Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Consumer Watchdog Calls on Justice Department to Launch Antitrust Action Against Google, Including Possible Breakup

/PRNewswire/ -- Consumer Watchdog today called on the U.S. Department of Justice to launch a broad antitrust action against Google seeking remedial action that could include breaking the Internet giant into separate companies.

The letter from John M. Simpson, consumer advocate with the nonpartisan, nonprofit group, praised the DOJ for its opposition to the Google Books case and the Federal Trade Commission's intense investigation of the proposed $750 million acquisition of AdMob. However, the group said it is time to move beyond a reactive approach and "actively restrain Google's broader ability to abuse both users and advertisers."

"Such action could include breaking Google Inc. into multiple separate companies or regulating it as a public utility," the letter said. "Google exerts monopoly power over Internet searches, controlling 70 percent of the U.S. market. For most Americans - indeed, for most people in the world - Google is the gateway to the Internet. How it tweaks its proprietary search algorithms can ensure a business's success or doom it to failure."

Consumer Watchdog said Google subsidizes its other businesses by the monopolistic prices it is able to maintain because of its dominance in search.

Read Consumer Watchdog's letter to the Justice Department here:

Consumer Watchdog said the Justice Department could seek a variety of remedies:

-- One possibility would be to break Google into different companies devoted to different lines of business. Search could be separated from advertising. Gmail and its new social networking service, Buzz, could be spun off as a separate entity as could YouTube, a Google acquisition that we believe should have been denied at the time of merger. Enterprise applications could be another separate business.

-- Google's importance as a gateway to cyberspace requires a maximum degree of openness and transparency with the potential for government regulation. Arguably Google's monopoly position and importance to the Internet means that the company should be regarded as a public utility and regulated. Regulations could be designed to open up Google's ad platform to enable other competitors to compete. Rules could be crafted to create greater transparency in the operation of Google's ad platform to enable parties to negotiate more effectively - for example: by providing greater visibility into the maximum amount of the highest bid, how many search terms are shown per page, and how Google's "quality score" is derived and applied. Little, if any, of this information is currently public and openness would contribute to consumer choice and options as well as foster competition.

-- Another remedy would be to force Google to disgorge its monopolistic gains through the imposition of financial penalties. The payment would have to be significant enough to impact Google's future behavior. Perhaps the amount could be tied to paying back consumers for monetizing their private information and content without compensating them.

"The pending actions in the Books case and AdMob deal are important and must be pursued to their conclusion. It is, however, past time to act against Google's monopolistic and pervasive power over the entire Internet. Consumer Watchdog asks you to launch that action today," the letter concluded.

Consumer Watchdog released its letter to the Justice Department today at a news conference "The Antitrust Case Against Google" at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. In addition to Simpson, participants were Joseph Bial, special counsel at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, who represents and; Simon Buckingham, a New York based Internet and mobile entrepreneur; and Gary Reback, an attorney with Carrell & Ferrell and a founder of the Open Book Alliance. They spoke offering their personal views and analysis.

Consumer Watchdog, formerly the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization with offices in Washington, DC and Santa Monica, Ca. Our Website is

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Citizens for a Digital Future Applauds Georgia General Assembly for Supporting Broadband Investment, Passage of HB 168

(BUSINESS WIRE)--In response to the Georgia General Assembly passage of HB 168, the Telecom Jobs and Investment Act, John Watson, Chairman of Citizens for a Digital Future, made the following statement:

“Citizens for a Digital Future applauds the Georgia General Assembly for passing HB 168, an important step in increasing broadband investment and deployment in Georgia. This legislation encourages broadband growth and competition and represents the best interests of Georgia’s consumers and businesses by offering opportunity for greater investment and enhanced services. HB 168 encourages broadband investment from the private sector, which will stimulate job growth and provide access to new technologies and opportunities for businesses to expand.

“With passage of this legislation, which follows the legacy of telecommunications reform started in 1995 under the leadership of Governor Perdue, businesses will view Georgia as a place to devote resources, consequently strengthening the Georgia economy and promoting innovation for broadband enhancement and digital technologies. This increased investment will provide greater opportunity for more Georgians to experience the many benefits of broadband such as enhanced education, healthcare and economic growth. We thank the Georgia General Assembly for its continued leadership in implementing policies that place broadband investment and infrastructure at the forefront of economic growth.”

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Phishing Attacks on Taxpayers Rise in the Weeks Leading up to April 15th IRS Tax Filing

/PRNewswire/-- SonicWALL, Inc. (NASDAQ:SNWL) , a leading secure network infrastructure company, last week began seeing the expected rise in phishing threats related to the upcoming April 15 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax filing date. The prominent phishing scam comes when taxpayers are notified from the IRS that their tax refund is now available. Scammers will then ask users to provide their bank card information and identity information to assure that the refund is deposited in the appropriate account.

"As we've seen in the past, the weeks before April 15th are the most likely for taxpayers to see a rise in tax-related phishing emails," said Leon Hilton, Email Security Expert, SonicWALL. "We predict that more than 100 million IRS related phishing emails will be sent to tax payers in the days leading up to and after the April 15 tax filing deadline."

While the IRS does not send e-mail regarding your refund, you may still get legitimate e-mail on the subject. A myriad legitimate online filing services, online consultants who answer tax-related questions and online tax calculators currently exist. For example, if you file your taxes with an online tax preparation service you are likely to get legitimate email from them and the bank which acts as the transfer agent for the transaction for the IRS. Phishers use this opportunity to prey on taxpayers who are filing their tax refund -- asking them for bank card information to deposit the refund and social security number so they can verify a taxpayer's identity. Be wary of these types of inquiries.

