smartphone, half of you own a tablet, and most all of us have a desktop or laptop computer connected through a home router.

Now think about all the private information that you have on those devices. Bank account numbers, passwords, photos, messages and emails – all of them needing some form of protection to stay out of the wrong hands.

In a survey we did this year, 69% of you told us that your biggest fear is that the wrong person would see your personal information. In fact, Americans are so scared of having their financial information get into a bad guy’s possession, that 74% said they’d rather have nude photos of themselves leaked on the Internet! The problem is that most people are not doing anything to protect their privacy, for example, 40% of Americans don’t even lock their smartphones.

“While people are rightfully concerned about privacy, there is a disconnect between that concern and the steps they take to protect themselves,” said Vince Steckler, chief executive officer of Avast. “Users have a multitude of devices and passwords to keep track of, which can be overwhelming. When users feel overwhelmed, they tend to default to unsafe practices that put their privacy at risk.”

The new Avast 2016 for PC and Mac, the redesigned Avast Mobile Security, and the new kid on the block, Avast SecureMe, will all help reduce the complex task of protecting your private, personal information.

So time to face your fear and take steps to protect yourself. Here’s some tools that Avast is launching today to help you:

Avast Mobile Security

Protect personal information on your mobile devices

You probably use your Android mobile phone more than your laptop these days. Much of your life is on your mobile devices – banking information, private messages and photos. Protect all your data with the completely redesigned Avast Mobile Security – for free!

Here’s Avast Mobile Security features I want you to know about today:

Leading Mobile Malware Protection — Yes, malware is a threat but it works differently than classic PC viruses and Trojans. We’re on top of it, with the most advanced mobile malware protections available, now even faster with Avast’s cloud-scanning engine.

Privacy Advisor – Your apps, from mobile messengers to your bank, contain information that you want to protect. Privacy Advisor informs you about what data apps have access to and the ad networks that are included in the apps.

Wi-Fi Security – It’s not called mobile for nothing. You are out-and-about all the time, connecting to who-knows-what free Wi-Fi hotspot. We notify you when you connect to an unsecure router, so you can avoid bad guy’s eavesdropping and snooping on you.

Unlimited App Locking — Nosy kids, friends, and family members can be kept out of your business because we can password protect any apps on your device, providing another line of defense against prying eyes.

Protect personal information on your computer

The designers and engineers of the world’s most trusted antivirus got together with the mission to make your life easier. Avast 2016 sports a new simplified user interface with fewer buttons. It’s compatible with Windows 10, and it notifies you of Windows updates so you can easily keep software up-to-date and patched.

But it’s these two new features that we’re most excited about today:

Avast Passwords (for PC, iOS, Android) automatically generates extremely strong passwords that you don’t have to struggle to remember! All you do is set and remember one master password to access all your passwords. One password to rule them all!

SafeZone Browser (available with all premium versions of Avast) keeps all your banking and payment sites isolated in a protected space called Pay Mode, and if you run into suspicious sites, an isolated, virtual environment called Safe Mode will automatically open, so you don’t risk the safety of your machine and data. 


Protect personal information on your iPhone and iPad

Wi-Fi Security – This is the same great feature that’s available in Avast Mobile Security. When you connect to an unsecure router you will be notified.

VPN – Avast SecureMe establishes a secure connection when you’re connected to open Wi-Fi.

Where do I get the new Avast security products?

  • Avast 2016 for PC and Mac is now available for download at www.avast.com.
  • Avast 2016’s Avast Passwords feature is now available for PC, Android and iOS, and will soon be available for Mac.
  • The new Avast Mobile Security app can be found in the Google Play Store.
  • Avast SecureMe will soon be available on the Apple App Store.


Follow Avast on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Google+ where we keep you updated on cybersecurity news every day.

Big things are in store: Become a beta tester for Avast Mobile Security!

Become one of our beta testers for Avast Mobile Security today!

Become one of our beta testers for Avast Mobile Security today!

Have you ever served as a beta tester for one of our mobile apps? The release of the latest and greatest Avast Mobile Security is right around the corner, and we want YOU to help us make our mobile security app the very best it can be.

It’s important to emphasize that the beta version of Avast Mobile Security isn’t available to everyone quite yet – the latest version of the app will make its way onto your device as soon as it’s released.

Becoming a beta tester for Avast Mobile Security now only requires three easy steps

Getting the latest news and updates about our app is easy as pie. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Visit this link.
2. Click the “BECOME A BETA TESTER” button. Avast Mobile Security will automatically update itself upon its imminent launch. You simply have to wait until the new design appears on your phone.
3. Once you receive the update, we’d love it if you could share your thoughts about the app with us in our Google+ community.

