Lavasoft News - January 2007

Security Shorts


Malware on Macs

Warnings from security experts that Macs are not safe from malware attacks may now be confirmed. Researchers have found the first signs of an adware and spyware program that is able to launch browser windows on Apple Computer's Mac OS X. The proof-of-concept program could be silently installed on a Mac's user account and hooked to applications, according to security vendor, F-Secure.

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UCLA Security Breach

UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) is investigating a computer security breach that could have affected up to 800,000 current and former students and staff, making it one of the largest such breaches ever at an American university. Names and personal information like Social Security numbers were exposed after a hacker broke into the school's computer system. UCLA's chancellor says there is no evidence as of yet the data has been misused.

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High Expectations for Vista Switch

Computer users may switch to Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system at a faster pace than any other operating system release, a software analyst has predicted. Within the first year of availability, up to 15 percent of PC users will make the move to Vista, according to a researcher at Ovum Ltd. The fast-paced adoption of Vista is expected for both corporate and home users.

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Worm Spreads on MySpace

The social networking site, MySpace, has been hit by a worm that steals log-in credentials and spreads spam by using a cross-scripting weakness in Apple's QuickTime multimedia player. The vulnerability is in Mac versions of QuickTime, as well as the QuickTime Alternative codec package. An informal test showed that close to a third of users scanned were infected with the worm. MySpace has offered a security patch, distributed by Apple, to users who accessed the site with Internet Explorer and a detectible version of QuickTime.

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Spam Stats
1971 The first e-mail was sent by the computer engineer Ray Tomlinson
50 billion Number of e-mails sent every day
45 billion Number of e-mails from spammers
$50 billion The cost in lost productivity and expenses to fight spam in 2006
Source: The Times Online

Term of the Month
Internet lore claims the term spam gets its name from the well-known Monty Python sketch set in a café where every dish comes with the tinned-meat product Spam! A spam e-mail message is defined as being both unsolicited and bulk.

Forum Spam
Lavasoft's forums administrator CalamityJane deals with spam on a daily basis. She actually bans about 100 spammers per month. "Our forums do employ prevention measures such as requiring e-mail validation of new members and the CAPTCHA security routine, plus we have ban filters in place to minimize the amount of spam posts in the forums. It continues to be a problem and users need to be aware of precautions they should take when encountering forum spam posts (do not click on links or attachments). Report any spam to a Forums Administrator," she says.

Read more about Forum Spam at Wikipedia and take advantage of CalamityJane's expertise in the Lavasoft Support Forums today.

Tech Tips
If you have received e-mails that are just filled with gibberish, but do not require you to click on anything, they are designed to get you to mark them as spam and confuse your Bayesian spam filter (uses statistical methods to classify messages as spam). It may be wise to use your web mail account to delete all junk mail before opening up Outlook or Outlook Express.

Letter to the Editor
This is the first newsletter (December Lavasoft News) that I have received from you and it's very informative. Thanks for all of the new info.
There's so much out there that you don't know who to believe. You seem to put it in some order.

Maryann Garrett
Rison, Arkansas, USA

Lavasoft AB
Lilla Bommen 1
411 04 Gothenburg

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