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IT Security News

December 23, 2010

PCI DSS 2.0 security standards concerns raised

by Brian Turner
Concerns have been raised that online businesses are not well enough prepared for PCI DSS compliance, which aims to protect customer banking data. It comes after news that New York-based travel firm, CitySights, had its website hacked by a SQL injection attack, allowing authorised access to 110,000 customers' banking details. The hacker launched the attack over a three week period, and was ...

December 6, 2010

Huawei establishes British security centre

by Darren Allan
Chinese telecoms company Huawei Technologies has established a security centre in the UK. The Cyber Security Evaluation Centre will be based in Banbury, Oxfordshire. Reuters reports that the operation will allow Huawei to test both its hardware and software to make sure that it's up to scratch in terms of cyber-security. John Frieslaar, Managing Director of the centre, told the press in ...

December 1, 2010

Credant: Too many USB sticks unecrypted, shared, lost

by Brian Turner
An online survey has found that USB Flash drive ownership has exploded with 100% of the 229 respondents having at least one such device - 54% possessing between 3 and 6 - and more than 21% owning as many as 10 or more. While good news for vendors of these must-have items, the news may not be so welcome ...

November 23, 2010

Sneaky Kroxxu botnet infects 100,000 web domains

by Janet Harris
avast! Virus Lab has detected a new botnet which is believed to have infected 100,000 web domains in the last year. The Kroxxu botnet, which spreads through infected web sites rather than individual PCs, steals FTP passwords and adds a script tag to web site content. It is then possible for files to be uploaded and modified on ...

November 22, 2010

Stuxnet may have delayed Iran’s nuclear programme

by Janet Harris
When news of the Stuxnet worm hitting Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant came out back in September, officials claimed that it had not caused any serious damage. However Ollie Heinonen, formerly of the United Nations nuclear inspections team has told Reuters news agency that the worm could have caused centrifuges at the plant to fail. Stuxnet was first discovered in ...

November 16, 2010

Imperva predicts more Stuxnet-type attacks

by Janet Harris
Imperva expects Nation-sponsored attacks like the Stuxnet worm to become a key threat in 2011, with malware threats increasing during the year. Techniques from the commercial hacker industry are expected to be developed to create more powerful Advanced Persistent Threats, according to Imperva’s top security trend predictions. This means organisations will have to monitor traffic and set ...

November 11, 2010

Kaspersky Lab reports rise in malicious spam

by Janet Harris
Although overall levels of spam went down 1.5 per cent during the third quarter, the number of messages harbouring malware soared according to Kaspersky Lab’s quarterly spam report. At the start of the quarter 6.3 per cent of emails carried malicious attachments, the highest percentage to date. During the quarter as a whole malicious spam averaged 4.6 ...

November 8, 2010

Investors call for Symantec to split

by Janet Harris
Symantec, which has been the largest independent security firm since Intel acquired McAfee, is facing calls from investors for it to be broken up. Investors believe that the company would be worth between $22 million and $26 million if individual units were spun off. As a whole its current share price is $17.14. ...

Europe prepares for cyber war

by Janet Harris
Europe has lagged behind the US in preparing for potential cyber security threats. However, recent events such as the Stuxnet worm attacking industrial infrastructure in the real world and Distributed Denial of Service attacks taking Burma offline completely are a graphic warning that cyber threats should not be ignored. Europe has now tested its cyber defences in a simulated ...

November 5, 2010

USB AutoRun threats increase

by Janet Harris
Avast Software has warned of the growing use of USB devices to infect Windows’ AutoRun feature. USB devices were responsible for one in eight of the 700,000 attacks recorded by the firm’s CommunityIQ system during the last week in October. The worm takes advantage of the trend to share music, images and other with ...

November 4, 2010

ICO ready to deliver financial pain to data blunderers

by Darren Allan
The Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, has announced that the ICO will finally flex its muscles and deliver financial penalties to organisations guilty of mishandling data before the end of the month. The revelation comes as many were wondering if the ICO would ever bite using the teeth it had been given back in April, when it was awarded the ...

November 3, 2010

Google rewards researchers for reporting web app bugs

by Janet Harris
Google has been awarding prizes of $500 to $1337 to researchers who find security bugs in Chrome and Chromium for some time and has now extended the scheme to its web applications. The Chrome scheme has generated high quality reports and Google hopes that the benefits will carry over to Google search pages, YouTube, Blogger and Orkut. At the ...

