The European Commission has called on EU member countries to do more, and do better, in fighting spam and other online privacy threats. In a newly published [URL="http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/ecomm/doc/library/ext_studies/privacy_trust_policies/spam_spyware_legal_study2009final.pdf"]study[/URL], commissioned by the EC, it was revealed that almost all EU countries have at least one spam, spyware or malware reporting site for members of the public. Yet the actual number of prosecuted cases, or occasions of imposed sanctions against privacy lawbreakers, varies considerably from member country to member country despite the EU-wide ban on spam. European law has actually banned spam and spyware since 2002, although you wouldn't know it considering …

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No, I'm not talking about a Linux vs. Microsoft or Apple vs Microsoft but rather a prediction by UN Telecommunications Agency Chief Hamadoun Toure'. Apparently, the U.S. Homeland Security and other U.S.-based paranoia groups agree since US Secretary for Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said that she received the green light to hire up to 1,000 cybersecurity experts to ramp up the United States' defenses against cyber threats. Need a job? To launch such an attack successfully would take thousands of experienced hackers in different locations simultaneously attacking a site or sites with malicious intent. Depending on the type of attack, …

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It seems that Google searches on terms that are related to iPhone SMS information are being used to return results that direct unsuspecting users to rogue AV sites. According to the Websense Security Labs ThreatSeeker Network [URL="http://securitylabs.websense.com/content/blogs.aspx"]blog[/URL] malicious URLs related to Apple iPhone SMS/MMS searches are ranking as high as result number six. Examples of the kind of searches that are being poisoned include "iphone how to send multiple chats over sms" amongst others. Websense researchers have tracked the infection trail should a user click on a link controlled by the attackers using this particular rogue antivirus coupled to SEO …

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According to a new report, published today by SANS, the overwhelming majority of all cyber-security risks can be laid at the door of just two areas: unpatched client-side software and vulnerable Internet facing web sites. The report was compiled by Rohit Dhamankar, Mike Dausin, Marc Eisenbarth and James King of TippingPoint with assistance from Wolfgang Kandek of Qualys, Johannes Ullrich of the Internet Storm Center, and Ed Skoudis and Rob Lee of the SANS Institute faculty. But, to be fair, I'm not sure that attack data from systems protecting 6000 organisations and vulnerability data from 9,000,000 systems was really needed …

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Remember Conficker, the virulent worm which caused such havoc at the start of the year? No, well maybe news headlines such as '[URL="http://www.itwire.com/content/view/22716/53/"]Virus sinks Royal Navy fleet comms[/URL]' and '[URL="http://www.daniweb.com/news/story220128.html"]Windows worm infects millions[/URL]' might help jog your memory. Well hold onto your hats people, Conficker is back. And this time it comes with a new twist. According to security specialists BitDefender the worm has not turned, but returned. Looking at the e-threat statistical report the company produces, I could hardly believe my eyes: sitting ugly on top of the most infected by charts was Conficker. In fact, of all the …

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Facebook LLC has received a lot of publicity lately, understandably so. I unfortunately, have to say the publicity isn’t positive; in fact it is very negative. Rumors have been spreading throughout the internet about a virus called fan check supposedly infecting Facebook user’s computers with a virus. According to all of the sources I’ve read the fan check virus has yet to be confirmed, it’s currently only a rumor and just like in real life rumors lead to trouble. PC advisor wrote about how users wanting to find out if the fan check virus is real, are actually catching real …

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According to the latest [URL="http://www.messagelabs.com/mlireport/MLIReport_2009.07_July_FINAL.pdf"]MessageLabs Intelligence Report[/URL] from Symantec, things are looking good as web malware writers have taken a sabbatical. Unfortunately the spammers have gone multi-lingual in a lazy-ass automated kind of a way with great effect. Spam levels have, say Symantec, stayed at their highest level for two years at 90 percent on average. France, Germany and the Netherlands are suffering more than the rest of us, with spam levels now hitting more than 95 percent. The MessageLabs research folk reckon they know why, and it comes down to those lazy-ass spammers using automated translation services and templates …

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Scared that students taking an exam might cheat, teachers at the posh Harrow School in England took the unusual step of banning them from using the Internet and re-routing their email so it could be read by the headmaster. The irony of the exam being concerned with Nazi foreign policy has not escaped me. According to [URL="http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article2432305.ece"]The Sun[/URL] the school suspected a plot to cheat in the GCSE history exam as fellow pupils at a sister school in China had taken the same one a few hours earlier. The newspaper says that the headmaster, Barnaby Lenon, "read every email sent …

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If you are a Windows user and have not installed the [URL="http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/Bulletin/MS08-067.mspx"]MS08-067 patch[/URL] from last October, then perhaps you had better pull your finger out. Of course, it could well be too late, and you could well be one of the nine million or so users who have already fallen victim to one of the most widespread of worms to hit Windows for a long time. If you are a Linux or Mac user, of course, you can sit back and relax. Known by various names such as Conficker, Downadup and Kido, the worm is exploiting the double-edged sword that …

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The United States holds many titles, some of them causes for joy while others are reason for shame. The latter category has long included 'King of Spam' being the country from which the majority of the spam on the planet originates. However, thanks to the [URL="http://www.itpro.co.uk/blogs/daveyw/2008/11/20/spammers-are-in-a-world-of-hurt/"]closure of just one spam hosting service[/URL] recently, it has now lost that crown of shame to China. According to one security outfit that monitors spam traffic, [URL="http:// www.network-box.co.uk"]Network Box[/URL], China now produces more spam than the US, more spam than anywhere else for that matter. As a direct consequence of the California-based McColo hosting …

