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How Do I Make My Windows 10 Computer Run Faster? (Part 2)

Nobody wants to endure the frustration of a poorly performing laptop or desktop. People just want their machines to work as intended, whenever they switch on or log-in. So whether your home PC is used for shopping, social media, storing important family photos and documents, remote working, or all of the above, our handy two-part guide will teach you how to maximize your PC’s performance.

There are many reasons why your computer may be running slower than intended. It could be something simple like too many applications open at once or background processes using too much memory. It might even be that you’re in low power mode and don’t know it. Or perhaps there’s some malware on the machine impairing performance.

In Part 1 we discussed some basic first steps you can take to improve things, and some Windows tools that can help. Here are some slightly more advanced things you can do to speed things up, rounding out our top 10 for Windows 10 users.

1. Keyboard shortcuts

We all love a shortcut. Well, the good news is that there’s a really simple way you can access the apps you use most frequently, at the push of a button. Simply Right-click on the app shortcut in question, either on your Desktop or in your Taskbar and open Properties > Shortcut and type the shortcut key you want to use for that app (in this case, the number 5). Windows will then create the short combination of keys needed to execute the shortcut. That means no more searching through the Start menu for the app you want. In this case, just hold down the keys Ctrl > Alt, then type the number 5 and the app launches.

 

2. Clean-up your hard disk

Another common cause of slow PC performance is a hard drive cluttered with files you don’t need any more. The great news is that there’s a fantastic, user-friendly Windows tool to help you clean out all of these old files: Storage Sense. Go to Start > Settings > System > Storage and toggle Storage Sense on. Click Free up space now and it will automatically scan your computer and present a list of categories where unused files can be deleted, including the Recycle Bin, Windows thumbnails and Temporary Files.

By clicking on Change how we free up space automatically you can also choose to run Storage Sense or delete temporary files more frequently.

3. Turn off visual effects

OK, it’s decision time. There are many features in Windows 10 that we might not really notice, but which make the user experience a lot easier on the eye. As a whole, these animations and special effects might make everything look great, but they use vital system resources. This can be especially telling if you’re running Windows 10 on a slightly older machine. So if you value performance over appearance, switch these off by Double-clicking the File Explorer icon in your Taskbar, and in the left-hand menu Right-click This PC > Properties > Advanced system settings > Advanced Tab > Performance Settings > Adjust for best performance. This turns off all special Visual Effects. Or select Custom and uncheck specific boxes yourself.

More simply, you can also save resources by turning off Transparency effects by going to Settings > Personalization > Colors.

4. Change graphics settings

As we’ve mentioned, applications can be responsible for many of the performance problems your PC may be encountering. Graphics are a key component here, so if you are having problems with specific apps it might pay to do a little tweaking. Go to Settings > System > Display > Graphics settings. Select the Classic or Universal app you want to configure, by hitting Browse for the first or the Drop-down menu for the second, then click Add and then Options. You can now switch graphics to high performance.

On the same theme, if you or someone in the family is a gamer then even all the performance improvement tips listed above may not be enough to meet the high specs required by many titles. It may be worth investigating an upgrade of your graphics card, although this will involve physically opening up the computer to install it.

5. PC Health Checkup for Trend Micro Security customers

Now back to super-easy. For PC or laptop users with Trend Micro Security products there’s one final tool that could help to improve performance. Our PC Health Checkup scans for vulnerabilities and improves system performance by removing no-longer-needed temporary files as well as those which may contain private information on your browsing history.

Simply Double-click on the Trend Micro Security shortcut on the Desktop, and when it loads, click Device > PC Health Checkup > Start. PC Health Checkup scans your computer for places it can clean up clutter

Click Make Improvements for quick various improvements when needed in Security Vulnerabilities, Reduce Computer Startup Time, Regain Disk Space, Clean Privacy Data, and Protect Browser Passwords (remove them from your browser). Manual optional improvements are also possible: in this example, by clicking Reduce Computer startup time and by then selecting the first item you can save 56.98 seconds on your computer startup time.

It’s one more common-sense way to get your PC running faster and smoother. Good luck!

Go to the Trend Micro Security website for more information or to buy the product.

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AV-Comparatives: Trend Micro Mobile Security for Android Provides 100% Malware Protection for Mobile Users

With the introduction of Android v8.0 (Android Oreo) in August of 2017, among other OS improvements Google introduced its built-in malware protection for Android call Play Protect (dependent on Google Play Services 11 or later). Play Protect checks apps and APK files downloaded from Google Play or third-party sources, using real-time and on-demand scanners, while also providing safe browsing and device loss protections.

While built-in antimalware is a welcome addition in a dangerous Android Internet environment, Google Play Protect is not yet quite up-to-snuff, as shown in the recent tests performed by AV-Comparatives’ Mobile Security Review 2018 conducted in July and revised in August. In that test cycle, its protection rate was actually quite low (only a 51% catch rate among 2,604 recent malware samples tested.) It’s also not much help in Asian countries, nor in any other region where use of other non-Google-owned Android app stores is rampant; nor is it included in Android 7/7.1, 6.0, or 5/5.1, which retain the lion’s share of Android users (some 79%).

Android users clearly need better protection—and here, Trend Micro Mobile Security for Android steps up to the plate. It achieved 100%-protection rate in the same AV-Comparative tests, with no false positives, and received an Approved Mobile Product badge, standing securely among the five leading products in a field of twelve, while also having little effect on battery life (less than 3%). Achieving a rating of 100% protection is particularly good when you consider Trend Micro Mobile Security for Android has achieved this result in AV-Comparatives’ tests for the last four years running. They also acknowledge it to be “a comprehensive app offering malware protection, an anti-theft module [Lost Device Protection], and additional, helpful features for managing the device.” These additional helpful management features include a System Tuner and an App Manager, alongside the full-fledged functionality of a Security Scanner, a Safe Surfing function, a Wi-Fi Checker, Parental Controls, Social Network Privacy for Facebook and Twitter, and a Call Blocking function.

Visit AV-Comparatives’ Mobile Security Review 2018 to download a PDF of the review.

Visit Trend Micro Mobile Security for more information, or to buy the program for Android or iOS.

