Tag Archives: avast!

Avast cites unsecured WiFi usage as reason to release new VPN client

Computer securityVPN (virtual private network) clients have been around for sometime, and are utilized by many corporations. It is a technology that individual users should also take advantage of. Avast hope to make that security option a trend with a new effort to help the average user be more secure when using a laptop or other mobile device at the local Starbucks.

Citing a survey the company carried out, Avast has announced it is now releasing its own VPN client, called SecureLine. The company claims that it polled 340,000 users and 46 percent of worldwide respondents connect via public WiFi. The security firm also listed such numbers as “29 percent in the UK perform security-sensitive transactions such as shopping or online banking despite the risk of hackers accessing their credentials”.

To answer this growing need, Avast announces “We developed SecureLine due to growing demand from our customers”. According to the company’s Chief Executive Officer Vincent Steckler, “half of PC users in the US access unsecured WiFi hotspots. And, about a third of them perform security-sensitive transactions – such as shopping, banking, or anything requiring a password”

SecureLine is now seamlessly integrated into all of Avast’s free and premium products, and when customers connect to unsecured WiFi, they will receive a message that provides them with some insight into the risks of using public and unsecured WiFi, as well as the choice of a secure VPN connection — at a cost of $7.99 per month.

With Avast now claiming usage on more than 184 million computers worldwide, the addition of more secure connections could make a noticeable difference, but it comes down to customer behavior and habits to really make a major impact. That, I am afraid, will not be improving anytime soon.

Photo Credit: BigStock

Happy 15th Anniversary, Download.com


Today we have application stores up the ying-yang. But 15 years ago, trying to find applications for your computer was a lot harder. We did have two decent sources: Tucows.com and download.com (a CNet company, now owned by CBS). Since then, these two sources have grown to better catalog Freeware, shareware, and paid applications. This week, we say Happy anniversary to Download.com.

While the domain was registered on February 24, 1996, Download.com will officially launch on October 23rd, 1996 (Reference via CNet article). Since then, the website sees almost 10 million downloads of software a week. The top downloads being AVG and Avast antivirus software. A long cry from Hey, Macaroni (the dancing macaroni meme), WinZip 32 and Duke Nukem 3D – which was the most downloaded in 1996. WinZip is still one of the top 5 download pieces of software on the site.

For 15 years, download.com has kept a great archive of software, weeding out the obsolete, malware producing items. They have been sued for some software downloads, most notably the free music download program LimeWire. While download.com did not promote the download of mp3 music or movies, the peer-to-peer software is another way to download legally shared items. Of course, this has always been the conundrum of file sharing.

In retrospect, TuCows has been in operation since 1994, offering the same services. Other services have come and gone, but download.com has stayed strong. So happy 15 years to a source that I’ve personally used many a time from my IT career.

Avast! Antivirus for the Mac

If  you have a Mac, you are mostly likely aware of the malware MacDefender. Which is a fake antivirus program created specifically to attack the Mac. For more details I recommend The Mac Security Blog.  Unfortunately as the Macs become more popular these kind of attacks will become more common, which will make installing antivirus and anti-malware software on a Mac as necessary as it is on Windows. If you are looking for antivirus software for the Mac now you may want to try the antivirus software from Avast! Software Avast Software is based in Prague, Czech Republic and has been stopping virus and malware on the Window’s platform since before Windows 95 was out. They are now making a free antivirus program available for Intel Mac 10.5 and above. It is in beta and available thru the Avast user forum for download.  Avast for the Mac was created specifically for the Mac and not something ported over from Windows. It has three separate shields; one for mail, web and file system. You can also scan your system or a part of it at anytime. The Web Shield is a new build and it actually filters all HTTP material before it reaches the browser. This is key since as Ondrej Vicek, CTO of Avast Software so rightly puts it “The discussion on Mac security has centered perhaps too long on individual operating systems,” added Mr. Vlcek. “There is already a lot of internet-distributed malware out there based on JavaScript which works across various operating system platforms and this beta protects against.”

I am a Mac user and am still not totally convince I need a product like this. However I decided it is better to be safe then sorry so I downloaded avast! Mac beta. The download and install went without any problems. You may lose connection to the Internet for a short time, during the installation. Once installed I had it scan my Home folder and it did it with no problem. When I did a full scan of my computer, I did notice that processes did slowed down. I was running several applications at the time so the slow down was not unexpected. Fortunately nothing was found. I have had it running for two days in the background and the only reason I know is the icon on the menu bar. Whether you need an antivirus software on your Mac is something only you can decide. If you do decide you need one Avast! for the Mac is not a bad choice.