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For anyone in the cybersecurity industry, 2018 began on January 3rd — the day a trio of CPU bugs was announced. What trio? You probably recall Meltdown and Spectre, but from our perspective, the latter bug is really two for the price of one. While Meltdown and Spectre both got plenty of coverage in media outlets and security blogs around the globe (yes, that includes us, too), there’s an important distinction to make and more to say on this matter.

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A survey this month from International Data Corporation (IDC) found that less than half of European Union (EU) small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are prepared for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). For companies operating outside the European Union (EU), the percentages are roughly the same.  

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Avast! blog by Mobile Threat Intelligence - 19h ago

 Blog post and analysis by Vojtech Bocek and Nikolaos Chrysaidos 

When you get a brand new phone, you expect it to be clean from any malware and adware. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The Avast Threat Labs has found adware pre-installed on several hundred different Android device models and versions, including devices from manufacturers like ZTE, Archos, and myPhone. The majority of these devices are not certified by Google.

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GDPR - the EU General Data Protection Regulation - is coming. It promises to change the way you and your clients process private customer data. It will apply in all EU member states from 25th May. And for the UK, it’s unlikely Brexit will make any difference as the UK government looks set to duplicate the regulation.

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The Customer

Headquartered in St. Louis, with satellite offices in Illinois and Massachusetts, Zobrio delivers financial software, network infrastructure, and managed services to more than 650 local government, nonprofit, and business clients.

John Quatto, Zobrio’s Channel Partner Manager who oversees the company’s managed services business, explains the company’s unique differentiation: “Our familiarity with financial software and ERP solutions, along with our proactive approach to managed services, gives us a market advantage. Many of our financial services customers also have network and security needs in addition to the comprehensive fund accounting and cash management software we provide. This gives us the opportunity to deliver new services and build strong client relationships.”

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Cybercriminals have caught on. Our mobile devices are where it’s at. Personal info, bank accounts, passwords, important contacts — all this data is on our phones. And data today is more valuable than gold, which makes smartphones the new motherload. Realizing “there’s gold in them thar cells!” the cyber-underground targeted devices more than ever over the past year.

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We recently came across a number of different types of apps on Google Play, ranging from cryptocurrency related apps to lifestyle apps like weather, fitness and recipe apps, that turned out to be adware. They all aggressively pushed ads, redirected users to other apps on the Play Store, collected basic information about users’ devices and were capable of receiving code to execute on the infected device.

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The Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal that has captured the media spotlight in recent weeks is a reminder that online security threats are amplified by the ever-expanding reach and power of the digital world. They may seem abstract and less urgent than dangers in the physical world, but their consequences are no less alarming. While I and many others have been talking about how to address them for a long time, I want to take this opportunity to underline the two main pillars of defense we can put up to protect ourselves, collectively and individually.

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Cybersecurity encompasses multiple defenses. It’s not just an antivirus, it’s not just a VPN, it’s not just a password manager, internet security, and anti-track software. It’s all these things and more, working together to ensure every vulnerability is protected, whether the threats are coming from a phishing email, a malicious website, a botnet, public Wi-Fi, or other avenue. Cybercriminals are trying every angle to crack into our data, and they won’t rest until they do. 

Click to view a larger version of the infographic here.

We need to defend our digital lives comprehensively. Here are 5 ways to protect yourself online:

  1. Get Antivirus Protection: Every month, our network protects hundreds of millions of users from 2 billion malware attacks. Avast Premier is our top-of-the-line antivirus that stops emerging threats, ransomware, spyware, and then some.

  2. Use a VPN to encrypt your internet connection: A VPN protects your privacy online by masking your IP address and providing an encrypted connection between you and the internet. Access streaming shows when you travel, safely use a public Wi-Fi, and remain anonymous online.
     
  3. Use a fast, secure, and private browser: Get state-of-the-art protection for all your online activities—plus ad-blocking, anti-tracking, and anti-fingerprinting. This makes it impossible for others to create an online profile of you. Avast Secure Browser includes all this and it's up to 4x faster than your standard browser.

  4. Make your passwords unique and strong: Ever-changing, complex passwords are key to data protection. Use a password manager to securely sync your passwords across all your computers, smartphones, and tablet               
    devices. Avast Passwords Premium is a great option for
    managing your passwords and it also has the added benefit of detecting when sites have been compromised and prompts you to change your password.

  5. While you’re at it, speed up and clean up your PC: Along with all this protection, apply a full optimization suite like Avast Cleanup Premium which includes over 10 features to improve your PC’s reliability and speed. Our patented technologies provide next-gen tuning and cleaning which frees up disk space, removes bloatware, fixes problems, and increases speed.
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Dangerous PDF exploit combines two vulnerabilities

Fortunately, patches exist for both vulnerabilities in question, but if an unpatched Windows system suffers infection from this PDF exploit, all bets are off.

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