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AV-Comparatives: Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac Provides 100% Malware Protection for Mac Users

Despite popular opinion otherwise, the days have long since passed when Mac users can venture forth on the Internet without having to worry about viruses or ransomware, phishing attacks or dangerous URLs. Though the number of attacks on the Mac are fewer than those on Windows machines (because there are fewer Macs, of course, making less of a target for cybercriminals), antivirus protection is still advised for every Mac user’s safety when browsing or shopping online or on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

Because that’s true, wise users will be glad to hear that Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac achieved 100% antimalware protection and received a badge of Approved Mac Security in the latest Mac Security Test & Review by AV Comparatives, completed in July of 2018. Among a crowd of 10 antivirus programs tested for the Mac, Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac scored 100% protection, with no false positives—not only against 310 current Mac malwares, but for 1,000 Windows samples as well. That means: if your Mac is included in a house of Windows machines, you can’t be a conduit for Windows malware even if you’re sandwiched between two PCs as you pass your family’s files back and forth.

AV Comparative’s tests included different phases in the process of malware detection: USB flash drive insertion, real-time detection, on-demand scanning, and malware sample execution. No malware got past Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac to infect the machine—and again, no false detections occurred. Highlights of the review include examination of Folder Shield for ransomware protection; Privacy Scanner for checking your privacy on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, and LinkedIn; Web Threat Protection against fraud and malicious software; and the Website Filter with both pre-sets and custom settings for Parental Controls.

Visit AV-Comparatives’ Mac Security Test & Review 2018 to download a PDF of the review.

Visit Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac for more information, or to buy the program.

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AVG Aces Malware Protection Test

AV-Comparatives knows malware. As they explain in their latest Malware Protection Test report, the Austrian-based testing lab collects “recent, prevalent samples that are endangering users in the field.” Then, like lions charging at gladiators in the Colosseum, they send cutting-edge, malicious files into battle against popular cybersecurity software. Who will be left standing?

To prepare for their March 2018 Malware Protection Test, the lab collected no less than 20,046 malware samples for an epic “battle of the tech” against 18 consumer products. AVG Free Antivirus was in that arena and emerged with a ranking award of “Advanced +” the highest AV-Comparatives gives.

For this study, “malware protection” encompassed all stages of the malicious samples’ introduction to the system — before, during, and after execution. By observing each stage, the lab got a holistic picture of the security capabilities. In some cases, an antivirus didn’t recognize a malware that was inactive, but detected and blocked it once it activated. The test allowed each software product to fully use its resources, including cloud-based detection mechanisms, so that every last line of defense was given a chance.

AVG Free Antivirus performed better than average in every category, protecting against all 20,046 samples and scoring an Online Protection Rate of 100%. Even though the malware samples were new and amped up with the latest sophistication and dirty tricks, AVG left every one of them blocked and neutralized on the arena floor.

False positives occur when an antivirus mistakes a safe file for an infected one. Your antivirus software should have a minimum of these, or else you’re dealing with unnecessary headaches on a fairly regular basis. AV-Comparatives always checks for false positives, and for this one, the average amount each product had was 50. AVG, however, only had nine, proving that it knows good from bad much better than most.

And while our software’s performance in this test was excellent, it was also consistent: we got the same score on the same test back in September 2017. Put this reliable gladiator to work protecting your system. Download AVG Free Antivirus today, fully loaded for maximum protection yet refreshingly simple for ease of use. To the victor in cybersecurity goes the spoils of knowing you’re protected.

AVG privacy policy updated

As an AVG subscriber, you deserve to know everything about our handling of your personal data, from what we collect and why to how we protect it. Just as new GDPR rules take effect in the EU, we have updated our AVG privacy policy with simpler, more straightforward language.

Additionally, we added new privacy settings to cover today’s concerns with third-party ads, cross-product marketing, and analytics. These settings are already in place, and there is no action required on your part.

Our privacy policy is not geo-specific. It is the same wherever you are in the world. And the process to change a setting remains the same as before. Privacy doesn’t need to be complicated.

At a time when privacy itself is under fire, we’ve updated our privacy policy to more clearly explain what data of yours we use and how we use it. Read the updated privacy policy to learn more.
If any of your questions are unanswered or you have any concerns about how we use your data, please contact us through our new Privacy Preference Portal. We really do read all your comments.

Android study buzzes with praise for AVG Antivirus Free

If the internet were a brick-and-mortar supermarket, and all digital software was sold as physical packages, you would find the cybersecurity section so overrun with brands that you wouldn’t be able to push your cart through the hundreds of products choking the aisles. For consumers not familiar with the cybersecurity world, discerning the good services from the bad can be an overwhelming task.

That’s why the independent lab AV-TEST exists. It’s an informational resource for consumers who need objective advice on the best cybersecurity products. In March 2018, the lab focused on researching
the best antivirus for Android devices. A timely endeavor, to be sure — smartphones and mobile devices have grown into prime targets for cybercriminals over this past year. Continuing our visualization exercises from above, if each mobile cyber attack were a bumblebee, you’d be walking around with a thick swarm buzzing around your device wherever you go.

AV-TEST examined 20 leading-brand mobile security products, which included AVG Antivirus Free. The tests revolved around the areas of detection, performance, and false warnings, as well as additional features and security layers.  

Detection

For a security product to be strong in protection, it must first be sharp in detection. AV-TEST challenged AVG with over 3,000 samples of real-world malware discovered over the previous four weeks, and AVG detected 100% of them. The lab also attacked the device with over 3,000 samples of other Android malware, tasking the security software to detect them in real-time scenarios. AVG caught 99.9% of those. With a detection rate better than industry average, AVG earned a perfect score on this section of the test.

Performance

Another important factor of your cybersecurity is performance compromise — as in, you do NOT want your device’s performance compromised. A crackerjack antivirus is not much help if slows your phone’s response time down to a crawl. AV-TEST looked for slowdowns, battery drain, and traffic creation, and found that AVG Antivirus Free did none of those things. The software does its job without any noticeable sap of the device’s power.

False warnings

These occur when your antivirus mistakenly thinks safe programs are malicious. Letting the right files in is just as important as keeping the bad ones out. AV-TEST launched over 2,000 legitimate files from the Google Play Store and other third-party app stores at the device, and whereas the industry average was 10 false warnings, AVG had zero. Coupled with the performance part of the test, this gave AVG a perfect score in the area of usability.

