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Avast Antivirus Harvested Users' Data and Sold it Google, Microsoft, IBM and Others



Avast, a popular maker of free anti-virus software being employed by almost 435 million mobiles, Windows and Mac harvested its users' sensitive data via browser plugins and sold it to third parties such as Microsoft, Google, Pepsi, IBM, Home Depot, and many others, according to the findings of an investigation jointly carried out by PCMag and Motherboard.

As per the sources, the investigation basically relied on leaked data; documents used to further the investigation belonged to Jumpshot which is a subsidiary of Avast. The data was extracted by the Avast anti-virus software itself and then repackaged by Jumpshot into various products which were sold to big companies as the report specified, "Potential clients include Google, Yelp, Microsoft, McKinsey, Pepsi, Sephora, Home Depot, Conde Nast, Intuit, and many others."

"The sale of this data is both highly sensitive and is, in many cases, supposed to remain confidential between the company selling the data and the clients purchasing it," other company documents found.

Allegedly, Avast has been keeping a track of personal details such as exact time and date when a user starts surfing a website, the digital content being viewed by him and his browsing and search history. As per the findings, the information sold by Jumpshot includes Google Maps searches, Google search engine searches, YouTube videos viewed by users, activity that took place on companies' LinkedIn handles and porn websites visited by people. The data contained no traces of personal information of people like their names or email addresses, however, the investigators at Vice pointed out how the access to such precise browsing data can potentially lead back to the identification of the user anyway.

When the investigation reports were made public, Jumpshot stopped receiving any browsing-related data harvested by extensions as Avast terminated the operations, however, currently, the popular anti-virus maker is being investigated for collecting user data asides from browser plug-ins.

While Google denied commenting on the matter, IBM told Vice that they have no record of dealing with Avast's subsidiary, Jumpshot. Meanwhile, Microsoft made it clear that at present they are not having any relationship with Jumpshot.

40.8% Smart Homes vulnerable to attacks




Security researchers have found nearly 40.8% of smart homes have at least one device that could be easily breached by hackers as one-third of them have outdated software with unpatched security issues, while two-thirds of them are exposed due to their weak credentials.

The team of researchers at Avast said that all these vulnerable devices are connected to the internet directly, and routers are the ones most targeted.

"59.7% of routers have weak credentials or some vulnerabilities" and "59.1% of users worldwide have never logged into their router or have never updated its firmware," says Avast.

In their report, Avast says that "a router that is vulnerable to attack poses a risk for the whole home, much like leaving your front door unlocked. Cybercriminals can redirect compromised routers to access exactly what they want, including phones, computers or any other connected device."

Printers lead the list of types of devices which are most vulnerable to attacks. In the US,  the printer's vulnerability percentage is 43.8%, while other devices like NAS devices and security cameras are on the second and third place with 17.7% and 14.7% respectively.

"It only takes one weak device to let in a bad hacker and once they are on the network, they can access other devices, and the personal data they stream or store, including live videos and voice recordings," said Avast President Ondrej Vlcek. "Simple security steps like setting strong, unique passwords and two-factor authentication for all device access, and ensuring software patches and firmware updates are applied when available, will significantly improve digital home integrity."

The Avast's 2019  Smart Home Security Report includes data from 16 million different home from all over the world, the total of 56 million devices having been scanned to gather the data.  

Users Making Themselves Vulnerable To Hackers; Keeping Outdated Versions of Popular Applications on Their Pcs




The users and their own personal information are rapidly becoming to be vulnerable against security risks proves yet another research from the global security company Avast as it discharged its PC Trends Report 2019.

As per the said report the users are making 'themselves' defenseless against hackers by not implementing the security patches and keeping out-dated versions of well-known applications on their PCs, these include Adobe Shockwave, VLC Media Player and Skype.


This is a matter of grave concern as out-dated software's are turning into the greatest dangers of cyber-attack , as they give hackers unapproved access to the framework as well as the known vulnerabilities with which they can easily exploit the user in question.

 “While most of us replace our smartphone regularly, but the same cannot be said for our PCs. With the average age of a PC now reaching six years, we need to be doing more to ensure our devices are not putting us at unnecessary risk, but with the right amount of care, such as cleaning our hardware's insides using cleaners, optimisation and security products, PCs will be safe and reliable for even longer," says Ondrej Vlcek, President, Avast.