October 29, 2010

Google’s privacy blunder sparks Commons debate

by Janet Harris
Following Google’s admission that its Street View cars mistakenly collected personal data from wi-fi connections, a debate is to be held in the House of Commons today about internet privacy. The debate, which was called by Conservative Harlow MP Robert Halfon, will cover the need for an ‘internet bill of rights’, with the necessary power to protect the ...

October 27, 2010

Kaspersky update slows down servers

by Janet Harris
Security firm Kaspersky Labs, which is still red faced after having its site hacked last week, has now issued an update to it enterprise anti-virus software which caused Windows servers to almost grind to a halt. On 23 October an incorrect database update was released for its Anti-Virus 6.0 for Windows Servers Enterprise ...

October 26, 2010

Reputable retail sites spam customers

by Janet Harris
Online shopping is set to rise over Christmas and most people believe they will be safe if they stick to shopping on sites with well-known names. However, this isn’t the case, according to spam monitoring firm Spam Ratings, which reports that 10 per cent of sites are spamming visitors with unsolicited emails. The most worrying trend identified by ...

October 20, 2010

Government sets up £500m Cyber Operations Group

by Janet Harris
The news is full of government spending cuts, but one area that the government isn’t cutting back is on cyber security. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced in the House of Commons yesterday that an extra £500 million has been found to defend the country against the growing threat of cyber terrorism. A new body, the UK Defence Cyber Operations ...

October 18, 2010

Political site hacked in protest over tuition fees

by Janet Harris
Feelings are running high over the Liberal Democrat’s turnaround over tuition feels and now a hacker has defaced a site owned by the party with messages such as "Keep your promises Nick”. This week the party has expressed support for the Browne review, which recommends lifting the cap on tuition fees, effectively allowing universities to set their own ...

October 12, 2010

Firefox malware puts passwords at risk

by Janet Harris
It is always tempting to say ‘yes’ when a browser asks if you want your password saving, even though this means it can be stolen by a Trojan if your computer becomes infected. However, malware is now affecting Firefox which forces the browser to save passwords even when the user chooses not to do so. The Trojan, which was discovered ...

October 11, 2010

Prevx launches PC security initiative

by Janet Harris
Security firm Prevx has launched a new initiative which aims to improve the way PC users are protected from viruses, according to a report on the BBC’s news site. With around 60,000 new malware programmes being released daily, security companies are understandably finding it hard to keep up with analysing and fixing threats. Prevx is coming at the problem ...

October 6, 2010

Microsoft researcher says sick PCs should be quarantined

by Janet Harris
Taking public health protocols as an example of good practice, a Microsoft researcher has suggested that computers infected with viruses and other malware should be quarantined to stop the infection spreading any further. Microsoft’s Scott Charney said "Just as when an individual who is not vaccinated puts others' health at risk, computers that are not protected or have been compromised ...

October 5, 2010

Iran announces arrest of Stuxnet accomplices

by Janet Harris
Iran’s national Mehr news agency has revealed that the country has arrested several people suspected of allowing the Stuxnet worm to access its Bushehr nuclear facility’s command and control systems. The Stuxnet malware, which is designed to attack Siemens industrial systems, compromised computers at the plant last week. A report in the New York Times quotes Iran’s intelligence ...

October 4, 2010

FBI busts cyber-crime ring

by Janet Harris
The Federal Bureau of Investigations has arrested over 100 members of a gang of cyber-crinminals who collectively stole £44.4 million by hacking into computers in the US. Nineteen members of the gang have also been arrested in the UK and five in the Ukraine. The fraud came to light after the FBI noticed suspicious trends in bank transactions in Omaha. It ...

October 1, 2010

Experts vote to abolish PDF format

by Janet Harris
A massive ninety-seven per cent of security experts at the Virus Bulletin 2010 conference voted to abolish Adobe’s PDF standard because of security concerns. Paul Baccus of Sophos took a straw poll of the audience during one of the sessions at the Vancouver conference, which concludes today. Recent improvements in Microsoft’s security have caused hackers to shift their focus to ...

Stuxnet worm theories point to inside job

by Janet Harris
The Stuxnet worm which attacked Iran’s nuclear power plant this week has caused a tsunami in the security world. The malware, which is said to mark the beginning of a new era in cyberwarfare, was designed to attack industrial systems designed by Siemens. Its specific target was a control mechanism which is used in Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor. ...

September 27, 2010

Stuxnet worm hits target

by Janet Harris
The Stuxnet worm has hit its target; Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant. Although earlier reports from Iran’s official news agency said that the worm had not caused any serious damage, it is now said to be mutating and has infected around 30,000 IP addresses in Iran. As well as the Bushehr facility, the worm is said to be infecting other industrial ...

