Security researchers had a nice, quiet beginning to the 2011 year thanks to a significant drop off in spam volumes. But as of this week, that peace is over.
Researchers noticed over the Christmas holiday and into the new year that spam circulation had dropped dramatically - Symantec's MessageLabs Intelligence group reported on January 4 that unwanted email levels were at their lowest since November of 2008, when rogue ISP McColo that had been responsible for a significant portion of global spam was shut down. Researchers are attributing the late December-early January drop to a significant slowdown in spam production by the Rustock botnet, which they called the most dominant spam botnet of 2010.
Given the dependence on mobile devices these days, it's no surprise that hackers view smart phones as an easy target. What makes them even easier to compromise is that there are very few applications or services for protecting these devices, despite the fact that they can contain sensitive company as well as financial information, and can also act as a pathway into corporate networks.
Responding to the fact that, according to IDC, there are more than 10 billion non-PC devices connected to the Internet today - and a predicted 20 billion by 2014 - Symantec is planning to extend its popular Norton suite of security products to smart phones.
The Koobface Gang, which is the group of malware authors responsible for the Koobface worm that has plagued Facebook and other social networking sites, showed their creativity last fall by using search engine optimization techniques to embed the worm in Web pages that are likely to get the most page views.
Switzerland may have overtaken the U.S. in the World Economic Forum's global competitiveness ranking last week, but the U.S. still owns bragging rights in the Economist Intelligence Unit's IT Industry Competitiveness Index.
According to the study, conducted annually by the Economist Group's research unit and sponsored by the Business Software Alliance, the U.S. is still number one in enabling competitiveness in the technology sector. That's not surprising, given that the tech sector was one of the few bright spots in the WEF's report. A little more shocking is who placed second in the EIU's ranking.