Articles about Security

Kaspersky Internet Security 2015: An accurate and reliable security suite [Review]

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Kaspersky Internet Security 2015 is a capable product which delivers everything you’d expect from a security suite: antivirus, firewall, browsing protection, a spam filter and more. The technology scores highly with the independent testing labs, too, so we were interested to see what the new build had to offer.

Installation was quick and easy. Unlike some of the competition, you’re not forced to remove anything else vaguely security-related: Kaspersky warns you about possible conflicts, but whether you uninstall any problem programs is up to you.

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Search engine Indexeus can tell you if your passwords are available to hackers online

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While the rest of the world is debating the rights and wrongs of the "right to be forgotten" in the European Union, one Portuguese entrepreneur with remarkably few scruples has been making a fast buck out of the idea. Indexeus, designed by 23-year-old Jason Relinquo of Portugal, is a search engine that boasts a searchable database of "over 200 million entries available to our customers".

The site allows anyone to search through millions of records from some of the larger data breaches of late -- including the recent massive breaches at Adobe and Yahoo! -- listing huge amounts of information such as email addresses, usernames, passwords, Internet address, physical addresses, birthdays and other information that may be associated with those accounts.

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How to keep your smartphone safe in the age of industrialized hacking

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The use of mobile devices for work purposes is on the up, creating all sorts of new opportunities for the modern worker. In fact, according to a recent report from Juniper Research, the number of employee-owned smartphones and tablets in the work place could exceed one billion by 2018. It is now possible to access your company resources whenever you need to, whether working from your living room, sat in a restaurant or chilling in the park.

When you do need to work from the office, smartphones and tablets are often a lot more convenient to use than a bulky laptop. The benefits of having a computer that fits in your pocket or bag are hard to ignore, especially for people who are always going from meeting to meeting.

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Do Not Track is bolstered by EFF's Privacy Badger extension

Do Not Track is bolstered by EFF's Privacy Badger extension

Online security and privacy are hotter topics than ever. Just this weekend, Edward Snowden made an appearance at the Hope X 2014 hacker event, and called for those in attendance to help make encryption tools easier to use. Another fierce advocate of online privacy is the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), and today the group released a beta version of Privacy Badger, a beautifully named extension for Chrome and Firefox designed to stop a number of tracking techniques used online. The idea of tracking cookies is something that will be familiar to most, but tracking takes many forms, including advertising and social media. Privacy Badger aims to block this tracking.

Peter Eckersley, EFF Technology Projects Director, said: "Widgets that say 'Like this page on Facebook' or 'Tweet this' often allow those companies to see what webpages you are visiting, even if you never click the widget's button. The Privacy Badger alpha would detect that, and block those widgets outright. But now Privacy Badger's beta version has gotten smarter: it can block the tracking while still giving you the option to see and click on those buttons if you so choose".

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79 percent of companies have blamed network problems on the wrong IT group

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With today's increasingly complex network environments it's often hard to pinpoint the exact cause of problems. According to a new survey by network specialist Emulex this often leads to incorrect reporting to management.

The study of 547 US and European-based network and security operations professionals found that 45 percent of IT staff monitor network and application performance manually, instead of implementing network monitoring tools.

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Wilson's Weekend Whine: Snowden's call for online encryption is sad but necessary

Wilson's Weekend Whine: Snowden's call for online encryption is sad but necessary

It was quite a coup for HOPE (Hackers On Planet Earth). At the 2014 hacker event, Hope X, in New York City this weekend, Edward Snowden delivered a speech to those in attendance, advocating the use of encryption online. The former NSA analyst was not at the event himself -- he's still holed up in Moscow -- but he called on those present to help to protect privacy online. Speaking via a video link Snowden said: "You in this room, right now have both the means and the capability to improve the future by encoding our rights into programs and protocols by which we rely every day".

It was a great piece of work keeping the presentation a secret. There were, of course, fears that Snowden's appearance would somehow be thwarted: "We had to keep this bombshell quiet til the last minute since some of the most powerful people in the world would prefer that it never take place." There were certainly risks involved, but it was a risk worth taking. "[Snowden's] revelations of the massive NSA surveillance programs confirmed the suspicions of many and shocked those who haven’t been paying attention".

