Wednesday, October 29, 2008

National Cyber Security Survey Finds Americans More Wary of Cyber Crime

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More and more Americans are conducting online banking, stock trading and health management, but nearly 60 percent of Americans say that the risks of identity theft have changed their online behaviors, according to a recent survey conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).

More than 40 percent of Americans said that they only visit Web sites that they are familiar with and 20 percent said that they have stopped or limited their online purchases. The change in behaviors is perhaps not so surprising when you consider that, of those surveyed, 22 percent claimed they had their identity misused to compromise a bank account, steal a credit card number or take out an unauthorized loan.

More than 73 percent of those surveyed said they use the Internet to bank, trade stocks or review personal medical information so the violation of trust that an online security breach can cause is massive. When Americans were asked if having their bank account or credit card account robbed of $5,000 was worse than having their home broken into and robbed of $5,000, 51% said online fraud was worse. Only 37% said the home break-in was worse and 12% were not sure.

"The convenience of conducting part of our lives online has transformed the way we live, but it's not without risk," said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the NCSA. "Only visiting Web sites that you trust is one aspect of good online security. In addition, home users should be vigilant about keeping their anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall up-to-date and use unique passwords that contain numbers, letters and symbols. These tools combined with good online behavior equal good cyber security."

The survey also found that:

-- 53 percent of Americans use the same online password for multiple
accounts.
-- 68 percent surveyed store more than a quarter of their photographs
digitally.
-- 63 percent for respondents said that they back up sensitive
information from their computers


For the survey, NCSA commissioned a Zogby online poll of more than 3,000 Americans. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 1.6%.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

'Dark Market' Takedown

“What’s worked for us in taking down spy rings and entire mob families over the years—embedding an undercover agent deep within a criminal organization—worked beautifully in taking down Dark Market. And once again, our global partnerships paid off.”
FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director Shawn Henry

Last week the FBI and its global partners wrapped up a two-year undercover cyber operation that resulted in 56 arrests worldwide, the prevention of $70 million in potential losses, and the confirmation that while there might be honor among thieves, in the end, they are still just thieves.

Here’s what happened:

...A discerning group of cyber criminals established a forum on the Internet called “Dark Market,” where they bought and sold stolen financial information such as credit card data, login credentials (user names and passwords), and even electronic equipment for carrying out financial crimes.

...At its peak, this vast criminal network had over 2,500 registered members, who all believed they were operating in a protected cyber environment because they went to great lengths to vet members and to weed out undesirable elements.

...What they didn’t know was that one of the site’s administrators and most respected members, who called himself Master Splyntr, was one of us—an undercover FBI agent who had infiltrated the site posing as a cyber crook.

“It was a group of people who trusted each other,” said the undercover agent after the arrests. He explained that there are two types of cyber criminals: those who steal, but not from one another, and “rippers,” who steal from anyone.

Keeping the rippers off the Dark Market site, the agent explained, gave the other members a false sense of confidence. “They did a good job of trying to be secure, and they felt secure. There was honor among thieves, so to speak.”

Master Splyntr was on the site nearly every day, anywhere from one hour to 15 hours a day. Dark Market was like an exclusive club for cyber crooks, a meeting place for getting advice and brokering deals. During his time online, the undercover agent said, “we saw millions of dollars being exchanged.” At the same time, the operation prevented the millions of dollars in losses by tipping off potential cyber crime targets.

From the outset, our agent pointed out, “the goal was to infiltrate the organization.” The operation was extremely successful in developing intelligence on Dark Market’s leading members and the ways in which they conducted their far-flung crimes.

Throughout the operation, we worked closely with our international law enforcement partners, including the U.K.’s Serious Organised Crime Agency, the Turkish National Police, and the German Federal Criminal Police.

“What’s worked for us in taking down spy rings and entire mob families over the years—embedding an undercover agent deep within a criminal organization—worked beautifully in taking down Dark Market,” said our Cyber Division Assistant Director Shawn Henry. “And once again, our global partnerships paid off.”

As for our undercover agent who became a trusted member of the forum, he explained that he often had to think like a crook when signing on as Master Splyntr. “But at the same time,” he added, “you remember what your job is—to get the criminals.”

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

FBI: The Cyber Threat Today

Crooks and spies using the Internet to commit crimes against U.S. businesses and to attack government networks are getting more sophisticated, and the increasing number of such crimes not only impacts the economy but threatens national security.

