Lavasoft News - February 2007

Security Shorts

 

Adobe Releases Security Patches

Security experts call it one of the worst security problems they have ever seen. Adobe is now releasing the first security patches to fix the cross-site scripting vulnerability that opened up Acrobat Reader to hackers. The attacker could easily include JavaScript code in a browser session so when a user clicked on a malicious link to a PDF on the web, the attack code was activated. Adobe urges users to update to the latest version of Acrobat Reader.

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Organized Crime Gangs Target Students

A new report by a top security company finds children as young as 14 are being targeted by some gangs to become "skilled hackers". These criminals are reportedly paying tech students while they study to ensure they have a pool of cyber-savvy workers they can call on. The younger teens are being seduced by the "hacker" label and are even being financially rewarded for carrying out low-level tasks.

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Hitman Spam Scare Tactic

If sheer volume of spam e-mails is not enough to horrify, the latest spam tactic is. Spammers, posing as assassins, have been sending out threatening e-mails claiming that recipients are the target of a hitman, and if they fail to pay thousands of dollars, they will be killed. The scammers have been known to include personal information in the e-mails, making the threat seem all the more real. The FBI has reportedly received 115 complaints of "hitman spam" since the first signs of it in early December.

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Botnet Operators Face Jail

Two Dutch botnet operators who allegedly ran a network of 1.5 million computers may spend up to three years behind bars, authorities say. The botnet operation, which was uncovered in 2005, turned out to be 15 times larger than police had expected. The suspects are accused of using one virus to recruit a network of zombie computers, and another to steal credit card and bank account information. The operation accrued an estimated €60,000 ($99,000 US) over a six month period.

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Phisher Faces up to 101 Years

Jeffrey Goodin of California, USA could be sentenced up to 101 years behind bars after being convicted of sending out fraudulent e-mails and related crimes while running a sophisticated phishing scam. As part of the scam, Goodin allegedly tricked computer users into giving up their credit card information by sending supposed e-mails from AOL's billing department.

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Extra! Extra!
Ad-Aware Breaks Records at Download.com.
Read all about it here.
Stats
More than 3/4 of Americans are net users, spending an average of 8.9 hours online a week. For the first time in 2006, the number of women logging on equaled the number of men.
Source: Survey from the Center for the Digital Future
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Term(s) of the Month
A cookie is a piece of data that a website saves on a user’s hard drive and retrieves when the user revisits that site. It may use a unique identifier that links to login data, preferences, etc. A tracking cookie is any cookie used for tracking users’ surfing habits. They are typically used by advertisers wishing to analyze and manage advertising data. Read more in Lavasoft’s Spyware Glossary.
Tech Tips
Did you know that the Lavasoft Support Forums are the perfect place to go for up-to-date technical advice? Forums Administrator Janie Whitty, aka Calamity Jane, checks all new posts made. Lavasoft staff members regularly go in to read and post. We also have a team of international volunteers who help our users with their questions and concerns. If you do not already have an account sign up today at www.lavasoftsupport.com. There are currently more than 15,000 registered members!
Letters to the Editor
Thanks to all of you who wrote to us with your thoughts on spam and the future of e-mail. Spam definitely gets people talking. Read some of your letters here.
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