Tag Archives: Product

The Trojan horse of smart home security

Every year before the biggest consumer holidays: Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas, technology blogs rush to create lists with the hottest gadgets and the best deals to watch for. The end of 2016 was no exception, only this year, everything on those lists seemed to have “Smart” attached to it – thermostats, vacuum cleaners, security cameras, voice control virtual assistants, lights, doorbells, TVs – all “Smart”.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, as the market for smart home devices is estimated to be $83 billion by the end of this year, rising to $195 billion by 2021. Gartner predicts the average family house will contain more than 500 smart devices by 2022. I think it’s safe to say that the smart home devices are here to stay.

While the advantages of having a connected home are clear: Starting your vacuum from miles away or automatically turning on your lights when you arrive home, many people are not aware of security risks that come from welcoming such connected devices into our homes.

The problem is that many of these devices have serious security flaws. A simple Google search on “IoT hack” or “smart device hacks” reveals an unbelievable amount of vulnerable devices and ways to hack them. Problems range from having no traffic encryption, to hidden back doors into the firmware, to “super secure” default username/password combinations such as admin/admin. All these security flaws make it easy for hackers to take control of these devices.

This could translate into more than just someone turning your lights on in the middle of the night. By compromising one device, hackers could get access to your entire network, and by snooping on your internet activity they could get access to personal info such as your bank account, social media profile, emails, or personal photos. Needless to say that that would be a bit more than a mild inconvenience.

So how can you protect your network?

Meet ALLY, a smart and secure router ready for the growing security needs of the connected home. ALLY is developed by Amped Wireless and secured by AVG.

We believe the best way to protect your family and your smart devices is by securing your connected home right at the internet access point, the router. This is why we worked together with Amped Wireless, the leading manufacturer of high power, long range wireless solutions, to provide a router that is both capable of delivering Wi-Fi in every corner of your home and offering great security for all your IoT devices.

Thanks to AVG’s security solution, ALLY can stop threats in their tracks blocking malware links before they even load on your devices.

Having AVG security embedded on the router, you are adding an extra layer of security for all your connected devices. This is especially important for those vulnerable devices which cannot be protected by an antivirus such as webcams, thermostats, lights, doorbells, …

And there’s even more. Ally also comes with an easy-to-use smartphone app that lets you access useful parental control features such as content blocking, app blocking, scheduled internet curfews, and pausing the internet during family dinners.

Take the first step into protecting your smart home.

Check out ALLY now.

ALLY is a product built on Chime

Brand-new AVG PC TuneUp speeds up, cleans up and now updates critical software

Users have been asking for it for ages and now it’s here. With our new 2017 release of the AVG PC TuneUp ,we’re pleased to introduce Automatic Software Updater!

 

A product which keeps users’ PCs up to date with their critical software for improved experience and protection from vulnerabilities.

 

AVG PC TuneUp cleans, speeds up, and improves battery life of all Windows®-based PCs and laptops and it’s based on 20 years of solid engineering and experience of getting the best out of PCs. If you are a fan, we’ll show you what’s new for 2017 and give newcomers a rundown of what makes AVG PC TuneUp an essential part of everyone’s PC.

 

The Big One For 2017: Automatic Software Updater

For this release, we moved beyond speeding and cleaning and looked at some of the core reasons for bugs, crashes and security issues – UPDATES! Since keeping up with updates for all your programs is tedious, it’s no wonder that our research across 116 million users found that 52% of programs are out-of-date on people’s PCs.

That’s why we created our all new Automatic Software Updater, which checks and updates the most popular applications people run on PCs to fix vulnerabilities, solve problems and even add new features to programs like Skype, Chrome or Java.
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Here’s what you get with our new Automatic Software Updater

  • Peace of mind: no more dealing with constantly checking for updates manually or annoying update nags
  • Support for the most used applications: including Skype, Adobe Reader, Flash or Chrome
  • Works fully automatically: no need to bother with painful installers, ad-ware or reboots
  • Informs you about what’s new in your favorite programs
  • Manage Software Updates: go the hands-on way if you choose and manually check, download, update and manage all your software updates, all on one screen
  • Notifications: for critical software updates

And we’re adding more programs over time, all the time

Which programs do we support?
We’ve made sure that we support the most popular and critical applications, such as:

  • Browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer
  • Tools and Programs: 7-Zip Filemanager, WinRAR Archiver, WinZip 9
  • Frameworks and technologies: Flash Player Plug In, Adobe AIR, Adobe Shockwave, Java Runtime Environment 6, 7 & 8, VLC Media Player, GOM Media Player, iTunes, Nero MediaHome, DivX, Adobe Reader, FoxIt Reader

and more!

