Tag Archives: Tracking

Draw the blinds while surfing online

US President Donald Trump has opened up a new era in online advertising on the heels of his signing off on the new law that allows Internet Service Providers to resell their customer data. It is now time for customers to look at this brave new world and do some hard thinking about their lack […]

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Avira Scout: Cookie Overkill

Many companies make money spying on you while you surf the internet. Sometimes they even sell the data they collect on you to other companies, without you knowing what got collected or who will get your data. To do so they have normal web pages integrate their tracking cookies – which is by the way the reason why cookies have a bad reputation.

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Four trends that will change mobile in 2015

In fact in the US mobile web traffic exceeded desktop web traffic for the first time. Mobile is fast becoming the most convenient and cost effective to way get online but what does the future hold for our smartphones?

Here are my predictions on how our mobile worlds will continue to evolve in 2015.


Apps will become the primary target for hackers

While the first generation of mobile threats was primarily using vectors and methods seen in the PC world, we are beginning to see new threats specifically designed to exploit mobile devices. The threats is not just malicious apps, but also regular apps that are vulnerable to attacks.

Until now, the centralized software distribution model seen with the AppStore and Google Play has helped protect our devices from malware. This concept came as a lesson we all learned from the PC, where software distribution is not controlled and so malware is common. Apps on official stores are less likely to be malicious, but it doesn’t mean they are not vulnerable to attacks.

Hackers love to find vulnerabilities. Almost every software program has vulnerabilities that are waiting to be discovered and mobile apps are not an exception. As official app stores make it difficult for hackers to directly upload malicious apps, they have instead begun hunting for vulnerable apps to attack.

Vulnerable Apps are not always removed from the App stores and as many have been left unmaintained by developers, creating an opportunity for hackers to exploit them.


New threats will emerge

As a result I expect to see a rise in the discovery of mobile app vulnerabilities during 2015. Here are a few examples:

  • Voice activation – Voice activated software is a standard feature on smartphones and are also appearing in smart TVs and other Internet-connected devices. However many of the implementations are vulnerable to voice activation attacks. This is because it does not authenticate the source of the voice – it could be you speaking, or equally it could be a synthesized voice coming out of an app – yes, even a game can play a sound an send an email to your contacts on your behalf.


How Apps Could Hijack Google Now


  • Mobile browsers – For the average user, browsers on mobile are very difficult to operate. Small screens mean you see only a fraction of the URL, making it easy disguise a malicious URL. Drive-by infections, which are well known to PC users, will soon come to mobile users as well. Not surprising, mobile browsers are also vulnerable to JavaScript exploits that can be triggered by a hacker remotely. That could mean streaming video to or from a device, even if it is locked.
  • Radio-based threats (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC) – mobile devices are constantly broadcasting over radio frequencies in order to connect and transfer data. Rough access points and over-the-air sniffers can capture transmitted data, reply with malicious content or even modify the values in the data over-the-air.
  • Masque Attacks and malicious Profiles – as mobile users have less visibility on the files being downloaded on the device, like the running processes and settings, hackers will continue to use these limitations to mislead the user to download and install malicious files to their devices from outside the Appstore. However apps on app store are also vulnerable and I predict the number of malware detections from recognized app stores to increase in 2015.


Data will become more valuable and more threatened

Mobile devices are much more personal than our PCs ever could be. The data on them is much more intimate and is a much more rewarding target for hackers. In 2015, I expect data, especially that held on our mobile devices, to come under much greater scrutiny.

In particular, I foresee three threats to our data in the coming year:

  • Physical tracking – criminals or law enforcement can use location data stored on your phone to identify important places (such as home or place of work), analyze behavior such as a daily route or absence from home.
  • Data stealing – in mobile, everything is broadcast through the air, that means data is vulnerable to being intercepted as it travels. Credentials, financials, transactions or payments can all be captured and recorded by 3rd
  • Commercial tracking – mainly done by retailers to better understand the behavior of their visitors. Think online analytics but for the physical world.


