Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Spam rise global

Cnet News reports that by country, the amount of worldwide spam originating from the United States has dropped steadily over the past three quarters, but the U.S. still leads in spam production at 25.5 percent of the global market. Brazil, Turkey, India, and Poland have also seen sizable increases at producing spam. According to McAfee's second-quarter Threats Report, spam and malware levels in the second quarter of this year, shot up 80 percent compared with the first quarter:

Some of the reasons for this global rise in spam: More home users are setting up their PCs as remote access machines and as Web hosts, leaving those PCs increasingly vulnerable. Another major threat reported by McAfee is AutoRun malware, which is triggered automatically when a person plugs in a USB stick, memory card, or other external device. The Trojans PWS-OnlineGames and PWS-Gamania and two viruses named W32/Sality and W32/Virut have propagated through removable cards and drives.

The openness of social networking sites often puts them at risk. On Facebook, people freely access different applications that require a username and password, so those apps can easily tap into their accounts. McAfee also saw an increase this past quarter in the "popular" Facebook malware Koobface. Then there is Twitter spam. In April, the site was hit by a JavaScript worm that exploited a hole to infect user profiles. The same month, a French hacker was able to gain access to the account of a Twitter product director.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cassie Ventura online success

Singer and model Cassie Ventura became well-known for her hit 2006 sexy dance track Me & U, which reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100. Cassie made Me & U available on her MySpace page and tasted online success; it sold over 1 million digital downloads. Cassie Ventura became a popular Internet celebrity with thousands of friends requests. "We were having fun in the studio. We did it at the end of April 2005. In May I went out to Germany. That's where the build-up started with the whole MySpace thing and people building it up on the Internet, so we carried that out and continued to post on the Internet."

With all that success, problems rose for Cassie when a racy version of the Me & U video, which Cassie called 'unofficial', was leaked online. In the clip, Cassie is getting very intimate with a man, singing in her bra and panties, pulling the man's pants down.

Twitter services

Twitter will likely introduce a bundle of paid services later this year for businesses to use to do things like verify their accounts and analyze traffic to their Twitter profiles, according to Anamitra Banerji, manager of commercial products at Twitter. Some people think of Twitter as a broadcast platform. But Twitter says that instead, the service is for building relationships and listening to and responding to comments about your company. It is also a way to ask questions and float ideas in real time, the company says.
Twitter unveiled Twitter 101, a series of Web pages and a downloadable slide show that explain what Twitter is and how businesses can use it, along with case studies of a few companies that use Twitter.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Microsoft ships Windows 7

Microsoft has announced that the finished version of Windows 7, its new computer operating system, has shipped to suppliers, prior to a full release on October 22. The new operating system will go on sale in three versions, Home Premium (£80), Professional (£190) and Ultimate (£200). UK users who place advance orders before August 9 can claim a discount of almost 50 per cent on these prices. Windows 7 replaces the previous operating system Windows Vista with all its problems, and the more stable but still older Windows XP.

Times Online
Windows’ dominant market share has fallen from above 90 per cent in the face of increasingly stiff competition from less costly rivals. Apple Inc, whose iPod touch and iPhones have helped propel the company to an unprecedented 10 per cent OS market share, will release Snow Leopard, the latest version of its OS X operating system in September. The new system, designed to run only on Apple machines, promises speed enhancements and refinements; its lack of dazzling new features is reflected in the planned upgrade price of £29.

The internet search giant Google, meanwhile, recently announced that it will enter the operating system market with Chrome OS, a freely distributed system designed primarily for use on netbooks. John Curran, the Director, UK Windows Business Group is adamant that Windows 7 will restore Microsoft’s position as top dog: “When netbooks started out, we had a zero per cent share of the market. We have in the last 18 months responded with Windows XP Home, which delivers a better experience on netbooks than Vista. We are now at 90 per cent, and Windows 7 can run across the entire range of netbook hardware.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Twitter more popular than Google

A new study says that all of the mentions that microblogging service Twitter got from the media, like TV, newspapers, radio, or the Internet, in the past month is worth $48 million! News-monitoring service VMS estimates there have been 2.73 billion impressions in the past 30 days, with TV responsible for 57 percent of the value, newspapers 37 percent and magazines 5 percent. "This is huge. It's very, very high," Gary Getto of VMS told Advertising Age. "In fact, we looked at online coverage of Twitter vs. Google. Twitter is running significantly higher than Google and I didn't think anything was more popular than Google."

