Archive for July, 2012

Mountain Lion release date July 25

Posted July 25, 2012 By David Kolle

After weeks of rumoured dates, Apple has announced that Mountain Lion — the newest edition of its operating system for Mac desktops and laptops — will be released on Wednesday, July 25th US Time.

Cougar / Puma / Mountain Lion / Panther (Puma ...

Users will be able to download it from the Mac App Store for USD$20.

We previously covered what’s new in Mountain Lion – announced at an event in February 2012 — and those who upgrade their systems can expect deeper Twitter integration, an iMessage client for your Mac so that you can receive phone messages on the computer, as well as support for AirPlay. Our rundown of the nine coolest features in Mountain Lion is below, and you can also check out great overviews from Macworld and the New York Times.

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Windows 8 scheduled release date is October 26

Posted July 25, 2012 By David Kolle

Windows chief Steven Sinofsky announced the news today at Microsoft’s annual sales meeting.

Here is a company blog post on the Windows 8 announcement.

Obviously on Oct. 26 customers will be able to buy new Windows 8 devices. But also, if your PC is running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 you will qualify to download an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $39.99 in 131 markets.

A couple weeks ago at Microsoft WPC (Worldwide Partner Conference) in Toronto, Microsoft confirmed that Windows 8 would launch in late October.

October 26 is a Friday, and I did find it surprising that Microsoft is doing a major product release on a Friday. Historically big Microsoft releases happen in the beginning or middle of the week so the buzz keeps buzzing through the work week where people are more apt to read the news. Doesn’t Microsoft know that people tend to forget about everything on the weekend?

But hey, for what it’s worth, the first iPhone released on a Friday (June 29, 2007), and that product has done okay.

In any case it’s nice to have date of birth for the fist version of Windows designed to work with touchscreen capabilities on both PCs and tablets. Save the date.

Microsoft confirmed that the Windows 8 RTM (release to manufacturing) version is still set for early August.

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Phishing websites increasing rapidly

Posted July 25, 2012 By David Kolle

The number of phishing websites discovered reached an all-time high earlier this year.

The growing number of phishing websites is proof that making fake websites that spoof real ones, is still a lucrative trade for cybercriminals.

In its latest report, the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) said 56,859 phishing sites were detected in February, beating the previous record high in August 2009 by nearly 1 percent. APWG is a nonprofit consortium composed of banks, security vendors and others with a stake in tracking cybercrime trends.

Phishing sites are websites that look nearly identical to the legitimate ones and often mimic known brands. Leveraging the trust users put in the legitimate companies, cybercriminals succeed in tricking victims into divulging logins, passwords and other sensitive information.

The APWG noted in its report that the increase in the number of phishing websites was in part due to new technology that it began using earlier this year to detect fraudulent sites.

More than 38 percent of the fake websites were related to financial services, according to the APWG’s report. The second most spoofed market vertical was payment services, followed by retail and other service sites. The sites spoofed 392 brands, also a new record.

“All manner of commerce is transacted online today and in that are opportunities for new and provocative scams, leveraging some part of the customer-enterprise relationship that is unique to the domain,” said Peter Cassidy, secretary general of the APWG. “People are tougher to fool with phishing, but they still can be in the hands of a creative scam artisan.”

The U.S. hosted the most fake sites. About half of the phishing sites for the first quarter of 2012 used some form of a brand in their URL, which often tricks people.

On the bright side, though, phishing sites are being taken down faster than ever due to better security technologies. But “the problem is a lot of campaign schemes are built around deployment of lots of landing websites for a single campaign to complicate the work of putting down the attacks,” Cassidy said.

 The number of phishing websites detected reached an all-time high earlier this year, a sign that making fake websites spoofing real ones is still a lucrative trade for cybercriminals.

In its latest report, the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) said 56,859 phishing sites were detected in February, beating the previous record high in August 2009 by nearly 1 percent. APWG is a nonprofit consortium composed of banks, security vendors and others with a stake in tracking cybercrime trends.

Phishing sites are websites that look nearly identical to the legitimate ones and often mimic known brands. Leveraging the trust users put in the legitimate companies, cybercriminals succeed in tricking victims into divulging logins, passwords and other sensitive information.

