Privacy advocates and seedy characters on the edge of Internet legality alike use Bitcoins as their virtual currency of choice. The anonymous, decentralized P2P nature of Bitcoins lets you transfer money without ever having to contact a bank or even know the true identity of the person on the other end of the transaction. Recent events have dragged the shadowy currency into the light of public scrutiny, and now its squirming users have another headache to deal with: a trojan designed specifically to pilfer your Bitcoin wallet.
Symantec recently pushed out a signficant product update for both its Norton Antivirus 2011 and Norton Internet Security 2011 products, bringing the version number to 220.127.116.11. Among the upgrades are a few new features (like support for Mozilla's Firefox 4 browser), performance enhancements, better compatibility with third-party programs, and a handful of bug fixes.
Just three short years ago, the announcement of a new Norton product would have been met with a "big whoop" from the enthusiast community. Some of you might still feel that way, but take it from us, Symantec seriously stepped up its game starting with the 2009 releases, and Norton has been faring well in our annual antivirus roundups ever since, including a 9 verdict awarded to Norton Internet Security 2011. If you want to see what's in store for next year's release, Symantec just made available Norton Internet Security and Norton Antivirus 2012 in beta form.
Hate spam? Of course you do, just like every one else who doesn't profit from this nefarious business. Assuming you're one of the good guys, here's a bit of good news coming from Symantec's MessageLabs division. The destruction of the massive Rustock botnet had a direct impact on spam, reducing the number of global spam messages by a third. The fallout was both immediate and significant, MessageLab says.
A new study reveals that data breaches grew more costly for the fifth year in a row, with the average organizational cost of a data breach going up $7.2 million in 2010. The cost per compromised record now sits at $214, up from $204 in 2009. That's a lot of wasted money, especially when you consider that one of the biggest culprits is negligence.
As if most malware weren't crafty enough, there are signs that indicate a certain amount of conspiring between attackers, making the latest threats even more difficult to detect. What's more, February proved a particularly busy month for malware, with Trojans, botnets, and spam all seemingly on the rise compared to previous months.
Everyone, from your dad to your boss to Mama Microsoft, tells you “back up your files.” But what’s the best way to protect your collection of digital music, photos, videos, downloads – and your operating system? To answer that question, we ventured out on a long, test-heavy trail to find the “Ultimate Backup.” Here’s what we found.
Back when Microsoft announced it was going to release its free Security Essentials antivirus program, some security firms scoffed at the idea that an au gratis solution could hang with fleshed out, non-free AV suites. Among them was Symantec, who warned that "if you are only relying on free antivirus" to keep your PC safe, then "you are not getting the protection you need to be able to stay clean and have a reasonable chance of avoiding identify theft."
Symantec made that comment over a year ago, and whether Comodo has been stewing over it ever since then, or just recently became aware of it, the company wants Symantec to put up or shut up.
"I read what Symantec has said about free antivirus products. This kind of misinformation is just unacceptable from companies like Symantec!," Comodo CEO Melih Abdulhayoglu said in a blog post. "Enough is enough!...You can't mislead end users with blatant lies like this!
"If Symantec truly believes what they preach to the media when then they will have no problem taking this challenge."
Hit the jump to see what the challenge is, and to read Symantec's response.
We don't know what it is with the sudden interest in acquiring security firms, but perhaps the AV industry is destined to follow the same consolidation and takeover path that the boutique PC business underwent not that long ago.
Let's recap. Intel in August purchased McAfee for $7.68 billion, a deal that stockholders from both sides were stoked about. And just a short while ago we reported that Trend Micro is at least listening to buyout offers, even if no one can afford the company. Now there's rumors that Symantec may be on the takeover table as well.
It all started when Jeffries & Co. analyst Katherine Egbert wrote in a report that Symantec could be worth $19-$20 a share to a buyer, though she added that a deal for the company isn't likely to happen. From there things start to get a little fuzzy, and now the rumor mill is somehow swirling with speculation that Microsoft might be interested in buying out Symantec. Several stock rumor sites are discussing the possibility, and that in turn has caused Symantec's stock to surge 6 percent.
Like Egbert, we view this as unlikely, though Microsoft certainly has the capital to pull something like this off. It's also worth pointing out the major shift into the mobile market thanks to the smartphone boom and emerging tablet craze, two areas that might benefit from specialized AV software.
Look around your office and spot two other people. According to a new study by Symantec, one of you has fallen victim to some type of cybercrime, including viruses, identity theft, online hacking, online harassment, online scams, phishing, and sexual predation.
The study, titled "Norton's Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact Reveals Global Cybercrime Epidemic and Our Hidden Hypocrisy," pegs the victim rate of U.S. based surfers at 73 percent, one of the highest victimized nations in the world behind Brazil and India (tied at 76 percent) and China (83 percent).
"Are we just passively accepting our fate? No, of course, we feel extreme and varied emotions ranging from anger (58 percent) to fear (29 percent), helplessness (26 percent) and guilt (78 percent)," the study says. "Associate professor of psychology at Loyola Marymount University Josepth LaBrie, PhD, describes a 'learned helplessness' for online victims. 'It's like getting ripped off at a garage -- if you don't know enough about cars, you don't argue with the mechanic. People just accept a situation, even if it feels bad.'"
According to Symantec, most victims never report cybercrime, and the vast majority don't expect cybercriminals to be brought to justice. One of the reasons for this is that most online crooks reside in foreign countries, which presents a challenge for law enforcement.