 

Where can I find Automatic Software Updater in TuneUp?
If a program is out of date you’ll find it under the Fix Problems category or you will get a notification on your desktop. Once clicked, you’ll see an entry for a list of outdated programs that you can update manually – or flip a switch and have it be done fully automatically.

 

IMPROVED: Sleep Mode Tackles Slow PCs

Is your PC sluggish? Tired of battling it to get things done? The new release of AVG PC TuneUp puts speed, battery and network draining programs to sleep to give you that extra performance boost.

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

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Sleep Mode speeds up your PC by stopping programs that you rarely use from quietly draining processor power, such as instant messaging tools, screen capture utilities or driver control panels. And you don’t need to worry about losing access to the programs you love as the Automatic Start-Stop Mode allows any programs that you have deactivated to be reactivated in a single click. When you have finished using them, they are automatically deactivated again.

In this new version for 2017, we have also combined our Startup Manager feature – which detects items that automatically run when you turn your computer on – with 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.

 

IMPROVED: Deeper Than Ever Cleaning

Our new Disk Cleaner include significant new and improved cleaning definitions to help remove the wasteful files of 40 additional programs.

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We’re also removing 60 types of browser traces from the latest releases of Chrome, Firefox, IE and now Microsoft Edge.

The Top 10 Features & Benefits from PC TuneUp

In a nutshell, AVG PC TuneUp keeps your computer running at peak performance. Get more speed, less crashing, longer battery life and more disk space, whether you choose automatic maintenance or want to take a more hands on approach.

Live Optimization helps keep your PC at top speed. Live Optimization works silently in the background, constantly prioritizing all the applications that are running to increase loading speed and computer performance. For those who want that extra bit of power, Turbo Mode turns off over 70 processes with just one click. In addition to the existing Economy Mode, there’s Flight Mode: both features significantly prolong battery life, which is invaluable when you’re on the go.

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And you can easily free up more disk space, thanks to New Disk, Duplicate, and Browser Cleaners. Out of 40 features, these are our top favorite:

  • ENHANCED! Program Deactivator: puts resource-draining programs and startup items to sleep and makes your PC feel like new again
  • Live Optimization: constantly prioritizes all programs to deliver optimum performance
  • NEW! Automatic Software Updater: regularly checks & updates dozens of the most important applications
  • Registry Cleaner: cleans up your registry and helps you solve problems
  • Duplicate Finder: the new automatic selection helps you get rid of duplicate even faster than before
  • ENHANCED! Disk Cleaner: now wipes junk to free up disk space from 220+ applications, such as the gaming platforms Steam® and popular programs like VMware
  • Flight Mode: one click turns off Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth® for even longer battery life
  • Automatic Maintenance: cleans up and fixes your PC every few days, completely silently in the background
  • Defrag: over the years your hard disk may have become cluttered, slowing down read & write access. With AVG Disk Defrag you’ll bring order into chaos and speed up your disk
  • Uninstall Manager: helps you identify and get rid of long-forgotten programs that you installed over the years

AVG PC TuneUp is available standalone or as part of our AVG TuneUp – Unlimited package for $49,49/year, which can be activated on an unlimited amount of devices. It also includes AVG Cleaner for Android PRO and AVG Cleaner for Mac. You can download the 30 day trial here.

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.

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.

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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Czech-mate

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.

Bart’s Shenanigans Are No Match for AVG

AVG has decrypted Bart. No, not that Bart—there’s one that’s much worse. AVG Virus Lab researchers have created an easy fix for restoring files that fell victim to Bart ransomware.

Ransomware, like mouthy, slingshot-wielding grade-schoolers, just won’t stop popping up. One of the latest, appropriately called Bart, spreads primarily through emails with subject lines about photos and images. Though relatively new, Bart’s already wrought havoc, encrypting and demanding payment for files’ release far beyond Springfield—in fact, all over the world. And just like the world-famous “The Simpsons” character, Bart creates chaos using simply effective tools, locking users’ files in password-protected ZIP files.

But you don’t have to be at Bart’s mercy any longer. AVG has created a decryption tool for current Bart versions to add to our growing list of decryptors, which you can easily use to foil hackers and keep yourself and your information safe.

 

How Will You Know Bart if You See It?