September 24, 2010

Cyberterrorists target Iran with Stuxnet virus

by Janet Harris
The Stuxnet virus takes cyberterrorism to a new level as it is believed to be the first computer virus designed to attack infrastructure in the real world. In this case it is Iran’s power stations and water plants that are believed to be at risk from the worm, which can reprogramme a computer’s software, forcing it to obey ...

September 22, 2010

1 in 5 university students tries their hand at hacking

by Darren Allan
Security firm Tufin Technologies has produced a report which states that over 20% of university students have had a go at hacking. The research questioned 1000 students aged 18 to 21 from eight different universities, five of them London based. 37% of respondents had hacked into a Facebook account, although the definition of hacking isn't clarified here – is that percentage so ...

UK fourth in world in Google snoop requests

by Darren Allan
Today Google revealed its transparency report for the first half of 2010, which shows how many requests for data have been made by governments around the globe. And it also provides details on the number of web content censorship requests. The UK is the fourth highest in the world when it comes to making requests for information on Google users, with ...

Twitter onMouseOver exploit fixed

by Darren Allan
Twitter was hit by a JavaScript exploit yesterday, as we reported at around lunchtime (in our time, it was the middle of the night at the Twitter offices, so there were doubtless some very grumpy techies being roused). However, the issue has now been fully fixed, Twitter staff have reported on the site's blog. It took them around four hours to ...

McAfee beats Twitter to launch URL scanning service

by Janet Harris
The problem with shortened URLs from services such TinyURL and Bit.ly is that you can’t see exactly where they are going to take you, so there is a risk of being taken to sites containing malware, Trojans and other nasties that could infect your computer. The advantage of shortened URLs is clear though if you are a twitterer with ...

September 21, 2010

Twitter accounts hacked by worm through XSS flaw

by Brian Turner
Twitter accounts were today coming back to normality after a serious worm attack left as many as 100,000 users with malware infected accounts. The issue happened after a XSS exploit, supposedly patched last month, was found by a Japanese researcher to be still open. According to Twitter, users experimented with the exploit to achieve different coloured effects using Javascript commands, before a ...

September 20, 2010

Cyber criminals steal head of Interpol’s identity

by Janet Harris
Even the world’s largest international police organisation isn’t safe from cyber crime. Speaking at Interpol’s first Information Security Conference, the organisation’s secretary general, Ronald K Noble, admitted that his identity had been stolen and used to set up two fake Facebook pages in his name. The criminals were trying to use the chief’s identity to obtain information on ‘Operation ...

September 17, 2010

Social networks riddled with malicious pages

by Janet Harris
Security firm AVG has discovered 19,491 compromised web pages on 50 social networking sites, with 11,701 of these on Facebook alone. Cybercriminals are stealing log-in details and can then access profiles and post fake status message. AVG found that the under-25s are most at risk of having their details stolen, with many of them failing to log out of the ...

September 15, 2010

Google fixes Chrome 6

by Janet Harris
Google has fixed several high risk flaws in the stable and beta versions of Chrome 6. One of the fixes, for the Mac version of the browser, was identified as critical, while there were numerous fixes for critical flaws across all platforms. The critical bug was found by Sergey Glazunov and "remy.saissy", winning them a $500 reward each. A ...

September 9, 2010

Crime affects 65% of Internet users

by Janet Harris
More than 65% of the 7,000 adults surveyed for Symantec’s Norton Cybercrime report had been victims of online crime. In China a whopping 83 per cent had been attacked by cybercriminals. Brazil and India were in second place with 76 per cent of respondents affected and the US was third with 73 per cent. The survey covered 14 countries. As well ...

September 7, 2010

TechCrunch attacked by Zeus Trojan

by Janet Harris
Technology blog TechCrunch Europe has fallen foul of the notorious ZeuS Trojan which was recently responsible for stealing £700,000 from UK banks. Earlier today the site tweeted news of a malware warning about the site, which was later revealed to be a hard to detect ZeuS variant. Code on eu.tech has been changed to redirect visitors to a malicious PDF ...

August 26, 2010

Sophos and Symantec issue Scareware warnings

by Janet Harris
Security firm Symantec has warned travelers using public internet-access terminals to be aware of possible Scareware attacks. One of its software engineers noticed that a terminal in an unnamed UK airport was infected with "Defense Center Installer" which issues a false warning that a user is infected with a virus and asks them to buy fake software to remove the ...

