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Michael Gracie

Mac virus warnings: popularity breeds (temporary) insecurity

Warning – Macs need anti-virus protection.

Now you see it. Now you don’t.

Facebook Spam Getting Worse?

The company says they have the problem under control, but it’s probably just the first inning for Facebook spam.

Bound to happen sooner or later.

Bloggers battered by viral storm

Should read “Bloggers battered by viral storm“, but that wouldn’t really be news.

Meanwhile, all’s quiet on the “kick ’em crew front (maybe because they’re all using WordPress and OpenAds).

Popularity of anti-virus software becoming their handicap

Virus creators are using popular anti-virus packages as testbeds for their malware, meaning the most popular tools are going to be useless for immediate protection.

I think this is actually good news for the security sector, as it creates more competition grounded in innovation. If smaller, niche vendors can make it by proving they are a needed supplement to popular packages, they drive down prices. Virus authors still need to find ways to spread their creations, and the increased customization targeting an ever shrinking number of security holes is not going to solve that dilemma. Popular anti-virus products protect the broad base, which includes distribution exploits.

Let the little guy cover the back door. Meanwhile, we all win.

Over half of all PCs may be doomed

Doomed to get upgrades, that is. If Steve Ballmer can’t get the infections fixed, who can?

Microsoft just released a report that says 60% of all PCs are infected with some virus, malware, etc. Yikes. However, all is not lost, timely as it may be. Hackers will get a sneak peek at Vista security features really soon. That way, they can crack it silly in 30 seconds, Vista can get delayed until 2009, and you won’t have to upgrade.

Ha.

Two reports on threats, just one week late

So I have been lazy lately – or is that busy – I can’t tell which. First report – Sophos’s Top Ten malware threats for April 2006; second up – MXLogic’s latest on email worms and viruses.

The Spamroll summary – Netsky rules, and email worms need less interesting names. Needless to say, these threat games are more than about fun – the perpetrators are focusing in on pay days.

You could be a convert too

AppleInsider reports that roughly a million Windows users have switched to Mac so far in 2005. Call the report biased, but investment bank Needham & Company was the source, and the news doesn’t surprise me.

While most folks will claim the computer purchases are part of the iPod “halo effect,” a Needham analyst said “a larger than expected percentage of Windows to Mac converts appear to be purchasing Apple’s higher-end systems and that their transition is fueled by the epidemic of viruses and malware on the Windows platform.”

I don’t care for the iPod too much. I’ve owned two that I found less than exciting and subsequently passed on. I did purchase a Powerbook, however, thinking it a bit frivolous at first, and wondering seven months later how I ever went without.

Can’t catch a break

Viral attacks in the UK dropped slightly in the latest month, but no matter. Phishing attacks continue to soar, along with spam volumes. Furthermore, the time between virus releases and patch availability is still narrow, making it difficult to defend against viruses without additional upfront mail filters checking things out as well.

Smartphones better get PhDs

Smartphones are a wave of the future, there is no doubt. While I disagree with the need for them to play music, just about everything else (including address book management, calendaring, PIM syncing, etc.) can make busy peoples’ lives a whole lot easier.

Of course, personal computers did that too. And we know what has turned into – a plethora of hacking, viruses, spyware, malware, spam, and other such nasties that keep Spamroll in existence.

You know where I am headed with this, so I’ll say little more. Experts are predicting huge outbreaks of smartphone viruses within a few years.

Top Ten Viruses for April 2005

Here are the top ten viruses and hoaxes, as reported by Sophos, for April 2005: Top Ten Viruses and Hoaxes.

Zafi-D still tops in the running for viruses, while the Hotmail account notification takes the cake in the hoax department.