Extra layers

Additional security features and extra layers reinforce your defenses. The lab called attention to several of AVG’s bells and whistles: the anti-theft feature of locating, locking, or wiping your device remotely, call blocker, app lock, and Wi-Fi security.

avg-mobile-app-screens

 

If you’d like to read more about the AV-TEST evaluation, check out the full report. And if you’re ready to keep that invisible swarm of bees from trying to buzz its way into your Android device, download AVG Antivirus Free. Protect yourself with the mobile software that is proven to take the sting out of cyberthreats, leaving you with nothing but honey.

New study warns against dubious security apps

AVG scored 100%, but dozens of other Android security apps were qualified deceptive and dubious.

There is no question that when it comes to mobile security apps, there are literally hundreds from which you can choose. Independent testing lab AV-Comparatives regularly evaluates mainstream security software available to the public to provide accurate reports about what the products actually do versus what they claim to do. They publish these findings throughout the year to keep consumers informed, and their most recent report is a study on mobile security apps for Android.

The lab states that the purpose of the 2018 Android Test was “to help owners of Android devices to distinguish between genuine and effective Android antivirus apps on the one hand, and dubious/ineffective ones on the other.” Alarmingly, the study revealed that only a small minority of the apps qualified for the former category (AVG Antivirus Free among them), while well over half landed in the latter.

To make certain they tested only publicly-accessible security apps, the lab drew every one of them — 204 in all — from the Google Play Store. They then checked each app against the 2,000 most common malware threats of 2017. To screen for false positives as well, they also included 50 clean, popular apps.

Alarming results

The good news is that AVG Antivirus Free detected 100% of the malware samples, and had no false positives.

The bad news is that 79 of the apps tested detected less than 30% of the malware samples, and had high rates of false positives. The report states:

“Some of the Android security products in our test blocked so few of the malware samples – in some cases literally none – that they cannot be recommended as anti-malware apps. Additionally, this year we saw a large increase in apps that use questionable detection mechanisms. Combining ineffective and risky anti-malware apps, we consider the majority of the test apps to be unsafe to use.”

Indeed, between the conducting of the tests in January and the publishing of the findings in March, a total of 41 of the apps studied were removed from the Google Play Store due to their dubious natures. AV-Comparatives posits that many of these were most likely made by developers who have no real stake in security, but simply wanted the professional stature of having a security product in their portfolio.

For more info on the study, read the AV-Comparatives report and learn which apps to avoid. More importantly, protect yourself and your Android with software that is effective, robust, and truly security-first, like AVG Antivirus Free.

 

Study rates AVG AntiVirus Free as perfect 12/12 in mobile security

The smartphone. It didn’t take long for cybercriminals to set their greedy eyes on the various riches within each one. Precious photos that can be ransomed. Financial accounts that can be plundered. All the personal info a crook needs to pull off identity theft.

There is a new wave of cyberattacks targeting mobile users. A bank Trojan, which hides in other apps in order to sneak onto your phone, is just one example of how sophisticated and deceitful malware has become. When you launch your regular banking app, the bank Trojan covers your bank’s home screen with its own replica overlay. Type in your username and password, and the bad guys now have it. Mobile security is absolutely essential in today’s environment.

Antivirus software for Android gets perfect score

In its first report of the year on mobile security, independent lab AV-TEST focused specifically on Android protection, looking to identify the most effective antivirus software on the market. When it came to evaluating AVG AntiVirus Free for the study, the lab certified us with a perfect score of 12 out of 12. The test encompassed three categories of capability: protection, usability, and special features.   

Protection

For this section of the evaluation, the lab launched almost 6,000 samples of recently-discovered malware at the Android device, to measure how many the security software could detect. AVG AntiVirus Free scored higher than industry average by detecting 100% of the samples, earning it 6 points out of 6.

Usability

This section looks at the software’s impact on the device’s performance — does it slow it down? Does it drain the battery? The study reports that AVG AntiVirus Free did neither of those, nor did it report any false positives (wrongfully claiming a legitimate app is malicious). The software received another perfect 6 out of 6 in this category.

Special features

The study also took note of “further important security features” of the software, calling out the anti-theft, call blocker, safe browsing, and backup features, as well as its Wi-Fi security and app lock.
Do the smart thing and protect your device in this day and age. And do the smarter thing by using the strongest and smartest security available, like AVG AntiVirus Free. Read the full AV-TEST report to learn more about the study.

 

AVG scores “Top Rated Product” in AV-Comparatives review

Independent testing lab AV-Comparatives is the consumer’s best friend. It regularly evaluates leading brand cybersecurity products to report truthfully on the claims they make, and whether or not they deliver. Then, at the end of the year, it issues an annual report summarizing the year’s learnings. That report has just been released, and we’re proud to announce that AVG AntiVirus Free earned one of the coveted “Top Rated Product” awards.

Top Rated Product

Throughout the year, AVG consistently received good reviews for so many of its features, including:

  • Advanced Award — March 2017 Malware Protection Test
  • Advanced+ Award — May 2017 Performance Test
  • Advanced+ Award — July 2017 Real-World Protection Test
  • Advanced+ Award — September 2017 Malware Protection Test
  • Advanced+ Award — October 2017 Performance Test
  • Advanced+ Award — December 2017 Real-World Protection Test

These awards were given after AVG AntiVirus Free was tested for its ability to:

  • Detect and identify thousands of malicious programs
  • Remove malware that had already infected the PC
  • Protect against real-world online threats
  • Maintain this top-tier protection without impacting PC performance

AV-Comparatives conducts their tests under realistic internet conditions, using recent malware samples. To score well, the software must provide swift and effective protection without producing too many false alarms, and without relying on the user to decide if a file is harmful or not. We have earned accolades in this arena because our software offers solid protection with a fully loaded AI-based security network.

In fact, AVG AntiVirus Free scored 99% or above in each of AV-Comparison’s monthly real-world protection tests throughout the year. This consistency is key to providing our users with a reliable antivirus solution.

avg-real-world-protection-av-comparatives

“AVG AntiVirus Free is simple to install, and makes important features easy to find,” reports the study. For more, read the full AV-Comparatives Summary Report 2017. And to protect your system with our award-winning software, download AVG AntiVirus Free today.

