Three weeks ago Microsoft unveiled its new Cybercrime Center. Housed in a unit on the tech giant’s campus in Redmond, Wash. the center was created to tackle a wide range of internet crimes including malware, botnets, intellectual property theft and online child exploitation.
Working with Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), the FBI, and A10 Networks, Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit has just claimed a major victory, successfully disrupting the Sirefef botnet, also known as ZeroAccess.
I'm returning my PlayStation 4. It's a shame because I love it very much. The games are wonderful and the streaming video capabilities are very useful. However, I simply cannot trust the PlayStation Network. The old saying is "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me". After the first PSN hack, I should have known not to trust it. But here I am in 2013 with a PlayStation 4 -- shame on me.
Today, I received an email from Sony that says, "the Sony Entertainment Network team routinely monitors for any irregular activity, and if such activity is detected, we may sometimes reset passwords of affected accounts to protect consumers and their account information. Your account password was recently reset as part of this process". Oh my. Surely a call to Sony will give me more details right? Wrong.
Despite the fact we have been living with the Edward Snowden leaks regarding NSA spying since May, the story remains front page news and continues to raise questions from citizens and governments the world over. The allegations that the National Security Agency is circumventing security measures without seeking warrants is a concern, not only to every citizen, but also to major corporations which survive by promising to protect their customers' data and privacy.
Now Microsoft is taking action. Regarding the recent news stories, Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president of Legal and Corporate Affairs at Microsoft, states "if true, these efforts threaten to seriously undermine confidence in the security and privacy of online communications. Indeed, government snooping potentially now constitutes an 'advanced persistent threat', alongside sophisticated malware and cyber attacks".
Last month we reported on research showing that 65 percent of financial professionals were putting company data at risk by using unauthorized apps. New research carried out for anti-virus company McAfee shows that the figure is even higher across the enterprise as whole.
The study finds that of 600 employees surveyed across North America, the UK and Australasia, 80 percent admit to using non-approved software as a service (SaaS) applications in their jobs. These applications are referred to as "Shadow IT", meaning technology that hasn’t been approved by the IT department or acquired according to company procurement policy.
Helsinki-based security company F-Secure has released Key, a password manager for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac.
The program has similar features to many competitors. You can enter your login details for multiple URLs; a secure password generator helps you generate new credentials, and your AES-encrypted database is protected by a single master password.
Antivirus software is generally seen as being about protecting your system from infection, but sometimes you get caught out and it's necessary to call on the product's removal capabilities. If you're lucky, or careful, you might never have to try out the malware removal ability of your security product, but it's good to know it can step up to the plate if needed. To help you see if your chosen solution measures up AV-Comparatives has released the results of its latest malware removal tests.
Tests were carried out on a range of 11 malware samples including Trojans, worms, backdoors and ransomware. Using a Windows 7 Professional 64-bit system each infection was loaded, the system rebooted and then the anti-virus product installed, updated and put to work.
When it comes to the Android custom ROM community, CyanogenMod is considered by many to be the holy grail. If your smartphone or tablet receives official support for the ROM, you can be assured of regular updates. However, for many, the stock Android experience has now matured to a point where custom ROMs are no longer needed.
Despite this (or maybe because of this), CyanogenMod decided to monetize its ROM and form a company. To easier facilitate the process of installing it, the company released a helper app on the Play Store. Yesterday, the app was pulled from the store -- and that's a good thing.
When it comes to holiday shopping, I am a bit of a scrooge. I love the holidays and I love gifts, but the actual shopping is a chore. While online-shopping has reduced my need to leave the house and interact with other humans, even that can be problematic. After all, there are so many online retailers nowadays, that it can be hard to choose. Not to mention, if you find a good price, how can you know it is a reputable website?
Luckily, Avira, the often-trusted security company, has unveiled a solution called Avira Savings Advisor. The company says, "just in time for the holiday shopping season, security expert Avira announced today the release of Avira Savings Advisor -- a free browser add-on that helps shoppers find the best prices and the most trustworthy e-commerce sites to buy online".
The repercussions of the recent Adobe hack continue to echo around the internet. The attack exposed the user information for a huge number of customers, and data leaked online displayed email addresses, passwords and hints. The final tally of affected users ended up at 150 million, and the dump has since been parsed by security researchers, such as those at Sophos.
Now Evernote is the latest to warn customers of the far-reaching possibilities that could result from Adobe's misfortune. The note-taking service has been checking the database of email addresses and comparing it to its own customer list. When a matching email address is discovered, a message is generated to warn the potential victim.
If you ever work with personal or confidential documents then you’ve probably considered using a shredder, a tool which overwrites your files so they can’t be recovered by others. And there are plenty around: searching for "secure delete" returns lots of capable programs in just the first few hits.
Which file shredder is best for you, though? Most recommendations focus largely on the length of their feature list, but if you’re just looking for something simple, a convenient way to get the job done with the minimum of hassle, then BitKiller could be more interesting.
About this time of year Symantec starts gazing into the company crystal ball and making predictions on what the future holds -- security wise -- for us all. The 2014 list is very short, just four items, but it’s an interesting selection nonetheless.
Given that 2013 put our lack of privacy front and center with stories of PRISM, NSA spying and numerous hacks, it’s no surprise that for the first prediction, Symantec thinks that people will finally begin taking active steps to keep their information private in 2014.
Android's success, in the smartphone and tablet markets, makes the operating system's users a popular target for malware writers. Some of the concerns which researchers and security firms frequently expose translate into real threats, while others will likely never see the light of day as they're squashed in their infancy.
Luckily, Google is taking a proactive stance to improving Android's security as the search giant has expanded the patch reward program that was introduced in early October, to also include its Android Open Source Project.
It's possible to insure against most things these days, but cyber security insurance is a relatively new field and findings by NSS Labs show that it's becoming more popular. The report rounds up a number of recent surveys which put cyber insurance adoption at around one third of large US businesses.
NSS Labs cites a recent Ponemon Institute survey of US risk management professionals which show that respondents now see the need to guard against cyber security problems as comparable to other risks like fire and natural disasters. The same survey also looked at who makes the purchasing decisions on cyber insurance and found that it’s more likely to be risk management teams that influence the decision rather than IT security staff. When it comes to determining the required level of cover most respondents used formal risk assessments carried out by their insurer.
Don't panic, Redmond isn't after your credit card details -- well, no more than usual. Microsoft has announced the opening of a new Cybercrime Center to combine its legal and technical expertise with cutting-edge tools and technology in the fight against crime on the internet. The center will tackle a wide range of crimes including malware, botnets, intellectual property theft and online child exploitation.
"The Microsoft Cybercrime Center is where our experts come together with customers and partners to focus on one thing: keeping people safe online," says David Finn, associate general counsel of the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit. "By combining sophisticated tools and technology with the right skills and new perspectives, we can make the Internet safer for everyone".
The need for more secure communication services has certainly spiked in the wake of the NSA spying revelations, with providers placing a higher emphasis on keeping their users' personal and work information safe from unwanted access. After all, those users expect (and demand) them to do so. As a result, it is not out of the ordinary to see the word "secure" being used as one of the many buzzwords that describe such services nowadays. The question is whether the presentation matches the behind-the-scenes reality.
Among the slew of services that promise secure communications is Perzo, which launched as a beta in late-August 2013. Perzo was founded by David Gurle, who is best known for his former roles as head of the Windows Messenger development and general manager and vice president of Skype for Business in the early 2000s. The service piqued my attention, and I chatted with the man to find out what sort of features and security options Perzo can bring to the table as a newcomer in the "secure communications application" market.