computer security

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Legendary Hacker: It Was 'a Huge Game'

Mitnick reflects on the road from 'computer terrorist' to consultant

(Newser) - Tagged a “computer terrorist,” Kevin Mitnick served jail time after eluding the FBI for 3 years; today, he’s a security consultant. The best-known hacker ever tells CNET his infiltration of firms like Motorola and Sun “was like a huge game”: “thrilling, adventurous,” and “... More »

Defense Giants Stalk Cyberwar Contracts

(Newser) - Major defense contractors are already staffed with "hacker soldiers" who can help them earn billions of dollars in Washington's new cyberwar, the New York Times reports. Cranking rock tunes and piling up pop cans, engineers hack away at companies like Raytheon, working for the Pentagon or protecting internal documents.... More »

Obama Lays Out Plans for 'Cyber Czar'

(Newser) - The US has for too long failed to protect the security of its computer networks, President Obama said today, announcing he will name a new cyber czar to take on the job. This is a "transformational moment" for the country, Obama said, with computer networks probed and attacked millions... More »

US Seeks 'Ethical Hackers' to Combat Cyber Threats

(Newser) - To combat the rising threat of attack on the nation’s computer networks, the US government is turning to the dark side for help, the AP reports. A call has gone out for so-called “ethical hackers” who “think like the bad guy” to work with Homeland Security to... More »

Worm Set to Unleash Massive April Fool's Prank

Malware experts race against time to limit the program's damage

(Newser) - Malware experts are racing to find the authors of the Conficker C worm and limit the damage it seems poised to do beginning April Fool’s Day, CNN reports. Conficker C, the bug’s third iteration since late 2008, has infected between 5 and 10 million computers but so far... More »

69 Nuke Lab Computers Missing

Los Alamos probing thefts; Blackberry lost in 'sensitive foreign country'

(Newser) - The nuclear weapons lab at Los Alamos is trying to find 69 missing computers, including three stolen from a scientist's home and a Blackberry lost in "a sensitive foreign country" in the last two months, reports AP. No classified information was on the computers but they contained names and... More »

New Virus' Worst Punch May Be Yet to Come

(Newser) - The devious worm that has infected up to 9 million personal computers worldwide may be just the first stage of a malicious attack, the New York Times reports. The so-called Conficker or Downadup virus, which exploits a Microsoft Windows vulnerability, pulls infected computers into systems called botnets that can be... More »

Computer Experts: The Bad Guys Are Winning

Security researchers outflanked by well-funded cybercriminals

(Newser) - There's a war on for your computer and the bad guys are winning, the New York Times reports. Malware that stealthily hijacks a computer to send more malware is spreading like wildfire, and efforts to battle the constantly evolving threat often amount to little more than a game of online... More »

The Next Big Viral Thing on Facebook: a Virus

"Koobface" spreads disguised as a friend's message

(Newser) - Once an unfriendly place for spammers and malware, Facebook today is dealing with a virus circulating among its 120 million users, the LA Times reports. “Koobface” comes disguised as a message from a friend with a subject like “You look so amazing funny on our new video,”... More »

Spammers Bounce Back After Host Shutdown

Zombie spam-sending computers reactivated from foreign ISPs

(Newser) - Spammers are surging back onto the Internet again, 2 weeks after being dealt a body blow by a server shutdown, CNET News reports. Spam volumes dived 80% after the California-based McColo hosting firm was pulled offline. They remained flat until a few days ago but have now risen to around... More »

Spam Plummets (for Now) as Big Provider Goes Offline

(Newser) - Notice less spam in your mailbox today? If so, it's because Internet service providers yanked a California outfit offline that had been responsible for sending about 75% of the world's electronic junk mail, reports the Security Fix blog in the Washington Post. The providers—acting on information provided by the... More »

Brits Say Errant Flash Drive Jeopardized Data of 12M

Gov't system shut after find in parking garage

(Newser) - UK ministers shut down a government computer system after a memory stick containing sensitive personal data was found in a parking garage, reports the Daily Mail. The government insists the system hasn’t been breached, but an expert says the blunder jeopardizes the security of 12 million people. “The... More »

Microsoft Releases Emergency Security Patch

Unplanned patch addresses critical weakness

(Newser) - Microsoft has discovered a Windows security vulnerability dangerous enough that it's released an “out-of-cycle” security patch for the first time since April 2007, reports the Tech Herald. The weakness could allow a computer worm to spread malware around networks. More »

Accused Palin Hacker Pleads Not Guilty

David Kernell free for now but faces up to 5 years in prison

(Newser) - A Tennessee college student has been indicted on charges of hacking into Sarah Palin's email account and posting private info online, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. David Kernell, the 20-year-old son of state Democratic Rep. Michael Kernell, pleaded not guilty. His trial is set for Dec. 16; he's free until... More »

Fake Pop-Ups Dupe Most Users, Study Says

(Newser) - Malware makers love to create fake error-message popups, but surely those are obvious ploys that no one falls for, right? Wrong, Ars Technica reports. Psychology researchers recently tested a group of college students with a series of fake popups, each laden with what should have been warning signs. The students... More »

US Surfers Get Biggest Bite of Spam

McAfee experiment reveals how quickly e-junk proliferates and other fun stuff

(Newser) - Internet users in the US get the most spam, security-software firm McAfee finds after a study. McAfee gave 50 people across 10 developed countries laptops and instructed them to sign up for as much stuff on the internet as possible, and to reply to every spam message. The resulting volume... More »

Microsoft Will Sell Office By $70 Subscription

Annual fee aims to bring penny-pinchers, pirates into fold; includes software updates

(Newser) - Microsoft will start selling its Office software package on a subscription model in mid-July, the AP reports. Instead of paying around $200 for Office, consumers can pay $70 a year, with no additional cost for new versions. In addition to the Office programs, the subscription bundle—named “Equipt”—... More »

In One Domain, Anyway, Man Still Conquers Machine

CAPTCHAs, where humans distill words from squiggles, hold line in spam war

(Newser) - Every web user has come across CAPTCHAs: wavy-lettered depiction of words you must retype as text. Most pay them no mind, but, Lev Grossman writes in Time, we should reflect upon completing one. They're one of the rare visible skirmishes in the largely invisible war between spammers and security programmers.... More »

Microsoft Warns Windows Users of Safari Threat

(Newser) - Windows and Safari mix like virus-vulnerable oil and water, Microsoft warns, and Windows users should stop surfing with Apple’s web browser until the security holes have been patched. The “blended threat” combines a bug in Safari that downloads files to the desktop automatically and a vulnerability in how... More »

Open-Source Security Flaw Exposes Millions

Encryption error went undetected for nearly 2 years

(Newser) - A programming error discovered last week makes at least four open-source operating systems and 25 applications vulnerable to hacking, and a patch distributed to fix it doesn’t solve the problem. Worse, the vulnerability can extend to computers not even running the deficient code, reports Technology Review. The mistake went... More »

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