Monday, December 31, 2007

The year through lists

The 2007 Security Hall of Shame
How bad was 2007 for breaches, vulnerabilities and similar mayhem? On the bright side, it was better than 2008 is forecast to be. With more of every sort of meltdown predicted -- more criminalization of the hacker community, more Web-application attacks, more phishing, more spamming, more zero-day attacks and more virtualization-related threats -- we're happy to tell you that you are likely to look back on 2007 as the peaceful old days.

Read the article HERE.

Top 10 security stories of the year
If you had to sum up 2007's security scene in a couple of words, those words would probably be 'data breach'. This year has seen a shift from viruses, botnets and spam swamping the security headlines, to the loss of personal information by private and public organisations - leading to calls for better data protection and privacy laws. Other topics to hit the security headlines in 2007 included wi-fi piggybacking, encryption technology and calls for a standalone police unit to tackle the ever more sophisticated world of cyber crime.

Here's the year's top 10 security stories: Read more HERE.

Top 20 Hilarious and Creative Internet Scams
If you’ve had an e-mail account for more than a couple of years, or even just a couple of months, you’ve probably received an e-mail hoax promising you the opportunity to make millions working from home, asking you to donate money to a fraudulent fund, or just passing along a fascinating (but false) story to elicit a widespread response from the public. While many, truly damaging scams are designed to covertly steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from innocent people, this list is mostly comprised of those hoaxes that are just downright ridiculous.

Read the article HERE.

Best Of 2007: Twenty Top 10's of 2007
When it comes to new technology, 2007's destined to be remembered as "The Year of the iPhone" — but a whole lot more went on in the past 12 months besides Apple's much-hyped gadget launch. From significant upgrades to apps we already know and love, to major operating system releases, to a few new tools that help us get things done (or at least point toward the future), '07 was a good year in software and productivity. Over the last 12 months we've literally reviewed thousands of new releases, features, and upgrades here at Lifehacker. Today we've boiled them all down to a bird's eye view: our top 10 best new and improved desktop and web applications of 2007.

Read the article HERE. Top 10 Websites
See the list [+ 50 Top 10 Lists of 2007] HERE.

The worst security slip ups of 2007
How bad was 2007 for breaches, vulnerabilities and similar mayhem? On the bright side, it was better than 2008 is forecast to be. With more of every sort of meltdown predicted -- more criminalization of the hacker community, more Web-application attacks, more phishing, more spamming, more zero-day attacks and more virtualization-related threats -- we're happy to tell you that you are likely to look back on 2007 as the peaceful old days.

Read the article HERE.

Vaporware 2007: Long Live the King
It's time again to inhale the fumes of failure. Every December, Wired News asks its readers to nominate their choices for our annual Vaporware awards. We hand out accolades (and raspberries) to the most-prized products that were promised but never delivered.

Read the article HERE.

101 Dumbest Moments in Business
Ah, what a dumb year it was! Fortune chose the absolutely dumbest of the dumb that the gods of fate and humor delivered into our laps - and yours - this past year.

One of my favourites is Number 16 : While working on an article about Microsoft, Wired contributing editor Fred Vogelstein receives a 13-page dossier about himself, describing him as "tricky" and his stories as "sensational". The document, prepared by the company's public relations firm, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, as background for Microsoft executives, was sent inadvertently to the writer. [Which, of course, in itself became an interesting story for Wired]

Read the article HERE.

Top 10 list of year-end Top 10s lists
AND, to finish off, if you are not yet sick of the lists, here's another, ironically, of a couple of alternative Christmas lists, in case the shopping list is driving you a little listless.

Read the article HERE.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Hackers Run Wild

The SuperTorrents BitTorrent tracker has been the subject of a major security breach, with hackers gaining access to private accounts from which they donated all the site’s money to a religious group. The hackers even went as far as contacting the site’s host and cancelling all of their seedboxes.

The site was compromised when the hackers discovered that the admin of ST used the same password on a lot of other sites, as he does on other accounts - email etc. This is the same mistake that MediaDefender made.
[And the same mistake most people make - why? - because it only happens to others, it won't happen to me]

Read the article HERE.

Firefox Live Chat

Today we are officially opening our Live Chat support to users of Firefox. Users who can’t find their answer in the knowledge base or the forum can now get real time help troubleshooting their issues with more skilled Firefox users.

Read the article HERE.

End of Support for Netscape web browsers

Out with the old, in with the new. Many of you will remember when Netscape was the equal of Internet Explorer. AOL, after it had aquired Netscape, and with its huge client base, had the opportunity to take Netscape anywhere. And it did - straight down the toilet. Which is really not a bad thing. To many browsers make for to many security issues. At the moment we have the perfect number. IE [the major shareholder], Firefox [looking for a takeover - but doesn't yet have the numbers] and Opera [although the minority stake holder, is also the innovator. Always the first to introduce new thinking, which is quickly copied by the other two].

After February 1, there will be no more active product support for Navigator 9, or any previous Netscape Navigator browser. This includes Netscape v1-v4.x, Netscape v6, Netscape v7 Suite, Netscape Browser v8, and Netscape Navigator/Messenger 9.

Read the article HERE.

Holiday Reading

TechNet Magazine - January 2008
This month we spend a great deal of time introducing you to what System Center can do for you. Whether it's managing your virtual machine environments to keep abreast of needs and performance, or using new Asset Inventory Service from Microsoft to keep an eye on the software you deploy inside your organization, System Center has you covered.

Read the magazine HERE.

MSDN Magazine Contents: January 2008
New support in IIS allows PHP to enjoy the full set of IIS 7.0 features. Here, Mike Volodarsky shows you what that means to you and how you can you add performance and security upgrades to existing PHP apps without touching a line of PHP code. Also this month, lots on ASP.NET and AJAX. Learn how to combine Silverlight and ASP.NET, extend Web controls with ASP.NET AJAX extenders, internationalize your AJAX apps, and add drag-and-drop functionality as well. You'll also want to check out the HTTP programming model and the new syndication API in WCF and the .NET Framework 3.5.

Read the magazine HERE.

Security Reading Room
Welcome to SANS' Information Security Reading Room. Featuring over 1670 original computer security white papers in 72 different categories.

Read the articles HERE.

White Paper directory has just partnered with to launch a new White Paper directory with hundreds of white papers, focusing on Network and Computer Security and related topics. The new directory contains a number of Security white papers covering issues such as auditing, compliance, vulnerability management, perimeter hardening, and more! The directory not only contains Security white papers but includes over 265 different categories which are frequently updated with new content. Content is provided by over 250 vendors and also includes podcasts, webcasts, case studies and analyst reports.

Visit the directory HERE.

hakin9 articles
Consumers tests on Virtual Machines
Analyzing Malicious Code
Choosing Data Recovery Software

Read the articles HERE.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Using leak tests to evaluate firewalls

A well-designed firewall should not allow any leaks. It should be able to detect all attempted inbound and outbound network activity. This is why two criteria are used when analyzing the quality of protection provided by a firewall: the quality of inbound protection, i.e. protection against penetration from outside the network and the quality of outbound protection, i.e. protection against data leaks sent from the computer.

