- Half of all exploits target Java
Once upon a time, Microsoft was the favorite target of malware developers. As Microsoft improved the defenses in its software, though, cybercrooks moved on to easier pickings. Adobe was a prime target for a while, but Adobe followed Microsoft’s lead and made its software more secure as well. According to data from the 2014 IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Quarterly Report, the favorite target is now Java—Tony Bradley at JavaWorld
- Intel’s next-gen NUC has the potential to be a PC game changer
I firmly believe that the people haven’t fallen out of love with the PC, but instead they’ve grown bored of the form-factors on offer. It seems that Intel is now ready to transform the NUC from a science experiment into a mainstream product—Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDNet
- One In Every 13 Words On Twitter Is The Kind We Can’t Use In This Post
Swear words your mother would most definitely have washed your mouth out with are all the rage over on Twitter, according to researchers at Wright State University in Ohio, in a new study—Mary Beth Quirk at the Consumerist
- 4 Reasons You Should Never Trust Social Media
At MakeUseOf, George Root discusses why the things you read on social media are often incorrect
- The Adobe Reader consumes mass quantities of hard drive space
When Windows users download the Adobe PDF Reader they are told that the download is roughly 48MB. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to total hard drive space needed by the Adobe Reader—Michael Horowitz at Computerworld
- Microsoft risks security reputation ruin by retiring XP
Telling users they must upgrade, and to Windows 8.1, doesn’t cut it
—Opinion-piece at Computerworld by Gregg Keizer
The reality is, with few exceptions, every company I’ve visited does a bad job at computer security.
—Security expert Roger Grimes
We are surrounded by the technically ignorant. While the ignorance of the general population may not be as deep as that reported in a recent story from the LA Times, it is quite clear that the average person is woefully short of knowledge about the forces that are transforming and controlling the world around them. The LA Times article is called 1 in 10 Americans think HTML is an STD, study finds and it reports:
If you’re talking tech with Americans, you may want to avoid using any jargon.
A recent study found that many Americans are lost when it comes to tech-related terms, with 11% saying that they thought HTML — a language that is used to create websites — was a sexually transmitted disease.
The story goes on to relate some other peculiar interpretations of technical terms.
Phishing, scams, database break-ins, ransom-ware, on and on it goes.
There have never been riper pickings for the criminally inclined. A great body of innocents are sitting there just waiting to be fleeced. The risks are minimal, the rewards juicy.
It isn’t just the untutored general public that makes cybercrime easy. Companies have been amazingly lax about implementing proper security. There seems to be no end to the database break-ins that keep occurring. Roger Grimes is a security professional who visits many companies and he writes:
The reality is, with few exceptions, every company I’ve visited does a bad job at computer security. Every company does a few things very well, a few things OK, and most things horribly. They don’t patch well, they don’t do event monitoring right, and they spend the majority of their time concentrating on projects that will not reduce risk by much.
Not only is cybercrime easy but there is very little downside. There are a lot of countries whose inhabitants are basically immune from prosecution for cybercrimes that affect the rich countries of the world. The governments don’t care if dumb Americans get ripped off and probably welcome the income that is produced. Even countries like Russia and China seem to have thriving cybercrime industries.
And cybercrime is, in fact, a major industry. Nobody knows for sure but there are many estimates that cybercrime is costing the world economy hundreds of billions of dollars and is more profitable than the drug trade. There are individual operators but there are also well-organized groups who run the equivalent of a company. For example, a recent article at PCMag describes a market based in Russia where you can shop online for stolen credit card accounts:
What is striking about the carder sites where criminals sell and buy stolen credit and debit cards is the fact the entire process is so customer-friendly and easy.
Security company Easy Solutions monitors carder forums and helps banks and other financial institutions track stolen cards. In a meeting at the RSA Conference, Dan Ingevaldson, CTO fo Easy Solutions, discussed Russia-based carder site ValidShop.
The site has a sleek black interface and is extremely user-friendly. A list of the most recent stolen cards are displayed on the screen, with details such as expiration dates, issuing bank, card type, and country. Customers can see how much money they have in their accounts in the top right corner of the screen and can search for cards to buy. Searches can be as specific as type of card, bank name, and even the country the card was issued. Customers can also request additional types of personal information, such as email address, dates of birth, and phone numbers.
Is the cybercrime situation going to get any better? Not likely, according to an annual security report from Cisco that is described in an article at ZDNet. The article begins:
The exponential growth for mobile and cloud technologies over the last few years matched by a gap in skilled security professionals to manage these platforms is providing cyber criminals with unimaginable opportunities, based on the Cisco’s 2014 Annual Security Report.
Sad to say, it looks like it’s a great time to be a crook.
- What you need to know about 3D printers for today and tomorrow
Beyond the hype, there are real uses for this technology, but also some key barriers yet to be addressed—Galen Gruman at InfoWorld
- The Web at 25 in the U.S.
Report about Internet usage in the US from the Pew Research Internet Project
- FTC: Identity theft is the plague of the country
The Federal Trade Commission today [Thursday] issued its annual look at what consumers in the United States are complaining about the most. And for the 14th consecutive year the winner, or loser really, for 2013 was identity theft—Reported at PCWorld
- Microsoft’s Windows Strategy: A New Hope
Microsoft’s Mobile World Congress announcements suggest a successful, and overdue, new direction for its Windows 8.1 strategy—Michael Endler at InformationWeek
- Why the rise of sites devoted to explanatory journalism is a trend worth celebrating
An increasing number of new-media startups — and even new projects by existing media outlets — are aimed at bringing context, background and analysis to the news instead of just trying to be the first to report something, and that’s a very beneficial development—Mathew Ingram at GigaOm
Simplicity is also a key draw for Chromebooks. They just work, assuming you have an Internet connection available, and stay out of your way far better than Windows PCs and the Linux netbooks of old.
—Brad Chacos at PCWorld