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Archive for January, 2010

Hackers Are Inside the Power Plant, Says Study

Source: greentechmedia

54 percent of IT professionals surveyed at big infrastructure companies say they’ve been infiltrated. And it’s getting worse.

Security software vendor McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies today released a report at the World Economic Forum that said that 54 percent of security executives interviewed at oil and gas production fields, power plants and other critical installations for a survey admitted they’ve already suffered large scale attacks from organized crime, terrorists or nation states. In all, 600 were interviewed for the survey.

Worse, we’re being guarded by Paul Blart, Mall Cop. 37 percent said that security has become worse in the past year, a casualty of the economy and shrinking corporate budgets. Cuts have been notably steep in the oil and gas sector. Close to 40 percent expect a major security incident in the next year. The average cost estimated for downtime came to $6.3 million a day. 45 percent added that their regional or local authorities are capable of deterring attacks.

Security is one of the top concerns of the National Institute for Standards and Technology, which wants to solidfy standards for the grid in the next few years, a relatively short am


Privacy Search Engine Offers Anonymous Web Browsing

Source: WebproNews

Search engine firm Startpage, and its E.U. brand, Ixquick, has released a new proxy service that allows Internet users to surf the web in privacy.

The proxy lets users browse websites anonymously, without sharing any private, personally identifiable information to the websites they view.

When users conduct a search on Startpage they will see a clickable “proxy” option below each search result. When this option is selected, Startpage acts as a go-between to retrieve the page and display it in a privacy- protected window.

The proxy offers complete anonymity, since the user never makes direct contact with the third-party website. The user’s IP address is invisible to the viewed website. In addition, the website cannot see or place cookies on the user’s browser.

If Your Password Is 123456, Just Make It HackMe

Source: NY TIMES

Back at the dawn of the Web, the most popular account password was “12345.”

Today, it’s one digit longer but hardly safer: “123456.”

Despite all the reports of Internet security breaches over the years, including the recent attacks on Google’s e-mail service, many people have reacted to the break-ins with a shrug.

According to a new analysis, one out of five Web users still decides to leave the digital equivalent of a key under the doormat: they choose a simple, easily guessed password like “abc123,” “iloveyou” or even “password” to protect their data.

“I guess it’s just a genetic flaw in humans,” said Amichai Shulman, the chief technology officer at Imperva, which makes software for blocking hackers. “We’ve been following the same patterns since the 1990s.”

Mr. Shulman and his company examined a list of 32 million passwords that an unknown hacker stole last month from RockYou, a company that makes software for users of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. The list was briefly posted on the Web, and hackers and security researchers downloaded it. (RockYou, which had already been widely criticized for lax privacy practices, has advised its customers to change their passwords, as the hacker gained information about their e-mail accounts as well.)

New Software Aims to Keep Facebook Safer

Source: WSJ Blogs

As social-media sites like Facebook and Twitter have expanded to include more of the online population, spammers and hackers have come along for the ride. Even the FCC chairman has seen his Facebook page taken over by a malicious program that sent spam to his friends.

Facebook and other firms have started responding to the problem, and on Thursday tech-security company Websense will announce software called Defensio that allows Facebook users to better police the comments appearing on their wall and fan pages. In addition to detecting and blocking threats such as phishing and malicious Web sites, the software lets users restrict comments that include profanity or adult content.

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