Read the article HERE.

Hackers Take Aim at Mac OS X

I always enjoy reading the comments that follow a Microsoft news item. The one thing that makes me smile is the constant entry that says - "Use a Mac, then you won't have any of these problems". I think that most Mac users have had a rather rude awakening in the past few months regarding the integrity of their OS, and their machines. As it was constantly pointed out to them, who really cares about something that only has 87 users worlwide. It seems that someone did, and someone decided to show them that they also have security problems. The rest, as they say, is history.

In 2007 hackers found a new target, Mac OS X. Read the article HERE.

Anti-malware vendors to merge PC scans

The rise of customized malware is forcing security software vendors to change their tactics quickly and begin using customers' machines as their initial line of threat detection intelligence.

Read the article HERE.

Microsoft blog

Microsoft Security Vulnerability Research and Defense blog!
Microsoft has launched a blog about the internals of their IT security research and patch development process. There are already some posts that you will not find in the official security bulletins or KB articles. One of the posts says "We periodically identify workarounds or mitigations like this that we can't use for official guidance because they're either too nuanced or have some exception cases. When we discover something potentially useful but are uncomfortable listing it in the bulletin, we'll do our best to describe it here in this blog.' It looks like Microsoft is making an effort to become more 'open' in the area of security research and communication".

Read the blog HERE.

Google borrows Facebook's privacy manual

Google can count itself fortunate that a serious privacy storm it caused took place in the run up to Christmas. By altering the behaviour of one of its web-services, Google ran foul of its own Privacy guarantee - and continues to violate it.

Read the article HERE.

Fire-Proofing Your Network With UTM

Part 1: Battling new security threats
Today, it takes more than a firewall to defend a network against downloaders, trojans, worms, phishing attacks, and bandwidth-hogging spam. In this series, we examine an increasingly popular alternative: Unified Threat Management.

Read the article HERE.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Critical vulnerabilities in VLC media player

Two critical security holes have been discovered in the VLC media player, which is available for many operating systems including; Linux, Mac OS, and Windows. One of them has been known since this summer and can be exploited when data are played back by the VLC. The second hole allows attackers to get control of affected systems via the VLC.

Read the article HERE.

Herd intelligence benefits IT security

In response to the growing threat of customized malware, security vendors are starting to utilize customers' computers as information collectors. Read the article HERE.

Inside the data encryption revolution

"Just encrypting data is not the hard part," says Paul Kocher, president and chief scientist at Cryptography Research, a San Francisco-based firm that designs and analyzes security systems. "How do you decide how to regulate who should have access to keys? The strength of an encryption system is only as strong as the key."

Read the article HERE.

Instability and Modern Anti-Virus Software

Remember when they used to test anti-virus updates? There's no time for that anymore, so you have to cross your fingers every hour when the new signatures download. It's hard to get mad at the anti-virus industry. What choice does it have? If it were to test signatures thoroughly before releasing them the industry would be so far behind the threat landscape that its products would become useless. It's true that the more frequent the updates the more effective the products will be, all other things held constant, which of course they aren't.

Read the article HERE.

EBay goes to Romania to fight fraud

The country is the top source of auction site scams. One company is trying to do something about it, with increasing collaboration from local law enforcement over recent years. Ebay has sent over equipment and a team to help the authorities combat this form of cyber crime, which is run with all the organization of an industrial-scale business.

Read the article HERE.

Cyber Security Bulletins: Release Date - Dec 27

The US-CERT Cyber Security Bulletin provides a summary of new vulnerabilities that have been recorded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) National Vulnerability Database (NVD) in the past week. The NVD is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) / United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT).

Read this weeks bulletin HERE.

$40K to fill an iPod?

Pop quiz: what music and movie downloading app is installed on over one third of the world's computers, according to a new report from Digital Music News and media tracking specialist BigChampagne? The answer isn't iTunes, nor is it any other DRM-encumbered media program that has been blessed by Big Content. The answer is LimeWire, with a presence on an estimated 36.4 percent of the world's PCs.

Read the article HERE.

3 down, 1 to go: Warner Music Group drops DRM
Warner Music has bent beneath the force of the anti-DRM winds sweeping the globe. The label will now offer its complete catalog, DRM-free, through Amazon's new MP3 store. The announcement means that EMI, Universal, and Warner now offer their catalogues in DRM-free digital formats, making Sony BMG (of rootkit fame) the lone holdout among the majors. Amazon now claims to offer for than 2.9 million songs in MP3 format from over 33,000 unique labels.

Read the article HERE.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

AVG 7.5 Professional Antivirus for free

For a limited time you can download and use AVG 7.5 Professional Antivirus for free. For those of you running the always-free version of AVG there are some advantages to making the upgrade, such as advanced scanning and scheduling options.


GMail security failure

What would you do if a criminal stole something very personal, and very valuable from you? What if they were able to target your business and criple your income? You wouldn’t be too happy now, would you? What if you also discovered that this was happening because of a Google security infection that can affect every GMail user on the planet? That’s what has just happened to me, and here I’m going to tell you my story. I will detail everything I know about the web pirates who are threatening my livelihood, and tell you what you need to know in order to avoid the same thing happening to you.

Read the article HERE.

Theory and practice of cryptography

This talk by Steve Weis is one in a series hosted by Google University. He received his PhD from the Cryptography and Information Security group at MIT. He is a member of Google's Applied Security (AppSec) team and is the technical lead for Google's internal cryptographic library, KeyMaster. Topics include: introduction to modern cryptography, using cryptography in practice and at Google, proofs of security and security definitions.

Watch the [1 HOUR] video HERE.

Deceptive Fee-Based Download Services

Thinking of signing up and paying money to a music download service that looks legitimate and perhaps even claims to be “legal”? Check our list HERE.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Adult Website Records Compromised

A popular software program called NATS, which powers the backend of about 35% of all adult paysites online today has reportedly been in a compromised status for several months while the company that owned and manages the software did little to nothing to correct the issue. The number of records potentially compromised is not known, but is believed to be in the tens of thousands or perhaps even hundreds of thousands of accounts.

Of course, you're not worried - are you? No, I forgot, you sneak in.
Read the article HERE.

Airline In-Flight Internet Access

Slashdot notes that the much-vaunted arrival of internet access in the friendly skies may come at the cost of heavy content filtering by the Airlines. Ars Technica's commentary is prompted by an Associated Press article which does its best to make checking your email seem sinister.

Seat 17D is yapping endlessly on an Internet phone call. Seat 16F is flaming Seat 16D with expletive-laden chats. Seat 16E is too busy surfing porn sites to care. Seat 17C just wants to sleep. Welcome to the promise of the Internet at 33,000 feet -- and the questions of etiquette, openness and free speech that airlines and service providers will have to grapple with as they bring Internet access to the skies in the coming months.

What if the passenger in front of you wants to recline, making it difficult to surf comfortably on your laptop? What if you're finishing a crucial e-mail on deadline and an adjacent passenger needs to leave for the bathroom? What if the person next to you keeps peering over while you're trying to review a confidential Web site?

