Jun 16, 2009 | 4
Six months after the discovery of a security flaw in Apple's implementation of Java software in some versions of the Mac OS X operating system, the company is releasing a fix.
The software flaw could allow a hacker to install and execute malicious software (malware) on Macs running Leopard and some Tiger operating systems. Once onboard the Macs, the malware could be used to steal information from the computers.
Security researchers claim that Apple has been ignoring their warnings about this problem for months. Five months ago the Java vulnerabilities were publicly disclosed, and fixed by Sun Microsystems (the company that developed and maintains Java), according to a May blog post by Landon Fuller, founder of software maker Plausible Labs Cooperative, Inc. in San Francisco and a former Apple programmer. Fuller also published a proof-of-concept hack on his Web site demonstrating how someone could exploit the vulnerability to attack or even take control of another person's Mac, Computer Reseller News (CRN) reports.
May 26, 2009
Now that President Obama has named Sonia Sotomayor as his choice for the nation's highest court, he is expected to this week select a "cyber czar" to act as the U.S.'s highest-ranking cyber security official, The Washington Post reports today. The person assuming this newly created position will be responsible for protecting the country's government-run and private computer networks and will likely get a seat on the National Security Council.
Obama announced today that he is folding White House staff focusing on homeland security and counterterrorism into the National Security Council, The Boston Globe reports. The cyber czar will likely report both to the national security adviser and the senior White House economic adviser, a move that would indicate a desire to protect private networks without threatening economic growth, according to the Post, citing anonymous sources.
Apr 17, 2009 | 1
NEW YORK — The African continent may not be the first place people think of when technology is involved, but many of the countries there have come to depend on mobile phones as their primary means of communication (even more so than landline telephones or computers), and this dependence will only grow in the near future. This reliance on handheld gadgets may come at a cost though, given that they generally have poor cyber security in place, says Seymour Goodman, a Georgia Institute of Technology international affairs and computing professor and co-director of the school's Information Security Center.
Cell phones have flourished in Africa because many of the countries there have few landlines, and computers are still expensive, Goodman said at a Marconi Society symposium here yesterday. He noted that about 300 million of the world's nearly 3.5 billion cell phones are in Africa (which has a population of roughly one billion). "The people of Africa will appreciate that a $300 iPhone will do a lot more for their family than a $100 laptop," he added.
Apr 17, 2009 | 2
NEW YORK, N.Y. — While computers, the Internet and mobile phones have brought their users a great degree of freedom, they've also had a severe impact on privacy, the distribution of information and security, a panel of computer scientists, law enforcement and journalists said Thursday at a Marconi Society symposium here. (Additional coverage of the April 16 Marconi Society symposium.)
The Internet has changed society dramatically, said Robert Gallager, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor of electrical engineering and computer science. "Some of this is healthy, some of this is not," he said at yesterday's conference. The blistering pace at which information is created and disseminated via the Web and mobile devices, "makes our lives more complicated because it's harder to organize the information we receive," he added.
Mar 30, 2009 | 3
Cyber crimes hit record numbers last year, according to a new report (pdf) released today by Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). IC3, a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center (a Glen Allen, Va., congressionally funded nonprofit that trains law enforcement on how to investigate financial and cyber crimes), says that in 2008 it received 275,284 complaints (up 33 percent from 2007's total of 206,884) of cyber fraud, computer hacks, spam, child pornography and other online offenses—and that cyber scams costs consumers an estimated $265 million, 10 percent more than the $239.09 million reported lost in 2007.
Online transactions in which either the goods or the payment wasn't received accounted for 33 percent of complaints that the feds received last year (up 32 percent from 2007). Auction fraud (think eBay transactions gone bad) actually dipped from 28.6 percent in 2007 to 25.5 percent last year. Ponzi schemes, computer fraud, and check fraud complaints represented 19.5 percent of all IC3 complaints. Overall, fraud victims reporting average losses of $931 each.
Feb 26, 2009 | 5
It seems everyday a story makes the news about a stolen laptop containing loads of valuable information. Today, for example, a thief absconded with seven Dell laptops from the Maidstone Borough electoral registration office in Kent, U.K. (Fortunately, officials reported that there was no sensitive info stored on the stolen computers.) Teachers in Steamboat Springs, Colo., were not as lucky. A burglar (or burglars) earlier this week lifted a laptop from the Steamboat Springs School District office containing 10 years worth of Social Security numbers for 1,300 past and present employees, the Steamboat Pilot & Today reports.
Jan 23, 2009 | 3
As if Microsoft's announcement yesterday that it's laying off 5,000 employees (the first such sackings in the company's 34-year history) wasn't bad enough, now some security analysts are predicting the worst is yet to come as the highly infectious Conficker worm continues to thrive after already striking as many as 10 million Windows PCs worldwide. The "malware" (as opposed to software) may be activated by its creators (who remain at large) at some later date, causing legions of infected PCs to digitally attack and disable other computers.
Jan 15, 2009 | 2
A recent report by the Internet Safety Technical Task Force says that child exploitation on the Net and elsewhere is worrisome but online social networks, such as Facebook and MySpace, are not to blame for the bulk of it since most reported cases predated their existence.
Among other findings: children are unlikely to be propositioned by adults online unless they are willing participants and are already at risk because of poor home environments, substance abuse or other problems. And, despite some high-profile cases (for example, MySpace was sued in 2006 lawsuit by a 14-year-old girl who said she was sexually assaulted by a 19-year-old man she met on the site, according to Reuters), "bullying and harassment, most often by peers, are the most frequent threats that minors face," both online and offline.
Dec 1, 2008 | 7
President-elect Barack Obama recently appointed a team of advisors to make good on his campaign pledge to elevate the use of technology and encourage consumers to use the Internet to keep tabs on the government's activities. Heading the effort: Blair Levin, the top telecom, media and tech analyst at St. Louis-based financial services firm Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc.; economist Sonal Shah, 40, now chief of Global Development Initiatives, the philanthropic arm of Google.org; and Julius Genachowski, 45, who has significant biz and government tech experience.
Sep 19, 2008 | 18
Details (as well as plenty of rumor and speculation) continue to emerge about how messages and images from Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's Yahoo! e-mail account were made public earlier this week. The FBI and U.S. Secret Service are investigating the incident, but several news outlets and blogs report the attack was a multi-step process made possible by weaknesses in the password reset feature (found on many Web sites—not just Yahoo!) as well as proxy servers that allow people to cover their tracks as they navigate the Web.
The hackers may have exploited the password resetting system of Yahoo's e-mail service using details about Palin's life—her birth date and zip code, for example—pulled from sources freely available on the Web, BBC News reported today.
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