That’s the message Shawn Henry, recently appointed head of the FBI Cyber Division, delivered to a group of reporters on Wednesday, revealing that we have thousands of open cases into cyber crimes and organized cyber attacks and detailing our strategy to protect the nation’s networks.

One case in point: We joined our international partners yesterday in announcing a major takedown of a transnational criminal network that was buying and selling stolen financial information through an online forum known as “Dark Market.”

“The business of the United States is done on the Internet,” said Henry, a veteran cyber crime investigator. And the information that flows electronically 24/7 is increasingly the target of not only identity thieves and scammers, but organized crime groups, terrorists, and overseas governments.

“There are a number of countries who have an interest in stealing information from the United States,” Henry said, explaining that as many as two dozen nations have taken an “aggressive interest” in penetrating our networks. In the past year, he added, “the malicious activity has become much more prevalent.”

Malicious activity could come in the form of attacks that deny access to websites, that compromise sensitive information, or that introduce “botnets” that spread viruses and covertly co-opt computers to carry out data theft.

“There are a number of countries who have an interest in stealing information from the United States,” Henry said, explaining that as many as two dozen nations have taken an “aggressive interest” in penetrating our networks.

New groups of hackers—virtual gangs—are a growing threat as well, banding together to pool their expertise and carry out coordinated cyber attacks. Henry pointed out that in years gone by, if a gang wanted to rob a bank, it needed crooks with various skills—safe cracker, get-away driver, look-out, etc. That’s essentially what we’re seeing in the cyber world today, only these virtual gang members have never met in the physical world. “There are organized groups that are very successful,” Henry said.

The 3 Ps. To address the rising threat, the Cyber Division has a threefold strategic plan—“Prioritize, Proactive, Partnerships.”

By prioritizing our efforts, we can go after the most critical threats. Being proactive means adopting the same time-tested investigative techniques that have been so successful in our physical crime investigations—the use of informants, electronic surveillance, and placement of undercover agents to penetrate and dismantle virtual criminal operations.

The third “P”—partnerships—means building even stronger relationships with law enforcement agencies worldwide. He said we’ve worked with such countries as Great Britain, Canada, Russia, and Turkey to swap best practices and techniques. We’ve also sent agents to Romania to work with law enforcement there, leading to nearly 100 arrests in cyber crime cases representing “tens of millions of dollars” in losses, Henry said.

And the Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3—a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center—continues to assist state and local law enforcement in fighting cyber crime. Since its establishment in 2000, IC3 has received more than a million complaints. In the last couple of years, there’s been an “uptick” in the number of reports, according to Henry. Lately, they’re coming in at the rate of nearly 20,000 per month.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fraudulent Spam E-mail Purported From FBI Deputy Director John S. Pistole

A spam e-mail claiming to be from FBI Deputy Director John S. Pistole is currently being circulated. This attempt to defraud is the typical e-mail scam using the name and reputation
of an FBI official to create an air of authenticity.

As with many scams, the e-mail advises the recipient that they are the beneficiary of a large sum of money which they will be permitted to access once fees are paid and personal banking information is provided. The appearance of the e-mail leads the reader to believe that it is from FBI Deputy Director John S. Pistole.

This e-mail is a hoax. Do not respond.

The IC3 continues to receive and develop intelligence regarding fraud schemes misrepresenting
the FBI and/or FBI officials. The scam e-mails give the appearance of legitimacy through the use of pictures of FBI officials, seal, letter head, and/or banners.

These fraud schemes claim to be from domestic as well as international FBI offices. The typical types of schemes utilizing the names of FBI officials and/or the FBI are lottery endorsements and inheritance notifications but can cover a range of scams from threats and malicious computer program attachments (malware) to online auction scams.

These scams use the social engineering technique of employing the FBI's name to intimidate and convince the recipient the e-mail is legitimate.

Please be cautious of any unsolicited e-mail referencing the FBI, Director Mueller, Deputy Director Pistole or any other FBI official claiming that the FBI is endorsing any type of Internet activity.

Always be cautious when responding to requests or special offers delivered through
unsolicited e-mail:

* Guard your personal information as well as your account information carefully.
* You should never give any personal, credit, or banking information in response to
unsolicited e-mails.

Consumers always need to be alert to unsolicited e-mails. Do not open unsolicited e-mails or click on any embedded links, as they may contain viruses or malware. Providing your PII will compromise your identity!

If you have received this e-mail, or a similar e-mail, please file a complaint at www.IC3.gov.