Google privacy tips video series

In order to give you the best possible information about the privacy settings for our products, we asked the engineers and product managers who actually designed them to explain how they work in a series of new videos we released on our YouTube Privacy Channel.

These videos feature Googlers sharing privacy tips, like how to use Google Chat’s “Off the Record” feature, how to limit the number of people who can view your Picasa photos, how to unlist your phone number from Google search results, and how to make the details of your Google Calendar entries private.

Email password hell

Watch the video by John Ramsey HERE.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

I would like to wish all the readers of my blog a very Merry Christmas. And, if you are also lucky enough to have a few days free from work, then I hope you take the chance to enjoy that time during the coming holiday period.

And what would Christmas be without a little article on Microsoft.

The trouble with Microsoft
Its products can be found in almost any corner of this planet. Even poor villages in China or Africa have a post office possibly running its software, no doubt using one of its mice. From the console market to hardware peripherals, from operating systems to text editing software, from media players to computer games, this titan successfully entwined our entire electronic world in its web. With revenue larger than Intel and AMD’s combined, Microsoft is that thing even your grandmother and her truck-driving neighbour know about.

Read the article HERE.

Pinch Variant Embedded Within

This is a perfect and currently live example demonstrating how a once compromised site can also be used as a web dropper compared to the default infection vector mentality we've been witnessing on pretty much each and every related case of malware embedded sites during 2007.

Read the article HERE.

Who's got the fastest firewall?

Crossbeam, IBM win raw performance test; Juniper, Watchguard score on price/performance. When we tested firewall performance as part of in our UTM firewall test we focused on how well the products would push inspected packets along with other UTM features, specifically intrusion-prevention systems and antivirus, turned on. However, many enterprise managers will use these devices primarily just as firewalls, and might be curious how fast they'd operate without UTM slowing them down.

Read the article HERE.

A guide to free operating systems

XP is getting a bit long in the tooth, Vista is a pig and you don't want to buy a Mac and join the Jobs Cult. So, you're thinking of having a look at Linux, but are bamboozled by the hundreds of flavours and don't want to spend a weekend discussing it with disturbingly intense bearded men in socks and sandals. So here is the Inquirer's guide to Linux: quick, clear, opinionated and unfair.

Read the article HERE.


OCZ has supplied the INQ with some of its latest DDR3 memory, which we immediately stuck into our test system to have a play with. Read the article HERE.

In this test you will see screenshots of a utility called CPU-Z, which is a freeware product that gathers information on some of the main devices of your system. I have used this for some time. It may be downloaded HERE.

DriverView utility displays the list of all device drivers currently loaded on your system. For each driver in the list, additional useful information is displayed: load address of the driver, description, version, product name, company that created the driver, and more. This utility is a standalone executable, so it doesn't require any installation process or additional DLLs. Just run the executable (driverview.exe) and start using it.

Read the article HERE.

15 Firefox tricks

What good is a browser unless you can tweak it, hack it and bend it to your will? No good at all. The more you can hack it, the better it is. In this article, with those techniques and others, I'll show you 15 great Firefox tricks, including how to build your own Firefox search engine, how to speed up your browsing, how to hack the interface and plenty more. So launch your favorite browser, and get ready for some great tricks.

Read the article HERE.

Monday, December 24, 2007

What Piracy?

UnPlug is a Firefox extension which lets you save video and audio which is embedded on a webpage - it's a video download tool. Isn't that sweet? If you like it, you can steal it. This item was featured in a recent Lifehacker article and it was met with howls of approval. Is that because it's an official Firefox Add-on, or just because it's another tool in the pirate arsenal? Another recent item at Lifehacker - Decrypt Your DVD's Copy Protection with DVD43 - was met with a few raised eyebrows. And, as usual, the comments make for great [amusing] reading.

Now Lifehacker is a very widely read website that carries corporate advertising. I'm sure that the advertisers don't wish to be embroiled in controversy, so the lines must be getting thinner and thinner between legitimacy and "the dark side".

Now many of you will declare all piracy as illegal and wrong. And, of course, you are right. But then I think of other situations that are also illegal and wrong. Ever fudged your income tax return? Have you ever exceeded the speed limit??? I love that one. I have - and I've paid the fines. It's a contest between myself and the Police, and of course I'm way ahead. It's impossible for them to be everywhere. But that's why they have radar and cameras. And I have no argument with this concept. Unlike most people that cry tears of blood when caught by radar or a camera, I accept it as part of the game. Why?

Because the law applies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

And the legislators don't change the laws at 3am, then try and bust you at 8am. We all know what the laws are. Whether they are laws regarding the road, laws regarding income declarations at tax time, or laws regarding copyright, you are supposed to obey them. All the time. But, of course, you don't. You pick and choose which laws you will obey, and which laws you may "bend" a little. As I said, it's a game, so grab that software and start pirating - or not!!!

RIAA writes its own "news"

The holidays: they can be stressful for everyone, even local TV news producers who need to fill that two-minute gap between the waterskiing squirrel story and the house fire in the next state that injured no one. This Christmas season, the RIAA has a present for local news divisions: a video news release about music piracy, complete with exhortations to buy iTunes gift cards and cell phone ringtones.

Read the article HERE.

Facebook and PGP

Facebook has taken a step in the right direction by adding the ability to add a link to your public PGP key. It also allows you to see which of your friends have keys. Hopefully it will also spread the word about PGP and allow for a more secure/safer social networking site. Granted, with PGP, there is a level of trust needed. However, it is still a step in the right direction and affords the benefit of no need to go searching public key servers looking for the key you need. You can find the app located here HERE.

Source : SANS Internet Storm Cente

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Unlisted Phone Number Addresses

The site, owned by Acceller, initially said it was not doing anything wrong and that the information it provided was all publicly available, despite the fact that addresses connected to unlisted numbers are not intended to be public by customers who pay a fee to protect that information or, presumably, by the phone companies that offer unlisted numbers to their customers. Acceller has since recanted and announced that it's in the process of fixing the data so that information belonging to people with unlisted numbers will be protected.

Read the article HERE.

Is Trojan.Zlob Getting Honest?

New fake codec Web sites often appear out of nowhere (we are pretty used to seeing them) and in most cases if you download and run the "codec" you get infected with a variant of Trojan.Zlob. Nothing new, but this time I found something different. I was testing a fake codec Web site when I came upon a new variant.

Read the article HERE.

What happens if IRS loses our data?

Could the loss of data from the huge Internal Revenue Service master files cause a financial meltdown in this country? That's what some experts are pondering as the U.K. mops up the mess left in the wake of the disappearance of two password-protected CDs containing the country's entire database of child benefit recipients - 25 million people. A loss of that scale could have taken place within the IRS, "and we don't know about it," says Gartner Inc. analyst and longtime World Bank executive Avivah Litan. Over the last several years, potentially hundreds of laptops containing sensitive information have disappeared at the IRS, according to an audit reported earlier this year by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Read the article HERE.