Once you’ve opted to become a tester using the link above, you’re all set to go! Thanks for becoming one of our valued beta testers.

Follow Avast on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Google+ where we keep you updated on cybersecurity news every day.

Avast Mobile Security: So much more than just another security app

With millions of applications waiting to be installed in our gadgets, you not only need to be concerned about quality, but you also need to take the proper measures in order to avoid your phone becoming infected by malware. Unfortunately, we already know that Google Play and the Windows Store aren’t immune to malware. Even the Apple Store has its bad days, so we’re not trying to scare you. These days, malware is a continuing, growing threat.

Stay protected on multiple levels with Avast Mobile Security

Avast Mobile Security will protect you while providing you with a worry-free browsing experience. Simply install the app and you‘re good to go! Here’s what you get from this multifaceted software:

  • Android protection: The free features of Avast Mobile Security ensure that your smartphone is safe from online threats and malware.
  • Incoming SMS filtration: You are allowed to block specific numbers for calls and SMS.
  • Stolen/lost device tracking: The software features anti-theft elements that provide you with remote options to track your phone location and also recover the same.
  • Warning alarms: In case you visit a website that malware infected, the software will alarm you by a warning sign or sound using its Web Shield.
  • Wi-Fi and network data usage tracking: You may be eager to know your data usage and Avast makes it quite easy. You can track your network data usage as well as Wi-Fi and perceive how much you have consumed and how much is left to use.
  • Mistyped URLs are auto-corrected: Avast Mobile Security is equipped with a SiteCorrect feature that saves users from the issues of mistyping URLs.

We invite you to check out Avast Mobile Security, free from Google Play.


Follow Avast on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Google+ where we keep you updated on cybersecurity news every day.

Avast Mobile Security users can help develop a new app

We all know how bothersome finding and connecting to Wi-Fi networks in public places can be — often, we encounter frustrating roaming fees or slow connection speeds in crowded spaces. At Avast, we want Wi-Fi connection to be a safe and simple process for our users. As a result, we’re currently working on new product that will help people to detect and connect to public Wi-Fi networks without any security risk.

Introducing Avast’s new product pioneering program

We’ve recently rolled out a new feature within Avast Mobile Security called the product pioneering program. This program helps harvest nearby Wi-Fi hotspots available for users when they need to connect to public Wi-Fi networks. The feature also supports the creation and growth of our own trustworthy and up-to-date hotspot database, which we need in order to deliver information about nearby Wi-Fi hotspots to our users. As we know that Avast users place great importance on their security and privacy, we are asking our users to lend us a helping hand in collecting and identifying hotspots in their local surroundings. This requires us to request the GPS position permission of our users during the installation or upgrading process of Avast Mobile Security.

In-app notification informing users about our product pioneering program.
Opt-in message shown when users click on in-app notification.
Users have the options of opting out of the program in Settings.

Upon installing or upgrading Avast Mobile Security, users will receive an in-app notification that informs them of our product pioneering program. If a user chooses to opt in to the product pioneering program, it is only then that his or her GPS location information will actively be gathered.

How does the program actually work?

Whenever users connect to an open Wi-Fi hotspot, we will check for an available Internet connection and then anonymously obtain the user’s location along with the name of the hotspot. We will be presenting this gathered information to our users once our Wi-Fi Finder app is ready to be launched in a few months. The app will be available for both Android and iOS.

It’s important to note that our product pioneering program gathers data anonymously from users. Specifically, the program only gathers the names and rough locations of nearby hotspots.

Our users’ participation in our product pioneering program is highly appreciated. We’d like to thank each and every one of our product pioneers in advance for their aid in helping us deliver our new product! Download Avast Mobile Security for free on Google Play.

Follow Avast on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+ where we keep you updated on cybersecurity news every day.

Windows Phone Store scam: malicious mobile apps aren’t unique to Google Play

Although it’s possible to use third-party apps stores safely and securely, the fact that scams do still occur in a variety of app stores shouldn’t be ignored. On Sunday, a threat was discovered by a user who posted the issue on our forum. The scam, located within the Windows Phone Store, advertised three fraudulent versions of Avast Mobile Security. These fake apps not only include the Avast logo, but also feature actual screenshots from AMS in their image galleries. Our fast-acting team has since blocked the pages and has labeled them as malicious.

Fake AMS apps collect personal data and redirect users to adware

If downloaded, these fake versions of AMS found on the Windows Phone Store pose a risk to users’ security. Here’s how they work:

  1. New Avast security: This app includes three control buttons which show only advertisements. Even without actively clicking on the ads, the app redirects users to additional adware.
  2. Avast Antivirus Analysis: Claiming to “protect your phone from malware and theft”, this malicious app runs in the background of victims’ devices once downloaded and collects their data and location.
  3. Mobile Security & Antivirus – system 2: Simply put, this is a paid-for version of “New Avast security” that forcibly leads users to adware.