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What a difference a day makes. In the 12 hours following the take down of McColo Corp, a web hosting service that stands accused of being responsible for enabling as much as 75 percent of the world's email spam, the volume of said junk mail recorded by specialists at MessageLabs dropped to eight times less than average. The bad news is that levels started to rise again after that, an almost inevitable consequence of the free market economy that exists within the criminal underground. Knock one player off the top of the tree and others rise up to replace it. …

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News Story Obama attacks

We all knew it was going to happen, and that there was nothing we could do to stop it. In fact, it was only a matter of time until the polls had closed and Barack Obama had officially become the President-elect of the United States of America. It is not the election of Obama himself that I am talking about, but rather the inevitable malware that was quick to emerge as a result of that election process. I stayed up late to watch the results come in, despite not being American, despite living in the UK, like many across the …

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News Story A mobile issue

This is just what we needed to make us comfortable as the recession (I think we can stop calling it the credit crunch as we've been doing in the UK) starts to bite uncomfortably. Mobile devices are becoming vulnerable to malware attacks. It must be true, I've read it on the Internet. Except...although I've certainly read it this morning, that wasn't the first time I'd seen such a warning. Many years ago I was getting notifications that Palm devices running the Palm OS (do they still make devices running the Palm 0S? Sorry, I'm digressing) were going to be attacked …

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I was privileged to attend the 5th [URL="http://www.kaspersky.com/"]Kaspersky[/URL] Lab forum, held in the city of London, yesterday. It was actually a Cybercrime Forum (I have no idea if the other forums were as well, as this was my first), and so the main focus was – yeah, you guessed it – Cybercrime; criminals operating through the freedom and openness of the internet, causing all kinds of harm to internet, computer, and smart phone users not just for kicks and giggles as it used to be in the good old days, but now for money, and big money too. It emerged …

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Now I'm not usually one who advocates the use of spyware of any sort. As a parent myself, I like to think that trust works better than software when it comes to controlling access to questionable content online. However, in the case of the British parents who spied on their 15 year old daughters online activity in order to trap a suspected paedophile, I will make an exception. According to [URL="http://www.getbracknell.co.uk/news/s/2035089_spyware_on_girls_email_snared_her_older_man"]reports[/URL] it would appear that the teenage girl had gone from being an open and happy child to a secretive and withdrawn one. She used to tell her Dad everything, …

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According to [URL="http://www.sophos.com/blogs/gc/g/2008/09/02/sex-spyware"]Sophos[/URL] it seems that cyber-tension between North and South Korea is increasing of late. Not least thanks to allegations from the South that officers of the military command and control centre have been targeted by the North in a spyware attack on the orders of the infamous electronic warfare division. It is being speculated that the bog standard malicious email attachment style attack hit various military contacts on the Won Jeong Hwa hitlist. Miss Won, 35, is apparently facing trial for treason after her defection Northwards three years ago. It is said the she did a Mata-Hari and …

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According to [URL="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/04/29/gta_spyware_scam/"]The Register[/URL] gamers who are desperate to get hold of the latest entry in the Grand Theft Auto franchise, and let's face it that has to be just about every hardcore gamer who did not get a copy today, are the latest target of drive-by spyware scammers. Spam email is being distributed which promises the chance of winning not only a copy of GTA IV, but also a brand spanking new PlayStation 3 to play it on. There is, of course, no such competition and no such prize. There is, however, a whole bunch of spyware included that …

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Controversial media company and alleged spreader of adware Zango, formerly 180solutions, has been forced to back down from its legal attempts to get both Kaspersky Lab and PC Tools to reclassify its applications as non-threatening and prevent security software from blocking them. Kaspersky Lab [URL="http://www.kaspersky.com/news?id=207575556"]reports[/URL] that the US District Court of Washington has ruled in their favour, granting immunity from liability in a case brought by Zango which claimed its applications, which install pop-up ads, were being unfairly blocked. Judge Coughenour of the Western District of Washington obviously didn't agree with Zango, throwing the case out of court on the …

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As if Microsoft did not have enough on its security plate, what with the launch of Vista followed by the chorus of ‘it is not quite as secure as you would have us believe is it’ from the worlds media, things only go from bad to worse for the Seattle giant. News has emerged that Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger client has been displaying dodgy banner ads for several days. Not dodgy in the usual really bad bit of Flash animation or why would I want to buy a blade server for my bedroom kind of a way. Bad in an …

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The bad news for the US is that it is now responsible for more than a fifth of the world’s spam. That is 21.6 percent if you prefer, although whichever way you say it there is no escaping the nasty smell it leaves behind. The team of experts at IT security vendors Sophos, scanned all the spam messages that were caught by the company’s extensive global network of spam traps and honeypots, and has now published the results for the third quarter of 2006 in terms of relayed spam levels. What is immediately obvious is that legislative measures such as …

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I was in a pub in Manchester recently for my friend Chris's leaving do (he's got a job in Spain :p ). Somehow a brief discussion about Mac OS X got started (yes, OK I started it). Most people I've met who've used it seem to think it's great because: 1. The GUI is great. 2. It's really reliable. This issue of reliability and security is a big one in the IT scene. Most users, especially those managing large corporate IT systems, would like an operating system to be virus and hacker proof. Being uncrashable would be a bonus as …

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Earlier this year [URL="http://www.mcafee.com"]McAfee [/URL]sponsored a rather interesting survey of search engine safety. Safety, that is, from the ‘how safe are the links they deliver and you click’ angle. Now, for the longest time, I have harbored a passing suspicion that the dodgiest links you can follow from any search engine are those that fall into the paid for placement category. You know, those links that appear at the top of the results heap no matter what; those that always fill the contextual advertising sidebars; those that try to tempt you away from the real search algorithm deduced deal. The …

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The End.