When VeriSign's authentication business passed hands to Symantec last week, nobody blinked an eye. Two security companies moving assets back and forth isn't exactly the most riveting news. Normally we wouldn't have even bothered reporting on it except for one interesting fact that piqued our interest, VeriSign's value is tied up in a logo.
Coke proved decades ago that brands have value, but in today's digital economy it still shocks us to hear that something as simple as a circle with a pixilated check mark could be worth so much. The VeriSign Trust Seal pictured above is licensed out to websites for use in e-commerce systems to try and build trust with potential customers. It might sound fishy, but a marketing survey conducted by the company showed click-through rates increased by over 18.5% for sites displaying the logo, and experienced a sales uptick as high as 36%.
According to VeriSign "One of the most important issues to users about an online retailer is its procedure for safeguarding personal data such as credit card numbers that travel over the Internet when customers make purchases. With the rampant growth of phishing and identity theft, consumers are increasingly wary about providing this information, especially to companies they do not know. Therefore one of the pieces of information TheFind publishes about retailers is the protection they employ for transmitting private data. In many cases a generic 'SSL Encryption' logo appears. When the retailer uses VeriSign SSL Certificates, however, users see the VeriSign seal."
If the VeriSign seal of approval is as valuable as they claim, Symantec might stand to make a pretty penny on the deal as e-commerce starts to go mainstream. Was $1.28 billion a good deal?
Security firm Symantec on Wednesday announced the launch of its Hosted Endpoint Protection, a new cloud-based product targeting small and medium sized businesses. As Symantec explains it, the new service will make it easier for SMBs to deploy comprehensive security across their network without the need for more hardware or management software.
"As the hosted model for messaging security has become increasingly popular for its ease of management and deployment, organizations are similarly motivated by the reduced complexity that cloud-based services can offer while effectively protecting their endpoint systems," said Rowan Trollope, Senior Vice President, Symantec Hosted Services. "Symantec Hosted Endpoint Protection leverages our SaaS expertise to deliver advanced technologies that help protect customer systems without requiring additional hardware, management software, or dedicated IT staffing."
Some of the features include always-on protection for Endpoints, a Web-based management console, the ability to add new computers without requiring on-site management servers, automatic updates, scalability, and the speed at which the service can be deployed via email invitation or silently pushed to the customer's network, Symantec says.
Security firm Symantec this week issued a warning about the existence of a new Yahoo Messenger worm making the rounds. According to Symantec, the worm has been spreading by sending messages to victims from contacts in their list. The compromised IM contains a link claiming to be a photo, but really points to a malicious executable on the Web.
Clicking the link itself won't harm your PC. Instead, the worm relies on old fashioned tech newbness in hopes that the potential victim won't pay attention to the file they're downloading, which is a dirty executable and not a JPEG, PNG, or any other image file.
If executed, the worm copies itself to %WinDir%\infocard.exe and then adds an exception for itself to the Windows Firewall List. It also stops the Windows Updates service and sets a registry value so that it runs on bootup. If you suspect your or someone else's PC has been compromised, the registry value you're looking to eradicate is:
We just wrapped up our annual antivirus roundup and already Symantec is looking ahead to next year's release. You can too, now that the security outfit has released public betas for its consumer-based Norton Antivirus 2011 and Norton Internet Security 2011.
"With the Norton 2011 release, we’re determined to continue delivering the fastest and most effective security suite on the market,” said Jens Meggers, vice president of engineering, for Norton products. “Further to this, our customers are looking for value beyond ‘core security’ and the free new tools we’re bringing to market will keep the Norton community and the community-at-large safer from the cybercriminals who find new ways everyday to target people’s identity for a profit."
So what's new in the 2011 versions? Symantec says the latest release introduces Download Insight 2.0, which now applies reputation protection to "virtually every download regardless of client." You'll also find a handful of new tools, such as the Norton Safe Web for Facebook, Norton Power Eraser (targets malicious programs masquerading as legitimate apps), and Norton Bootable Recovery Tool.
Hit one of the download links below to give them a spin:
In just a few days from now, we'll reach the one-year anniversary of the Downadup/Conficker threat's April 1, 2009 trigger date, and just like last year, April Fool's Day will likely pass without seeing the Internet come crashing down.