Tech Insight: Microsoft's IPSec

Microsoft’s support of the IP Security (IPSec) standard was enhanced with the release of Windows Vista this year, and interest in the technology will likely grow with the introduction of Windows 2008. For smaller organizations, IPSec could prove to be a cheap alternative to other network access control (NAC) technologies, or a stepping stone to a full implementation of Microsoft's Network Access Protection (NAP) in large enterprises. Either way, it’s time for organizations to take a closer look at IPSec’s capabilities.

Read the article HERE.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Using leak tests to evaluate firewalls

Kaspersky has released a new analytical article on using leak tests to evaluate firewall effectiveness. The article describes the role played by firewalls in integrated information security systems. It also examines the principles and methods used in leak tests, one of the most objective types of firewall testing.

Read the article HERE.

Adobe Flash Player Security [Update]

The port scanning vulnerability in Flash Player has been known since last August. At this year's CCCamp, the hacker "fukami" who found the hole demonstrated how ActionScript detects the open ports on a system. The web page Design flaw in AS3 socket handling allows port probing gives demo and a more detailed description of the problem. On this page, you can also test whether Adobe's update and the suggested workaround actually function.

Read the article HERE.

To see what version of Flash you have click HERE.

PhishTank voting system fishy

PhishTank, a mass-participation website used to track phishing sites, is susceptible to voting fraud by criminals, according to researchers at Cambridge University’s Computer Laboratory.

Read the article HERE.

Vista vs Mac OS X Security

Why George Ou’s ZDNet Vulnerability Numerology is Absurd [Original article here] This time, the problem isn’t just his penchant for getting facts wrong, failing to understand anything about the subjects he writes, orchestrating elaborate conspiracy theories, or dramatically casting derision on anyone who corrects him. Instead, he’s teamed up with ZDNet cohorts to disingenuously present false information he knows is wrong because he’s been corrected about posting vulnerability statistics from Secunia without context before.

Read the article HERE.

F*cking programming

Wired has a great story about Ben over at the Codulate blog. He was experimenting with Google's code search tool recently when he stumbled upon one of those accidents that makes procrastinating worthwhile. As Ben points out, Google "searches inside tars, zips, and even dives into CVS and Subversion repositories" to index all of the code stored publicly on the web. A side-benefit is that you can peek inside the comments and see the musings of overworked, under-appreciated and just plain bored programmers everywhere.

Ben typed in a bit of profanity and got some great results.

ClubHack 2007 - Papers and Presentations

Informative presentations and papers from ClubHack 2007 - India's premier security event. ClubHack is a hackers' convention in India which serves as a meeting place for hackers, security professionals, law enforcement agencies and all other security enthusiasts.

Read the article HERE.

The darker side of online virus scanners

Online antivirus services such as VirusTotal and VirusScan have been around for a few years now. Services like this mean that any user can scan a suspicious file for malicious code online. These services differ from the online scanners offered on antivirus vendor sites by scanning files with several antivirus products simultaneously. For instance, VirusTotal currently uses 32 antivirus products to check suspicious files!

Read the article HERE.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Russia's FSB vs Cybercrime

In what looks like a populist move from my perspective, the FSB, the successor of the KGB, have "Pinch-ED" the authors of the DIY malware Pinch.

Read the article HERE.

Antivirus protection worse than a year ago

The effectiveness of antivirus software has fallen off, and more and more pests can now slip past these barriers. This is the sobering conclusion the german computer magazine c't comes to in issue 1/08 with a test on 17 antivirus solutions. For the first time, c't also tested the behavioural blocking system they use. In standard tests, the virus scanners have to recognize known malware. When tested by c't with more than a million pests that have appeared over the last six months, Avira Antivir and Gdata Antivirus 2008 identified over 99 per cent by their signatures, but Avast, AVG Anti Malware and BitDefender also achieved very good results.

Read the article HERE.

Do Botnets Need Windows?

Botnets would not exist without software vulnerabilities; this we can all agree on. The true source of the problem, however, is far from decided. As mentioned in the first part of this series, the actual blame does not completely lie with a single company's products. This installment will cover botnet motivations, client infection and survival methods, and why this problem would exist without Windows.

Read the article HERE.

Ask's privacy feature is flawed

A group of privacy advocates is asking to make some changes to its new AskEraser feature so that it better protects consumers' privacy when they conduct Web searches.

Read the article HERE.

FBI E-Mail Shows Rift Over Warrantless Grabs

By now it's well known that FBI agents can't always be troubled to get a court order before going after a surveillance target's telephone and internet records. But newly released FBI documents show that aggressive surveillance tactics have even caused friction within the bureau.

Read the article HERE.

Security leak in HP Software Update

Only last week, HP had to close a critical hole in software preinstalled on some of its notebooks. Now, further security leaks have been discovered in another preinstalled component. The ActiveX module in HP's Software Update, which is designed to automatically look for updated drivers and vendor software, apparently can be accessed from websites. Attackers can use specially crafted websites to exploit some insecure functions in the module in order to create files on affected systems or to destroy or read existing files.

Read the article HERE.

Market for ID Theft Services Grows

Baffled by conflicting information, consumers are increasingly drawn into web of 'theft prevention' offerings. They've seen the ads, heard the statistics, and read the reports. Now, many consumers are officially afraid of identity theft -- and they're creating a wave of demand for identity protection services.

Read the article HERE.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

AV-Comparatives Summary Report 2007

The AV-Comparatives Summary Report for 2007 has been released. The overall winner product (best antivirus) of 2007, based on all the tests of 2007, is ESET NOD32.

Read the [PDF] report HERE.

Gmail open to Internet Explorer hijacks

Hackers can exploit an unpatched flaw in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser to access Gmail accounts, according to security firm Cenzic. Cenzic has warned Internet Explorer users than the browser contains an unspecified cached files bug that, when combined with a cross-site request forgery flaw in Gmail, exposes the webmail account sign-ons and lets others access those accounts and any messages or file attachments there.

Read the article HERE.

Unsafe buttons in Google's toolbar

The Google Toolbar allows vendors and websites to install additional buttons, for example, to make it easier to search through their sites. However, security researcher Aviv Raff has discovered that an attacker can spoof information displayed during installation, both the origin of the button and the domain it exchanges information with. This simplifies attacks as criminals could use the button to conduct phishing attacks or persuade users to download and run programs from what they mistakenly believe is a trusted domain.

Read the article HERE.

Microsoft lets everyone try Windows XP SP3

Microsoft announced that it would post the release candidate of Windows XP Service Pack 3 to its download site on Tuesday at approximately 6pm Eastern time. The move marks the first opportunity for all users of the six-year-old operating system to try out its final upgrade. Previously, several thousand users were given access to test builds of SP3 only by Microsoft's invitation.

Read the article HERE.

Microsoft confirms IE update snafu

Microsoft acknowledged late yesterday that security patches issued last week for Internet Explorer crippled the browser for some users, but rather than rework the fix, the company offered up a registry hack work-around.

Read the article HERE.

First look: Firefox 3 beta 2 officially released

Mozilla has announced the official release of Firefox 3 beta 2, the tenth major developer milestone in the Firefox 3 development timeline. The new beta, which is available for download from Mozilla's web site, includes interface improvements and a lot of extra polish.