The report is said to have accumulated information from approximately 163 million devices over the globe, and has even covered the most popular PCs, software, hardware equipment utilized today in on a worldwide basis. Among the applications installed 55% of them are not their latest versions, those applications utilizing the structures and tools, contain vulnerabilities and for security reasons ought to be updated as soon as possible.

The most installed softwares of 2018 include, Google Chrome, Adobe Reader, WinRAR, Microsoft Office, and Mozilla Firefox.

Android Devices with Pre-Installed Malware


The Avast threat Labs have recently discovered pre-installed adware  on a few hundred diverse Android gadget models and versions, also incorporating gadgets from makers like ZTE and Archos.
The adware, analyzed has previously been portrayed by Dr. Web and has been given the name "Cosiloon."

The adware has been on the move for no less than three years, and is hard to remove as it is introduced on the firmware level and utilizes solid obfuscation. Thousands of users are said to have been affected , and in the previous month alone it has been observed that the most recent adaptation of the adware on around 18,000 devices having a place with Avast users situated in excess of 100 nations which includes Russia, Italy, Germany, the UK, and as well as a few users in the U.S.

The adware makes an overlay to display an advertisement over a webpage within the users' browser, it can be observed in the screenshots given below:




Google is taking a shot at fixing the malware's application variations on Android smartphones utilizing internally created strategies and techniques. Despite the fact that there is Google Play Protect, the malware comes pre-installed which makes it harder to address. Google is as of now, contacting various firmware engineers and developers to bring awareness to these concerns and energize in making effective steps likewise.

Anyway it is misty in the matter of how the adware got onto the gadgets, and the malware creators continued updating the control server with new payloads. Then again, Producers likewise kept on delivering new gadgets with the pre-installed dropper.

The payload was updated again on April eighth, 2018 and the name in application launcher changed to "Google Download," and some class names in the code changed likely trying to keep away from discovery.Since the malware is a part of the chipset platform bundle which is reused on different brands also and the chipset being referred to happens to be from MediaTek running different Android variants going from 4.2 to 6.0.

Avast says that some anti-virus applications report the payloads, however the dropper will install them back again immediately, and the dropper itself can't be expelled in that way the gadget will always host a strategy permitting an obscure party to install any application they need on it.



Avast announced the acquisition of Mobile Virtualization Company ‘Remotium”


Avast Software, maker of the most trusted mobile and PC security products in the world, on July 8 announced the acquisition of Remotium, a leader in virtual enterprise mobility which technology enables enterprises to extend access securely, simply, and cost-effectively to business-critical applications in a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environment.

According to a press statement posted by the company, the acquisition of the Silicon-Valley-based start-up will allow Avast to expand its offering of mobile security applications to the enterprise space.

The entire Remotium team has joined the global organization of more than 600 Avast employees.

Like Avast, Remotium, which won "Most Innovative Company" at RSA Conference 2013, solves the challenges of delivering corporate applications to employees’ mobile devices by creating a smooth user experience, while assuring data security and compliance.

The company said that its product, Virtual Mobile Platform (VMP), which enables access to enterprise applications from any mobile or desktop device, allows users to work from anywhere in the office, remotely from their home office or while on business trips.

It is said that the users can connect to their VMP from any device they are using smartphones, tablets, and desktops in order to get access to their corporate tools, apps and data.

Vince Steckler, CEO at Avast, said that the Remotium‘s mobile solutions address the needs of modern enterprises.

"As more and more companies support BYOD policies, the question of how to implement these policies efficiently and securely is top of mind for everyone. With Remotium’s technology, 
companies have visibility and security needed to ensure data integrity and corporate compliance. At the same time, users enjoy increased privacy, as well as apps that look and feel consistent across mobile and desktop platforms. We are pleased to add the Remotium staff to our team together we will further accelerate Remotium’s growth and expand its capabilities across enterprise mobility platforms," he added.

Stephanie Fohn, CEO at Remotium, said, "The Remotium team and I are very excited about joining Avast Software. Avast has a long history in creating innovative, best-in-class security for personal and commercial use. We look forward to extending our technology leadership position and continuing to deliver groundbreaking enterprise mobility solutions to meet the needs of the enterprise.”