The fun doesn’t stop there!

After doing some additional research, our malware analysts discovered that TT_Game_For_All, the same user that published the fake AMS apps, isn’t solely impersonating Avast. Instead, this cybercriminal has published a large collection of close to fifty apps, the majority of which cost around the equivalent of 1.99 USD. Certain apps even claim to be from other well-known companies such as Qihoo 360, APUS, and Clean Master. 

Keep your eyes open for app store threats

This case goes to show that when it comes to mobile malware, it’s not only the Android platform that is vulnerable to attacks. Although Windows Phone devices aren’t currently as widely used as that of Android, it’s important to be careful regardless of the platform that you use. Finally, keep in mind that Google Play isn’t the only app store users should be paying attention to when it comes to avoiding mobile scams and threats — these threats can occur within any app store.

Follow Avast on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Google+ where we keep you updated on cybersecurity news every day.

Android malware Fobus now targeting users in the U.S., Germany and Spain

Mid January we informed you of a data-stealing piece of Android malware called Fobus. Back then Fobus mainly targeted our users in Eastern Europe and Russia. Now, Fobus is also targeting our users in the USA, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and other countries around the world.

Fobus can cost its unaware victims a lot of money, because it sends premium SMS, makes calls without the victims’ knowledge and can steal private information. More concerning is that Fobus also includes hidden features that can remove critical device protections. The app tricks users into granting it full control of the device and that is when this nasty piece of malware really begins to do its work. You can find some more technical details and analysis of Fobus in our previous blog post from January.

Today, we decided to look back and check on some of the data we gathered from Fobus during the last six months. We weren’t surprised to find out that this malware family is still active and spreading, infecting unaware visitors of unofficial Android app stores and malicious websites.

The interesting part of this malware is the use of server-side polymorphism, which we suspected was being used back in January but could not confirm. We have now confirmed that server-side polymorphism is being used by analyzing some of the samples in our database. Most of these have not only randomly-generated package names, but it also seems that they have randomly-generated signing certificates.

Number of users who have encountered Fobus

Number of users who have encountered Fobus

Geographical reach expanded from the East to the West

Previously, we predicted that we would probably see a steady growth in the number of encounters users have with this malicious application. A review of the results, however, beats all of our predictions. At the beginning, this malware mainly targeted mobile users in Russian speaking countries. As our detections got smarter and we discovered new mutations of Fobus, we discovered that many other countries are affected as well. Now Fobus, although it still mainly targets users in Eastern Europe and Russia, is also targeting our users in the USA, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, and other countries around the world.

The above graph shows the number of unique users (user IDs) encountering Fobus per day. The graph is also geologically divided by country codes as reported by the users’ connection location.

Number of times users encountered Fobus by country (as of July 21, 2015):

  • Russia: 87,730
  • Germany: 25,030
  • Spain: 12,140
  • USA: 10,270
  • UK:  6,260
  • Italy: 5,910

There are two great leaps visible in the graph, which mark the days when new versions of Fobus were discovered and new detections protecting our users were released. These three detections seem to be particularly effective at their task. The high impact in countries outside of Russia and English speaking regions, which can be seen in the graph, is a little surprising. Especially considering that the malware typically is only in Russian and English and even the English version contains some strings in Russian. Seems like the authors were too lazy to translate their own app properly…

World map showing the percentage of users who encountered Fobus

World map showing the percentage of users who encountered Fobus

An app, built just for you

Now, let’s dig into the analysis. We will look at the certificates used to sign some of the Fobus samples. We already mentioned the problems connected with generating unique applications for each victim (server-side polymorphism). This does not only apply to rebuilding, repackaging and obfuscating each instance of the app itself, but also extends to their signing certificates. To back this up, we analyzed around 4,000 samples and data and inspected the usage of these certificates. We verified that each build of the malicious app is typically seen by one user only, even though its signing certificate can be used to sign multiple apps. Virtually all of the samples we have are very low prevalent, meaning that different users only very rarely see an app instance multiple times. As for the signing certificates, we believe that they are being regenerated on a timely basis. We were able to pick a few examples of such certificates from our statistics.












As you can see from the screenshots above, these certificates are dated the 28th and 30th May 2015 and the time differences in the beginning of the validity period between these certificates are in the order of minutes, sometimes even seconds. We have also found some samples that have certificates with randomly generated credentials altogether.