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Snowden: Facebook is allowing the government to see your messages

Snowden: Facebook is allowing the government to see your messages

In a lengthy interview with the Guardian, NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden spoke with editor Alan Rusbridger about his extraordinary rise to infamy. Currently in exile in Russia, he talked about how he disseminated documents about the activities of the NSA to numerous countries: "Once you start splitting them over jurisdictions and things like that it becomes much more difficult to subvert their intentions. Nobody could stop it". He remains defiant. He may be an outlaw but "it’s been vindicating to see the reaction from lawmakers, judges, public bodies around the world, civil liberties activists who have said it’s true that we have a right to at least know the broad outlines of what our government’s doing in our name and what it’s doing against us".

He explains how during his time working as an NSA analyst, he learned about previous surveillance programs run under George W Bush. Programs that were deemed unconstitutional and, having been closed, forced the US government to assume new executive powers that were then used "against the citizenry of its own country".  For Snowden the power of the state is worrying:

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New Android ransomware pretends to be FBI porn warning

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The large number of devices out there means that Android is becoming an increasingly popular target for malware writers. Ransomware which has previously been a mainly Windows problem is becoming an issue too.

The latest piece of malware discovered by mobile security specialist Lookout attempts to extort money with a scary message claiming to be from the FBI. It claims the user has broken the law by visiting pornography and child abuse websites.

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US Secret Service warns of keyloggers at hotel business centers

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Hotel operators were warned in a non-public advisory from the US Secret Service to be alert to the possibility of maliciously planted malware in their business center PCs.

Brian Krebs of KrebsOnSecurity reports that an advisory had mentioned the arrest of several suspects accused of infecting several major hotel computers in the Dallas area. In the above-mentioned case the criminals used stolen credit cards to register at the hotels, whereupon they made use of the business centers and downloaded key logger software which captured log-in information for services used by other guests -- including online banking data.

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Google does a 180 and allows fake names on Google+

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Google is no stranger to upsetting people, and it certainly managed to do this back when Google+ launched three years ago. The social network that finds itself the butt of many jokes has long been criticized for forcing users to reveal their real names. But this policy is no more.

As well as reversing the real name requirement, Google has also apologized for the restrictions that have been in place over the past three years. The change of heart was announced, of course, in a Google+ post, and has been welcomed by the + community.

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Choose bad passwords and reuse them often says Microsoft

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Conventional security wisdom says that you should use complicated passwords which are impossible to remember and have a different one for each and every website that you visit.

However, a new paper published this month by Microsoft Research says we should go back to having a bad, easily remembered, password and using it on lots of sites. Okay, that's a bit of a simplification, but what the researchers are saying is that in order to be able to remember the difficult passwords for your bank, etc it's better to reuse simpler passwords on low-risk sites.

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Google announces Project Zero, aims to protect users from attack

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Not many days pass without security being in the news in some form or another. Most of that news isn't good either. Services being attacked through vectors like DDoS, gaping holes in software that many people use everyday -- hello, Adobe and Java.

Now Google is taking its own steps to try and protect users. The company has already implemented SSL for many of its services, but the latest push is against zero-day vulnerabilities.

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The new technologies IT departments need to embrace

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In the past IT departments have always been about crunching numbers and processing data. But emerging technologies are beginning to take IT into unfamiliar areas that in turn have an impact on the wider operation of the business.

Research specialist Gartner has identified six areas that it sees as potentially being adopted by business and which CIOs need to consider.

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Wilson's Weekend Whine: Snowden is right to be disgusted at UK 'emergency surveillance bill'

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When we talk about surveillance online, it is almost always with reference to the NSA and activities in the US. But US citizens are far from being the only web users affected by surveillance. The NSA has long arms, but there are also similar activities going on in plenty of other countries. This week in the UK, the government is pushing through legislation that requires phone and internet companies to store information about customers' communication, and to hand it over to authorities on request. What made this particularly unusual was the fact that this was classed as emergency surveillance legislation with little to no debate and, more importantly, no public consultation whatsoever. Edward Snowden has plenty say on the matter, likening the British government to the NSA.

The legislation covers not only UK-based companies, but also those based in other countries who have gathered data about UK customers. It is in direct opposition to a recent European court ruling that said retention of data was a violation of European law. This in itself would be reason for any surveillance-related laws to be debated, but the government chose instead to use emergency measures -- usually reserved for times of war or disaster -- to push through laws it knows will prove unpopular. As we are now used to hearing, the surveillance is not about recording phone calls, or storing individual emails and text messages, but about retaining the related metadata -- who contacted who, when, for how long, from where, and so on.

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Gmail app vulnerability leaves iOS users at risk

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Mobile security specialist Lacoon has released details of a new vulnerability in the Gmail app for iOS that may allow hackers to view or modify encrypted communications.

It allows attackers to use a Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) technique to impersonate a legitimate server using a spoofed SSL certificate.

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