Bart ransomware appears to be the work of the same criminals behind Dridex and Locky. Rather than rewriting files with their encrypted versions, as Dridex and Locky do, Bart moves each file to a separate password-protected archive (ZIP file), then deletes the originals. But the results for the unwitting computer user are the same: no access to their own files … unless they pay a ransom.

Fortunately, Bart’s easy to identify. Infected machines include the bart.zip extension on original file names—for example, thesis.docx.bart.zip. Furthermore, the desktop wallpaper is usually changed to an image like this one:

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The text on this image can also be used to help identify Bart, as it ‘s stored in files called “recover.bmp” and “recover.txt” on the victim’s desktop.

 

You Can Get Your Files Back—Easy as 1, 2, 3!

The encrypted files are also easy to recognize, because they’re ZIP archives, denoted by .zip  extensions. The trick is they’re password-protected, by a unique (and looong) password.

But never fear, AVG’s Bart decryptor works by comparing a single encrypted file with its unencrypted original. So before you download and run the tool, select an available original file for comparison, then follow these simple instructions:

  1. Select the file you want to compare. If all your files have been encrypted, you can often find an original in one of these places:
    1. A backup from the cloud or on a flash drive or other external drive.
    2. standard Windows sound or picture (e.g. wallpaper), which you can download from the web.
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  2. Copy the file to your desktop (Bart no longer encrypts files after asking you for money, so you should be okay) and download and run the Bart decryptor.
    1. A window will open asking you to add the encrypted file and the original (see Figure 2). The encrypted file should be in its original folder, the only difference being the “.bart” extension, as below.
  3. Once you’ve selected both files, click <NEXT>, and the tool does the rest, just as do all our decryptors.

 

Acknowledgement

We would like to thank Peter Conrad, author of PkCrack, who hereby granted permission to use his library in Bart decryptor. It takes a village.

Don’t pay the Ransom! AVG releases six free decryption tools to retrieve your files

Ransomware has proven very lucrative for criminals. Many have extended their “business” models by adding ransomware to their malicious catalog. To help prevent personal data and files being held hostage by cybercriminals, we have previously, advised on how to avoid ransomware infections, and what to do if your files have already been held to ransom. In that article, we stated that:

“Many ransomware families contain weaknesses in their encryption algorithm, which may lead to decrypting your files even without paying the ransom! It may take some time to spot and exploit such weaknesses, but in the meantime don’t delete your encrypted files; there may still be hope.”

And now there is hope. With our new tools, you should be able to recover your files without paying the ransom.

Using the Ransomware Decryption Tools

Our new free tools are for the decryption of six current ransomware strains: Apocalypse, BadBlock, Crypt888, Legion, SZFLocker, and TeslaCrypt.

To use, follow our simple four step process to unlock your files:

  1. Run a full system scan on the infected PC.
  2. (Optional) Back-up the encrypted files on their own flash drive, so they can then be transferred to another PC for decryption.
  3. Identify which infection strain encrypted your files. See the descriptions of each strain below. If your ransomware infection matches the strain details, download the appropriate tool and launch it.
  4. The tool opens a wizard, which breaks the decryption process into several easy steps:

Follow the steps, and you should again be able to reclaim your files in most cases. After decryption, be sure to securely back up restored files on a flash drive or in the cloud.

Apocalypse

The Apocalypse ransomware appends “.encrypted”, “.locked”, or “.SecureCrypted” to names of encrypted files (e.g. example.docx.encrypted, example.docx.locked, example.docx.SecureCrypted). It also creates ransom messages in files with extensions “.How_To_Decrypt.txt”, “.README.Txt”, or “.Contact_Here_To_Recover_Your_Files.txt” (e.g. example.docx.How_To_Decrypt.txt, example.docx.README.Txt, or example.docx.Contact_Here_To_Recover_Your_Files.txt).

