Tag Archives: computer

Prison Inmates Built PCs from e-Waste and Connected Online Using Prison Network

Can you imagine your world without the Internet?

I know it’s hard to imagine your life without the Internet, and the same was the case of two Ohio prisoners who built personal computers from parts from e-waste, hid them in the ceiling, and connected those PCs to the Internet via the prison’s network.

The incident occurred in 2015 but has now been made public by the State of Ohio’s Office of

your smartphone is no longer the “smartest” option


Synching your smartphone and computer might increase your chances of being hacked

A classic piece of advice that helps keep email, social networks and other online services safe is by enabling something called two-step verification. This security mechanism makes it more difficult for a cyber-delinquent to access your account through two-step verification. When a different device from the “usual” one (different computer or smartphone) tries to access your account, they must enter a code that is sent to the mobile phone associated with the account in order to continue.

If a cyber-criminal is trying to get into your account, who in theory cannot access your smartphone, this two-step process makes it very complicated for him. Or so we thought.  A group of researchers from the Free University of Amsterdam showed us that this type of protection is becoming more and more flawed the better we communicate with each other using our different devices.  This means that the more computers, smartphones or devices that have access to your account and passwords, the higher your chances are of getting an account hijacked by a cyber-criminal.

The two-step verification is one of
the most popular security measures

In other words, because we are able to synchronize applications between two devices, like your computer and smartphone (and what you do in one can affect the other), the effectiveness of two-step verification decreases.


Computer android


Android and iOS, equally vulnerable

The study’s authors have showed us the possibility of installing apps offered through Android onto your smartphone remotely through the computer (accessing Google Play with the browser) or installing remotely through iTunes.

In both of the above cases, following slightly different strategies, they have managed to intercept the verification code that websites send to your smartphone through SMS when there is a two-step verification, so it is very possible that a hypothetical cyber-criminal could access your Facebook, Google or Amazon accounts—to cite just a few.

The verification code that websites
send you through SMS can be intercepted


Don’t stop doing what you’ve been doing

Just because you have found out about this vulnerability does not mean it is no longer advisable to activate this safety measure in all the services that offer it.  There will always be a few obstacles that you can put between the attackers and your personal information.

The post your smartphone is no longer the “smartest” option appeared first on Panda Security Mediacenter.

Avira Free Antivirus – Even your grandma will love it

If you are under 40 years of age, it’s very likely that you know how to use computers and mobile devices —  and how to install the needed software to keep them secure. Also, it’s also very likely that at least once you’ve been in position to demonstrate how a technology works to some of your elder relatives. Our Avira Free Antivirus is here to make these moments of your life less stressful.

The post Avira Free Antivirus – Even your grandma will love it appeared first on Avira Blog.

Life beyond the screen: Coming face to face with technology addiction

Photo via Telegraph online

Photo via Telegraph online

Believe it or not, there’s more to life than what’s happening online! In its beginnings, technology was intended to make our lives simpler and more convenient. When technology becomes an addiction, however, it can become dangerous to our mental and physical health, not to mention our personal lives.

Avast is a technology and security company. At the same time, we’re also human beings. By sharing cybersecurity news on our blog, alongside our forum and social networks, we aim to make things simpler for our users — providing them with safety tips to avoid headaches and losses of time. In other words, we’d like everyone to reserve as much time as possible for the parts of life that truly matter.

Recently, a study found that students’ performance can significantly decline due to technology addiction. To fight students’ urge to be active on their devices when they shouldn’t be, there are several apps that have been created that close and prevent other apps to be opened, ensuring users to be able to stay focused and concentrated on their classes, research or homework.

Since it has become this difficult to pry ourselves away from our screens, it’s sometimes a good thing to occasionally be left without battery or network coverage. This way, we’re essentially forced to put off our thoughts about what’s being published on social media and focus on the things that are taking place around us.

Here in Brazil, it’s not uncommon to see signs at bars or restaurants that read something similar to “we don’t have Wi-Fi, talk among yourselves” or “we don’t have Wi-Fi, bring a friend to talk to”. These places don’t do this because they need to save money on their Internet bill — instead, it’s about providing their guests with human interactions and a genuine experience.