Megan Fox Marilyn Monroe tattoo

This is only in the last month though, and Google is definitely more well-known and popular in terms of usage than Twitter. It's just that there has been a Twitter craze in the past few months with all the celebrity Twitter followers. But not all celebrity profiles on Twitter are real; most are just Twitter spam. Popular actress Megan Fox (showing her Marilyn Monroe tattoo on the right arm) said in the news recently, "I don't have a Twitter...neither does Shia, and I don't know anyone who Twitters!"

So all the Megan Fox pages on Twitter are fakes. The Transformers star is certainly more popular on Google!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mobile phone virus and malware

There are many more virus programs infecting PCs than mobile phones, but there are many more ways of getting virus programs into mobile phones than into PCs. Cell phones can get virus infections and malware programs from SMS/MMS messages, downloaded mobile apps, memory sticks, from PCs, bluetooth connections, email and web surfing. Despite these vulnerable points, there has not been a major mobile phone virus attack yet, because of the multiple types of operating systems. A virus program is written for a particular type of operating system, thus a virus on a symbian mobile will not infect an iPhone. As of now the mobile phone market has multiple operating systems, like the iPhone OS, Windows Mobile, Symbian, Google Android, and Palm Web OS.

Virus and malware contained in messages are usually filtered by the network operator but mobile phone virus security software is essential for complete protection. McAfee, Trend Micro, Kaspersky, SMobile, FortiGuard and FSecure all provide security software for mobile phones. Prevention is better than cure; so don't click on erotic/celebrtiy links contained in messages. A virus program can send out multiple messages from an infected phone quickly inflating the bill or drain the mobile phone's battery. In the future more dangerous viruses may use an infected phone to launch attacks on the network.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mobile banking problems prospects

There are 3.3 billion mobile phones in the world today, compared to only 900 million PCs. Yet mobile banking is not taking off with the expected momentum, and even those users who sign up for the service do not access all its features. The prospects for mobile banking seem bright, because number of banks offering mobile banking will double from less than 300 to more than 600 by the end of 2009. But the problem is even this figure of 600 is less than 10 percent of U.S. institutions, while each individual bank offering mobile banking services does not report encouraging customer adoption rates (usually less than 10 percent). Those customers that do adopt mobile banking limit the functionality to balance inquiries or funds transfers.

Mobile banking does offer greater security than Internet banking, because there are fewer Mobile viruses than computer viruses. In the US the most popular instrument for mobile banking is the iPhone and the iPod Touch. Apart from funds transfer you can also make bill payments, and get important alerts on your account, with mobile banking. Despite all this many people are not comfortable dealing with their finances "on the go" and would prefer to be in the privacy of their homes, in front of a computer, while tackling important financial data.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Michael Jackson virus

As Michael Jackson is remembered around the world, computer security experts warn of increasing levels of viruses and spam using the name of Michael Jackson to snare unsuspecting users. One e-mail carrying the subject line "Remembering Michael Jackson" has a zip file attached that infects victims if downloaded. "The e-mail, which claims to come from, says that the attached ZIP file contains secret songs and photos of Michael Jackson," Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, wrote on a blog. "However, the reality is that opening the attachment exposes you to infection - and if your computer is hit you will be spreading the worm onto other Internet users."

Another way of spreading a computer virus is by disguising it under an image. So if you get a cool image in your email of Michael Jackson as above, do not click on it! Cluley said that the malware also spreads via USB memory sticks. Another e-mail promises an exclusive look at a YouTube video of the "last work of Michael Jackson," but instead installs a malicious program that steals passwords.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

One charger to charge them all

Ten cell phone companies including Apple, LG, Motorola, Nokia and Sony Ericsson have signed up to offer a common charger, which will be based on a Micro-USB connector. Such universal chargers will improve energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption. However they will only work with data enabled phones, which will become widely available in Europe and the UK after 2010. The EU industry commissioner, G√ľnter Verheugen, said, "Consumers will be able to charge mobile phones anywhere from the new common charger. This also means considerably less electronic waste because people will no longer have to throw away chargers when buying new phones."

Photograph: Dan Chung/The Guardian

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