Most Americans Claim They Follow Best Practices to Protect Their Privacy Online; Avast Research Proves Otherwise

Unprotected Smartphones and Unlocked Banking Apps — plus Weak
Password Requirements from American Web Sites — Contribute to Lost
Privacy

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The majority (98%) of consumers in the U.S.* claim to create safe
passwords, but Avast
research shows only 6% actually do. Avast, maker of the world’s
most-trusted PC and mobile security, also revealed that the majority of
the most visited U.S. websites don’t challenge users to choose strong
passwords. Furthermore, Avast found that 40% of Americans don’t even
lock their smartphones, though 69% say having people see their personal
information is their biggest fear. Specifically, 74% of Americans say
they’d rather have their nude photos leaked than their personal banking
information, yet many more lock their photos apps than their banking
apps.

“While Americans are rightfully concerned about privacy, there is a
disconnect between that concern and the steps they take to protect
themselves,” said Vince Steckler, chief executive officer of Avast.
“Users have a multitude of devices and passwords to keep track of, which
can be overwhelming. When users feel overwhelmed, they tend to default
to unsafe practices that put their privacy at risk.”

Avast discovered that the average length of a password is only eight
characters, and 95% of passwords contain only letters or numbers, with
only 4.7% using special characters. Unfortunately, websites make it too
easy to use weak passwords. Out of the top 20 most visited U.S.
websites, 17 don‘t require passwords to use a combination of upper and
lower case letters or numbers and special characters. Twelve websites
accept passwords with as few as six characters, and two of those accept
passwords that are less than six characters. Security experts recommend
using passwords with no less than sixteen characters and a mixture of
characters and numbers. Nearly 30% of users surveyed cited “too hard to
remember” as the main reason for not using stronger passwords.

In another survey conducted by Avast, 40% of the respondents admitted
that they don’t even use a password or a PIN code to lock their
smartphone screens from prying eyes. Another 50% said they rarely or
never change their login passwords for online web sites, even after
they’ve been notified that a site has been breached.

“We make it too easy to have our privacy taken – either through our own
laziness or because websites don’t demand more of us,” Steckler said.
“To protect our privacy, we need to modify our behavior, and that
includes using better password management techniques.”

Avast 2016, Avast Mobile Security and Avast SecureMe

To help consumers address their growing privacy concerns, Avast is
introducing three new products — Avast 2016, the redesigned Avast Mobile
Security and Avast SecureMe. Each of these tools will help reduce the
complexity that typically comes with protecting private, personal
information, while also providing the high-quality anti-virus protection
users have come to expect.

New features for Avast 2016 include:

  • Passwords — Avast Passwords automatically generates extremely
    strong passwords that users don’t have to remember — users set and
    remember only one main password to access all their passwords,
    synchronize passwords across devices, check the security of a user’s
    password and delete all passwords stored in a user’s browser. Avast
    Passwords alerts users if their credentials are stolen in a data
    breach. Avast Passwords is a multi-platform solution, – users can sync
    their passwords across devices, including iOS and Android devices, by
    connecting their devices through their Avast Account.
  • SafeZone Browser — Isolates all banking and payment sites in a
    protected space in Pay Mode, while also automatically opening
    suspicious sites into an isolated, virtual environment.

The completely redesigned, and free, Avast Mobile Security for
Android includes:

  • Leading Mobile Malware Protection — Avast Mobile Security
    provides users with the most advanced mobile malware protections
    available, now even faster with Avast’s leading cloud scanning engine.
  • Privacy Advisor – Informs the user about data apps have access
    to and ad networks included in apps.
  • Wi-Fi Security – Notifies the user when connecting to an
    unsecure router.
  • Unlimited App Locking — Users can password protect any and all
    apps on a device, providing another line of defense against prying
    eyes.

Avast SecureMe is a brand-new privacy app for iPhone and iPad users:

  • Wi-Fi Security – Same feature as in Avast Mobile Security.
    Users will be notified when connecting to an unsecure router.
  • VPN – Avast SecureMe establishes a secure connection when the
    user is connecting to open Wi-Fi.

Avast 2016 for PC and Mac is now available for download at www.avast.com.
Avast 2016’s Avast Passwords feature is now available for PC, Android
and iOS,
and will soon be available for Mac. The new Avast Mobile Security app
can be found in the Google
Play Store
. Avast SecureMe will soon be available on the Apple App
Store.

*Survey among 6,800 consumers in the U.S., October 2015.

About Avast

Avast Software (www.avast.com),
maker of the most trusted mobile and PC security in the world, protects
230 million people and businesses with its security applications. In
business for more than 25 years, AVAST is one of the pioneers in the
computer security business, with a portfolio that includes free
antivirus for PC, Mac and Android, to premium suites and services for
both consumers and business. In addition to being top-ranked by
consumers on popular download portals worldwide, AVAST is certified by,
among others, VB100, AV-Comparatives, AV-Test, OPSWAT, ICSA Labs, and
West Coast Labs.

Contacts

Avast Software
Marina Ziegler
Sr. Global Communications Manager
Prague
+420 274005-917
Munich +49 (0)89 3815331-17
Mobile +49 176
10214771
ziegler@avast.com
or
E-mail:
pr@avast.com
www.avast.com