Read the article HERE.

Opera fixes security holes

The developers of the Opera web browser have released Version 9.25. Four security holes have been fixed, in addition to a bug as a result of which malformed BMP files could cause the browser to freeze.

Read the article HERE.

Internet Security Technology Preview

A member of our Customer Involvement Team (Tomi in Helsinki) would like to extend an invitation to our regular readers. "Weblog readers are right kind of users for ISTP."

Read more HERE.

Official Firefox Support Forum Goes Live

These forums are meant for Firefox support only. Discussion of other Mozilla applications and general, non-technical-support Firefox discussion should continue where it happens currently, like mozillaZine. Because the forum is Firefox support only, we were able to build it so suit that purpose. Here are a few examples of the benefits the forums have over a generic forum.

Read the article HERE.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pushdo - Analysis of Malware Distribution System

Recently, Sophos published a blog entry detailing the trouble they are having with the Pushdo trojan, a fairly new and prolific threat being circulated in fake "E-card" emails. From their description, it is clear that the author(s) of Pushdo are making a concerted effort to spread their malware far and wide. But what exactly is Pushdo, and how does it work? We decided to take a closer look at this malware family.

Read the article HERE.

Estonia: Cyber Superpower

During a November visit to the United States, Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip comapared his country's success in combating a massive cyber attack earlier this year to Bruce Willis in the recent fourth Die Hard film. Not content with being the plucky underdog that punches above its weight, Estonia has been committed for several years to nurturing state-of-the-art online technologies that are used in politics, banking, security, and other sectors. Now, in the wake of its successful defense against the cyber attack, Estonia says it will develop a cyber-security industry that will allow it to sell its expertise around the globe.

Read the article HERE.

Privacy no defense

A man steps into Circuit City. He asks the techs to upgrade his PC. They find child porn. Police are called. But can the porn be used as evidence in court?

Read the article HERE.


Superspeed USB 3.0 arrives
It answers the need for speed, without totally hogging the CPU.

Read the article HERE.

FireWire speeds set to quadruple
The speed of FireWire is set to quadruple next year after the group behind it announced a new specification for the networking interface.

Read the article HERE.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cached Malware Embedded Sites

Google, with its almost real-time crawling capabilities, has rarely proved useful while researching malware embedded sites who were cleaned before they could be analyzed, mainly popular sites who get crawled several times daily. However, Yahoo's and MSN's search engines, with MSN providing type of historical crawling content, have been an invaluable resource in providing the actionable historical intelligence in the form of what was embedded at the site, where was it pointing, are there many other sites currently embedded by the same campaign.

Read the article HERE.

Microsoft security update cripples IE

Microsoft Corp. confirmed today that it is investigating reports that a security update for Internet Explorer issued last week has crippled some users' ability to get on the Web with the browser. Users started posting messages to multiple Microsoft support newsgroups almost immediately after Microsoft released the MS07-069 security bulletin on Dec. 11, saying that they were unable to connect to the Internet, either because IE refused to open or because when it did open, it could not reach various sites.

Read the article HERE.

Security company succumbs to temptation

ZoneAlarm and bundled software. Read more HERE.


U.S. federal agencies have six months to meet a deadline to support IPv6, an upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol known as IPv4. But most agencies are not grabbing hold of the new technology and running with it, industry observers say. Instead, most federal CIOs are doing the bare minimum required by law to meet the IPv6 mandate, and they aren't planning to use the new network protocol for the foreseeable future.

Read the article HERE.

Cyber Security Bulletins: Release Date - Dec 17

The US-CERT Cyber Security Bulletin provides a summary of new vulnerabilities that have been recorded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) National Vulnerability Database (NVD) in the past week. The NVD is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) / United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT).

Read this weeks bulletin HERE.

New online version of

Ulteo has taken online with some initially positive results. We take the suite for a test drive to see how the beta stacks up.

Read the article HERE.

News, Hints, Tips, Tricks & Tweaks

Read this weeks articles at WXPNews HERE.

A little humour

Windows ME Explained
Xkcd strikes again with a bit of humor for your Monday morning. Should you be a programmer nursing a hangover, just forward this to the boss.

Read more HERE.

'Big Brother' Restaurant Spies on Diners
Imagine enjoying a friendly lunch with co-workers at the company restaurant. Now imagine every bite, sip and swallow being monitored by company researchers, in a kind of culinary Big Brother scenario. That's the reality at the new Dutch Restaurant of the Future, where 23 cameras track customers' every move. Facial recognition technologies record every smile and every frown, and a scale built into the floor weighs customers as they check out. Specially designed chairs note diners' heart rate as they get their first taste.

Read the article HERE.

Firefox - never heard of it
A student in Pennsylvania has been handed detention for having the temerity to run Firefox in class. One can't help but notice that the teacher not only hasn't a clue about Firefox, and even got the program name wrong, but is also challenged as to grammar.

Read the article HERE.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Security Suites 2008

Your PC is constantly under attack. Network worms want use it as a base to launch further attacks. Malicious Web sites try to turn it into a remote-controlled zombie by exploiting weaknesses in the browser or operating system. Spyware does its best to steal your personal info. Phishing e-mails and Web sites hope to fool you into giving away your financial passwords. Luckily, you have a doughty defender fighting off these vermin—your security suite.

Read the article HERE.


Copyrights and Wrongs
On October 1, 2007, Jammie Thomas - a single mother living in Brainerd, Minnesota - was sued in civil court for copyright infringement by the Recording Industry Association of America. Three days later, the jury returned the verdict; Ms. Thomas was liable for willfully infringing the copyrights on 24 songs. The fine: $222,000.

Read the article HERE.

'Digital locks' future questioned
One of the world's largest hard disk manufacturers has blocked its customers from sharing online their media files that are stored on networked drives. Western Digital says the decision to block sharing of music and audio files is an anti-piracy effort. The ban operates regardless of whether the files are copy-protected, or a user's own home-produced content.

Read the article HERE.

Those CD rips of yours are still "unauthorized"
Those MP3 and AAC files that you've ripped from your CD collection are still "unauthorized copies" in the eyes of the recording industry. In a brief filed late last week, the RIAA said that the MP3 files on a PC owned by a file-sharing defendant who had admitted to ripping them himself were "unauthorized copies."

Read the article HERE.

TV industry using piracy as a measure of success
Tech-savvy consumers have been boldly declaring that piracy can help and not hinder industry for years (especially when it comes to music downloads), but I was shocked the first time I heard the same claim from another group: from some very knowledgeable marketing types one day over a year ago in a boardroom. One of them simply asked, “Is the show on BitTorrent? How many people are downloading it?” The rest of the group looked genuinely interested in the answer from a demand point of view, not from an outraged one. I’ve since heard the same thing again several times, from different companies.

Read the article HERE.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Blogger outs web host malware attack

A moment of narcissism by a blogger who covers kink, multiple sex partners and other topics has uncovered a sophisticated attack that secretly installed malware on end user machines by compromising thousands of websites maintained by a large webhost and ginning search results on Google. Yes, we've heard of cache spam before. That's a technique by which attackers try to raise the search ranking of malicious sites by spraying the web with links. And the wholesale hijacking of websites so they unwittingly redirect visitors to malicious destinations is nothing new, either. But there are several things that set this attack apart.

