The hardest part about watching a nerd fight is knowing which side to root for. Such is the position we find ourselves in as two security giants squabble over claims the other is making. What started the whole thing was Symantec telling Reuters in an interview earlier this week that it was snatching up antivirus market share from competitor McAfee.
Less than three weeks ago, security firm Symantec publicly downplayed the theft of a portion of its source code and said the stolen bits were from a 2006 enterprise version of its software. The message at the time was that the theft didn't affect Symantec's Norton products for consumer customers, nor were enterprise users as risk. In other words, chillax. Now Symantec is making the unusual recommendation of telling people not to use its pcAnywhere software.
An Indian hacking group known as "The Lords of Dharmaraja" celebrated swiping the Norton antivirus source code from Symantec earlier this month and promptly began releasing fragments to the public before promising to upload the full Monty on January 17, 2012. That's today, but rather than release the source code in its entirety, the hacking group decided now is not the time.
We’ve all seen scareware in action: that especially annoying type of malware that pops up thousands of windows, each shrieking OH NO YOUR COMPUTER HAS UMPTEEN MILLION VIRUSES and extolling users to purchase fake antivirus software (using a credit card, of course). Real antivirus programs like Symantec’s Norton line are designed to ferret out malicious programs like that and kick them to the curb. However, one unhappy user claims that Symantec’s nothing better than a scareware-peddling scammer itself, and he’s slapped the company with a class-action suit for falsely pushing its wares.
Who watches the watchmen? Alan Moore took a long, hard look at that question in the classic Watchmen graphic novel, but today we finally got a firm answer – at least if by “watchmen” you mean “computer security companies.” Symantec got the virtual equivalent of egg in the face after an Indian hacking group going by the name of “The Lords of Dharmaraja” managed to get their digital hands all over the Norton antivirus source code.
Security firm Symantec this week announced the results of its November 2011 Intelligence Report, a monthly analysis on the state of security and trending cyber threats. The roller coaster report notes that the number of targeted attacks quadrupled since January (boo!), but the global spam rate in November is not only the lowest all year, but for the past three years as well (yay!).
Don’t click on suspicious links from unknown sources. We know you know, but the rise of link shortening services like bit.ly make it next to impossible to know where you’re being directed half the time, especially on Twitter. Unfortunately, spammers have caught on to the fact (C’mon, it was only a matter of time). Legitimate link shorteners have been doing a good job of eliminating malicious links, but b new report says that a gang of spammers have set up 87 URL shortening sites and are using them to flood inboxes around the world with junk.
Symantec on Monday made available the public beta of version 6.0 of its all-in-one security suite Norton 360. It's currently available as a free download and is based on the same core technology found in Symantec's consumer oriented Norton Internet Security 2012, but with the addition of enhanced PC tuneup and system backup capabilities.
Symantec noticed an uptick in social engineering attacks in September, a trend the security outfit attributes to a rise in polymorphic malware in email, the company said in its recently released "Symantec Intelligence Report: September 2011." Spam levels dipped slightly in September to 74.8 percent of all email, a decrease of 1.1 percent from August, but a "deluge of malicious email-borne malware" more than made up for the drop in spam.
As antivirus programs and end users alike become more adept at identifying badware, malware authors are getting even sneakier in their quest to infect your computer. Social engineering is the name of the game now – just ask the NBC News exec who clicked on an infected Christmas tree attachment from an unknown sender. A new report says that scammers have begun using a novel trick to get users to open malicious files; they send emails that claim to be from the office’s printer/scanner, which is actually pretty friggin’ clever.