2006 Declared Year Of The Zombies

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Broadband-connected computers commandeered by spammers drove a 30% increase in the amount of spam headed to consumer e-mail boxes and corporate networks, an e-mail security firm says.

Remotely controlled armies of computers, called zombies, spread to all regions of the world in 2006, with as many as 8 million computers spewing billions of junk e-mails on any given day, Commtouch said Wednesday in its 2006 Spam Trends Report.

On average, spam accounted for 87% of e-mail traffic this year, a 30% increase over a year ago. Spam rates, however, varied considerably by user and organization. Some small enterprises had spam rates as low as 45%, while large free e-mail providers got pummeled with rates as high as 98%. In general, business e-mail accounts received a smaller percentage of spam than consumer accounts.

Zombies accounted for 85% of spam circulating the Internet, Commtouch said. Half of all phishing attempts involved spam posing as e-mail from eBay or PayPal.

Source: InformationWeek

Kaspersky Lab Debuts Vista Support for Security Products

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Kaspersky Lab, a leading developer of Internet security solutions that protect against viruses, spyware, hackers and spam, today announced availability of the beta version of Maintenance Pack 2 for both Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6.0 (KAV) and Kaspersky Internet Security (KIS) 6.0, a key component which includes full support for the Vista operating system.

Free access to the beta version of Maintenance Pack 2 can be found at any of the following ftp locations:

Kaspersky Internet Security 6.0 of Vista





Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6.0 for Vista





GSN Launches ‘Saddam Hussein’s Hangman’

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

GSN is deploying a new game surrounding globally controversial subject, a hangman game featuring an animated Saddam Hussein.

In this game, players will follow the traditional rules of ‘hangman’ by clicking on letters to see if they are a part of the missing word or phrase. As the real Hussein always does, the animated Saddam has a few choice words such as “Americans can’t spell” or “I laugh at your letters.” However if you succeed in solving the word saddam will hang, but if you fail he will go free.

Microsoft Adds Behavioral Targeting

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp. has started linking users’ search habits with other personal information as it prepares to show more personalized advertisements.

With the use of small data files known as cookies, Microsoft can link information users provide when they sign up for Hotmail e-mail and other services with data on what they view and search for on various Microsoft sites, such as those for maps, Web journals and finance.

Microsoft uses that information to build a profile for a certain class of users - women over 30 who read financial news, for example - and sell marketers the opportunity to reach that targeted group as they surf Microsoft properties.

Source: AP


PC Tools is offering Free AntiVirus Internet security

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

PC Tools announced it is offering its highly regarded AntiVirus Internet security software free to consumers who can download it.

“We know many consumers are being misled by rogue security companies providing bogus virus threat solutions. Consumers are misled into downloading these dubious products only to find they have loaded new viruses and spyware into their computers,? said Michael Greene, Vice President for Product Strategy.

“We want to help consumers begin the New Year with added confidence that their security needs are met when they surf the Internet,? Greene said.

The free version will provide:

  • OnGuard Protection that provides real time shields against viruses.
  • Smart Updates to keep virus definitions and other feature enhancements up to date.
  • Virus Quarantines and restores items that have been detected.
  • Logging of File Scans conducted by PC Tools AntiVirus
  • Enhanced architecture offering scanning and virus removal capability of the entire operating system by users with “limited permission? accounts.

Those who purchase the paid version of PC Tools AntiVirus also receive high-speed updates, dedicated 24/7 support, and phone assistance for a cost of only $29.95, Greene said.

“We are currently developing wraparound solutions combining both spyware and virus protection. We are also improving our scanners and reducing the footprint required to track these threats,? according to Greene who added that the New Year will bring exciting improvements to PC Tool product offerings.

iTunes Visits Skyrocket 413 Percent On Christmas Day

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Hitwise today announced that the market share of visits to the iTunes website was up 413 percent on Christmas Day 2006 (December 25, 2006) versus Christmas Day 2005 as new iPod owners flocked to the web to download iTunes. In addition, the market share of visits to the Apple Store showed an increase of 110 percent when comparing Christmas Day 2006 to 2005. The Apple Store was the fourth most visited website in the Hitwise Retail Index on Christmas Day 2006.