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Georgia Tech Information Security Center Releases Emerging Cyber Threats Forecast for 2009

(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC), a national leader in information security research and education, today announced the release of the GTISC Emerging Cyber Threats Report for 2009, outlining the top five areas of security concern and risk for consumer and enterprise Internet users for the coming year. The report was released at the annual GTISC Security Summit on Emerging Cyber Security Threats – a gathering of leading industry and academic leaders from organizations with a stake in protecting the online user community.

For 2009, GTISC is forecasting five key cyber security areas where threats are expected to increase and evolve:

* Malware— specifically under the guise of benign social networking links
* Botnets – specifically the spread of botnet attacks to wireless and peer-to-peer networks
* Cyber warfare — including targets on the U.S. economy and infrastructure
* Threats to VoIP and Mobile Convergence—specifically voice fraud and cellular botnets
* The Evolving Cyber Crime Economy – including the rise of sophisticated malware-for-sale kits and programs

According to the report, data will continue to be the primary motive behind future cyber crime – whether targeting traditional fixed computing environments or mobile applications. Experts from across the IT security spectrum – from government to industry to academia – join GTISC’s call for closer coordination between the security industry, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), application developers and government regulators to safeguard the user community and hinder the spread of sophisticated cyber security threats.

“At GTISC, we strongly believe that a proactive approach to understanding emerging threats will help us develop more effective information security technologies and strategies,” said Mustaque Ahamad, director of GTISC. “The annual GTISC Security Summit on Emerging Cyber Security Threats and this report seek to give us a better understanding of the increasingly sophisticated cyber security challenges we will face in the years ahead. We wish to thank the esteemed members of the IT security community who assisted us with the creation of this report.”

More than 300 corporate executives, industry leaders and technologists from across the country attended the GTISC Security Summit on Emerging Cyber Security Threats, keynoted by Lt. General Robert J. Elder, Jr., Commander Eighth Air Force of the Barksdale Air Force Base. Following Lt. Elder’s address on “Global Operations and Mission Assurance in a Contested Cyber Environment” in the morning, Summit panelists engaged in a lively discussion moderated by IT Security Entrepreneur, Thomas E. Noonan. This year’s panelists, from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, IBM Internet Security Systems, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Cisco, Motorola and SecureWorks, helped to educate the audience on the proliferation of cyber threats, including those listed in the report, and highlighted possible countermeasures to safeguard the user and business communities.

To view the entire GTISC Emerging Cyber Threats for 2009 report or to watch a pre-recorded Web cast of the Summit, please visit http://www.gtiscsecuritysummit.com.

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Teaching Consumers On-Line Safety Easiest When They Take the Bait

(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) and Carnegie Mellon University’s Supporting Trust Decisions Project have established a phishing page redirect initiative that protects global online consumers who have been tricked into clicking links in scam emails by delivering them to Web pages that instruct them on the dangers of phishing – and how to avoid them. The program was announced today at the APWG conference in Atlanta.

The AWPG/Carnegie Mellon Phishing Education Landing Page program builds on the philosophy of using the “teachable moment” to warn users immediately after they’ve fallen for a phishing lure and then give them on-line safety instruction precisely at a time when they are receptive to it. Phishing sites are designed to resemble Web sites of legitimate businesses, such as banks and online retailers, to trick people into revealing credit card numbers, bank accounts or login names and passwords. Actionable messaging will help consumers to avoid falling victim to these scams a second time.

“We are excited about the opportunity to educate consumers as they are falling victim to a phishing site,” said Dr. Laura Mather, Managing Director of Operational Policy for the APWG and CEO of Silver Tail Systems. “We see this initiative as having real impact in helping people understand when they have received a phishing communication so that they can protect themselves going forward.”

This education-at-time-of-action is accomplished by leveraging the URLs of the phishing sites themselves after anti-phishing investigators have identified the sites and shut them down. Instead of leaving the URL file blank, returning a ‘PAGE NOT FOUND’ message to consumers following phishing links, they will be served a page of instruction on how to avoid phishing and reduce the risk of falling victim to electronic crime. (Redirect scripts placed at the sanitized phishing URL will automatically forward the advisory content.)

“Our research has shown that most Internet users don’t know very much about online scams and don’t realize that there are some simple things they can do to protect themselves,” said Dr. Lorrie Cranor, an associate professor of computer science and engineering & public policy at Carnegie Mellon and director of the Supporting Trust Decisions Project.