Perfect score for AVG Internet Security

Today’s leading home security products showed just how effective they really are when independent research facility AV-TEST studied each product’s responses to real-world threats. While some brands missed the mark, AVG Internet Security achieved a perfect score, blocking every one of the nearly 10,000 malware samples used in the test.

The study was conducted throughout September and October this year, and AV-TEST used a combination of recently-discovered malware and real-world threats that currently live and breathe on the internet. All types of malware were deployed—malicious websites, infected emails, Trojans, worms, viruses, and more.

The true achievement here was protecting against each and every one of the real-world threats used in the test. It provided a real-time demonstration of how AVG Internet Security reacts when it encounters unknown malware. Our AI-powered antivirus reacts swiftly, identifying, blocking, and protecting against any threat.

Check out the official AVG results to learn more about the test, and download AVG Internet Security today for complete protection in your digital life.

Highest honors given to AVG Free Antivirus

To help consumers better navigate the crowded antivirus software market, AV-Comparatives periodically conducts independent tests on leading brands and publishes the findings on its website. They performed two such tests recently: one on performance impact, the other on effective protection against malware.

Performance test

It’s a fact—every brand of antivirus software affects computer performance in one way or another. The worst of them can slow performance down to maddeningly sluggish rates, while the best of them keep the security humming along in the background with nary a blip to processing speeds.

AVG Free Antivirus earned AV-Comparatives’ coveted three-star award for its performance test results. With AVG running, the computer performed common tasks, including;

  • File copying
  • Archiving/unarchiving
  • Installing/uninstalling apps
  • Launching apps
  • Downloading files
  • Browsing websites

Testers measured the speed of each task, and marked them as one of the following: slow, mediocre, fast, and very fast. AVG scored “fast” for installing/uninstalling applications, and “very fast” for all the other categories.

Malware protection test

Now we get to the meat-and-potatoes of an AV software’s job. Just how well does it detect and protect against malware? AV-Comparatives looked at twenty different home-user security products and launched 20,011 strains of malware at them. AVG finished strong with the following results:

  • Detection rate (offline) – 97.5%
  • Detection rate (online) – 99.3%
  • Protection rate (online) – 99.99%

The study focused on the ability of each brand’s software “to protect a system against infection by malicious files before, during, or after execution,” reports the official test results. Observing the security systems at each of these stages gave a more holistic approach to the test, helping the testers better gauge the overall effectiveness of the security.  AVG is one of the very few brands to submit its “Free” version of its Antivirus for testing, meaning it gets these high scores even while competing against and beating products that users pay for.

Be informed when choosing your antivirus. You want minimal performance impact and super-strong malware defense. See for yourself why AVG Free Antivirus scored so highly in both those categories by downloading and installing it today.

Unsecured routers: the gateway to IoT smart home threats

If 2016 was the year of device development for the internet of things (IoT), 2017 has been the year of real-world deployments and monetization. Google and Amazon have moved quickly to offer smart home hubs in the forms of Google Home and Amazon Echo, arguably two of the most well-known home assistant devices in the consumer sector today.

The pool of IoT devices continues to grow with analysts at Gartner expecting 5.2 billion units to be in use before the end of the year. Connected door locks, home energy monitors, thermostats, and “smart” lighting are becoming commonplace. These products increasingly learn our preferences and can anticipate our needs. It means we can spend more time enjoying our home rather than managing it. Convenience is king, after all.

Except when it’s not. Nobody wants their life histories, banking details and personal photos leaked online or used fraudulently – that information, once leaked, is out in the public domain forever.

The problem with IoT devices is that the more endpoints there are connected to a network, the greater the threat vector. In other words, as the number of IoT devices behind a network’s firewall increase, the weaker the smart home becomes. A highly-connected home setup gives cybercriminals more devices to target. And as hackers adopt more sophisticated methods to attack people, they only need to find one small crack in a device’s shield to compromise the entire home network.

Securing your home with Netis Systems and Chime

A smart home’s defense is only as strong as its network’s security. This is why we have partnered with Netis Systems, a leading router manufacturer, to secure its Stonet router with Chime, our router security platform based on AVG technology.

Chime offers an extra layer of security by protecting against malware, viruses and other malicious behaviour that could compromise the network. It also provides parental controls such as app blocking and content filtering, as well as on-the-go security alerts via its user-friendly mobile app.

 

Two out of five routers in the world are vulnerable

In March this year, we ran 132 million unique scans of our user base to check the security status of their connected products. We found that over 40 percent had a router software vulnerability or were connected to the internet with weak or default passwords, compromising their security.

This evidence of unsecured routers is not unique to the Avast and AVG user base. Recently, internet and telecommunications giant Virgin Media advised 800,000 customers to change their passwords on their Virgin Super Hub 2 routers after an investigation from a UK consumer rights group found hackers could access personal information from smart home networks and connected appliances. While the study uncovered serious security flaws in eight of the 15 smart appliances reviewed, it also highlighted the liabilities of the internet access point in the home – the router.

Our partnership with Netis Systems further illustrates our commitment to solving the IoT security challenge for consumers. We believe that through collaborative partnerships and a “security by design” approach, we can help manufacturers and users safely enjoy their next generation smart home.

Netis has chosen to feature Chime security on its new Stonet router now shipping.

More mobile threats, better mobile security

Mobile threats are on the rise, and hopefully you have not already been infected. A recent study by Avast reveals a 40% increase in cyberattacks targeting Android smartphones and tablets this year. Last year’s average was 1.2 million of these attacks per month. This year, that number has jumped to 1.7 million per month. In response to this increased danger, we have fortified the AVG Antivirus Mobile app with increased security.  

The problem

Tracking an average of 788 virus variations per month, researchers have found the top three mobile threats to be:

  1. Rooters (23%) — Rooters use exploits to obtain root access to your smartphone, gaining control of the device to spy on you and steal personal information.
  2. Downloaders & Droppers (23%) — Downloaders and droppers use social engineering tactics to trick you into installing more malicious apps. Droppers also typically show full-screen ads, even outside of the app itself. These ads are not just annoying, but are often linked to suspicious sites as well.
  3. Fake apps (7%) — These are illegitimate apps posing as real ones in order to drive downloads and expose you to advertisements.