The APWG noted in its report that the increase in the number of phishing websites was in part due to new technology that it began using earlier this year to detect fraudulent sites.

More than 38 percent of the fake websites were related to financial services, according to the APWG’s report. The second most spoofed market vertical was payment services, followed by retail and other service sites. The sites spoofed 392 brands, also a new record.

“All manner of commerce is transacted online today and in that are opportunities for new and provocative scams, leveraging some part of the customer-enterprise relationship that is unique to the domain,” said Peter Cassidy, secretary general of the APWG. “People are tougher to fool with phishing, but they still can be in the hands of a creative scam artisan.”

The U.S. hosted the most fake sites. About half of the phishing sites for the first quarter of 2012 used some form of a brand in their URL, which often tricks people.

On the bright side, though, phishing sites are being taken down faster than ever due to better security technologies. But “the problem is a lot of campaign schemes are built around deployment of lots of landing websites for a single campaign to complicate the work of putting down the attacks,” Cassidy said.

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Hacking group Anonymous says it has taken at least ten Australian government websites offline in a series of continuing attacks over proposed changes to privacy laws.

Hackers

The Australian arm of the group has warned it will continue the attacks on “.gov.au” sites until any plans to force ISPs to store user data and make it further available to security services are shelved.

The attacks started after Prime Minister Julia Gillard answered policy questions via webcam in an online Google+ Hangout session on Saturday but the sites targeted so far are all run by the Queensland State Government.

Anonymous Australia told news.com.au the attacks were brought forward to coincide with Ms Gillard’s online Q and A session and it had raised the privacy concerns with the PM earlier on a Twitter hashtag.

Anonymous said  the sites were specifically chosen because the group had “proof” that small to medium businesses, education departments, student and personal accounts had been tracked by the State Government.

“The Australian Government is attempting to strip away its citizens’ internet rights by forcing them to surrender passwords and internet usage data,” Anonymous Australia said via email.

“Unless the Government starts acting in the best interest of its people, it will continue to bring the noise.”

The hackers said the attacks were in response to changes being discussed by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS).

Anonymous

The proposed security expansions would mean everything from social networking to emails would be monitored and stored for up to two years, and intelligence agencies would be given increased access to sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

“We no longer know about many of the activities of our governments while our governments have the means to accumulate unprecedented vast banks of data about us,” Anonymous Australia said.

“Whilst our own rights to privacy dwindle, corporate rights to commercial confidentiality and intellectual property skyrocket.

“We plan to continue targeting .gov.au websites until PJCIS is rejected.”

The group said its actions were also in response to the rejection of Julian Assange’s requests to be extradited as an Australian citizen, and the jailing of convicted whistleblower Allan Kessing, a former customs official at Sydney Airport.

Anonymous also reiterated it was behind the attacks on the Dahabshiil bank in the Middle East, which it accuses of funding terrorism. Dahabshiil has said it has evidence Anonymous is not behind the attacks.

A Department of Defence spokesperson said the department was aware of the reports of Australian attacks but did not publicly comment or discuss details of cyber incidents.

“Defence, through the Cyber Security Operations Centre, works with affected government agencies, as required, to help mitigate threats to information security,” the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said it was critical Australia’s national security capability could keep up with technology and global security.

“We must always stay a step ahead of terrorists, cyber criminals and organised criminals who threaten our national security,” the spokesperson said.

“At the same time, we need to have the right checks and balances to ensure that those who enforce our national security laws do so responsibly.

“Interested parties must avoid reacting to these proposals with hysteria and should instead contribute to the comprehensive review which the PJCIS has commenced.”

News.com.au is seeking comment from the Queensland Premier’s Office.

Anonymous today said the websites were back up and running but the list included:

sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au
regions.qld.gov.au
sd.qld.gov.au
dtrdi.qld.gov.au
science.qld.gov.au
createitmakeitliveit.qld.gov.au
smartawards.qld.gov
tourism.industry.qld.gov.au
workliveplay.qld.gov.au
lib.qld.gov.au

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