~ AVAST finds that about half of PC users worldwide access unsecured WiFi hotspots with one third performing security-sensitive transactions ~
REDWOOD CITY, CA / PRAGUE, Czech Republic, June 6, 2013 – AVAST Software today announced the launch of its SecureLine virtual private network (VPN) service which enables customers to encrypt their communications while on open WiFi networks. This is the latest salvo in AVAST’s efforts to combat the increasing threat of hackers stealing consumers’ data from these typically unsecured transmissions. In a global survey of more than 340,000 respondents, AVAST found that unsecured WiFi usage is a common issue around the world.
“We developed SecureLine due to growing demand from our customers,” said AVAST Chief Executive Officer Vincent Steckler. “Half of PC users in the US access unsecured WiFi hotspots. And, about a third of them perform security-sensitive transactions – such as shopping, banking, or anything requiring a password – despite the risk of hackers grabbing their credentials right out of the air.”
Rapid growth in WiFi usage fosters increasing security risks
While antivirus software handles the majority of attacks against computers and mobile devices, the risk of data theft by hackers stealing logins and passwords over public WiFi has been a growing concern. In the US, as well as worldwide, around 50% of people connect via public WiFi; more than two thirds worldwide use unsecured Internet on-the-go on a daily basis. As the number of people using public hotspots continues to grow at a rapid pace, the likelihood of a security vulnerability attracting hackers and affecting consumers rises accordingly.
AVAST has solved this problem for consumers with avast! SecureLine, which uses secure-socket layer (SSL) encryption and security keys/certificates to safeguard Internet communications on otherwise unsecured WiFi networks.
“We’ve built SecureLine into avast! antivirus, both free and paid-for versions, so it’s basically a one-click activation to start using it,” said AVAST Chief Technology Officer Ondrej Vlcek. “Our security researchers are constantly on the lookout for emerging threat vectors and we found that the number of threats coming from those unsecured public hotspots is now bigger than ever. So we went ahead and built a solution that is effectively able to shield our users from these dangers, with fully automated operation and minimal impact on their comfort.”
How avast! SecureLine works
avast! SecureLine is seamlessly integrated in all of AVAST’s free and premium products. When AVAST customers connect to unsecured WiFi, they receive a message that provides them with insight into the risks of using public and unsecured WiFi as well as the choice of a secure VPN connection via avast! SecureLine. Customers are then directed to the user interface where they can start the service, which can also be proactively activated by the customer at any time. Once activated, avast! SecureLine will be automatically enabled whenever the customer connects to a public WiFi hotspot to secure and anonymize all of the customer’s online activities.
avast! SecureLine VPN is available either standalone or directly from within avast! antivirus software, in the latter option with nothing to download or install. It supports Windows PCs and starts at $7.99 USD per month.