To help taxpayers identify tax-related potential phishing schemes, the SonicWALL threat team has outlined several steps to help taxpayers defend against these types of phishing-related security threats:

1. Be aware that the IRS does not send you e-mails which ask for any
financial, personal or identity information. Do not respond to these
e-mails. Official correspondence with the IRS is done through US Mail.
2. If you use an online preparations service, pay close attention to
relevant instructions as e-mail messages you could receive include
details such as bank account numbers and when you can expect your
refund to be deposited. Always go back to the tax preparation website
or call to ensure that the online transaction goes smoothly. Also be
sure to print off any related materials to save for later reference if
3. If you use a tax filing program you will most likely receive an e-mail
notification when your taxes are filed, letting you know that your tax
forms were accepted or possibly rejected. Do not click on any links in
the e-mail. Go back to the tax preparation program and check for any
4. Beware of offers that allow you to get loans on your income tax refund.
While some offers are legitimate many others are not and are spam or
phishing scams.
5. If you have a question about an email confirmation of your online
filing and/or refund information from your software program or online
filing service, contact the phone number of the tax service provider.
6. Improve your phishing IQ. SonicWALL has put together the phishing IQ
test specifically to test your phishing knowledge. Go to:
7. For more information about identity phishing, e-mail scams and bogus
IRS websites, go to,,id=179820,00.html?portlet=1

For more information on the topic of phishing and other related threats, go to:

SonicWALL is a registered trademark of SonicWALL, Inc. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

Safe Harbor Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this press release are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward-looking statements include but are not limited to statements regarding defensive measures to be used to combat attacks concerning news search sites. These forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management at the time the statements are made and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. In addition, please see the "Risk Factors" described in our Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008, for a more detailed description of the risks facing our business. All forward-looking statements included in this release are based upon information available to SonicWALL as of the date of the release, and we assume no obligation to update any such forward-looking statement.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sunbelt Software Announces Top 10 Malware Threats for March

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sunbelt Software, a leading provider of Windows security software, today announced the top 10 most prevalent malware threats for the month of March 2010. The report, compiled from monthly scans performed by Sunbelt Software's award-winning anti-malware solution, VIPRE® Antivirus, and its antispyware tool, CounterSpy®, is a service of SunbeltLabs™.

“Generic and behavior-based detections help VIPRE nail a lot of the polymorphic variants and newly-created malicious code. It might be new and evade detections for existing malicious activity, but when it runs in VIPRE’s MX-V™ virtual environment, the malicious activity is sure to be caught.”

The list of detections for March shows the continued prevalence of Trojan horse programs circulating on the Internet and the growing trend of generic and behavior-based detections in antivirus detections. Generic and behavior-based detections by the antivirus industry have improved thanks to the massive increase in new malcode, which number thousands per day.

The top two detections for the month remained in the same positions as last month. Both Trojan.Win32.Generic!BT (31.07 percent) and Trojan-Spy.Win32.Zbot.gen (4.97 percent) maintained approximately the same pervasiveness in the overall malware tracked. The top 10 made up more than 50 percent of all detections for the month and the top two made up greater than 36 percent of all detections.

Sunbelt’s Top 10 list is similar to February’s detections, however March saw the additions of INF.Autorun (v) and BehavesLike.Win32.Malware (v) appearing in the fifth and sixth spots and Trojan.Win32.Agent and Trojan-Spy.Win32.Zbot.gen (v) dropped off the list.

Other detections with a significant change in March include Exploit.PDF-JS.Gen (v), which saw its percentage of total detections grow by almost 50 percent, and Trojan.Win32.Generic.pak!cobra – which saw a significant drop in its share from 3.37 percent to 1.37 percent of all detections.

“Good antivirus defense requires not only up-to-the-minute detections of malware, but fast detection as well,” said Sunbelt Software research center manager Tom Kelchner. “Generic and behavior-based detections help VIPRE nail a lot of the polymorphic variants and newly-created malicious code. It might be new and evade detections for existing malicious activity, but when it runs in VIPRE’s MX-V™ virtual environment, the malicious activity is sure to be caught.”

“It’s a cat-and-mouse game that’s been going on as long as there have been antivirus engines. The hackers try to come up with something that will evade detection and steal something valuable from its victims. Sunbelt creates detection technology that works fast and seamlessly to not bog down our customers’ systems,” Kelchner added.

New entries in the top 10 in March were:

* INF.Autorun (v) – Trojan downloader
* BehavesLike.Win32.Malware (v) – category of suspicious behaving malware

The top 10 results represent the number of times a particular malware infection was detected during VIPRE and CounterSpy scans that report back to ThreatNet, Sunbelt Software’s community of opt-in users. These threats are classified as moderate to severe based on method of installation among other criteria established by SunbeltLabs. The majority of these threats propagate through stealth installations or social engineering.

The top 10 most prevalent malware threats for the month of March are:
1. Trojan.Win32.Generic!BT 31.07%
2. Trojan-Spy.Win32.Zbot.gen 4.97%
3. Exploit.PDF-JS.Gen (v) 3.76%
4. Trojan.Win32.Generic!SB.0 3.36%
5. INF.Autorun (v) 1.70%
6. BehavesLike.Win32.Malware (v) 1.47%
7. Trojan.Win32.Generic.pak!cobra 1.37%
8. Trojan.Win32.Malware 1.37%
9. Trojan.ASF.Wimad (v) 1.23%
10. Virtumonde 1.21%

To see a graphical comparison of the top 10 most prevalent malware infections between February and March, please visit

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