The solution

Introducing AVG Antivirus Mobile 6.5, our updated app that provides enhanced protection against theft, unwanted calls, and privacy intrusion, with plenty of new next-gen cybersecurity features, including:

  • Anti-Theft Features—Users can control the app online, activate a siren if the phone has been stolen, remotely adjust settings, and set custom screen messages.
  • Call Blocker—Users have the option to block, or send directly to voicemail, any callers from stored, unknown, or hidden numbers.
  • App Permissions—Users can see the permissions granted to each app installed on their phone, and what information each one can access.
  • Wi-Fi Speed Test—Users can check the download and upload speed of their Wi-Fi network.
  • Safe Clean—Cleans residual data and caches in order to improve smartphone speed and performance.
  • Modernized design—Our redesigned user experience makes the app easier to use than ever before.

AVG uses the same mobile threat detection engine as Avast Mobile Security, which was awarded the best detection score and best usability score by independent testing organization AV-Test. Update your existing AVG app or download it for the first time and experience the benefits of next-gen cybersecurity.

Petya-based ransomware infects computers worldwide

A new Petya-based ransomware is quickly spreading and infecting PCs worldwide. Here’s what you need to know about this growing outbreak, and what you should do now to stay safe.

While ransomware was initially used to target companies, cybercriminals today target home users just as frequently. The virus usually finds it way in through operating systems that have not been updated, so always make sure both your antivirus software and your operating systems are the most recent versions.

Further to reports of a massive cyberattack hitting a number of companies in Ukraine, including banks, energy companies, and transport services, as well as the government, we believe this malware is based on a particular type of ransomware first identified in 2016, when it was spotted, patched, and bundled in a strain called PetrWrap.

The Ukraine attack has spreadisappears to be spreading, with incidents being reported in the U.S, U.K, Russia, India, France, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Belgium, and the Netherlands, among others.. Those behind the attack are demanding from each user a $300 ransom to be paid in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

This modification of Petya seems to be spreading using the EternalBlue vulnerability, the same one used to spread WannaCry. Avast has seen over 12,000 malware attempts to exploit EternalBlue, which we detected and blocked. Our internal data reveals that 38 million PCs scanned last week had not patched their systems with updates and were running with the EternalBlue vulnerability. The actual number of vulnerable PCs is probably much higher.

While we don’t know who is behind this specific cyberattack, we do know that one of the contemptible characteristics of Petya ransomware is that its creators offer it on the darknet with an affiliate model. The model gives distributors a share of up to 85% of the paid ransom, while 15% is kept by the malware authors. The malware authors provide the whole infrastructure, C&C servers, and money transfer method. This type of model is called “ransomware-as-a- service (RaaS),” which allows the malware creators to win over non-tech savvy customers to distribute their ransomware.

 

AVG Protection

We strongly recommend that all Windows users update their systems with the latest patches as soon as possible, and make sure their antivirus software is also up to date. AVG antivirus technology detects and removes the Petya-based ransomware, as well as other kinds of malware. If your PC is infected with Petya, our antivirus will detect, quarantine, and destroy it. If it detects Petya trying to enter your computer, it will block it from getting in. If you are looking for a thorough and comprehensive malware removal and prevention tool, AVG has got you covered — from the essential protection of our AntiVirus FREE to the advanced security and performance features of AVG Internet Security.

 

Dating in the Digital World

In an increasingly interconnected community where more relationships are formed through online connections, people not only need a way to safeguard their information, but to protect themselves from cyber threats.

 

Americans spend almost 11 hours per day consuming electronic media, so it’s no surprise that the trend of online dating has taken off as it has. Nearly 50 million people having tried it, generating $1.75 billion in annual revenue. It’s arguably the most informed way to meet a significant other because you’re provided with images, background and details about that person’s preferences upfront. But you may be giving more away than you might think, allowing yourself to become the target of savvy hackers looking to take advantage of your online identity.

AVG Product Evangelist, Tony Anscombe, was interviewed by DatingAdvice.com to uncover his recommendations for staying safe while dating online. Here are some of the best tips he provided:

  1. Google Yourself.

One of the first things that people tend to do when they connect with someone online is Google them. Do your research and figure out what they’ll find. What does your electronic footprint look like?

Put your first and last name, email address and username through a Google search and decide whether you want people to find your MySpace account from 2009. If so, more power to you–throwback photos are fun, right? If not, go through and purge anything you’d prefer not to discuss on the first date.

Next, set up a Google Alert for your name, so that you’ll know the next time something about you enters the public domain. That way no one can share any details about you without your knowledge.

  1. Separate your private life from your public profile.

Create a separate email account with a unique password to connect with your dating profile–it never hurts to have an escape route if you decide to take a break, or if you find that special someone and no longer wish to hear from other prospective paramours.

You might be surprised to learn that people can use your email address to cross reference your dating profile with other social media accounts. A burner email account will lead any potential stalkers to a dead end, with no way to find your more permanent profiles.

  1. Don’t broadcast your location online.

You may not intend to share your location when you post a picture, but for someone who knows where to look, that could be exactly what happens. Take a close look at the content of the images in your profile. Did you unknowingly include other hints to your location like street signs or recognizable landmarks? Be cautious about what you’re communicating in images, as well as in text.

Geo-tagging captures your exact whereabouts when you snap a photo. If you then email, text or post that image after posting on Facebook, Instagram, etc., you’re also sending out your GPS coordinates. If you’re not ready to share your home address with someone you met online, be sure to extract that data from any selfies you plan to send.

  1. Safeguard your bank information.

The most secure option for all online purchases, including your dating profile, is via burner credit cards. That way hackers can’t gain access to your complete banking or credit information. You can pick up a prepaid card at the supermarket or buy a virtual visa online. This way, if the company itself is hacked—as Ashley Madison was in 2015—your banking information won’t be compromised (and, in the case of Ashley Madison, your embarrassment will be saved).

