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Top 12 Spam Relaying Countries

Zombie-process

Image via Wikipedia

There’s a zombie invasion going on – and it could have infiltrated your business, your home office, or even the corner of your bedroom.

Of course, it’s not the kind of zombies beloved by the movie theatres but instead the problem of compromised computers being controlled by a remote hacker.

Many members of the public still haven’t understood that spammers don’t use their own PCs to send spam – instead they create botnets of commandeered computers around the globe (also known as “zombies”), which can be used to relay spam, send out malicious links and even launch distributed denial-of-service attacks.

If they did understand the problem, maybe they would put more effort into protecting their computers.

Spam dashboard

Sophos has today published a new report, revealing the top twelve spam-relaying countries around the world. We call the list the “dirty dozen”, and because virtually all spam is sent from compromised PCs, it’s a pretty good indication of where the botnets have got the tightest hold.

The top twelve spam relaying countries for January – March 2011

1. USA 13.7%
2. India 7.1%
3. Russia 6.6%
4. Brazil 6.4%
5. S Korea 3.8%
6. United Kingdom 3.2%
7. Italy 3.1%
7. France 3.1%
9. Spain 2.8%
10. Germany 2.6%
11. Romania 2.5%
12. Poland 2.3%
Other 42.8%

Although the USA and UK contribution to the global spam problem has decreased in percentage terms, it is essential for organizations not to become complacent. Financially-motivated criminals are controlling compromised zombie computers to not just launch spam campaigns, but also to steal identity and bank account information.

Computer users must be educated about the dangers of clicking on links or attachments in spam mails – and many computers may already be under the control of cybercriminals. Businesses and computer users must take a more proactive approach to spam filtering and IT security in order to avoid adding to this global problem.”

Dirty monitorIn all, we counted spam being sent from an astonishing 229 countries around the world during the first quarter of 2011. So everyone, no matter where they live, should be taking more care of their personal computer’s protection.

For as long as spam continues to make money for the spammers, it will continue to be a global problem. Too many computer users are risking a malware infection that sees their computer recruited into a spam botnet. To combat the spammers, it’s not only essential for computer users to run up-to-date security software, they must also resist the urge to purchase products advertised by spam.

So, don’t add to the statistics, do your bit in the fight against spam and don’t allow your computer to become a zombie.

Keeping your security patches up-to-date, your anti-virus defences in place and having a good helping of common sense can help avoid your computer from being recruited by the bad guys.

Source :- http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com

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Hours spent on Twitter? Don’t click on scam spreading virally on Twitter

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Another rogue application is spreading between unsuspecting Twitter users, claiming to tell you how many hours you have spent on on the network.

The messages all look pretty similar, and use a currently trending topic such as Richard Dawkins, Cheryl Cole landing the job of a judge on the US edition of “X Factor”, or it being Mother’s Day in the United States.

Twitter scam

Richard Dawkins --> I have spent: 23.8 hours on Twitter! See how much you have: [LINK]

#zabecca --> I have spent: 20.9 hours on Twitter! See how much you have: [LINK]

Vidal Sassoon --> I have spent: 33.4 hours on Twitter! See how much you have: [LINK]

#5factsaboutmymom --> I have spent: 33.4 hours on Twitter! See how much you have: [LINK]

Even though you may have seen one of your friends tweet out a message like this, you definitely shouldn’t click on the link. It will take you to a rogue third-party application which asks your permission to connect with your Twitter profile.

Twitter scam

If you do authorise the app it will be able to post messages to Twitter in your name, see who you follow on Twitter, grab your Twitter name and avatar, and update your profile. Now, why on earth would you want to give a complete stranger the ability to do that?

Unfortunately, you may be so desperate to find out how many hours they have spent on Twitter (after all, your friends appear to have already been though the process) that you will authorise the application.

Whereupon, the rogue application will tweet the offending message from your Twitter account. When I went through the process on a test Twitter account I run, I found that it tweeted out the message more than a dozen times in less than 30 seconds.

