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Security News and Issues

Each day owning a computer and maintaining it online becomes more of a challenge. Security is a major concern to computer users. SaferPC brings you Security News and Issues of interest to security conscious PC users.

     
 Title   Date   Author   Host 

Cox Broadband Blacks Out
Internet News
by Colin C. Haley
May 20, 2005

An Internet backbone problem leaves the company's high-speed data customers disconnected Friday.

More than 2 million Cox Communications broadband customers lost their connections Friday after the cable operator's Internet backbone went down, a spokesman for the Atlanta company confirmed. "We're still investigating the root cause of the problem," Bobby Amirshahi, a Cox spokesman, told internetnews.com. Amirshahi said the outage affected all of Cox's broadband customers -- both consumers and businesses.

Children need better on-line protection, AOL says
Globe Technology (Canada)
by Jack Kapica
May 18, 2005

Ask Internet safety advocates about the need to protect children from the Internet, and they will tell you the trick is to put the computer in the living room, where surfing can become a family activity.

Yet almost half of respondents to an AOL Canada survey say they would put an Internet-connected computer into the privacy of their children's bedroom. At the other extreme, almost 30 per cent of parents also said they don't intend to allow their children to go on-line at home at all.

Microsoft looks to 'monkeys' to find Web threats
Security Focus
by Robert Lemos
May 17, 2005

Researchers at Microsoft are creating their own version of a million monkeys to crawl the Internet looking for threats in an effort to secure the Web for Windows.

The software giant's Cybersecurity and Systems Management (CSM) research group are building a system of virtual Windows XP computers that crawl the Web looking for sites that use unreported vulnerabilities to compromise customer's PCs. Dubbed "honeymonkeys," the virtual machines run a full version of Windows XP with monitoring software and crawl high-risk areas of the Web looking for trouble. "Just by visiting a Web site, (if) suddenly an executable is created on your machine outside the Internet Explorer folder, it is an exploit with no false positive -- it's that simple," Yi-Ming Wang, senior researcher with Microsoft Research, said during a presentation at the IEEE Security and Privacy conference in Oakland last week.

Security gripes' Microsoft feels your pain
CNet
by John Borland
May 13, 2005

Software giant plans subscription service offering antivirus help, automatic computer checkups.

It's not news to Microsoft that many, if not most, average Windows users have gripes about their PC experiences. In response, the software company is unveiling on Friday a new subscription-based computer fix-it service, aimed at automatically patching security holes, blocking viruses and spyware, and generally automating the chores of maintaining a computer's health. Dubbed Windows OneCare, the service will draw in part on existing tools like the company's anti-spyware software , as well as on basic PC management functions inside Windows. But it will add a more powerful firewall, ongoing antivirus protection, and the right to get a live support person on the phone without paying extra, the company said.

Web attacks soar
The Register
by John Leyden
May 12, 2005

Web server attacks and website defacements rose 36 per cent last year, according to an independent report. zone-h, the Estonian security firm best known for its defacement archive, recorded 392,545 web attacks globally in 2004, up from 251,000 in 2003.

Mass defacements (322,188) were by far the largest category in 2004. More targeted cyber graffiti attacks numbered 70,357. zone-h also recorded 186 attacks on US governmental servers out of 3,918 attacks on government domains worldwide. Separately the security consultancy recorded 49 assaults on US military servers. zone-h estimates that 2,500 web servers are successfully hacked each day out of a total population of 45m servers...

Unanimous Treason
Deliberate Dumbing Down
by Charlotte Iserbyt
May 12, 2005

The U.S Senate's unanimous vote on the REAL ID card is a tragedy for our nation. What an abuse of the U.S. Constitution! Ghastly news.

This neat little package says we won't be able to open a bank account, board a plane or bus or drive a car without one. And just wait until the deliberately dumbed down socialist bureaucrats have finished with writing the regulations!

Web Browser Forensics, Part 2
Security Focus
by Keith J. Jones and Rohyt Belani
May 11, 2005

In part one, we began investigating the intrusion of the Docustodian document management server hosting a law firm's data. The server appeared to have been compromised by a group of hackers who were using it as a repository for their MP3s, MPEGs, and pira

We also performed a review of the Internet Explorer history and cached files on the system used by Joe Schmo, the primary suspect of the intrusion. Analysis of the web browsing history revealed Internet searches for license cracks and hacking books; however, all this malicious activity appeared to have been performed while Joe was on vacation with his family in Florida. In part two we now set out to determine who used Joe's machine while he was on vacation. We will proceed by examining further investigative leads that involve performing an in-depth review of the web activity of all other browsers installed on Joe's hard drive...

The REAL ID Act: How It Violates U.S. Treaty Obligations, Insults International Law, Undermines Our Security, and Betrays Eleanor Roosevelt's Legacy
Find Law's Legal Commentary
by Noah S. Leavitt
May 9, 2005

Late last week, the U.S. House quickly approved an $82 billion appropriations bill to fund America's military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. This bill is headed to the Senate in the next few days.

Tucked inside this massive funding package are some of the most sweeping - and, many have said, harshest - changes to immigration law in years. Representative James Sensenbrenner (R - Wis), the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, is the primary sponsor of this legislation, which is known as the "REAL ID" Act.

The most high-profile provision of REAL ID would mandate that applicants for state drivers' licenses must prove they are in the U.S. legally, in order to get identification that may be used at federal facilities (airports, national parks, government offices, and so on).

What's So Scary About a National ID
The Village Voice
by Jarrett Murphy
May 9, 2005

An emergency funding measure earmarked for our fighting men overseas seems an odd place for a sweeping change to U.S. privacy policy. But that's just where House conservatives have tucked their proposal.

What's the big deal' "The simple answer is that it gives the government greater ability to control the actions of private individuals," says Electronic Privacy Information Center executive director Marc Rotenberg. "It has generally been the view in this country that one of the core aspects of personal freedom is to be free of government control."

Google And Privacy - Google's New Tools: Proceed With Caution
Information Week
by Fred Langa,
May 9, 2005

Before you embrace all of Google's new technologies, consider the privacy implications. Google's stuff is great, Fred Langa says, but don't get carried away with the novelty of it all.

It's not just the main Google search engine, of course, although that's its principal strength and is how most people know Google. Rather, it's also the new spin-offs and additional technologies. Some of these are fairly well-known, but others are just now making it to the consciousness of the online world at large: Gmail, Google Desktop Search, Google Groups 2, Google Deskbar, Web Alerts, Search by Location, Google Glossary, Google News Alerts, Froogle, and more. Google's services are immensely useful, and the company's reach is huge and growing. I believe this is mostly a good thing, but with several major caveats, as the questions raised in these reader letters suggest...

     

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