Ponnurangam Kumaraguru, a computer science Ph.D. student who is leading the effort to design and evaluate anti-phishing training materials at Carnegie Mellon added, “Nobody wants to spend their time taking on-line safety courses. But we’ve demonstrated that users are receptive to on-line safety instruction immediately after they fall for a phishing attack and they tend to remember this instruction."

The phishing education landing page developed by APWG and Carnegie Mellon teaches would-be victims not to give out personal information upon email request and to use a skeptical eye in judging online communications.

The implementation of the program depends on the participation of both takedown service providers and the ISPs and other companies whose servers have been co-opted to host phishing sites. The APWG is already successfully recruiting companies that perform phishing site takedowns, victimized brandholders and trade associations to encourage ISPs and other organizations that remove phish sites to use the APWG’s education landing page program.

The program is based on a similar program initiated by Bank of America in 2007. The APWG/Carnegie Mellon program builds on Bank of America’s ideas by creating a page that can be used for phishing site against any brand. Bank of America has already implemented the APWG/Carnegie Mellon program.

“Bank of America is committed to providing its customers with industry leading security tools and advice to protect them and enhance their overall customer experience. Educating our customers about the risks of identity theft and fraud is critical,” says David Shroyer, SVP for eCommerce Online Security at Bank of America.

"We know from experience that an educated customer is the best defense against fraud, and with this program we are educating our customers at the point of incidence, and letting customers know that we are working to protect them,” Mr. Shroyer said.

The APWG/Carnegie Mellon scheme will augment the usual procedure for communicating to the hosting organization about phishing sites. Instead of asking that the site be disabled and file content associated with the phishing URL removed, the takedown provider or victimized brandholder would request that the URL be preserved and a redirect script send the duped user to a webpage hosted by the APWG.

The education landing page will automatically determine whether the user is using a PC or laptop or handheld device and vend the device-appropriate page. Users of PDAs and Web-enabled cell phones will receive a page exclusively of text. People using PCs and laptops will receive an enhanced page of text, graphics and a number of links to online resources.

The APWG/Carnegie Mellon scheme will augment the usual procedure for communicating to the hosting organization about phishing sites. Instead of asking that the site be disabled and file content associated with the phishing URL removed, the takedown provider or victimized brandholder would request that the URL be preserved and a redirect script send the duped user to a webpage hosted by the APWG.

The APWG page will automatically determine whether the user is using a PC or laptop or handheld device and vend the device-appropriate page. Users of PDAs and Web-enabled cell phones will receive a page exclusively of text. People using PCs and laptops will receive an enhanced page of text, graphics and a number of links to online resources.

“This initiative gives takedown teams, ISPs, registrars, and registries the opportunity to take one more step in protecting consumers against identity theft and the other crimes perpetrated by Phishers,” said Dr. Mather.

As a next step, the APWG will organize the translation of the pages into various languages to serve the larger international community of consumers, brandholders and ISPs who are confronting the threats of electronic crime and engaging questions of efficacious consumer education.

Links:

Redirect education page: http://education.apwg.org/r/en/

Text only redirect education page: http://education.apwg.org/r/index.html

About the redirect education page initiative: http://education.apwg.org/r/about.html

About the APWG: The APWG is an industry, founded as the Anti-Phishing Working Group in 2003, is an industry, law enforcement and government coalition focused on eliminating the identity theft and fraud that result from the growing problem of phishing, email spoofing, and crimeware. Membership is open to qualified financial institutions, online retailers, ISPs, the law enforcement community and solutions providers. There are more than 1,800 companies and government agencies worldwide participating in the APWG and more than 3,200 members. The APWG's Web site (www.antiphishing.org) offers the public and industry information about phishing and email fraud, including identification and promotion of pragmatic technical solutions that provide immediate protection. APWG's corporate sponsors include: 8e6 Technologies, AT&T (T), Able NV, Afilias Ltd., AhnLab, BillMeLater, BBN Technologies, BlueStreak, BrandMail, BrandProtect, Bsecure Technologies, Cisco (CSCO), Clear Search, Cloudmark, Cydelity, Cyveillance, DigiCert, DigitalEnvoy, DigitalResolve, Digital River, Earthlink (ELNK), eBay/PayPal (EBAY), Entrust (ENTU), Experian, eEye, Fortinet, FraudWatch International, FrontPorch, F-Secure, Goodmail Systems, Grisoft, GeoTrust, GlobalSign, GoDaddy, Goodmail Systems, GuardID Systems, HomeAway, IronPort, HitachiJoHo, ING Bank, Iconix, Internet Identity, Internet Security Systems, IOvation, IS3, IT Matrix, Kaspersky Labs, Lenos Software, LightSpeed Systems, MailFrontier, MailShell, MarkMonitor, McAfee (MFE), MasterCard, MessageLevel, Microsoft (MSFT), MicroWorld, Mirapoint, MySpace (NWS), MyPW, MX Logic, NameProtect, National Australia Bank (ASX: NAB) Netcraft, NetStar, Network Solutions, Panda Software, Phoenix Technologies Inc. (PTEC), Phorm, SalesForce, Radialpoint, RSA Security (EMC), SecureBrain, Secure Computing (SCUR), S21sec, Sigaba, SoftForum, SOPHOS, SquareTrade, SurfControl, Symantec (SYMC), TDS Telecom, Telefonica (TEF), Trend Micro (TMIC), Tricerion, TriCipher, TrustedID, Tumbleweed Communications (TMWD), SurfControl (SRF.L), Vasco (VDSI), VeriSign (VRSN), Visa, Websense Inc. (WBSN) and Yahoo! (YHOO)