In those messages, you can find contact addresses such as [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected] For example:

We prepared two separate decryption tools for this strain: one for the early versions of Apocalypse and the other one for the current version:

http://files-download.avg.com/util/avgrem/avg_decryptor_Apocalypse.exe

http://files-download.avg.com/util/avgrem/avg_decryptor_ApocalypseVM.exe

BadBlock

BadBlock does not rename encrypted files. You can identify BadBlock by the ransom message named “Help Decrypt.html” and by the red windows with ransom messages, like the following ones:

The BadBlock decryption tool can be found here:

http://files-download.avg.com/util/avgrem/avg_decryptor_BadBlock32.exe

http://files-download.avg.com/util/avgrem/avg_decryptor_BadBlock64.exe

Crypt888

Crypt888 (aka Mircop) creates encrypted files with the prepended name “Lock.” (e.g. Lock.example.docx). It also changes your desktop’s wallpaper to the following image:

Unfortunately, Crypt888 is a badly written piece of code, which means some of the encrypted files or folders will stay that way, even if you pay the fine, as their “official decryptor” may not work.  The AVG decryptor can be found here:

http://files-download.avg.com/util/avgrem/avg_decryptor_Crypt888.exe

Legion

Legion encrypts and renames your files with names like “example.docx[email protected]$.legion”. It also changes the desktop wallpaper and displays a warning about your encrypted files:

Note: Don’t be confused by another ransomware strain that renames files to a similar name – “[email protected]”. It is NOT the same strain and it cannot be decrypted by this tool.

The decryptor is available here:

http://files-download.avg.com/util/avgrem/avg_decryptor_Legion.exe

SZFLocker

The name of this ransomware originates from a string that is appended to the names of encrypted files (e.g. example.docx.szf). The original files are rewritten with the following Polish message:

The decryptor for SZFLocker is available here:

http://files-download.avg.com/util/avgrem/avg_decryptor_SzfLocker.exe

TeslaCrypt

Last but not least, we prepared a decryptor for the infamous TeslaCrypt. This tool supports decryption of files encrypted by TeslaCrypt v3 and v4. The encrypted files come with different extensions, such as .vvv, .micro, .mp3, or with the original name only. It also displays a message like the following:

The decryptor can be found here:

http://files-download.avg.com/util/avgrem/avg_decryptor_TeslaCrypt3.exe

Conclusion

At AVG, we take ransomware threats very seriously. Be proactive by using multilayered protection, such as AVG Antivirus Pro, which detects and removes ransomware. Adding  decryption tools is a last resort for when your files are already encrypted by ransomware and you need to get your valuable data back.

AVG Cleaner Adds 3 New Features to Clean Up Your Phone

A new release of the AVG Cleaner for Android 3 is now out just in time for spring. (Get it or update to the newest version here, if you haven’t already.) Our engineers have been hard at work finding new ways to clean up even more long-forgotten or useless stuff from your phone. Our latest release (3.1.0.1. to be exact) also cleans out WhatsApp photos, screenshots, and huge videos.

We’ll walk you through the three new additions:

Number 1: WhatsApp cleaning

You think that your apps, music, or photos consume all your phone’s storage? Think again. A big hidden memory eater are your messaging apps. All the photos you send and receive in WhatsApp are stored on your phone. Depending on how active you and your friends are, this can quickly get out of hand.

When using WhatApp, you see associated files when you tap on the name of your friend:

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In this example, it is just two photos. Now multiply that by every conversation you have had and every photo you have sent or received. AVG Cleaner reveals how quickly it adds up, and lets you just as quickly clean out files replicated from your photo library.

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Number 2: screenshots

I don’t think one day of my life goes by without me taking a screenshot of an app or desktop software. Screenshots are now used by almost everyone to create quick reminders, share a message, show someone a snapshot of Facebook, provide guidance on an app – and for lots of other quick and dirty uses.

Unfortunately, these shots don’t delete themselves. They also have a tendency to consume a lot of free space. On my Galaxy S6, the average screenshot of an app (e.g., Facebook or Google Maps) or a game is 1-2 Megabytes. That’s because Android stores these shots in uncompressed PNG format, which sports decent quality but can eat up quite a lot of storage.

Our AVG Cleaner for Android shows you leftover screenshots and – with a tap – helps you get rid of them.

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Number 3: huge video

Being more of a tech guy than most, I knew that WhatsApp and screenshots could weigh heavily on my phone. But I completely overlooked large videos that I either took myself or downloaded from the web. I forgot I had almost a gig of these files hidden away when I could’ve used that space for apps or photos that I actually needed.

Our Cleaner takes care of it.  It detects and helps you get rid of these huge videos once and for all!

Detox Your Messy Photo Gallery with AVG Cleaner for Android

It’s the start of a New Year, and it’s time to Detox! Try this now: Pick up your phone, open up your photos app, swipe through your gallery and look at how many bad or duplicated photos of your daily lunches, sunsets or the cat sticking its tongue out, you’ve been hoarding over the months, or even years. Surprised by how many there are?