Tony added a tip for anyone using online profiles as well: “Make sure, whatever you’re doing, you’re using different, complex passwords. You don’t want to be the next victim of a data breach.” This counts for your Tinder profile, Facebook page, Snapchat login and everything in between. Don’t let one easy-to-remember password be the downfall of your social life (and real life).

AVG products are here to help secure your online identities and we’re pleased to report that Dating Advice ranked AVG the Number One Antivirus and Security Software for Online Dating.

 

Check out the full story on DatingAdvice.com!

A Fresh Start for Google’s Pixel: Tips for Your New Android Phone

As the anticipated release of the Google Pixel nears, it may be time to check those old storage habits to ensure your new Android phone performs at its maximum capacity.

 

We’re all waiting with bated breath for Google to release the new Pixel phone tomorrow—it’s rumored to have twelve megapixels in the rear camera and Full HD display to view your photos.

While Android enthusiasts are bubbling with excitement about the new features, better images typically also mean heavier files. And you can bet that one platform agnostic behavior will remain: extraordinary laziness in clearing out bad and/or duplicate photos.

AVG Technologies recently collected data from 1.5 million users of AVG Cleaner for Android—which creates more space, speed, and battery life for your phone or tablet—and found that the app helped users quickly delete 26 million bad photos and 30 million similar photos. The bad photo overload phenomenon is global, and life is too short to spend even a minute manually scrolling through thousands of pictures to identify and remove the trash.

AVG Cleaner is free, and you can install as soon as you get your shiny new Pixel to make sure your old habits don’t mar your new phone. And it isn’t just a one-time solution: Cleaner can also quickly remove hidden clutter, unused apps, call history, your largest files, and more to free up space for the apps, photos, and music you love most. Just turn on Auto Clean Reminders and AVG Cleaner will automatically find the clutter for you and let you clean it with a simple reminder in the notification panel of your phone or tablet. It’s that easy.

Regardless of how you keep your phone running, it’s always fun to start with a clean slate. We can’t wait to see what other features Google unveils at tomorrow’s event!

Who do you trust with your online data?

Dropbox recently disclosed that 68 million of its user’s login credentials were published after it was initially hacked back in 2012. Does changing a password now really make a difference?

The file servicing company is back in the spotlight after the login details of 68 million of its users were published after it was hacked back in 2012. Dropbox has taken the usual, sensible approach by reminding people to change their passwords regularly in any case and, in particular, when the security of any online provider they use has been compromised.

It has also initiated a push reset that changes all the passwords of those potentially affected to ensure no one was missed, reassuring impacted users that even if their previous passwords were compromised, their accounts cannot be accessed.

While companies suffering an unfortunate hack often recommend resetting passwords, few take the step of actively encouraging users to use 2-step authentication. In its blog, Dropbox recommended this approach – but its email notifications only mention passwords; the same is true of their help page on ‘Email and Passwords’.

I am sure, however, that we are not too far away from a company enforcing enhanced security, such as 2-step authentication, on its users. AVG recently conducted a poll in the US and UK to find out who people think is responsible for their online data. Against this backdrop, the findings are interesting.

Those who are most responsible for keeping online data safe are any businesses that store personal data (74%), banks (66%) and online security companies (57%). Only banks and security companies were seen as taking this responsibility seriously enough by 74% and 63% of people respectively.

So it seems that people expect a company like Dropbox to take responsibility for keeping their users’ data safe but they don’t necessarily think such businesses take this seriously enough. In addition, 86% of people polled said that personal identification data was the type of information they were most concerned about sharing, and having collected by businesses.

It’s great to see that people are aware – and concerned – about how other entities handle their private data and what degree of responsibility they take for holding that data. The news about Dropbox merely confirms that we can’t simply trust companies to keep our data safe.

So if you are affected by this breach, or have been affected by any other, then I recommend taking two steps to try to remedy the situation.

Firstly, secure any online accounts, such as banking or social media, by ensuring they aren’t using the same email and password combination. If you are re-using login details across multiple accounts, change them and use two-step authentication if possible, such as a password and a back-up phone number or other account.

Secondly, be alert to suspicious activity on your accounts such as receiving any potentially fake emails. If your data is at risk for having been compromised, you should validate these as genuine by contacting the company that sent them directly or visiting their website before taking any of the action suggested by the email.

Finally, as you would expect, I always recommend having a good internet security product on your PC or mobile devices. Whether you use a laptop or a tablet to access your online accounts, you should always ensure you are as protected as possible against any hacks, phishing tricks or spam emails because as we have seen, we can’t rely on other people to keep us safe online.

Finding too much in your Pokémon app?

Are you addicted to the augmented reality of Pokémon Go yet? If so, then you are not alone and if not, beware of playing the game because you might be.

 

But be careful, whether you are an existing or new player as with any craze as popular as this then cyber-criminals see an opportunity to make some cash.

In the last week several security researchers have released details of threats ranging from fraudulent social media accounts to malware infected apps available in the Google Play store.

The malware infected app found by security researchers this week was available in the Google Play Store and is reported to have been downloaded over 500,000 times. The apps malicious payload is capable of taking root access rights on a user’s phone. The app masqueraded as a ‘Guide for Pokémon Go’, leveraging the huge success of the game to dupe people into downloading an app that could then uninstall/install apps or display unwanted adverts.

The research on social media accounts found 543 accounts related to Pokémon Go across Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr with over 30% (167) of them delivering fraudulent content to their visitors. With a mix of downloadable game guides, imposter accounts and free giveaways affecting both desktop platforms and mobile devices delivering adware, malware or software not related to the content advertised.

With cyber-criminals motivated to cash in on the phenomena we strongly recommend that vigilance is needed when downloading or researching details about the game and the best way to play.

If you think you may have clicked a bad link or downloaded a rogue app then download AVG AntiVirus for Android, it’s free and detects malicious app downloads in real-time. AVG detects the threat from the malicious app mentioned above and our researchers work 24×7 to ensure that we bring you protection to threats as they happen.

Stay Safe While Shopping Labor Day Sales Online

What’s your Labor Day weekend going to comprise of? If it involves hitting Labor Day sales and shopping online or reviewing finances, stay safe with some tips to stay safe.

Labor Day is a US and Canadian public holiday of festivities held in honor of the working people, very similar to May Day in many other countries. This holiday,make sure you’re not creating yourself additional work and take precautions when online.