About the Carnegie Mellon Supporting Trust Decisions Project. The Supporting Trust Decisions Project (http://cups.cs.cmu.edu/trust) is a research project affiliated with Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab and the CMU Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory. The project has developed a number of approaches to end-user security education as well as automated tools for detecting phishing attacks. These user education tools and phishing filters are being commercialized by Wombat Security Technologies, Inc. This project is sponsored by the US National Science Foundation, Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia Portugal under a grant from the Information and Communications Technology Institute at Carnegie Mellon, and by the Army Research Office.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

GT Models Predict the Remaining Life of Mechanical and Electronic Equipment

New research at the Georgia Institute of Technology could soon make predicting the degradation and remaining useful life of mechanical and electronic equipment easier and more accurate, while significantly improving maintenance operations and spare parts logistics.

Nagi Gebraeel, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, has developed models that use data from real-time sensor measurements to calculate and continuously revise the amount of remaining useful life of different engineering systems based on their current condition and health status. These predictions are then integrated with maintenance management and spare parts supply chain policies as part of an autonomous “sense and respond” logistics paradigm.

“Recent advances in sensor technology and wireless communication have enabled us to develop innovative methods for indirectly monitoring the health of different engineering systems,” said Gebraeel, who started working on this project at the University of Iowa. “This has created an environment with an abundance of data that can be exploited in decision-making processes across different application domains such as manufacturing, aging infrastructure, avionics systems, military equipment, power plants and many others.”

Gebraeel’s predictive models were detailed during two presentations on October 14 at the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Annual Meeting. Funding for model development was provided by the National Science Foundation.

Because Gebraeel’s sensor-driven prognostic models combine general reliability characteristics with real-time condition-based signals, they provide an accurate and comprehensive assessment of a system’s current health status and its future evolution. These accurate predictions are then used to determine the most economical time to order a spare part component and schedule a maintenance replacement by accounting for different costs, including those due to unexpected failures, spare part inventory holding and out-of-stock situations.

Gebraeel began his research by monitoring the vibration and acoustic emissions signals from rotating machinery, namely bearings. He extracted degradation-based characteristics pertaining to key components on the machinery and used them to develop condition-based signals. Gebraeel then created stochastic models to characterize the evolution of these condition-based signals and predict the remaining life of these critical components.

After extensive experimentation and testing, results showed that his techniques can potentially reduce the total failure costs and costs associated with running out of spare parts inventory by approximately 55 percent. With such positive results, Gebraeel turned his attention to developing models for electronics. He recently began working with Rockwell Collins to develop adaptive models to estimate the remaining useful life of aircraft electronic components.

“Aircraft take off at ambient ground temperatures and quickly reach their cruising altitudes, where the temperatures tend to be below zero,” explained Gebraeel. “It’s these changes in temperature coupled with inherent vibrations that affect the deterioration and lifetime of electronic equipment.”

Gebraeel’s goal is to embed his prognostic methodology into key avionic systems so that decisions can be made about whether an aircraft is capable of carrying out a specific mission or if it should be assigned to a shorter mission or grounded.

