On today's show, we premiere our new Friday segment, "Computer Love." We think you're really going to love it. But also, the Wikileaks aftermath is raising many more serious concerns about free speech issues than we ever expected -- it's a morally ambiguous world we live in. Google's trying to make nice with rights-holders because they've been bullied into submission by our growing intellectual property police state. And the missed connection success stories just come rolling in. --MollySubscribe: iTunes (MP3) | iTunes (320x180) | iTunes (640x360) | RSS (MP3) | RSS (320x180) | RSS (640x360)… Read more
Spam may be down but malware marches merrily on.
That's the message from the "November Threat Landscape Report" released yesterday by security vendor Fortinet.
Global spam levels ultimately fell 12 percent in November after Dutch authorities took down a large Bredolab network made up of 140 different servers. The Bredolab botnet was typically used by cybercriminals to send out spam selling fake drugs, according to Fortinet. Spam had actually fallen as much as 26 percent the week after the network was dismantled but was able to stage a bit of a recovery afterward.
It used to be, come mid-November, the catalogs would start to pour into our homes at a distressing rate. One would think of the poor mail carriers schlepping pounds of recycling from trucks to houses. Now the flood is also electronic. The commercial e-mail offers start to pour in even more than at other times of the year. As with the printed catalogs, some you want, most you don't. But which? You don't want the Macys spam until you desperately need to buy a sweater for your dad, and, of course, there's a coupon for that in your inbox. Except you don't want it in your inbox. You want it out of the way.
So you can't delete the BACN, and there's no way to keep up with filing it or managing filters to do it for you. OtherInBox, though, has finally come up with a solid, useful, and free solution for managing the influx of semi-wanted email.
The product, OtherInBox Organizer, simply files e-mail from known commercial sources into subfolders. It works in Gmail and Yahoo at the moment. To be sure, this is nothing that you couldn't do with filters you set up yourself. The beauty of Organizer is that you don't have to do any of that work. The Web service knows where to send e-mails, with very good accuracy. I tired it, and e-mails from my bank are now going to the "Finance" folder and coupons from Macys are going where I want: "Shopping."
(OtherInBox's previous app, Defender, required users to give commercial e-mail senders a new e-mail address, like "Macys@rafen.otherinbox.com." That was too much work, and the product did not get traction.)
My brief review: The Organizer service is just great. After a few minutes to tune its filters to my preferences (for example, I created a new sub-folder for tech-related emails from Dell, Apple, etc.), I turned it on and it auto-filed more than 10,000 emails from my previously unmanaged Gmail inbox that had about 33,000 messages in it. It's kept up with new mail, too, alerting me when it sees a new sender that it can handle for me.
OIB can also provide a calendar feed of when packages you're ordered are due to arrive. Future services may include services like automatically deleting coupons that have expired.
But is there a business in providing such a useful service for free? As CEO Joshua Baer explains it, there is, and it's very clever. "We want to be the Neilsen ratings of email," Baer says.… Read more
With a new survey finding that half of the people polled plan to shop online for the holidays, security company Webroot offers some tips and tricks for staying safe in cyberspace.
Among the more than 2,660 consumers surveyed in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia by Webroot, 55 percent said they do plan to buy at least half of their holiday gifts online, a rise from 38 percent last year. But some of those people also plan to use search engines and public Wi-Fi to purchase those presents, activities that Webroot says could put buyers at risk.… Read more
Spam hit a two-year low this past quarter, but malware is at an all-time high, according to McAfee's latest Threats Report.
Out today, the "McAfee Threats Report: Third Quarter 2010" (PDF) found that though spam is still high, it continued its overall decline from January, both globally and nationally. With the exception of Russia, Greece, Belarus, and Indonesia, all countries tracked by McAfee showed a drop in spam levels.
So much for the good news.
On the down side, malware has reached an all-time high, according to the security technology company, which identified an average of 60,000 new threats each day in the third quarter, almost quadrupling since 2007. For 2010 so far, McAfee has discovered 14 million unique pieces of malware, a million more than this time last year.
One of the more "sophisticated" threats that reared its head this year was the Zeus botnet, designed to steal information during banking transactions. Over the third quarter, Zeus expanded its scope by targeting mobile devices, specifically attempting to grab SMS messages sent to validate the transactions. McAfee also noticed a rise in e-mail campaigns launched to spread the botnet by sending out messages claiming to come from FedEx, the IRS, the U.S. Post Office, and other such parties.… Read more
Red Label News is not exactly a household name. But yesterday afternoon, it was one of the top news sources on Google News for stories about Apple's iTunes song previews.
How'd that happen? Red Label News, it appears, is a cleverly designed collection of links and headlines meant to game Google News rankings.
CNET stumbled upon Red Label News after doing one of the most basic Google searches: the vanity search. In this case, we were attempting to figure out how many news outlets were writing about Apple's decision to extend iTunes song previews to 90 seconds, … Read more
If you feel safer online using your PC instead of your mobile phone, you are not alone.
A majority 87 percent of people polled for a new study think their home PCs offer better defense against viruses, malware, and hackers than do their mobile phones. Released today by the National Cyber Security Alliance and Symantec, the study (PDF) also discovered that people may be overconfident in the power of their computers to protect them as less than half are using full security software.
Though only 24 percent of those polled said they feel very safe using their home computers to … Read more
Facebook announced today that it has filed suit against two individuals and a company that it says are responsible for propagating deceptive spam offers across the massive social network, including some that encouraged members to spam their friends in turn.
"This week, in a U.S. federal court in San Jose, California, we filed three lawsuits alleging violations of our terms and applicable law by defendants attempting to trick people on Facebook into signing up for mobile subscriptions and sending spam to their friends," a blog entry posted by Facebook's security team explained. "In three separate … Read more
The United States is now the top source of spam, accounting for almost 19 percent of all junk e-mail sent throughout the world, according to a new report out today from Sophos.
The security firm's "Dirty Dozen" report highlighted the top 12 countries responsible for the world's supply of spam during the third quarter. With the United States generating almost 2.5 times more spam than second-place India, the country now accounts for almost one in five junk messages. The United States' 18.6 percent share of all global spam also showed a significant jump from … Read more