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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Microsoft Gets Court Nod to Cripple Spam Botnet

Microsoft has succeeded in smashing a particularly loathsome botnet, Waledac, through a new strategy that enlisted a federal court's cooperation. Although the company may have choked off as many as 1.5 billion emails distributed daily by the operation, it's highly likely that the spammers will regroup in short order.

A Federal judge granted Microsoft a temporary restraining order that cut off 277 Internet domains believed to be run by criminals as the Waledac bot. Microsoft was then able to downgrade much of the peer-to-peer communication within the botnet.

Waledac is one of the 10 largest botnets in the U.S. and a major global distributor of spam. It is estimated to have infected hundreds of thousands of computers around the world that could send over 1.5 billion spam emails per day.

The spammers will just move to another domain and continue, suggested Ben-Itzhak. "Their operation makes them tons of money, so they will continue to do what they know to do very well. We may have a short slowdown in spam, but in days it will ramp back again."

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Twitter Hits 50 Million Tweets Per Day

Users of the micro-blogging social network are posting more messages than ever, as many as 50 million 140 character-long messages every day. Twitter measured over 600 tweets per second from its users.

When the service launched in 2007, there were only 5,000 tweets per day; by 2008, the number soared to 300,000, according to the stats released by the micro-blogging service. By 2009, the number of tweets went up to 2.5 million per day, and then up to 35 million per day towards the end of the year.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Google Cleared on Power Bid

U.S. energy regulators approved a request by Google Inc. to become an electricity marketer, allowing the Internet giant to buy and sell bulk power like a utility.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously backed Google's application for what is known as market-based rate authority. The Internet company currently doesn't own generation facilities or transmission lines to deliver power and isn't planning to use the new authority for retail purposes, FERC officials said before the commission voted at its monthly meeting.

Google has said its interest in the power markets stems from a desire to manage its own energy supplies and gain better access to renewable power. The company doesn't provide information on its electricity use, but it operates massive networks including large data centers.

Google does offer an online tool to help consumers manage their energy use known as Google's PowerMeter. The company has partnered with utilities on this project.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Apple Offers $10K in Music for 10 Billionth iTunes Download

Apple has announced it will give one customer a $10,000 iTunes gift card, in a contest to commemorate its 10 billionth music download. Apple calls the event a "huge milestone for music" and "our way of saying thanks" to the boatloads of people who depend on iTunes for all of their music needs.

While Apple says downloading the 10 billionth song “could” lead you to the big-money prize, consumers can also enter to win without a purchase or download by filling out a form. The contest ends after the 10 billionth song is download. By July, the App Store had hit 1.5 billion downloads.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Google Buzzes Social Networking Scene

Google is making a play for social media users with Buzz, a new tool that enables Gmail users to view media and status updates of friends.

Google Buzz will take advantage of the massive user base of the company's ubiquitous Gmail client. "It will leverage those captive eyeballs as people send emails and messages. Google's mission is to organize the world's information, that is why it exists.

Google Buzz is not going to have a tremendous impact unless Google starts aggregating status updates from Facebook and to a lesser degree, Twitter. If Google is planning to integrate and aggregate, then it will likely meet up with resistance from the social networks.

From a marketing Download Free eBook - The Edge of Success: 9 Building Blocks to Double Your Sales perspective, one factor to consider is that if there are any SEO benefits from Google Buzz, people will use it more, Havens said. "Likely, there will be [SEO benefits], since it's Google. Since tweets can raise your SEO -- using appropriate keywords -- likely Google's new social networking app will as well."

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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Microsoft to patch 17 year old computer bug

The February update for Windows will close the loophole that dates from the time of the DOS operating system. First appearing in Windows NT 3.1, the vulnerability has been carried over into almost every version of Windows that has appeared since.

The ancient bug was discovered by Google security researcher Tavis Ormandy in January 2010 and involves a utility that allows newer versions of Windows to run very old programs.

Mr Ormandy has found a way to exploit this utility in Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and 2008 as well as Windows Vista and Windows 7.

The patch for this vulnerability will appear in the February security update. Five of the vulnerabilities being patched at the same time allow attackers to effectively hijack a Windows PC and run their own programs on it.

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Facebook Privacy, Security Fears Grow with Social Network Risks

According to a survey of 502 IT professionals by Sophos, businesses are seeing more malware and spam, and 60 percent of respondents put Facebook ahead of MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn as the riskiest social networking site. The statistics, which were included in Sophos' "Security Threat Report: 2010", revealed that while 33 percent block Facebook for productivity reasons, businesses are also concerned with the prospect of spam, malware and data leakage on social networks.

“Furthermore, over 72 percent of firms believe that employees’ behavior on social networking sites could endanger their business’s security,” according to the report. When it comes to Facebook in particular, 45 percent of respondents said they do not control access to the site.

Users of social networks can also face a more indirect risk – attackers using the sites to conduct surveillance on potential victims and ultimately compromise them. “Undoubtedly a large part of the incentive of social networking attacks is to compromise the victim's machine and infect it with malware that turns it into part of a bot,” As such, compromised accounts can have real value on the black market. According to Dmitry Bestuzhev, senior regional researcher for Latin Americaat Kaspersky Lab, said recently a Twitter account was seen being offered for $1,000 on a hacker forum. In the hands of cyber-criminals, the accounts can be used to spam out malicious links that lead to malware infections, he said.

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