The market share of visits to Zune.net, the site for downloading the music software for Microsoft’s MP3 player showed an increase of 1,030 percent on December 25, 2006 versus the previous Monday (December 18, 2006). However, this strong initial performance was overshadowed by the iPod, as the market share of visits to the iTunes website increased by 1,222 percent in the same period, and outnumbered visits to Zune.net by 30 to 1.

“For the third holiday season in a row, the iPod has been the must-have Christmas gift,” said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise. “Competitive offerings have not yet succeeded in capturing the attention of music listeners, and the surge in visits to the Apple Store shows that iPod owners are also engaged in filling and accessorizing their new devices.”

Microsoft Bribing Bloggers With Laptops

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

According to at least six bloggers, Microsoft has been sending out free top-of-the-line laptops pre-loaded with Vista as a ‘no strings attached gifts’. This ‘reward’ for their hard work on covering tech in general is coincidentally right before the launch of Vista to consumers. To be clear, these weren’t loans, they were gifts, and they were top-of-the-line Acer Ferrari laptops.

Source: Slashdot

Windows DRM is the ‘longest suicide note in history’

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Copy-protection features in Windows Vista make the operating system more bloated while giving few benefits to end users, according to a new security paper.

Peter Gutmann, a medical imaging specialist, argues in the paper that Microsoft’s cumbersome approach to DRM is doomed to fail and will only succeed in pushing users towards buying faster hardware to cope with degraded performance, effectively imposing collateral damage on the rest of the industry.

Many of the criticisms Gutmann makes will be familiar to those who have followed the development of Vista’s copyright protection features however his hard-hitting prose style and warning that the Vista Content Protection specs could “very well constitute the longest suicide note in history” has reinvigorated the debate.

Source: The Register

Check-mate for Indian chess player after phone ploy

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

An Indian chess player has been banned for 10 years for cheating after he was caught using his mobile phone’s wireless device to win games, chess officials said on Wednesday.

The player, Umakant Sharma, had logged rating points at a rapid pace in the last 18 months and also qualified for the national championship, arousing the suspicion of officials and bemusing rivals.

Sharma was finally caught at a recent tournament when officials discovered that he had stitched a Bluetooth device in a cloth cap which he always pulled over his ears.

He communicated to his accomplices outside the hall, who then used a computer to relay moves to him, Indian chess federation secretary D.V. Sundar said on Wednesday.

“We have banned him for 10 years,” he told Reuters. “We wanted to send a clear message to such people.”

Source: Reuters


Canon Warns Of Overheating Cameras

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

It’s not just your laptop battery that wants to kill you.

Canon issued a safety advisory today for its PowerShot A530 and A540 digicams. Seems the area around the battery covers tends to overheat in certain situations. No reports of explosions, but you can get a bad boo-boo on your finger, and battery life will stink.

The problem is a slightly misaligned spring for the battery door, which can cause a short circuit when the cover is closed.

Owners of cameras with serial numbers starting with 21, 22, 23 or 24 or advised to check the battery cover hinge and send the camera in for repair if you’ve got a protruding spring.

Source: Wired

iPod will be model for Omniyat’s new tower

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Dubai: Real estate developer Omniyat Properties is planning to launch projects worth more than Dh3 billion in 2007, starting with a tower inspired by Apple’s iPod MP3 player.

The company will announce at least two residential projects and one commercial development and will open its account in February with the innovative iPad residential tower in Business Bay.

The 23-storey building, which is scheduled to bring more than 200 units onto the market in 2009, was designed by Hong Kong-based architects James Law Cybertecture International.

The tower will sit atop a docking station angled at six degrees to give the exact look.

Source: Gulfnews

How To: Disable Your Passport’s RFID Chip

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

All passports issued by the US State Department after January 1 will have always-on radio frequency identification chips, making it easy for officials – and hackers – to grab your personal stats. Getting paranoid about strangers slurping up your identity? Here’s what you can do about it. But be careful – tampering with a passport is punishable by 25 years in prison. Not to mention the “special? customs search, with rubber gloves. Bon voyage!

The best approach? Hammer time. Hitting the chip with a blunt, hard object should disable it. A nonworking RFID doesn’t invalidate the passport, so you can still use it.

Source: Wired

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