Read the article HERE.

Encryption passphrase is protected

A federal judge in Vermont has ruled that prosecutors can't force a criminal defendant accused of having illegal images on his hard drive to divulge his PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) passphrase.

Read the article HERE.

OpenDNS - I think I like you

I think I really like OpenDNS. It's intelligent. It's closer to the problem than existing solutions. And it's free. OpenDNS works by using Anycast to redirect you to the best DNS servers based on where you are. But before it quickly gives you your response, it can optionally filter out unwanted content.

Read the article HERE.

Apple keeps critical security fixes to itself

Apple has released updates for two widely distributed products that harbored a raft of security vulnerabilities, some of which were actively being exploited by miscreants. Unbelievably, the company isn't presenting either as a security fix to mainstream users despite the risk the bugs pose for its millions of users. QuickTime 7.3.1 fixes at least three vulnerabilities. The most serious of them resided in the way QuickTime interacts with servers that stream music and video and gave miscreants the ability to completely hijack both PCs and Macs alike. According to Symantec criminals have been exploiting it for two weeks now by luring victims to booby-trapped websites.

Read the article HERE.

Securing your VNC connection using SSH

VNC stands for Virtual Network Computing. It is remote control software which allows you to view and fully interact with one computer desktop using a VNC viewer on another computer desktop anywhere on the LAN or Internet. The two computers don't even have to be the same type, so for example you can use VNC to view a Windows XP desktop at the office on a Linux or Mac computer at home.

Once you are connected, traffic between the viewer and the server is unencrypted, and could be sniffed by someone with access to the intervening network. Is security imported to you, we recommend tunneling the VNC protocol through some more secure channel such as SSH. This workshop describes how to connect from a Windows XP client to a Linux (OpenSuse 10.3) server via VNC and to tunnel this connection using SSH.

Read the article HERE.

Email Privacy

Email is inherently open to eavesdropping attacks. Many email servers are not encrypted and your email bounces from mail server to mail server for everyone to see. The administrator of your mail server could just open up their mail queue and read your secret cookie recipes or worse credit card numbers or other sensitive data. The universal solution would be to have mail go through encrypted servers, but that isn’t any where close to getting done so we have to take matters into our own hands.

Read the article HERE.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cracking open the cybercrime economy

It is difficult to establish exactly how organised this malware economy is but, according to David Marcus, security research manager, McAfee Avert Labs, it's relatively straightforward to buy not only the modules to build malware, but also the support services that go with it. "From Trojan creation sites out of Germany and the Eastern bloc, you can purchase kits and support for malware in yearly contracts," says Marcus. "They present themselves as a cottage industry which sells tools or creation kits. It's hard to tell if it's a conspiracy or a bunch of autonomous individuals who are good at covering their tracks."

Read the article HERE.

Cisco password tricks

This describes a way to decode type 7 password without any additional software. There has been software available for many years that can do this but I believe this is the first time Cisco has provided a feature like this to display type 7 passwords in plain text directly on the router.

Read the article HERE.

Say Goodbye to Comment Spoofing

Want proof OpenID is hot and poised to become the default way you login to most websites? Just two short weeks after announcing it would support OpenID, Blogger has already rolled out the new feature across all its blogs.

Read the article HERE.

Attack of the card cloners

Criminals are cleaning out bank accounts with stolen card data. Their methods are quite simple, and yet so clever that bank customers hardly stand a chance. Let's assume that you don't do any banking online, your debit card is in your wallet, and no one has your PIN – so how did someone manage to withdraw money from your account? You could be the victim of a skimming attack.

Read the article HERE.

1 in 5 PCs Infected With Rootkits

Malware researchers have uncovered 'massive growth' in the number of PCs harboring silent rootkit infections. Malware researchers at Prevx have highlighted what they are calling a 'massive growth' in the number of PCs harboring rootkit infections.

Read the article HERE.

RootKit Detectors for Windows
Now here's a path we haven't travelled for some time. Remember when rootkits were the flavour of the month and in the news every day? I guess it was only a matter of time before someone resurrected them. Many Security Suites have them bundled in, but if you like your security software the same as your food - plain, simple and seperate - try one of these.

F-Secure BlackLight

Friday, December 14, 2007

Is internet banking safe?

Each year online banking customers are being defrauded of more than $25 million. Can we keep the cyber crims from scamming us? There's no doubt that Australians have taken to online banking. The figures are astonishing. About 8.5 million Australians [from a population of approx 22 million] have adopted online banking - a figure that has doubled in four years, according to finance analyst Market Intelligence Strategy Centre.

Read the article HERE.

Toaster hacks computer

Can you imagine a toaster hacking a computer? That’s true. In fact any kitchen appliance can be used for attacking your computer system, said Dror Shalev, a hacker from Israel, during the international convention of hackers ‘Clubhack 2007’ held recently.

Read the article HERE.

Why 'Anonymous' Data Sometimes Isn't

Last year, Netflix published 10 million movie rankings by 500,000 customers, as part of a challenge for people to come up with better recommendation systems than the one the company was using. The data was anonymized by removing personal details and replacing names with random numbers, to protect the privacy of the recommenders. Arvind Narayanan and Vitaly Shmatikov, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, de-anonymized some of the Netflix data by comparing rankings and timestamps with public information in the Internet Movie Database, or IMDb.

Read the article HERE.

University course in cryptography for free

Have you ever wanted to learn about cryptography at college, but just never really had the opportunity? The University of Washington has made it possible without having to set foot outside your home or pay a penny in tuition fees. CSE P 590TU: Practical Aspects of Modern Cryptography is now available online.

Read the article HERE.

New Software

A first look at KDE 4.0 release candidate 2
The second release candidate of KDE 4 was issued earlier this week. Ars takes a look at the feature set and finds plenty to like along with some nasty, hair-sprouting warts. Is one month enough time for the devs to wield the scalpel?

Read the article HERE.

Nmap 4.50 Released
Nmap - the infamous port scanner has released its latest version to celebrate its 10th anniversary - with 320 improvements since 4.00 including 2nd Generation OS Detection, Zenmap graphical front-end, along with other goodies for network scanning.

Read more HERE.

Firefox 3
Firefox 3 sports a better bookmark manager and is supposed to render web pages more quickly than Firefox 2. The current release of Firefox 3 is in beta but decent enough for you to try it on your computer. And even with release 3, your Firefox Passwords are still not very safe.

Read the article HERE.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

HP laptop owners: click here to get hijacked

If you use a Hewlett-Packard laptop, chances are a hacker can hijack your machine simply by luring you to a malicious website. The pwnage comes courtesy of "HP Info Center", which comes installed on most HP laptops, according to a post made Tuesday to It turns out one of the ActiveX controls uses three insecure methods that leave users open to remote code execution and remote registry manipulation-based attacks.

Read the article HERE.