Twitter scam

You may not realise that this is happening, however, as the app is distracting you with a message saying it is processing your results. After some whirring away, it asks you to enter your email address to have your results sent to you.

Twitter scam

Stop right there! (if you haven’t already). Are you seriously going to give these complete strangers access to your email address too? They already know your Twitter account name, and can post to your Twitter page – now they’ll be able to email you as well!

Who knows what they might send you? Their plan might be to send you spam, a Trojan horse, or a phishing attack. They even have the cheek to say watch out for the message in your spam folder!

Twitter scam

I don’t know what the scammers plan to spam out to you, and it could – of course – be weeks or months before they do, but if you want to find out more follow me on Twitter at @gcluley.

These sorts of rogue applications appear to be popping up more and more on Twitter, whereas previously they were mostly seen only by Facebook users.

If you were unfortunate enough to grant a rogue applications access to your Twitter account, revoke its rights immediately by going to the Twitter website and visiting Settings/Connections and revoking the offending app’s rights.

Don’t make it easy for scammers to make money in this way, and always exercise caution about which third party apps you allow to connect with your social networking accounts.

Source :- http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com

Google Named Most Reputable Company in U.S

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Google Inc an American public corporation is now recognized the world over as the fastest search engine. It is an easy to use free service that conveys relevant information in a matter of seconds to the user.

Harris Interactive poll asked about 30,000 people in the US to express their opinion on the 60 most visible companies in the US and rate them on the basis of 20 different categories like finance, leadership, social appeal etc.

Google has topped the list of the most reputed company in the US. Harris Interactive has rated Google with 84.05/100 which indicates excellent performance. Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Sony and Amazon are the other technology companies rated over 80 but Google tops them all.

Insurance, Banks and oil companies were rated the least and AIG was given the worst reputation with 47.77. BP, the company known for its worst oil spills followed next.

Google definitely enjoys total supremacy and has appealed to the masses even when government investigations and privacy concerns have tried to tarnish its image. It is also indicative of the fact that more and more people are connected to the web. Google’s product and service quality has made them accessible to millions.

Source:- http://www.clickindia.com

Julian Assange: Facebook Is a Spy Machine

Julian Assange at New Media Days 09 in Copenhagen.

Image via Wikipedia

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange touched on the subject of social networking in an interview with Russia Today, calling Facebook “the most appalling spy machine that has ever been invented.”

Assange said he believes Facebook is a giant database of names and records about people, maintained voluntarily by its users but developed for U.S. intelligence to use.

“Everyone should understand that when they add their friends to Facebook, they are doing free work for United States intelligence agencies, and building this database for them,” Assange said.

While Assange doesn’t claim that Facebook is actually run by U.S. intelligence agencies, the fact that they have access to its records is — in his view — dangerous enough.

“Now, is the case that Facebook is run by U.S. intelligence? No, it’s not like that. It’s simply that U.S. intelligence is able to bring to bear legal and political pressure to them,” he said.

Assange also weighed in on the subject of secret government cables released by WikiLeaks, claiming the really important ones haven’t been exposed yet.

“We only released secret, classified, confidential material. We didn’t have any top secret cables. The really embarrassing stuff, the really serious stuff wasn’t in our collection to release. But it is still out there,” he said.

At the end of the interview, Assange trashed the media industry, claiming it is heavily distorting reality to the public and doing too little to prevent wars and remove corrupt governments from power. “It really is my opinion that the media, in general, are so bad, we have to question whether the world would be better off without them altogether,” he said.

Source -: http://mashable.com

Osama Bin Laden Is Dead Facebook Page Goes Viral

A still of 2004 Osama bin Laden video

Image via Wikipedia

Within about two hours of reports first surfacing (and since confirmed by the President) that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, a Facebook Page titled “Osama Bin Laden is DEAD” has already accumulated more than 150,000 “likes.”