The above provided screenshot is an example of such randomly generated certificates.

To conclude, we would like to encourage you to think twice about the apps you install on your phone. Especially if the apps you download are from third party stores and unknown sources. If you download apps from the Google Play Store you’re on the safe side. Requiring nonstandard permissions – especially permissions that don’t seem necessary for the app to properly function – may be a sign that something fishy going on. You should be very suspicious of an app that requests device administrator access and think twice before downloading it.


Special thanks to my colleague, Ondřej David, for cooperation on this analysis.

New ASUS ZenPad to come with Avast Mobile Security

ASUS partners with Avast

ASUS partners with Avast

ASUS, the third largest consumer notebook vendor in the world, has selected Avast Mobile Security to be pre-loaded on its new line of Android powered tablets.

These tablets, called ZenPad, will be debuted at the upcoming Computex in Taiwan this June. The much anticipated 7-inch ZenPad 7 will give customers 12 months of Avast Mobile Security and allow free access to premium versions of Avast Backup and Avast Anti-theft.

“Avast is honored to collaborate with ASUS to provide consumers with the security to remain worry free in today’s always-on and always-connected world,” said Vince Steckler, CEO at Avast. “Consumers are relying on tablets for personal computing more than ever before, and storing massive data and information on these devices. With Avast Mobile Security preloaded on ASUS devices, today’s mobile consumer can have peace of mind browsing the Internet, knowing their devices and personal data are protected across a wide range of threats from malware to Wi-Fi hacks.”

Details of the ASUS ZenPad 7 have been leaked and are reported to have the following specs:

  • 7-inch IPS display screen
  • 1024 x 600 pixel resolution
  • Intel Atom x3
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 GB/16 GB built-in storage
  • MicroSD card slot
  • Front/back cameras
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Other models with Avast Mobile Security pre-installed include Z300C, Z380/CX, Z370C and Z370CG.

Avast Mobile Security is top-rated by users on Google Play Store and by independent testing organizations including AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. In addition to being available preloaded on ASUS tablets, Avast solutions are available on Google Play and in the Apple Store.

5 questions with: Tomáš Heřmanský (Product Manager)

Tomáš Heřmanský

Tomáš joined Avast in March 2014 as a Product Manager for Avast Mobile Security. Born in Čáslav, a small town in central Bohemia, he moved to Prague during high school with plans to study at the Police Academy of the Czech Republic. After a while, Tom decided he wanted to study and work in IT instead. After gaining experience while working at a successful Czech startup, taking on jobs as a freelancer and starting his own company focused on cloud document management, Tom joined Avast’s mobile team. In his free time, Tom enjoys climbing, cycling, writing and restoring his classic Škoda 1000 MB car.


1. What is Avast’s mobile team out to accomplish?

We’d like to become the most trusted mobile tools developer, allowing users to live their lives with their mobile devices safely and more easily.

2. Who or what helps you in coming up with new, creative ideas?

My colleagues are a huge inspiration to me. That’s one thing that I really enjoy about working at Avast – anyone and everyone can come up with new ideas to brainstorm. We are one big think tank. :)

3. What’s one thing that every user should know about his/her mobile device?

Users should be aware of the risks that mobile malware poses to their personal information and data. Although malware on mobile devices is less likely to break a user’s device than that of a PC, malicious apps can harvest and steal a lot of personal data. Even apps that aren’t malicious (often free apps) can access a lot of personal information. The more personal info that is shared, the more likely it is that a user’s privacy could become compromised.

4. What’s your favorite security tip?

Make sure to be careful when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks. Packet sniffing, or the monitoring of data traveling over a network, can be used to steal information and is very easy for hackers to carry out. It’s in your best interest to use a virtual private network (VPN) when connecting to unsecured networks.

5. Name one goal you’ve set for yourself at Avast.

I’d like to see Avast Mobile Security (AMS) become the most popular app that provides users with a straightforward, user-friendly overview of app permissions. AMS is an extremely versatile app with lots of potential, and I envision it serving as a true “guarding angel” for users, protecting them against mobile malware and allowing them to become familiar with the apps they use on a daily basis.


Avast’s mobile team recently held the second Avast Mobile Internal Conference (AMIC) in Prague, where the entire team came together to keep one another in the loop about the company’s apps and products, team activities, and goals for the department’s future. A series of lectures and interactive activities encouraged synergy and collaboration between product teams. In addition to everything that was accomplished at AMIC, the mobile team still managed to have quite a bit of fun at the conference. We’d like to congratulate the mobile department on this successful and productive event!

Photo from AMIC #2
Photo from AMIC #2
Photo from AMIC #2
Photo from AMIC #2