Payments will also go mobile

The public’s positive reception of Apple Pay heralded a new phase of consumer payment methodology. Although Apple is not the first to introduce mobile payment, their offering came at a good time and the implementation seems to be practical and secure.

As mobile payments are a new experience for consumers, I expect to see social engineering attacks where hackers will try to confuse and mislead in order to steal credentials and personal data. This is expected to be the first phase of attacks. Once consumers are more familiar with the technology, attacks on vulnerable apps and even on the payment services are expected to soar.

Protect your mobile against tracking and hacking

AVG is proud to announce a great step forward in its Wi-Fi security offerings. Today we are introducing the brand new version of AVG Wi-Fi Assistant, an Android app that protects you from Wi-Fi tracking and Wi-Fi hacking.

The app, from the AVG Innovation team in Amsterdam, is currently in BETA, and we’d love your feedback. Get AVG Wi-Fi Assistant for FREE today from the Google Play store (some features require in-app purchasing).

Fueled by news of NSA leaks, security flaws like Heartbleed and browser extensions that make it simple to hack someone on public Wi-Fi, security and tracking are becoming key concerns for smartphone users worldwide.

Read on to learn more about Wi-Fi threats and how the new AVG Wi-Fi Assistant can help protect you.


Wi-Fi Security Threats

Wi-Fi hacking is the most common threat when it comes to public Wi-Fi. When you connect to an public Wi-Fi network (i.e. coffee shop, airport, or hotel), others maybe able to intercept your Internet traffic, collecting your passwords, private photos, emails, browser cookies and a lot more personal info. CNN has a hands-on example of this.  AVG Wi-Fi Assistant encrypts your communications to conceal them from hackers.

Wi-Fi tracking is the second big issue.  Currently specialized software solutions allow virtually anybody to use your phone’s Wi-Fi signal, to track your location and in some instances identify you. MIT Technology Review took a look at this Wi-Fi tracking technology and the inherent threats in this article . Wi-Fi tracking is even more worrying as most smartphone users have their Wi-Fi on all the time. This is increasingly an issue as retailers can use your Wi-Fi signal to track how you move around stores or around the city and even identify who you are. And that’s not all, if you keep your Wi-Fi open all the time hackers can trick your phone to connect to a fake Wi-Fi hotspot, and then snoop in at your private information.

AVG Wi-Fi Assistant can prevent tracking by turning off your Wi-Fi connection when you are not connected to a hotspot that you trust and automatically turns it back on when approaching the trusted hotspot again.


Wi-Fi Security Solutions

AVG Wi-Fi Assistant protects you against Wi-Fi Tracking and Wi-Fi Hacking by combining smart Wi-Fi Automation with VPN encryption in one simple to use app, for free. Here’s how it works:

Wi-Fi Security

Turn on VPN (Virtual Private Network) when you connect to a Wi-Fi Hotspot to conceal your data from unfriendly eyes. VPN secures your Internet connection and encrypts all the data you’re sending and receiving. This allows you to  use mobile data with lesser risk of your data or passwords being stolen.

Every month you get 500Mb of free VPN encryption; if you need more, you can upgrade to our premium VPN plan. We think this is a must have feature for online banking, emailing, or logging into your social networking accounts.

Wi-Fi Automation

AVG Wi-Fi Assistant runs in the background and learns the locations of Wi-Fi hotspots you connect to – without using GPS. It then uses your location to automatically turn your phone’s Wi-Fi adaptor on and off, exactly when you need it, hiding you from trackers. As a bonus, turning the Wi-Fi connection on and off can even extend your battery life.

Just to recap here are the Key Benefits of AVG Wi-Fi Assistant

  • Prevent password hacking
  • Prevent Wi-Fi tracking
  • Save battery power

Download the AVG Wi-Fi Assistant today and do let us know what you think.