The page appears to be adding thousands of likes by the minute with users also sharing hundreds of comments and links to stories about the news.

Interestingly, the page itself appears to have been setup well prior to tonight as a way to advocate the theory that Bin Laden had actually died long ago.

The page description reads in part: “Osama Bin Laden has not been found and will never be found because he died a long time ago. This may be news to you because it wasn’t in the news. His death is critical to the CIA because they want you to believe in this so called ‘War on terror’ which has made the world a more dangerous place. If Osama Bin Laden was alive, he would’ve been found – just like Saddam Hussein.”

Nonetheless, the page is now serving as a real-time discussion board for the historic news.

Source:- http://mashable.com

Twitter To Hold Official #Devnest Developer Events

Follow me on Twitter logo

Image via Wikipedia

Sad that Twitter Developer conference Chirp did not celebrate its first birthday this year? Well Twitter’s Jason Costa has just given those anticipating the gathering a slight ray of hope by announcing an official smaller #Devnestevent to take place at Twitter HQ San Francisco on May 12th.

For those of you unaware, Devnest was a Twitter Developer event out of London started in 2010 by British Twitter developer Jonathan Markwell and organized by Angus Fox. Looks like Twitter has now appropriated the successful event as its own, planning a “string of dates in several cities around the US.” Ooh.

From Costa:

Hi everyone,

On May 12th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, we’re going to be hosting a developer event, Twitter #devnestSF, here at our headquarters in San Francisco.

Please RSVP to join us for the evening. Due to space constraints, we’ll only be able to accommodate the first 200 sign-ups, and each RSVP is limited to one person. If you can’t attend this time around, don’t worry – this is going to be the first of many events to come. And for those not based in San Francisco, we’re planning to do a string of dates in several cities around the US, and in other cities around the world. Plus, we’re planning to record the event and release it on YouTube. More details will be released on that soon.

Rather than create a new event format, we’re choosing to embrace and extend what certain developers in the community are already doing – specifically the Devnest UK guys. Thanks to Angus Fox and Jonathan Markwell for letting us build on their work.

Please RSVP here, and we look forward to seeing you on May 12th:

http://twtvite.com/twitterdevnest

Thanks,

–Jason

Costa is the recently hired Twitter Developer Relations manager, brought on to smooth over what have certainly been some bumpy relations.  Twitter recently told developers straight out to stop building clients and focus on verticals, and then reportedly started a bidding war with Bill Gross’ Ubermedia for client Tweetdeck.

Costa’s got a long row to hoe.

Source :- http://techcrunch.com

New Changes in Facebook

Though the social networking site comes up with many changes, there are five things that the site necessarily needs to modify for better user experience.

The site has allowed the “friends” of the users to ad them to various groups. Now, this can be very annoying if the user starts getting messages from the group he has been forcibly added to. The site does not ask permission from the user and the user has to take the effort of “ungrouping” his account.

The new photo viewer has not been a very welcome change either. The light box is not very friendly to the eye and effects the visual experience. It also appears to be a very “closed” site. The messaging system has also been configured to act as “chats” and not everybody is comfortable using them. The tabs are now less prominent and the Facebook team has dismissed all customized tabs.

Over all the Facebook platform has incorporated many changes that aren’t exactly welcome. But there are other changes like the keyboard shortcuts to navigate, centered image etc which are a welcome change.

Facebook Kicks Out 20,000 Underage Users Daily

Since these users are the most vulnerable to predators on Facebook and the rest of the Internet

Nearly half of all 12-year-olds in U.S. are using social network sites, despite not meeting the minimum age requirements for sites like Facebook; a report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project claims.

The report also indicates that 46 percent of 12-year-olds in U.S. use social networks, and 62 percent of 13-year-olds in the study use social networks, that figure jumps to 82 percent between the ages of 14 to 17.

But that doesn’t mean nothing’s happening; according to a report by the Daily Telegraph, Facebook is kicking out nearly 20,000 underage users per day.