"Today, one year later, we know that the criminal(s) behind Downadup/Conficker still have the keys to some 6.5 million of these computers, which have not been fixed by their owners, leaving them open to be victimized at any time by cybercriminals," Symantec wrote in a blog post. "We're still seeing the .A and .B variants of the worm continue to spread, albeit at a much reduced rate."
According to Symantec, the infected PCs are being "very closely monitored" by law enforcement and the members of the Conficker Working Group, so even though several million PCs remain vulnerable, all the attention is "likely [to] prevent [Conficker's creators] from further playing out their original criminal plans."
Even still, Symantec says we're still not out of the woods.
"These 6.5 million computers infected with Downadup/Conficker are still much like a load gun, waiting to be fired," Symantec warns.
Quick, what's the most dangerous city in the U.S. when it comes to cyber crime? If you said Seattle, give yourself 500 geek points (unless you Googled), because you're correct, according to Symantec.
The security firm ranked the 50 most dangerous cities to surf the Web from, with Boston, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Raleigh, N.C. checking in behind Seattle.
"I look at it like driving a car," said Dan Nadir, the director of product management for Symantec. "Your risk of an accident is going to be greater the more you drive. If you're online more, you need to be more cautious, just like the more you're on the road, the more you should wear your seatbelt, have airbags, and rotate your tires."
Symantec got a little help from Sperling's BestPlaces to come up with the rankings, which took into account the number of malicious attacks, infected machines, and the number of zombie PCs per capita.
Has anyone ever asked you where you see yourself in five years? If we were to pose that question to Trend Micro, the security firm would say it sees itself ahead of Symantec.
According to company founder and chairman Steve Chang, Trend Micro, currently the world's second largest security software and services firm, has set a goal to jump ahead of Symantec in five years through its development for cloud computing.
Trend Micro has already spent $300 million in R&D over the past four years building a cloud computing infrastructure, and going forward, Chang believes this will be key in taking the No. 1 spot. Chang says there's a ton of market potential in the security of server virtualization, mobile Internet connectivity, and handheld devices, all of which his company is in position to provide for.
But will it be enough to overtake Symantec? We'll have the answer for you in five years.
Security vendor Symantec Corp. on Monday announced a new hosted medical image archiving and sharing solution the company is calling Symantec Health. Aimed at healthcare providers, the idea is to aid hospitals and medical facilities in lowering costs associated with storing medical records.
"Health IT executives continually cite the soaring costs associated with medical image storage as one of the biggest challenges they face," said Lori Wright, vice president and general manager of the Electronic Health Group at Symantec. "Symantec’s security and storage management expertise and its leading Software as a Service portfolio are key reasons why many healthcare industry leaders trust Symantec to deliver these new hosted offerings in a cost-effective and secure way."
Some of the key features include on-demand capacity, business analytics, the ability for non-affiliated clinicians to search, view, and download images with a physician-friendly Web interface, and secure provider-to-provider image sharing, Symantec said.
Mobile security has been getting a lot of attention lately, so much in fact that Symantec has come out and said it is working on new software that will keep mobile phones safe from viruses and other forms of malware, news and rumor site Fudzilla reports.
"Symantec tells us it is working with carriers, handset manufacturers, and software vendors to ensure data held in smartphones and the systems they access are not at the mercy of rogue phone apps," Fudzilla says.
While this would be new ground for Symantec, the security firm is said to be using the same algorithm employed by its Norton 360 packages to build a live database of trusted mobile apps. This will be stored in the cloud and open to customization by individual enterprises.
Some 75 percent of organizations have been the target of a successful cyber attack in the past year, suggests a new study by security firm Symantec. According to Symantec's 2010 State of Enterprise Security study, companies on average lose $2 million annually as a result of these attacks.
"Protecting information today is more challenging than ever," said Francis deSouza, senior vice president, Enterprise Security, Symantec Corp. "By putting in place a security blueprint that protects their infrastructure and information, enforces IT policies, and manages systems more efficiently, businesses can increase their competitive edge in today’s information-driven world."
The study also found that 42 percent of organizations rate security their top issue, especially as enterprise security becomes more difficult due to understaffing.
The study represents responses from 2,100 enterprise CIOs, CISOs, and IT manager from 27 countries, Symantec said.