Staying safe online, whether shopping in the Labor Day sales or posting pictures of a family day out, it’s an important part of our everyday lives. The risk of identity theft or fraudulent transactions being posted on your credit card will undoubtedly create more work for you and turn the festivities into a nightmare.

 

Below are a few tips to help you stay safe.

  1. Visit websites from brands that you trust. Searching for something online may bring up the bargain of a lifetime but if you have not heard of them and they have no positive reviews to validate them my advice is to stay away. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

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  1. Make sure the checkout page is secure. The example below from the Bank of America shows the company name appearing in green meaning they have Extended Validation Certificate. The certificate means the highest level of SSL encryption and the company verified it is a legitimate entity to the certificate issuer. The padlock gives us visual identification that data between your browser and the server is encrypted so no sneaky cyber-criminal can see what you are doing.

 

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  1. Consider checking out as a guest, retailers want you to register so they can communicate offers to you and provide convenience with account information and delivery addresses. If this is a retailer you do not frequent commonly then you probably don’t need an account or your data being kept on their servers. If you do create an account click the option not to store payment details, that way if the retailer does have a data breach then your card details should be safe.

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  1. Make payments with a single card with a limited credit limit. Having a specific card for online shopping limits problems to a single card and limiting the amount you can spend on the card restricts potential damage should the card details be compromised. Consider paying using other methods, for example PayPal’s buyer protection.

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  1. If you’re on a mobile device then consider paying through ApplePay or AndroidPay. Many of us may still feel uncomfortable paying through our phones but the new payment methods provide additional security to protect us. In the case of both of the aforementioned services your credit card data is never transmitted keeping you in control of your data./var/www/now.avg.com/18.47.0/wp content/uploads/2016/09/laborday5/var/www/now.avg.com/18.47.0/wp content/uploads/2016/09/laborday6
  2. Keep away from infected or rogue websites by ensuring you have up to date security software, such as AVG. Available for both Windows, Mac and Android, with free and paid options it’s easy to stay protected.

 

We want your Labor day to be the celebration it is meant to be. Taking precautions online will help ensure this. If you do find yourself in a situation that your card or bank account have been subject to fraudulent charges then contact the bank or financial organization immediately and put a stop on the card.

Have a great labor day, stay safe America!

A generation of connected kids

As many of our kids have returned, or are in the process of returning back to school, we should expect to see different behavior patterns in their usage of devices.

 

Hopefully one of those changes will be to use them for studying.

As parents we want our kids to have a balanced life of being online while still appreciating the need to have life skills, such as actually speaking. Our concerns are not new, back when the wireless (radio) was invented I am sure parents told their kids to stop listening to that box, in the same way my parents told me I would get square eyes if I watch too much TV.

Controlling the balance can be tricky, especially when our kids only know a life that’s online and the normal way to communicate. It’s important that device time is understood as a privilege and not a right. Some parents have contracts with their kids stating what is expected of them when using a device, while others do nothing and some block or monitor access.

When thinking about screen time one of the first things to do is walk around the house and count the numbers of devices that are connected. Many of us forget that games consoles and some toys are now connected devices, so asking your child to put down their phone just to see them pick up another connected device might not be achieving the goal of having a balance.

In my house we strike the balance through communication and education, this has worked well for us. One of the first things we implemented was ‘the basket’, a place where phones live during meals times and overnight. This drives conversation at the meal table and texting, posting or gaming late at night has never been an issue. The biggest challenge here is can you as an adult commit to putting your phone in the basket!

Understanding what your kids do online is important. Effective monitoring through parental control software or using software on an internet router, such as the Ally System, supported by AVG, from Amped Wireless will give you oversight that will allow you to have conversations about inappropriate use and behavior. The insight of knowing that your child is spending 3 hours a day on social media should encourage you to have a conversation about time well spent.

Many of these technologies also offer the ability to block, while blocking inappropriate content is a good idea limiting your kids access through blocking will push them underground to connect in other locations such as public libraries, coffee shops or their friends house. And remember their smart phone probably has it’s own access. My point here is that you cannot control their access everywhere, so it is better to educate them having the knowledge of what is being accessed so that they behave well wherever they are and they have the principals to stay safe.

Another important element to limiting both screen time and keeping them safe is understanding the functionality of the apps they run. Listen to your kids talking to their friends about what they use, talk to them to find out and then go off and download the same apps.

AVG equals 100% with no mistakes

AVG’s perfect test score for real world protection translates into an Advanced+ award from AV-Comparatives. You can go about your daily browsing knowing you have award winning protection from AVG.

 

AV-Comparatives have just released the Real-World Test scores for July. One company stands out from the rest with a ‘Perfect Game’, 100% detection with zero false positives, AVG. The term Perfect Game is a baseball reference when a pitcher plays the whole game with none of the opposing team getting to first base. For the soccer fans out there we might refer to this as a ‘clean sheet’.

It sounds great but what does it all mean?

Real-world testing means exactly what it says, the researchers at AV-Comparatives identified 355 infected URLs that were delivering a malicious exploits and drive-by-downloads and then tested each vendor to see if they are detected. By testing this way it imitates the exact way that you or I might encounter an infected website in our everyday lives.

And what is meant by a false positive?

To check that a product does not over block or even block every web site or file to achieve 100% detection scores, sites and files known to be clean are tested to ensure they can run without hindrance from the anti-virus product installed. A detection of a clean file or web page as malicious is regarded as a false positive and it can be devastating to your everyday life as you can no longer access or run the program, file or web page.

A perfect game for an AV product is perfection itself, 100% detection with Zero false positives. Giving you the confidence to browse and go about your online life knowing AVG is there and providing you best detection rate with zero risk.

Click the award below to see the full test results.

And I can’t write this blog without mentioning the hard work and diligence of the AVG researchers and engineers that work 24 x 7 to make all this possible, well done team and keep up the good work.

 

Over 900 million Android devices at risk for QuadRooter vulnerabilities

What is QuadRooter?

Researchers at Check Point® Software Technologies have released details of four vulnerabilities, which they have dubbed ‘QuadRooter’, that affect Android™ smartphones and tablets built with Qualcomm® chipsets.

