April 17, 2006 12:01 PM PDT

What's the next security threat?

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While Windows PCs remain the prime target for attacks, prepare to see more activity targeted at the mobile phone. F-Secure says it has now detected 179 cell phone viruses and estimates that some tens of thousands of handsets are infected.

Nokia has reacted by launching handsets with antivirus protection built in, and the newly released version 9 of the Symbian operating system has improved security, so it may be possible to nip some mobile viruses in the bud.

Or maybe not. F-Secure recently detected the first malicious Java software on a cell phone, meaning it could affect most handsets, and not just the high-end models, Hypponen said. And in March, he spotted a Trojan horse that plants itself on the cell phone and calls a premium rate number in Russia, each time clocking up five euros ($6.04) for the criminal who sent it.

Even so, the rapidly growing world population of broadband users means that botnets will continue to be the main focus for Internet criminals. All of the people in the Rogues Gallery of the world's top 10 spammers, on the Spamhaus Project Web site, are constantly topping up their networks with new zombie machines owned by people with little concept of security. And they do not restrict themselves to mass e-mailing--their activities extend into child pornography, extortion and fraud.

And botnets open up another danger, according to Dave Rand, chief technologist for Internet content security at Trend Micro. Their combined computing power could be used to decrypt Internet traffic, he says. If that were to happen (and there is no sign of it yet), it could bring e-commerce to a grinding halt.

Ron Condon reported for Silicon.com from London.

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5 comments

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Verizon email blocking settlement.
To prevent email from being bounced, remove your Verizon pop 3 account, under MSN hotmail, under email options.
Posted by jimjv2005 (15 comments )
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Missing Internet Explorer beta?
Boy, people using Windows 98 must not really want IE 7 and Windows Vista to ship? Check the following url out: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/ie7/default.mspx" target="_newWindow">http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/ie7/default.mspx</a>
Posted by jimjv2005 (15 comments )
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There is a solution for the next security threats
CallingID is the best solution against security threats. It puts you back in control. When you visits a site you see who is the owner, if it is a real company and you can be sure that main security problems like phishing, DNS spoofing or even a site that hides its owner identity will automatically be shown
Posted by ba_oren (16 comments )
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ISPs are the problem and solution
Despite their desire to not get involved, ISPs are going to need to be the solution to the problem they've allowed to proliferate.

If I turn the water on in my apartment and leave it running for a month, eventually the apartment complex is going to shut off my water or at least have words with me, even though water is included in the monthly rent they charge me. (Or, they'll raise everyone's rent.)

Just wait until the day a major player like AOL automatically disconnects from Earthlink because its automated system detects too much spam coming from that network.

ISPs need to be more vigilant(sp?) about identifying and containing bots on its networks and about being less hesitant to shut down connections to neighboring networks who haven't done likewise.
Posted by TV James (680 comments )
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Computing Monoculture
Standard implementation of software -- a computing monoculture -- is what allows these security holes to be exploited easily enough for black hats to profit.

The solution is twofold: diverse implementations in the application and OS spaces, and open standards to allow interoperability.

Take the F/OSS computing landscape, for example. For OSes, you have Linux, the BSDs, and OpenSolaris. But they all share many of the same applications because of open source and open standards.

Diversity breeds strength in nature, and our artificial world we are creating in the form of the Internet and all its connected computers is no different. We need a multitude of architectures and operating systems so that malware infections cannot spread so quickly and easily through networks.

The huge number of Linux distros helps make the Linux world more secure in a macrocosmic sense.
Posted by alucinor (71 comments )
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