Facebook’s chief privacy adviser Mozelle Thompson agreed that underage users were taking advantage of the site. This issue is due to the fact that any user can register by simply lying while signing up since most of the big networking sites had have no mechanisms to detect whether the user is telling the truth or not.  “It’s not perfect,” said Thompson.

“There are people who lie. There are people who are under 13 [accessing Facebook],” Thompson said. “Facebook removes 20,000 people a day, people who are underage.” Now, that’s just a fraction of its 600 million strong user base that Facebook has.

This month, Senator Franken stepped up pressure on the world’s largest network, with support from even more Congressional colleagues focusing on “users between 13 to 17 years of age”.”Facebook’s new privacy policy would endanger the privacy and safety of children as young as 13. Under Facebook’s policy, 13 million users under the age of 18 may be allowed to share their personal information just like adult users,” Franken argued. “These younger users are the most vulnerable to predators on Facebook and the rest of the Internet and it should be impossible for them to inadvertently share their phone numbers and home addresses with anyone.”

Facebook has set up a Facebook Public Policy and Online Safety team that looks to identify false information by users’ false, but verifying a person’s age seems close to impossible. A member of the team tells the News Observer that parent participation is really the key to the problem of underage users on the site. But what if the parents aren’t opposed to their children being on Facebook? Talking about safe Internet practices with kids might be the next best responsible thing to do, along with monitoring your child’s online activity.

But I believe it’s the parents who should own up the responsibility for what their children do on the Internet. I could give many analogies to put my point across, but I believe people are smart enough to understand the seriousness of this issue. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if more than 50 percent of underage kids from India [who have Internet access] are more active than most adults on Facebook.

How many parents even know that users need to be 13-and above to own a legitimate Facebook account? Will you do something to stop this scenario or just turn a deaf ear to it? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Facebook’s Zuckerberg Becomes a Comic Book Hero

New 48-pager comic book to paint him in a fair light

The youngest billionaire, Time magazine’s controversial Person of the Year, and the king of the social networking Mark Zuckerberg is finally getting the ultimate in American hero worship – the Comic Book treatment in the form of a 48-pager comic book titled ‘Mark Zuckerberg: Creator of Facebook‘ trade paperback. Written by freelance writer Jerome Maida for BlueWater comics, the book goes on sale today.

“Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire on the planet and created something that has already had a profound impact on the world. Yet hardly anyone knows much about him. It’s amazing,” says Maida about the comic book.

Most of you may be considering Zuckerberg out of character in the role of a comic book hero; a comic book villain would be more like it, especially in the light of him being portrayed as a back-stabbing manipulator in the recent movie The Social Network and his numerous autobiographies. However, Jerome Maida intends to paint the man in a “fair” light, as opposed to people’s perception about him.

He elaborates, “Rightly or wrongly, Mark dealt harshly with some people on his way to where he is today. As we see, he left many people feeling betrayed. I try my best to be fair here.” The book releases today in major comic book stores in U.S., and can also be ordered online from here.  The comic book has already been optioned for an upcoming short film.

Bangalore University Students To Get E-Degree Certificate’s

The view of the University

Image via Wikipedia

Bangalore University students now get speedier access to their degree certificates before their convocation thanks to the new online portal opened by university officials.

The initiative launched in partnership with MeritTrac Services, atesting and examination Services Company, allows Bangalore University students, who have completed their degree in 2010, to download their certificates online.

Bangalore University vice chancellor N Prabhu Dev said “During the first phase, only students who have completed their degree in 2010 will be eligible to apply for the convocation certificate. In the second phase, all students, including previous and forthcoming years, will be able to access this service,”

Students can go to www.bub.ernet.in and feed their BU registration number, and provide personal details (address, contact information, etc). Students can download the certificate- by paying a small fee of Rs 317-within two hours if they provide the required documents. The original certificate will be sent through post to their address within a month. The e-convocation certificates will be valid only until the main annual convocation after which students will have to get the original certificates.

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