Google Isn’t Happy With AVG’s Chrome Plugin

AVG have a give and take relationship when it comes to their attitudes and approach with security and privacy, from their creation of glasses that could hide you from facial recognition software to going so far as to start selling your browsing activity to companies. AVG Chrome plugin has been found to bypass Chrome’s security features, something which Google are less than happy with.

The Web TuneUp tool is available for download from Chrome’s extension store, which sent the web addresses where they were compared against known malicious sites, in hopes that they could warn you before you land on one of those bad sites. The way the plugin was created though reportedly left the information open to exploits as reported by Google Security researcher Tavis Ormandy on December 15 in an issue report. In the report, he describes it by stating that it “exposes browsing history and other personal data to the internet”.

Ormandy was less than pleased about it, stating that he was unsure if he should contact AVG (an action that he did do) or if he should ask the extension abuse team to investigate it as a PuP (Potentially unwanted program, a term often used to describe pieces of software that could also be described as viruses or malware).

As of December, 28th AVG has completed a secure patch for the plugin while it has been reported by Ars Technica that the plugin was frozen while the plugin was investigated for policy violations.

One Plus 2 Equals Malware?

Well, yes, sort of, before I am lambasted for inserting a clickbate headline, let me explain, OnePlus 2 Smartphone’s have been somewhat of a revelation since its launch, from a repairable part design to more than decent specs which place it handily within the price point market. This all sounds exciting, the problem lies with the Chinese companies marketing that rely on the same notion of an invite-based system which has been utilized within this incarnation.

This rather convoluted purchase agreement has led to the synonymous and wide-spread unavailability which has befallen many consumers. Consumers are an interesting bunch, if a particular TV series or gadget is difficult to obtain, the next best thing is to locate said device through alternative means, this is what many people did after hearing that KSP, Israel’s largest digital store, would be in fact selling the phone without an invite.

Great, many paying consumers thought, the only downside lay with the unfortunate realization that the phone also came bundled with malware. The annoying process masqueraded in the form which utilizes Google Chrome while using the device. “Using said browser would automatically redirect to other sites with the word tracking in them or a site called global.mytracker, before giving permission to access the website requested”.

After further investigation, it turns out there were four potential threats which were found after running, yes we want your data to sell AVG. Honestly, you don’t know which is worse considering an Anti Virus which purports to safeguard your digital identity is also caught offering your browsing history to ad companies, kudos John Williamson at eTeknix for analysing this story. It has also become apparent that users in the US are also being screwed after purchasing this phone through an online retailer by the name Gearbest.

The solution is to undertake an entire operating system reinstall with the aim of banishing the malware. There are suspicions of third-party outlets injecting dodgy operating processes and apps within the phone, rather than an outright deception by the manufacturer who have warned against purchasing the device through other means.

As a tech fan I am finding the relentless pursuit of nefarious attacks against consumers rather wearying, any individual should have confidence in the retailer and also the product without the fear of a virus or malware. If you’re interested in this smartphone, then only buy from official channels and be careful of any deals which sound too good to be true.

Thank you geektime for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of frandroid

Kaspersky Faked Malware to Harm Rivals

Moscow-based computer security company Kaspersky Labs has been faking malware for the past decade to harm its rivals, two former employees have revealed. According to the allegations, Kaspersky’s duplicitous campaign was designed to trick Microsoft, AVG, Avast, and other anti-virus providers into quarantining or deleting important system files on users’ PCs. The scheme, in operation for over a decade, was at its peak between 2009 and 2013.

The attacks were ordered by company co-founder Eugene Kaspersky to spite rivals he thought were ripping off Kaspersky’s software rather than develop their own, the insiders claim. “Eugene considered this stealing,” one said.

“It was decided to provide some problems” for its rivals, one ex-employee said. “It is not only damaging for a competing company but also damaging for users’ computers.”

Microsoft, AVG, and Avast all claim that they have been aware of a number of false positives induced by unknown parties, but that they had no evidence that Kaspersky were responsible for them.

Kaspersky, of course, denies the accusations, issuing a retaliatory statement. “Our company has never conducted any secret campaign to trick competitors into generating false positives to damage their market standing,” Kaspersky told Reuters. “Such actions are unethical, dishonest and their legality is at least questionable.”

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information.

AVG Makes Glasses That Hide You From Facial Recognition Software

AVG, a company commonly known for protecting computing devices from viruses has embarked on an endeavour to protect your face from facial recognition software.

The concept, as demonstrated at Mobile World Congress, relies on a pair of glasses that, when worn, prevent facial recognition from detecting the presence of eyes, the most common marker for such technology.

The glasses contain LEDs that are only visible to digital cameras, which blocks areas used to recognise faces, and, in conjunction with a lining of reflective material that bounces flashlight back at the camera, make it harder to take a photo of the wearer.