August 25, 2010

Symantec reports increase in UK spam

by Janet Harris
The latest report from Symantec Hosted Services lists the UK as one of the top four countries in terms of the highest volume of spam sent from infected PCs. Spam sent from the UK almost doubled in August according to Symantec’s MessageLabs Intelligence report, to account for 4.5 per cent of the spam sent globally. The amount of spam sent ...

August 23, 2010

Google fixes Chrome bugs

by Janet Harris
Google has issued a security update for its Chrome web browser to fix nine vulnerabilities within the browser and to mitigate a vulnerability in the Windows kernel. The flaws affect the latest version of Chrome - 5.0.375.127. Two of the browser flaws are rated as 'critical', six are 'high' risks and one ...

August 17, 2010

Virgin Media joins fight against botnets

by Janet Harris
Computer owners are usually unaware that their machine has been infected by a bot, but now Virgin Media customers might find out about this situation when a letter pops through their door. The cable company is matching compromised ISP addresses, identified by organizations such as the Shadowserver Foundation, with its customer records. Customers whose machines are believed to be infected will ...

August 16, 2010

Gartner predicts positive future for security software industry

by Janet Harris
While security was one of the areas where companies cut back during the recession, analyst Gartner forecast that worldwide spending on security software will increase 11 per cent to $16.5bn this year. Gartner also expects spending on security software, such as anti-virus and anti-phishing products, to continue to increase over the next few years. The analyst highlighted software-as-a-service (SaaS) and ...

August 13, 2010

Password security inadequate

by Janet Harris
Experts from the Georgia Tech Research Institute have found that passwords need to be at least 12 characters long, or they can be cracked through the use of graphics cards. Graphics cards use stream processors working in parallel to render images. It is the number crunching power of these processors, equivalent to the supercomputers at the end of the last ...

August 9, 2010

Private browsing not so private after all

by Janet Harris
The private browsing option offered by Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari may not be keeping users’ browsing history as private as it should do. The private mode is supposed to make sure that no information is recorded about the sites visited, but security experts from Stanford University in California have found that tracks can be left behind. There are ...

August 5, 2010

Personal e-mails used to hide file transfers

by Janet Harris
Companies beware: IT professionals are using personal email accounts to mask file transfer activity from management, according to a study released today by Ipswitch, Inc. Forty percent of those surveyed at this year’s InfoSecurity Europe conference admitted to sending sensitive or confidential information through personal email accounts to eliminate the trail of what was being sent to whom – a ...

Working while vacationing puts corporate security at risk

by Janet Harris
With bags packed, flights booked and foreign currency in their pockets the workforce might be jetting off but they’re definitely not leaving the daily grind behind. Instead, out of these stressed out individuals, a whopping 95% will be taking their mobiles and smartphones abroad with them with the expectation of working. That’s the remarkable findings of a survey, conducted by ...

August 4, 2010

Trusteer reveals Zeus botnet

by Janet Harris
Trusteer today announced that it has uncovered a large Zeus version 2 botnet being used to conduct financial fraud in the UK which is operated and controlled from Eastern Europe. The botnet appears to be controlling more than 100,000 infected computers, 98% of which are UK Internet users. The criminals have been harvesting all manner of potentially lucrative ...

Imperva grows 55% in Q2

by Janet Harris
Imperva announced today that it achieved 55 percent growth in Q2 2010 over Q2 2009. The company's success is driven by significant success in global growth. “Imperva’s performance in Q2 was impressive. Businesses today recognize that data security is a strategic imperative and that early detection and response to cyber attacks is a critical part of securing your organization,” said Imperva ...

Nationwide adopts BT’s managed security services

by Janet Harris
BT has been awarded a contract by Nationwide, the world’s largest building society, to provide the organisation with managed security services. The five year contract which was signed in June, strengthens BT’s existing relationship with Nationwide, building on an outsourced contract to provide networked IT services that was awarded to BT in 2008. BT will ...

August 2, 2010

InTechnology announces backup storage deal

by Janet Harris
InTechnology’s message to businesses is can you afford to NOT back-up your data? So with this in mind InTechnology are currently offering 100GB of data backup storage free with every 100GB of data stored for the duration of the contract. Issues with traditional backup Many businesses still rely on traditional tape backup solutions which are manual, error-prone, offer poor backup ...

July 30, 2010

Brits too trusting with personal info on Internet

by Janet Harris
Brits trust the internet more than friends and colleagues when it comes to handing over personal information, according to a study published today by data storage specialists NetApp. The research, which polled 3000 adults, revealed that while the average adult freely divulges a string of personal details on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, most would not give ...