It’s our job to use our current technology wisely. When it’s time to concentrate and focus, Avast is there to keep our users safe from spam, scams, and hackers — things that cause us to lose time and energy.

You can depend on us to keep your security (and peace of mind) in tact. We urge our users to recommend Avast to the ones who they love and who they want to spend quality time with.

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

Making technology simpler: Thanks to my mother

Some days ago we wrote about scams targeting senior citizens. This group is at risk because generally speaking, they have less computer education than younger people who have grown up in the digital world. I recommended the reading to my mother, thinking she will benefit from it. She thanked me, but said that there were “some things” she did not understand.

Learning to surf internet

Friends and family can help senior citizens enjoy a safe online experience

In the Avast blog we do our best to write in simple terms. However, we know much more about security and, quite frequently, explains things in technical writing. So, I’ve take some time to write what will be useful for your mother (and mine). What about recommending her to read this?

Computer and mobile security essentials for senior citizens

  • Ask for help from one you trust. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Remember there are a lot of people that love to help and share knowledge. Start with your family and friends. If you and your friend both have Avast installed, it’s possible for them to remotely access your computer.  If they don’t have spare time or knowledge, then try the Avast Community Forum. With sections in several languages, you’ll find friendly people that could guide you with security technology. Find us there!
  • Install and keep your security software updated. Avast makes everything simple for you. All the “difficult tasks” have been automated: Protection against viruses and malware, blocking spam, preventing fraud and hacker intrusions, automatic updates of your software.
  • Scan and protect your network. That “complex” device with lights blinking that gets you on the internet is called a “router”. Do you know that it could be the weaker part of your network? Avast can scan your home network and make sure it’s secure. Our next Avast version will give you much more control of an online pain: Passwords. Keep them updated and strong!
  • In your Android mobile devices, use an easy and comprehensive security app. Avast apps bring a lot of protective features that give peace of mind, like analyzing malicious app (maybe the ones with intrusive ads, right?). With our family of apps, you can clean temporary files, keep your battery in good shape, and stay safe when using free Wi-Fi connections. Also, to stay safe, use only known app stores like Google Play and Amazon.
  • Common sense! Do not open unsolicited emails, ever! Don’t trust strange messages about promises of a better computer, prizes, and special offers. Keep your attention always on: Do not install unknown software, and do not accept extra offers during installation of trusted programs. If you have any suspicions, ask others or in Avast Community Forum.

What do you think? Did I write enough for your mother to understand? If so, I accomplished my goal.

Special thanks for my mother (for the inspiration and love). And a special thanks to the guys that share all their time and effort to make the internet a better place and for teaching me to write with such pleasure: The volunteers on the Avast Community Forum.

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

Samsung’s SW Update Says “NO” To Windows Update

Yup, I get annoyed by the Windows Update popup reminders as well. Still – updating is important and at the end of the day I am quite happy that there actually are updates to patch vulnerabilities and fix issues.  Which is why it is so shocking to find out that this time it’s not actual malware that is trying to disable it but a well know company: Samsung.

Microsoft MVP Patrick Barker discovered the issue when assisting a user with a Windows Update issue.  According to him “it was figured out eventually after using auditpol.exe and registry security auditing (shown below later) that the program that was responsible for disabling Windows Update was Disable_Windowsupdate.exe, which is part of Samsung’s SW Update software.”

Luckily the Samsung SW Update tool does not come with PCs by default: Users have to download it from Samsung’s website and install it. But let’s be honest: If you buy a new laptop you often download available tools in order to keep the system up to date as easy as possible. According to VentureBeat doing so is a common practice since there were people complaining about having an update problem before.

Now, Baker even got in touch with Samsung, whose support team had to say the following: “When you enable Windows updates, it will install the Default Drivers for all the hardware no laptop which may or may not work. For example if there is USB 3.0 on laptop, the ports may not work with the installation of updates. So to prevent this, SW Update tool will prevent the Windows updates.”

Well. Disabling the Windows Update does seem a very crass solution when it comes to making sure your updates and drivers will not break with new Windows updates …

The post Samsung’s SW Update Says “NO” To Windows Update appeared first on Avira Blog.