Any one of these vulnerabilities could be exploited by a malicious app downloaded onto the user’s device which, without their knowledge, would allow the attacker to gain full access to the phone. Considering the significant amount of personal and business data we store on our connected devices, this has major security implications.

According to Check Point, some of the Android devices that contain this chipset and which are therefore at risk include:

  • BlackBerry Priv
  • Blackphone 1 and Blackphone 2
  • Google Nexus 5X, Nexus 6 and Nexus 6P
  • HTC One, HTC M9 and HTC 10
  • LG G4, LG G5, and LG V10
  • New Moto X by Motorola
  • OnePlus One, OnePlus 2 and OnePlus 3
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung S7 Edge
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra

 

How to protect your Android device from QuadRooter

If you own one of these handsets, it does not mean that you have been the subject of an attack that gains control over your device. For the attack to be successful, it must download the malicious app that takes advantage of one of these four vulnerabilities to your device.

Ensure you update your handset with any security patches available for the issue. For example, Qualcomm has already released a fix for all four vulnerabilities while Google has released patches for three of the four, with the final fix expected in the very near future.

In addition, there are four steps you can take to make sure your device is as secure as possible:

 

  1. Your device should automatically prompt you to download and install the latest available updates. Tip: make sure you have a wi-fi or broadband connected before downloading as some updates can be large.
  1. Only download apps from official apps stores such as Google Play. Avoid sideloading apps, such as when you are offered an app on a web site. To ensure you get the authentic app, go to the Google Play store directly and download it from there. This reduces the risk of getting a malicious app by accident.
  1. Switch on the “verify apps” function in your Android settings. This means that even if you do download an app from somewhere else, this feature will check with the official app store to make sure it’s compliant.
  1. Protect your device with antivirus software such as AVG AntiVirus for Android and make sure you keep it updated. Should an attacker use the vulnerability to plant the malware on your phone or tablet, an up-to-date antivirus program will detect and prevent its execution.

 

The best advice I can give is not to panic and not to be complacent. Vulnerabilities like this are actually relatively common and taking preventative action quickly will help protect your devices and your data from unnecessary risk.

5 Smartphone & App Trends That Will Blow Your Mind

Our latest AVG App & Trends Report unearthed surprising trends, about apps’ rise and fall—and their troubling tendency to suck phone life. Here we are pulling back the curtain …

For the full report, check out our AVG App Performance & Trends Report (H1 2016).

I live in my own tech bubble. I work in the performance division of a world class online security firm, so most of my colleagues get the latest apps, phones, and PCs. Many of my friends are also tech enthusiasts, always trying the newest and shiniest devices.

But step outside those spheres, and things change. There is a whole other reality out there. My family and wider circle of friends, people on the streets and trains, and people in other countries often don’t care about owning the latest tech or the newest app. That’s the real world. And I have once again been blown away by our AVG App Report and what people really do on their phones …

Without further ado, here’s the top trends that made me raise an eyebrow and mutter “Fascinating!”

 

Number 1: No, not everyone owns a Samsung Galaxy S7

Sure, I don’t expect everyone on earth to have the most expensive and up-to-date Android on the market. But finding out that phones from 2012 and 2013 are still alive and kicking is startling.

Number one on the list is the Galaxy Note II, a phone that came out in September of 2012 – almost four years ago. Then came the S4 Mini, a still super popular phone from early 2013 that apparently just won’t die off. With limited storage, old Android 4.x versions, and slowly dying batteries, their owners must be feeling the age when going about their daily tasks and using newer apps.

Though Samsung obviously completely dominates the Android smartphone space, it is not alone. Sony nabbed two spots in the top ten (The Xperia Z3 Compact and Z2 LTE A) and more than 10% of the roughly 20 million devices we logged anonymously that quarter.

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Number 2: The Top 50 Most Commonly Used Android Apps are from Google

Google dominates the mobile OS world. No doubt about that. But Google also dominates its own world. The top most used apps on Android are Google Play Store, Google Plus, Google Quick Search Box, YouTube (yup, that’s Google), Google Chrome, Google Maps, and Google Hangouts. Only Facebook and the pre-installed Samsung Push Service made it into the top 10.

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Number 3: Many Apps Are Just Websites-turned-into-apps

The top 50 also includes a lot of websites-turned-into-apps, like Facebook, Tripadvisor, and eBay. The trend is double-edged unfortunately: It’s app makers continuing to push users to their mobile app, sometimes very aggressively in the case of Tripadvisor, as almost every step on their mobile website www.tripadvisor.com leads to a “recommendation” to use their apps.

On the one hand, these apps generally offer a more pleasant experience, with nicer animations, more features, and often a better look and feel. On the other hand, many of them also register themselves as startup applications and constantly check for updates and notifications in the background. This drains power and bandwidth.

If your phone doesn’t make it to the end of the day, try one thing: Uninstall all these apps and try opening up www.facebook.com, ebay.com, tripadvisor.com (and all the other apps that you’ve got that are available online) on your mobile browser. The ‘manual’ approach is likely going to save you a lot of battery life going forward.

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Number 4: Mighty No. 33

Another example of the “real world” bursting my tech bubble: I thought everyone except myself downloads and uses hundreds of apps. It appears both the real world and myself have something in common. I only have a total of 29 apps on my phone that I use more or less regularly, which is slightly less than average. Our anonymized data shows that users have an average of 33 apps installed. (I guess I should up my game as an enthusiast)

 

Number 5: Miitomo predicting Pokémon Go’s future?

Just recently, Nintendo had to announce that it’s massive Pokémon Go success will only have a limited impact on their revenue numbers, as most of the cash flow goes to Niantic, the company behind Pokemon (Nintendo owns only 13% of the Pokémon Go app). So while they don’t get as much as you might think they do get a boost.

But will it last? Is Pokémon just another typical app fad that goes wild and dies off? (Anyone still playing Angry Birds?)

Nintendo was in a similar situation with its first real app, Nintendo Miitomo, which let you chat with friends as Mii characters using a cool, fun environment. After launch, it died off quickly, as we anonymously logged over 127.000 installs in March – to only 17k in May. So Nintendo can’t just rely upon Pokémon Go to secure their future, but might need something that belongs to them and that reinvigorates the gaming market long-term….

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