Well, you’ll likely be as shocked at my results: 27 poor selfies; 230 nearly identical shots; 81 blurry images. That’s a total of 3 GB wasted in just 6 months of using my Galaxy S6. And if you’re as lazy as I am about sorting out a messy photo collection on a weekly basis, here’s something for you.

New AVG Cleaner for Android 3.0 with Smart Photo Cleaner

Our own AVG Cleaner for Android has helped millions of users clean up browser traces, hidden temporary app files, forgotten downloads, among other performance tools. But today, we’ve taken a massive leap to focus on one of – if not the – single most storage-hungry type of data: your photos.

Upgrade now to get Smart Photo Cleaner, which scans your entire photo gallery and allows you to identify & clean:

    • Similar photos: Since the dawn of digital photography, the practice of carefully framing and taking pictures are long gone. Now we take 5 photos of our lunch, but only post one to social media or send to our friends. Smart Photo Cleaner doesn’t just identify similar-looking photos, but also figures out the best ones from the group – and allows you to get rid of the rest!
    • Bad photos: AVG Cleaner for Android also knows which photos are under- or over-exposed and blurry, giving you an instant way to de-clutter your photo gallery. It analyzes various aspects of a photo, such as sharpness, color, and lighting, and gives you the choice of what to keep and what to get rid of.

  • Review photos: If our Smart Photo Cleaner isn’t 100% sure about a bad photo, it lets you review it. Swipe to the left to delete; swipe right to keep it!

Best of all, Smart Photo Cleaner gets smarter about your choices and will give you more personalized suggestions on which photos to keep or clean up. Keep an eye out for an upcoming post soon, explaining how Smart Photo Cleaner works and how to use it. And that’s not all…

One-Stop-View to Fix and Clean

AVG Cleaner has received a major redesign, a term which probably doesn’t do it justice. Let me explain:

See the big fat ANALYZE button in the middle? Hard to miss. One tap on it, and AVG Cleaner will identify all the top resource-draining apps, bad photos, wasteful junk files and battery-draining settings, on one, simple screen – and helps you instantly fix it all. Basically, you get all of AVG Cleaner’s key features on one screen; and as you scroll down, you see all the issues with your device, such as Cache files, history leftovers, low-battery warnings, bad photos or battery-hungry apps:

Tap on one tile to fix these issues. Here’s what’s behind them:

  • Cache Cleaner: Identifies and cleans hidden, unused files to free up lost space
  • History Cleaner: Identifies browser history and old call logs that can be deleted to get rid of users’ traces
  • App Manager: Identifies ‘resource hungry’ apps (as detailed in AVG’s latest App Performance & Trends Report) and helps users stop or delete them:
    • Running Apps: Shows running apps and how much RAM they’re consuming
    • Unused Apps: Identifies apps that you haven’t used in a long time
    • Data Usage, Battery Usage and Storage: Helps you spot the largest apps and the ones with the most battery and mobile traffic drain
  • Battery Manager: Helps you optimize battery life with one tap, or allows your phone to automatically turn off power-sapping features and settings based on where you are, such as at home, at work or in their car (“Battery Profiles”)
  • NEW Smart Photo Cleaner: As above, automatically identifies all of the poor quality and similar photos on the device and enables users to ‘clean’ them easily, to free up device storage
  • NEW One-Click Dashboard Overview: Provides a one-tap-analysis of the device’s status across performance, battery life and storage, helping users easily fix and clean top resource hogs, bad photos, and temporary files, all on one screen

If you’re looking for a quick clean-up of all of your unwanted photos, check out our newly re-launched Cleaner today for free!

AVG offers free updates ahead of Windows 10 release

While users will benefit from many of the great new features in Windows 10, it’s equally important that they continue to protect their device and their data.

Which is why AVG will begin rolling out free product updates for our PC security products to ensure that our users are Windows 10 ready.

The rollout of AVG updates will happen automatically in the next few weeks, so there is no need for you to take action.

Once you’ve updated, you’ll be greeted by the latest AVG dashboard. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the features to make sure you’re fully protected.

If, for whatever reason, you find that you’re still running an old version, you can manually update to the latest version by downloading and running the installer that applies to your AVG product..

  • If you’re on AVG Internet Security, AVG AntiVirus, or AVG AntiVirus Free, run this installer.
  • If you’ve got an AVG security product as part of our Protection or Ultimate bundle, run this installer.

These installers will replace your older version of AVG with an up to date one. No need to re-enter your license keys.