Gebraeel is also working closely with Virginia-based Global Strategic Solutions LLC, which has funding from two U.S. Navy Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants. The focus of one of the grants is to advance the development of embedded diagnostics and prognostics to predict the remaining life distributions of electrical power generation systems on board U.S. Naval aircraft. The focus of the second grant is to develop advanced health monitoring and remaining useful life models for aircraft communication, navigation and identification (CNI) avionics systems used on the Joint Strike Fighter.

“The long term impact of all of these projects on human safety and maintenance costs will be tremendous, especially in the airline industry,” noted Gebraeel.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Keep YouTube 'Clean' for Your Kids With Safe Eyes: Leading Parental Control Software Adds Clip-by-Clip YouTube Filtering

PRNewswire/ -- Blocking YouTube from your children's Internet surfing is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The site has its share of R- and even X-rated content that is as easy to find as typing "naked pictures" or "hot girls" in the search box, but it's also packed with harmlessly funny and even educational videos. Now InternetSafety.com's Safe Eyes(R) parental control software screens each YouTube video individually instead of blocking the entire site, allowing children to enjoy unobjectionable material while protecting them from over 8,000 clips about phone sex, 130,000 about girls kissing and 457,000 in the porn category.

In this latest enhancement to its award-winning program, Safe Eyes automatically evaluates YouTube videos for inappropriate content. The system then blocks offending clips while allowing the computer to display the rest. This goes beyond YouTube's own self-policing system -- which enables site users to voluntarily flag videos as unsuitable for viewers under 18 -- to ensure that individual clips are screened against filters defined by Safe Eyes' pre-configured controls.

Because so many YouTube videos are shared virally through online channels other than the YouTube site itself, Safe Eyes' new intelligent YouTube filtering also evaluates videos embedded in emails, blogs, and sites like Facebook and MySpace. This feature -- unique to Safe Eyes -- prevents children from accidentally or deliberately viewing undesirable footage through the back door. It also makes Safe Eyes the first program to filter YouTube videos no matter where they appear on the Internet.

The new YouTube controls are included with the latest edition of Safe Eyes, now available at http://www.safeeyes.com/. Parents also have the option to block YouTube entirely if they wish.

"YouTube is the third most heavily trafficked website in the world and the fourth in the U.S., after Google, Yahoo and MySpace. Blocking the whole site is unnecessary for families because it means blocking good content along with bad, including perfectly innocent videos making the rounds among friends," said Forrest Collier, CEO of InternetSafety.com. "Safe Eyes' new ability to filter out only the offensive clips solves the problem."

"Internet filtering is a useful tool for shielding children from online material they shouldn't see, but being too restrictive can backfire. There is no reason to keep kids away from every YouTube video just because some of them are off-color or otherwise undesirable," said Aaron Kenny, CTO of InternetSafety.com. "Evaluating each video on its merits is a smarter way to handle the issue and one that will give children access to positive content ranging from footage of migrating birds to a speech from the latest political convention."

Safe Eyes enables parents to easily block objectionable websites, control Internet use by length of time as well as time of day and day of the week, block or record instant messenger chats, and block peer-to-peer file sharing programs that may expose children to dangerous material. It also allows parents to limit email use to certain addresses, and detect the posting of inappropriate or personal information on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.

The software provides broader controls than any other filtering product, including the ability to define which websites will be blocked by category, URL and keyword; receive instant alerts about inappropriate online behavior by email, text message or phone call; and remotely change program settings or view reports from any Internet-enabled computer.

Safe Eyes is also the only program of its kind that can be used in mixed Mac/PC households. A single $49.95 annual subscription covers up to three Mac and/or PC computers with the ability to customize settings for each child and enforce them on any machine. The product's website blacklist is updated automatically every day, eliminating the need for manual updates.

The new Safe Eyes edition with YouTube controls can be purchased at http://www.safeeyes.com/ or downloaded free of charge at the site by existing owners.

About InternetSafety.com

Established in 1999, InternetSafety.com(TM) specializes in providing Internet safety solutions. Its flagship software, Safe Eyes(R), is the two- time recipient of the PC Magazine Editors' Choice Award, earned a separate Editor's Choice Award from LAPTOP magazine, and was rated as the #1 parental control solution by America's leading consumer advocacy publication. The company's Safe Eyes and EtherShield products are providing online protection for PCs and Macs in homes, businesses and schools across more than 125 countries.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Equifax's Marianne Johnson Named Woman of the Year in Technology

Equifax Inc. (NYSE:EFX) today announced that Marianne Johnson, Senior Vice President, Equifax Global Technology New Product Innovation, was honored with WIT's 2008 Woman of the Year (WOTY) in Technology Award. Selected from a roster that included many of Georgia's most esteemed names in technology, Johnson was presented with this accolade at an industry event that drew more than 400 attendees.