Windows News

The Windows Feedback Program
Microsoft is giving away copies of Vista Ultimate and Office if you will let them closely monitor how you use the software. Participation is currently limited to US residents of 18 years and older.

Find out more [if you dare] HERE. Update : Microsoft yanks free Vista, Office offer

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Release Candidate
Now, for those of you that wish that you had never heard of Vista, Microsoft has released the Windows Vista Service Pack 1 RC Public Availability Program which allow users to install Windows Vista SP1 Release Candidate using Windows Update.

Find out more HERE.

The Big Chill

Have you ever thought about working at a place where the main worry is keeping the equipment from getting too cold? An excellent detailed interview with the IT manager of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

Read the article HERE.

The 5 users you meet in hell

Ah, end users. We sure do love them. Why, most of us wouldn't have jobs without them. But that doesn't mean users don't drive IT crazy sometimes, or maybe most of the time. Just as a zookeeper cares for his monkeys one way and his rhinos another (we kid -- sort of), so too should IT tailor its responses to fit the individual styles of its end users, support managers say.

Read the article HERE.

Young gun runs anti-hacking company

At 18 years of age he is one of the world's youngest Microsoft Certified Systems administrators. His claim to fame, however, stems from the fact that his organisation endeavours to reduce cyber crime.

Read the article HERE.


When you begin to install a new program and a EULA pops up, you would copy and paste the entire EULA into the EULAlyzer. You would then click the “analyze” button and it begins to very quickly scan the text for what it calls “interesting words and phrases”, such as “spyware”, “virus”, “sell your soul to the Devil”, ["third party"], “you must kiss Steve Jobs on the lips” and so on. It will then give you a complete list of what it thinks you should look at before you click the “accept” button (see screenshot above). Each word or phrase is graded in order of seriousness (the “Interest Level”) and clicking on a particular phrase will take you directly to it in the EULA so you can read it in full.

Read the article HERE.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Microsoft News

Microsoft Plugs 11 Windows Security Holes
Microsoft today released software updates to plug at least 11 security holes in PCs powered by its Windows operating systems and other software.

Read the article HERE or see a graphical view at SANS.

Microsoft Says Vista SP1 Won't Fix Compatibility Issues
Microsoft is warning customers that the soon-to-be released service pack for its Windows Vista operating system won't fix the application capability issues that have plagued the software since its release in January. "Applications that have compatibility issues with Windows Vista today will most likely continue to have the same issues with Windows Vista with SP1," Microsoft warns in a new whitepaper on Vista Service Pack 1.

Read the article HERE.

Microsoft Offers Service Pack Blocker
Many companies have a sort of a rule about Microsoft : wait until version two or the service pack to install. But that doesn’t mean that if the software’s already installed, you want the service pack, either. Last week, Microsoft acknowledged the service pack laggards by releasing the Windows Service Pack Blocker Tool Kit. The small download made available last Thursday will prevent installation of service pack updates sent through Windows Update for Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows XP SP3, and Windows Vista SP1. It will be valid until March 2008 for Windows Server 2003 and for 12 months after release for the other two operating systems.

Read the article HERE.

Microsoft Clubs Counterfeiters
Microsoft is once again after resellers hawking counterfeit Microsoft goods worldwide. Microsoft customers and Windows Genuine Advantage catch 19 resellers pushing bogus Microsoft wares worldwide.

Read the article HERE.

Northern Ireland Sloppy Security

Citizens Advice coughs to laptop loss
A laptop containing client information has been stolen from the car of an employee of Citizens Advice in Northern Ireland. Up to 60,000 client records are held on the computer, which was stolen in the early hours of 5 December 2007.

Read the article HERE. loses driver ID data
Unencrypted computer discs containing the names and addresses of 6,000 Northern Ireland motorists has gone missing in the post. The material, which was sent from Northern Ireland Driver and Vehicle Agency to the UK's main Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in Swansea, is reckoned to gave gone astray in a sorting centre in Coventry. The agency has written to drivers involved apologising for the slip-up.

Read the article HERE.

The Elite Apple Corps

They felt a sense of security that despite the fact that they lived in their mother's basement, and couldn't get a girlfriend, at least they had a re-assuringly expensive Jobs' Mob approved bit of gear and that made them " special" just like their mum assured them they were really. The Post visited an Apple Store and discovered that the feeling that you were somehow 'thought different' because you bought Apple gear has faded. There is still an element of the gross fantasy of the Apple fanboy out there, but it is being swamped by people who just buy a product and chuck it when it is no longer fashionable. There are even people who dare to complain when their Apple product does not work.

Read the article HERE.

DNS attack could signal Phishing 2.0

Researchers at Google Inc. and the Georgia Institute of Technology are studying a virtually undetectable form of attack that quietly controls where victims go on the Internet.

Read the article HERE. Puts a Bet on Privacy

Will privacy sell? is betting it will. The fourth-largest [and worst] search engine company will begin a service today called AskEraser, which allows users to make their searches more private. and other major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft typically keep track of search terms typed by users and link them to a computer’s Internet address, and sometimes to the user. However, when AskEraser is turned on, discards all that information, the company said.

Read the article HERE.


Exploit-Me is a suite of Firefox web application security testing tools designed to be lightweight and easy to use. Visit the website HERE.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What's the rush - it was only 454 days ago

The following is a list of vulnerabilities discovered by researchers enrolled in the Zero Day Initiative that have yet to be publicly disclosed. The affected vendor has been contacted on the specified date and while they work on a patch for these vulnerabilities, TippingPoint customers are protected from exploitation by IPS filters delivered ahead of public disclosure.

Read the article HERE.

Making the World Burn

A security researcher had taken down most of the sources of income for a group of wannabe hackers, including websites, stores and phish pages - with one exception, a forum which (thanks to the host) refused to die. However, the researcher discovered something interesting and issued a 60 minute warning. Did they listen? You bet...

Read the article HERE.

Police email reveals Ebay investigation shambles

A leaked email sent to victims of an Ebay fraud has once again exposed the woeful lack of police resources devoted to solving e-crime. The email reveals:

Read the article HERE.

Securing Microsoft: A Long Road

Securing Microsoft: A Long Road is a 3-part report by CNET that looks deeply into the 10-year history the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC). It chronicles our progress and challenges as we evolved in securing our software and helping customers with computer and online safety. The MSRC was created in 1997, in response to vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer. Following massive worms like Code Red and Nimda, Microsoft entered an era of greater transparency that continues to evolve today.

Read the article HERE.

Dancho Danchev's Blog

Three very interesting articles posted today :
Inside the Chinese Underground Economy
Phishers, Spammers, and Malware Authors Clearly Consolidating
The Shark Malware - New Version's Coming

Read the articles HERE.

Vista IPv6 too slippery for managed networks

The Teredo protocol was created to bypass NAT so that Windows Vista hosts could have IPv6 connectivity, but it manages to elude many firewalls in the process. That's raising security concerns.

Read the article HERE.

Italians win international hacking competition

This year's international Capture the Flag (CTF) hacking competition has been won by Milan University's team Chocolate Makers. Mannheim University's team Squareroots came in second, and the HackerDom team from the Russian Ural State University won third place. Last year's winners, We_0wn_Y0u of TU Vienna only came in fourth this year.

