The Month: Global snapshots

September 4, 2006

Israel-Lebanon conflict goes online; Google adds malware warnings.

US: The Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning to Windowsusers to apply patch MS06-040 to their system without delay. "Thisvulnerability could impact government systems, private industry andcritical infrastructure," according to the official release. Thepossible flaw has sparked fears of a big worm attack.

Germany: The first publicised attack tool for the RIM BlackBerry hasbeen unveiled, coining the phrase 'Blackjacking'. The tool, calledBBProxy, can be hidden in a BlackBerry download. Once activated, BBProxyopens a covert tunnel within the PDA's normal encrypted communicationschannel to the host network.

UK: Most Britons (90 per cent) take security precautions online, and 92per cent of online shoppers take protect themselves against fraud, saysa survey from the British Computer Society. It also found that thenumber of home PC users who have purchased online has grown by more thantwo million to 17.4 million in the past year.

UK: The Government faces tough questions over current plans to activatepart three of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), whichmakes it an offence to fail to hand over encryption keys. The policeclaim that the powers are necessary to solve an increasing number ofcases involving encrypted information.

US: Microsoft's Windows Live OneCare antivirus and PC care package hasreached the number- two sales spot in US stores in its debut month.Analysts believe that the product's price (as low as $19.99) hasbeen a critical factor. OneCare combines AV, firewall and anti-spywaresoftware with backup features and tune-up tools for PCs.

US: Search giant Google is now warning web surfers about potentialmalware threats. A deal with StopBadware.org sees a pop-up appearalerting the surfer that the site has previously been reported to spreadmalware. Google says it plans to replace the general warning page withindividually tailored reports in the future.

Turkey: Users of the Turkish version of the Skype website are the latesttargets of a malware scam posing as an invitation to try the VoIPapplication. Instead of downloading Skype, those who click the linkprovided will get a malicious file, skypekur.exe. This then installspassword recovery tools onto the target PC, according toSurfControl.

Israel: The conflict between Israel and Lebanon has sparked a surge ofonline "hacktivism", according to VeriSign iDefense. The primaryresponse is website defacement, and sites supporting either sides havealready been damaged. The company also reports increased online activitysupporting Hezbollah and Hamas.

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