"Marianne's leadership and superb business and technology skills have played an integral role in driving new product innovation at Equifax, said Rob Webb, Chief Information Officer, Equifax. "Through her vision, Marianne inspires her teams to leverage technology with industry know-how to deliver solutions that add customer value and accelerate growth."

The WOTY Awards are sponsored by WIT, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of Georgia's businesswomen in technology. This year the awards focused on "Women of Impact," who exemplify outstanding leadership in technology and serve as role models and mentors in their organizations and communities.

"Programs like WIT play a vital role in enabling women to gain greater visibility in business and drive change within their industry and beyond," said Marianne Johnson, Senior Vice President, Global Technology New Product Innovation. "I am honored to receive this award and be spotlighted among a community of peers who not only recognize the needs of today's IT market but are committed to transforming the technology landscape for women."

Now in its ninth year, the WOTY Awards recognized the accomplishments of 42 nominees in three categories: enterprise business, mid-market/medium organization and emerging/small business. Three finalists were selected in each of the three groups, with Johnson taking home the WOTY Award in the enterprise category.

Equifax supports a number of WIT initiatives such as Careers in Action, the WIT Foundation and various leadership activities. Equifax is also a sponsor of WIT Connect, an annual fundraiser and auction.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Google Trends Used to Promote Fake Anti-Virus Software

PRNewswire/ -- Internet criminals are using Search Engine Optimization tactics to promote links to free hosted blog sites in an attempt to dupe unsuspecting visitors into infecting themselves with malware and fake anti-virus products, say experts from Marshal's TRACE threat team.

Criminals are using tools such as Google Trends to identify the most popular and current Internet search terms. The same criminals then use new blogs on free hosting sites, such as Windows Live Spaces and AOL Journals, featuring the same search terms. When an Internet user then makes a search using those popular terms they get multiple links to these hosted blog sites in their search results. If the user then clicks on the link, thinking it is relevant to their desired search, they are taken to a blog site with an apparent embedded video player. If the user clicks on the video player, they are prompted to load a 'codec', which surreptitiously loads malware, including fake anti-virus software that promises to clean non existent viruses from the computer in return for their credit card details.

"A recent example of an exploited search term was 'OJ Simpson Verdict'," said Phil Hay, lead threat analyst for Marshal's TRACE Team. "The criminals identify this as a 'hot' search term and then ensure their Windows Live Spaces blog contains 'OJ Simpson Verdict'. This promotes the blog up the order in Google search results and increases the chances that users will hit those web pages."

"Using search engine optimization to promote web pages hosting malware shows increasing levels of sophistication and professionalism on the part of the criminals," said Hay. "The use of fake video players to disguise the installation of fake anti-virus programs is not new. This kind of activity has been going on for many months now, but previously the links have been promoted via spam. This new approach shows a diversification of tactics."

According to Marshal, the malicious executables downloaded by clicking on the fake video player are not reliably detected as malware by established antivirus programs, further adding to the seriousness of the criminal's activity.

"Fake anti-virus programs are especially prevalent right now," said Hay. "Once installed, the program pops up and tells you it has found viruses on your computer and offers to clean these if you are willing to pay via credit card. The viruses the program reports are fake, the program itself is fake and the so called legitimate company you deal with is fake. The whole thing is a con designed to part you from your money. It is fairly sophisticated and convincing."

"Now the criminals are trying new methods of promoting their malicious web pages that aren't dependant on spam. Our advice is to not blindly trust results from Google searches, and be wary of these kinds of links to hosted blog sites. Also, if you are unfortunate enough to be infected by one of these fake anti-virus products, do not provide any credit card information or payment of any kind. Use a legitimate and reputable anti-virus solution from a name brand vendor," said Hay.

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Top 10 Ways To Stay Safe Online

(NAPSI)-You don't have to be a computer genius to protect yourself online and you don't have to spend a lot of money. By following a few commonsense tips, you can make the most out of your Internet experience while protecting yourself and your family from online threats.

1) Protect your computer. The best thing you can do to keep the bad guys out of your computer is to use three inexpensive technologies: anti-virus software, anti-spyware software and a firewall. Some security companies provide all three in one easy-to-use package.

2) Protect your identity. On the Internet, your personal data (Social Security number, birth date, etc.) is extremely valuable and can be used against you. Keep it protected.