Read the article HERE.

News, Hints, Tips, Tricks & Tweaks

One of the topics is "Why Do People Download Music Illegally?"
Because they can.

Read this weeks articles at WXPNews HERE.

Vmware is Intel's security friend

Intel marketing blurbs describe Vpro as “centered around manageability and security. Vpro is intended to reduce desk-side visits by IT administrative staff and reduce labour-intensive manual processes for IT folks in large organisations”. vPro combines a number of existing technical features within a Q965-class chipset and Intel's AMT (Active Management Technology).

Read the article HERE.

Cyber Security Bulletins: Release Date - Dec 10

The US-CERT Cyber Security Bulletin provides a summary of new vulnerabilities that have been recorded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) National Vulnerability Database (NVD) in the past week. The NVD is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) / United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT).

Read this weeks bulletin HERE.

Automatic flirtbot nicks details

Insecurity outfit PC Tools says that cyber criminals are using a really good bit of software that can mimic an online flirt, almost to the point of passing the Turing Test .But the robot is an online honey trap designed to squeeze as much personal information out of a person which can be used in ID fraud.

Read the article HERE.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Antimalware Testing Group

Rating antivirus software: vendors to agree on standard testing guidelines
Ars Technica writes that "Understanding which AV package provides the best level of total protection isn't easy. Many of the larger players in the AV market met in Seoul last week to form the Anti-Malware Testing Working Group. The new group will be tasked with creating a set of software benchmarks that can conduct behavioral tests on multiple suites of security software".

Andreas Marx, who is spearheading the new testing group, emailed some excellent remarks on the effort to Alex at Sunbelt. Read the post HERE.

Security giants fail VB100 virus test
Researchers at Virus Bulletin have released the results [free registration required] of the latest VB100 computer security test, highlighting failures at a number of leading security vendors. Products from Sophos, Trend Micro and Kaspersky were among those that failed to protect fully against a collection of outdated viruses.

A total of 17 out of 32 of antivirus products failed the company's stringent VB100 test, which expects software to detect 100 percent of the commonly-circulating 'WildList' thrown at it without signalling any false positives. Not everyone agrees that the WildList, used by the VB100 tests, is a representative sample of real-world malware. The list excludes certain types of malware such as Trojans, backdoor rootkits. Moves are afoot to come up with a consistent set of tests for such malware based on behavioral characteristics rather than specific signatures. Read more HERE.

Of course, this topic always brings with it an element of humour, so, in keeping with that theme, this by far has been my favourite posted comment : Symantec (Norton) AV... of course it does a good job of crushing viruses and other nasties... After you've installed Norton AV your system has no memory, CPU time or anything else left to run viruses so, like magic, you're protected.

AV Gets a Facelift
Antivirus products get a yearly makeover, which may seem unnecessary on the surface, but is actually crucial for AV vendors to survive and stave off the droves of new malware variants affecting everyone from the home user to enterprise IT shops.

Read the article HERE.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Is Privacy Dead?

This week Steve and Leo take a break from the details of bits and bytes to discuss and explore the many issues surrounding the gradual and inexorable ebbing of individual privacy as we (consumers) rely increasingly upon the seductive power of digital-domain services.

Read the article - Episode #121 - HERE.

Google disables Gmail accounts by mistake

Google this week mistakenly disabled the Gmail accounts of an undetermined number of users due to an apparently overzealous attempt by the company to combat spammers. On Wednesday night, people started reporting in the official Gmail Help Discussion forum that Google had locked them out of their accounts.

Read the article HERE.

Top-secret US labs penetrated by phishers

One of the most sensitive science and technology labs in the US has been hacked as part of what it called "a sophisticated cyber attack that now appears to be part of a coordinated attempt to gain access to computer networks at numerous laboratories and other institutions across the country." The unknown attackers managed to access a non-classified computer maintained by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory by sending employees hoax emails that contained malicious attachments. That allowed them to access a database containing the personal information of people who visited the lab over a 14-year period starting in 1990. The institution, which has a staff of about 3,800, conducts top-secret research that is used for homeland security and military purposes.

Read the article HERE.

Best Practices for LAN Security Projects

If you follow a logical plan for planning, testing, and deploying your LAN security architecture and products, you can navigate the complications associated with these projects. The keys are: a well-thought out LAN security architecture, a well-phased deployment, and good communication between the I.T. and business units.

Read the article HERE.

Windows Vista - why you shouldn't skip it

Planning to skip Windows Vista altogether and wait for Microsoft's next operating system instead? For some companies it's a tempting option - but they need to consider it carefully or they could be end up feeling some pain down the line, according to analyst group Gartner. It said companies have "significantly delayed" the start of their Windows Vista migrations, with most now planning to begin deployment in late-2008 or even 2009, making some think of skipping Vista altogether.

Read the article HERE.

Systems administration toolkit: network scanning

Discover how to scan your network for services and how to regularly monitor your services to keep uptimes to a maximum. A key way of ensuring the security of your network is to know what is on your network and what services individual machines are at risk of exposure. Unauthorized services, such as Web servers or file sharing solutions, not only degrade performance, but others can use these services as routes into your network. In this article, learn how to use these same techniques to ensure that genuine services remain available.

Read the article HERE.

Unusual Data Disaster Horror Stories

Putting drives in the washing machine. Using oil to stop them from squeaking. These are just two examples of the user bloopers the company's engineers nominated for inclusion on the list.

Read the article HERE.

Cisco's new security architecture

This week, Cisco did something it is extremely good at: it announced yet another marketing-focused initiative called the Cisco Trusted Security, or TrustSec. Hey, great idea! If I knew who was on my network and what they were doing, I could certainly get a better handle on security, business process management, workflow, and regulatory compliance controls.

Read the article HERE.

Keep security advice current

Cliches about safe computing behavior aren't enough, because e-mail, surfing, and patching vulnerabilities change all the time. Remember when computer security was simple? Advice was as easy as, "Don't boot with a floppy drive in your A: drive" and "Don't enable the macro to run." Boy, do I long for the days of yesteryear.

Read the article HERE.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Microsoft to Patch 3 Critical Flaws

Microsoft will put out seven security bulletins on Patch Tuesday, with three critical updates that could lead to systems getting hijacked via Windows, Internet Explorer, and/or Microsoft's multimedia frameworks and APIs.

Read the article HERE.

Update: Symantec Screwup

A routine update from Symantec Security Response wreaked havoc on a California company's clientele this week when it inadvertently tagged a program produced by Solid Oak Software as a virus and cut off the Internet access of Solid Oak customers.

Read the article HERE.

Beware of counterfeit software in retail

Pirated software is easy to avoid if you're buying from a retail store, right? Wrong, according to some experts. Some retail stores aren't being vigilant about checking their distributors, which could lead to counterfeit software in your hands and an empty wallet.

Read the article HERE.

Seagate snubs Linux

Seagate's latest batch of drives, the ironically titled Free Agent series are not compatible with the Open Sauce operating system Linux.

Read the article HERE.