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U.S. Spent $21B to Fight Global Cybercrime Last Year

Cyber Warfare

Every second, 18 people fall victim to cybercrime, and the U.S. is shelling out $21 billion a year to stop that.

According to the most recent Norton Cybercrime Report, the $110 billion global price tag of consumer cybercrime is equal to the amount of money Americans spent annually on fast food.

Based on data collected last year from 13,018 online adults ages 18 to 64 in 24 countries, antivirus firm Norton reported that two out of every three Internet users have been victimized at some point in their lifetime. On a grander scale, almost half of all online adults have been attacked by malware, viruses, hacking, scams, fraud, or theft.

But, as consumers go mobile, so do cybercriminals. Two out of three adults use a mobile device to access the Internet, which has led to the number of mobile-based vulnerabilities to double since 2010.

According to the Norton report, a majority of Internet users are concerned that cybercriminals are now setting their sights on social networks, which, based on data, might not be such a crazy idea. In 2011, four out of 10 social network users were the victim of social networking platform hacks.

Mobile users don’t have to live a life of fear, though. Norton suggested that cybercrime can be prevented, if people know how to handle their mobile devices.

According to the survey, 35 percent of adults have lost their phone or tablet, or had it stolen, and when two-thirds of people don’t set any sort of security solution on their device, it’s not hard for anyone to wiggle their way in.

A whopping 44 percent of people aren’t even aware, Norton said, that security for mobile devices exists.

It’s not only a matter of safeguarding your cell phone, but for those two-thirds of people surfing unsecure or public Wi-Fi networks, it could mean open access to personal emails, social networks, online shopping, or bank accounts.  Read More

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Windows 8 Mission far from Accomplished

Microsoft today announced that its new client operating system,Windows-8-LogoWindows 8, has reached a very important milestone called “RTM” or “release to manufacturing”.  The Microsoft team deserves congratulations in this accomplishment as this took almost three years in the making with the shedding of blood, sweat and tears.  While this is a very big milestone, Windows 8 is very far from the end game and has a lot of things to prove before the mission is accomplished.  Microsoft knows this, but I don’t think many realize just how far Windows 8 has to go.

Hardware Compatibility

Microsoft has done a lot to ensure hardware compatibility with Windows 7 peripherals, but until the most popular installed base has been tested, it’s a crapshoot.  One of the biggest things Microsoft needs to quickly disclose is what peripherals work well with Windows 8 and RT, work with limited functionality, and which don’t work at all.  This will be very evident as OEMs like HP and Dell, ODMs like Compal, channel providers like Best Buy and peripheral makers like Logitech run their product through “wide area tests”, testing their own PCs and tablets and associated peripherals.  Peripherals with Windows applications like printer/scanners and video cameras will need the most work as these are full blown Windows apps.  Windows RT devices will have the biggest challenge as they aren’t compatible with legacy applications.  Read More

Expert Issues a Cyberwar Warning

MOSCOW — When Eugene Kaspersky, the founder of Europe’s largest antivirus company, discovered the Flame virus that is afflicting computers in Iran and the Middle East, he recognized it as a technologically sophisticated virus that only a government could create.

Alexey Sazonov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Kapersky Lab, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

He also recognized that the virus, which he compares to the Stuxnetvirus built by programmers employed by the United States and Israel, adds weight to his warnings of the grave dangers posed by governments that manufacture and release viruses on the Internet.

“Cyberweapons are the most dangerous innovation of this century,” he told a gathering of technology company executives, called the CeBIT conference, last month in Sydney, Australia. While the United States and Israel are using the weapons to slow the nuclear bomb-making abilities of Iran, they could also be used to disrupt power grids and financial systems or even wreak havoc with military defenses.

Computer security companies have for years used their discovery of a new virus or worm to call attention to themselves and win more business from companies seeking computer protection. Mr. Kaspersky, a Russian computer security expert, and his company, Kaspersky Lab, are no different in that regard. But he is also using his company’s integral role in exposing or decrypting three computer viruses apparently intended to slow or halt Iran’s nuclear program to argue for an international treaty banning computer warfare.

A growing array of nations and other entities are using online weapons, he says, because they are “thousands of times cheaper” than conventional armaments.  Read More

Beyond Stuxnet: massively complex Flame malware ups ante for cyberwar

A cyber warfare expert holds a notebook computer while posing for a portrait in Charlotte in this December 2011 file photo. A United Nations agency charged with helping member nations secure their national infrastructures plans to issue a sharp warning about the risk of the Flame virus that was recently discovered in Iran and other parts of the Middle East.

John Adkisson/Reuters/Files

Stuxnet move over. Cybersecurity researchers on Monday announced the discovery of Flame, a piece of malicious software that one firm has called “arguably … the most complex malware ever found.”

his early stage of analysis, only a few of Flame’s functions are understood, reports Kaspersky Lab, theBoston-based cybersecurity company that uncovered it. Because of Flame’s size and complexity, it could take years to unpack completely what the program can – and has – done, experts add.

From what is known now, however, Flame can spread via a USB drive, a Bluetooth device, or other machines on a network. In affected machines, it can wait for certain software programs of interest to run, then take screenshots, turn on the internal microphone to record conversations, and intercept e-mail, chats, or other network traffic. It can package these data, encrypt them, and send them off to designated command-and-control computers worldwide.  Read More

Meg Whitman Details Layoffs To HP Employees In Internal Video, Thinks HP Is “Rebuilding Credibility”

meg_whitman

Confirming rumors from last week, HP just publicly announced a layoff plan that will result in a reduction of 8% of its workforce. Shortly after releasing the memo to Wall Street, HP CEO Meg Whitman sent a company-wide video message explaining the future of Bill Hewlett and David Packard’s company.

She acknowledges throughout that HP is in trouble, stating in the beginning, “HP’s performance is still not where it needs to be” and “We have a lot of work ahead of us to get HP back on track.” She also explains, a bit comically and perhaps erroneously, that “[HP] is currently rebuilding credibility one quarter at time, and to do that, we need to consistently deliver on what we say.”

Whitman also reaffirmed HP’s commitment to infrastructure, PCs and printing, servers, storage and networking. “This is a differentiating strength for HP and one we can be proud of,” she said in the video.

However, the axe is about to fall throughout HP. Before Whitman attempts to justify the cuts, she explains that HP’s employee count has grown at a pace unsustainable by its low revenue as of late.  Read More

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