3) Protect your children. Children face unique risks on the Internet and require unique rules and safeguards. Monitor your kids' online activities closely. There are many tools available to help you protect them from online threats.

4) Stay up to date. Those security tools won't do any good unless you keep them up to date. You should be able to set them to update automatically. The same goes for your computer itself. It should be set to automatically install security updates.

5) E-mail safely. E-mail is a favorite tool of online crooks. Even legitimate-looking messages can be scams. Learn how to filter for "spam" and spot the signs of scam e-mails.

6) Protect your accounts. Choosing hard-to-guess passwords and changing them regularly can help prevent criminals from getting at your money or personal information.

7) Make copies. Regularly backing up your music, photos and other important files can save you if your computer crashes or is stolen.

8) Know your options. If something does go wrong, there are resources available to help get you back on your feet.

9) Keep informed. Subscribe to the National Cyber Alert System from the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team at www.uscert.gov. Through the alert system, you can receive timely information about current cyber security problems to protect home and office computers.

10) Get your school involved. Suggest or sponsor an event at your local school or university designed to increase student and staff cyber security education and awareness. Download EDUCAUSE's cyber resource kit online at www.educause.edu.

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Dr. Paul Judge Selected as Chair of Georgia Tech Information Security Center Industry Advisory Board

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Purewire, Inc., a Web security SaaS vendor that secures business and social interactions on the Web, today announced that its co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Dr. Paul Judge has been appointed Chairman of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC) Industry Advisory Board.

The Industry Advisory Board was formed in September 2007. The Board provides strategic counsel to the Center faculty and students as it expands its position as a leading academic research organization in the field of information security. GTISC's advisory board members include 19 security and technology executives from top organizations in the IT industry and the global business community.

“Georgia Tech, and specifically GTISC, is an important contributor to the Atlanta technology community, with Atlanta being a major global player in information security,” said Dr. Judge. “I am eager to work alongside the distinguished members of the advisory board to help guide GTISC's research and educational direction based on insights from the front lines of the information security industry.”

"Our goal is to create research and educational programs that have real-world impact. By sharing their unique perspective on the security challenges that we face, the members of our industry advisory board play an important role in helping us achieve this goal,” said Dr. Mustaque Ahamad, director of GTISC. “Paul brings a diverse range of expertise to this appointment. He has an academic research background, proven track record of success in the security industry, and a specific knowledge of GTISC having been one of the first graduate students to come through the Center.”

The GTISC Industry Advisory Board will convene at the GTISC Security Summit, to be held October 15, 2008, on the Georgia Tech campus, to discuss critical issues impacting research and education. Members of the Board include:

* Dr. Paul Q. Judge - Co-founder, Chief Technology Officer, Purewire (Chair, GTISC Industry Advisory Board)
* Carl E. Banzhof - VP, Chief Technology Evangelist, McAfee
* George W. Cox - Strategist/Architect, Intel Corporation
* George L. Heron – Founder & President, Bluefin
* David Ladd - Manager, External Research Programs-Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft
* Steven Linowes - Chief Executive Officer, Damballa
* Sanjay Macwan - Executive Director with AT&T Chief Security Office, AT&T
* Edwin Marcial - Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, IntercontinentalExchange
* Sam Phillips - Senior Vice President, International Consulting, Bank of America
* Tom Place - Director, Information, Security & Reg. Com., The Coca-Cola Company
* Jon R. Ramsey - Chief Technology Officer, Secure Works
* Josyula "J.R." Rao - Senior Manager Security Dept., Thomas J. Watson Research Center, IBM
* Christopher Ray - CISSP-ISSMP, 2nd Vice President, Information Technology Security, Aflac
* Christopher J. Rouland - GTISC Adjunct Lecturer and former Chief Technology Officer of Internet Security Systems
* David Rowan - Senior Vice President and Director, Enterprise Technology Risk Management, SunTrust Banks
* Anthony Michael "Tony" Rutkowski - Vice President for Regulatory Affairs and Standards, VeriSign
* Darren Shou - Senior Manager, Symantec Research Lab, Symantec
* Caleb Sima – HP-SPI Dynamics; Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer, SPI Dynamics
* Tony Spinelli - Senior Vice President, Chief Security & Compliance Officer, Equifax
* Aurobindo "Robin" Sundaram - Vice President of Information Security, ChoicePoint
* W. David Thomas - Vice President of Product Strategy, AirDefense

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