Though still in the prototype stage, AVG hopes to develop the concept into a consumer model soon. The technology is sure to displease Microsoft, though, who recently revealed plans to use Kinect in retail spaces to recognise and track shoppers.

Source: Gizmodo

Android Malware Fakes Power-off to Spy on You

The security company AVG has discovered a particular devious little piece of malware in the Android ecosystem, one that seemingly can spy on you while your phone is turned off.

The malware digs into your phone and actually just fakes a power down. You’ll get the animation and the screen as well as LEDs will turn off – exactly the same as if you’d turn your phone off.

Now that you’re completely unaware that the phone is running, the malware can make phone calls, send messages, transfer your files as well as record you through the built-in cameras and microphone. That’s kinda creepy.

The good news is, this malware can only attack rooted phones, so the general public is safe. But even people with rooted phones can be safe from this attack, at least if they use AVG’s security solution. It can both detect and deal with this new threat dubbed the ‘Android/PowerOffHijack.A’ that can attack Android 5.0 and below.

The company spokesperson told that at least 10,000 devices were infected so far, but mostly in China where the malware was first introduced and offered through the local, official app stores.

Thanks to AVG for providing us with this information

Companies Interested in Aquiring AVG Technology

According to ‘informed sources’, a number of private equity firms have been inquiring about an acquisition of AVG Technologies as of recent. Apparently the talks are in early informal stages, but there’s a possibility we will be seeing AVG change hands some time in the near future.

Founded in 1991 and listed in 2012, AVG employs approximately 1,000 staff worldwide and are most commonly known for their AVG-Free anti-virus service. As according to their statistics, over 187,000,000 users currently have their services installed on their computers and mobile phones.

Why the sudden spike in interest? AVG’s share price has risen more than 12% recently, seeing AVG pull a third quarter revenue of $92.3 million USD and therefore bumping their company value up to $940 million USD. Although they’re currently showing a 7.8% year-on-year decline – we’re not going to see them go any time soon.

What anti-virus program do you use, and do you use a ‘premium’ service or stick with the freebies? We’re interested to see your answers below in the comment section, or on our Facebook page. Personally I’ve been using AVG-Free for quite some time across many different operating systems and it’s always seemingly done a good job. Here’s hoping that an acquisition doesn’t hinder their performance in years to come.

Image courtesy of Chiphell

Microsoft Is Leading PC Anti-Virus Vendor According To Report

New research figures by software and IT solutions company OPSWAT suggest that Microsoft dominates the desktop and laptop anti-virus markets with its free Microsoft Security Essentials offering. Microsoft has an impressive 25.4% of the market with all its products combined, though this is mainly comprised of MSE and Windows Defender. Microsoft is followed closely behind by Avast who manage to rack up an impressive 23.6% mainly through their free anti-virus offering. AVG, Symantec, ESET, Avira and Kaspersky also made the list with market shares between 6.5 and 8.3%.

In terms of the single most popular programs well Avast lead the way with their free antivirus followed closely behind by MSE. Windows Defender, Avira and AVG come in third, fourth and fifth respectively meaning the entire top 5 is comprised of free anti-virus solutions – which is hardly surprising. The leading paid anti-virus solutions are produced by ESET, Kaspersky, Norton, Avast and AVG respectively.

For more details and in depth graphs on the current state of the PC anti-virus market, see here.

Image courtesy of OPSWAT

Bitdefender Is Best Windows 8 Internet Security, AVG is Best Free Security

According to the well respected, comprehensive and independent test of internet security packages, done by AV Test, Bitdefender has come out on top as the best overall internet security package. Bitdefender received 17 out of 18 points, followed closely by BullGuard with 16.5 points and Kaspersky with 16.

The test applies to the Windows 8 operating system only and is the most comprehensive and up-to-date internet security test currently available. The results are probably quite similar to what you’d expect to find on Windows 7 too. So as a general rule if you are looking to invest in Internet Security for your Windows 7 or 8 computer you will get the best protection from Bitdefender.

If we take a look at the freely available internet securities, which a lot of people use because they offer nearly as good protection, we can see AVG Free Edition 2013 does the best scoring 15.5 points. AVG Free is followed closely by Avast Free Antivirus 7.0 with 15 points and Panda Security Cloud Antivirus Free 2.1 with 14.5 points. Microsoft’s free included Windows Defender 4.0 does badly scoring 11.5 with the joint lowest protection score.

Funnily enough some paid Internet Security packages like McAfee, with 12.5 points, Comodo Premium, with 10 points, AhnLab V3, with 10 points and Norman Security Suite Pro 10, with 12 points, all did worse than the three best free Internet Security packages.

So we can pull some conclusions from these tests, which are that if you pick the right paid-internet security (Bitdefender, BullGuard or Kaspersky) packages you can get the best security.However, you can get nearly as good free internet security from Avast or AVG and this is very often better than a lot of paid internet security packages on the market today.

To see the full details of the AV Test Internet Security testing then please visit here.