Diabolus Ex Machina

8/10/2013 9:22:13 AM

Another month goes by, and apart from a multitude of reported hacks, the big names in the business have been beefing up their security, to protect users and their data

Google’s War

Google has announced that its “war against account hijackers” campaign has helped reduce account hacking by 99.7 percent since the launch of the initiative. Scams, illegal, fraudulent or spam messages often come from a person’s own contacts. Though only 1 percent of that spam shows up in the inbox, spammers have off late taken to hijacking accounts. Moreover, spammers have now become “account thieves” sneaking into databases to steal usernames, passwords and online elements of the accounts.

Google explains how its security tools help users protect their accounts. Every time a user signs into Google via the web or another platform that checks for new mail every five minutes, Google’s system conducts a complex risk analysis to determine how likely it is that the sign-in has come from its valid users. Google uses more than 120 variables to arrive at a decision.

I can has access to your account!

I can have access to your account!

Twitter’s ant phishing practices

Twitter announced that it is using a new technology called Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) in order to ward off email phishing from its social network service. According to Twitter, DMARC technology will make it “extremely unlikely” for anyone to send email pretending to be from a address.

Twitter’s ‘postmaster’ Josh Aberant revealed that even though the DMARC protocol is young, it’s already being used by the four major email service providers – AOL, Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo! Mail. He added, “We hope to see it gain more coverage for our users as even more email providers adopt it, and that it gives you more peace of mind when you get an email from us”.

Cyberbullying rises

Cyberbullying has emerged as one of the most discussed issues related to internet safety, especially since its victims are mostly minors and teenagers. A study was carried out for (a free web safety site) covering more than 2,000 teenagers. The study revealed that about 85 percent of 19-year-old men were at the receiving end of some form of online bullying. Of all the teenagers who confirmed being bullied, about 37 percent said that it happened on social networks.

High-level cyber warfare is growing

High-level cyber warfare is growing

About 87 percent said that they were bullied on Facebook, while 19 percent on Twitter and 13 percent on BlackBerry Messenger. Only 17 percent said their first reaction after being bullied would be to inform their parents, while 1 percent said they would inform their teachers.

According to Media Psychologist Arthur Cassidy, cyberbullying may have a huge impact on older male teenagers: He said, “Many boys feel under pressure to demonstrate their bravado, particularly on the web, but this attitude and male deficiency in coping strategies can make them more vulnerable and open to trolling”.

India overthrown as King of Spammers

India is now at the third position in the list of the top spam relaying countries. The first two spots have been taken by the U.S. and China. Interestingly, India led the list in the latter half of 2012. China has leapfrogged to the second place after a spell in the lower half of the list.

According to SophosLabs’ Dirty Dozen report of top spam relayers, the U.S. is responsible for spewing 18.3 percent global spam, while China relays 8.2 percent

According to SophosLabs’ Dirty Dozen report of top spam re-layers, the U.S. is responsible for spewing 18.3 percent global spam, while China relays 8.2 percent

According to SophosLabs’ Dirty Dozen report of top spam re-layers, the U.S. is responsible for spewing 18.3 percent global spam, while China relays 8.2 percent. India now has only 4.2 percent of the global share, marginally ahead of Peru which relays 4.0 percent. The fifth spot is shared between France, South Korea and Italy.

Breaking down the spam relay from a continental viewpoint, Asia remains the top source for global spam. However, SophosLabs notes a significant redistribution – note the shift from India to the U.S. with a 12% swing from Asia to North America.

Govt. orders probe into DRDO hack reports

Defense Minister AK Antony has ordered a probe into reports that Chinese hackers had broken into the computers of highly-sensitive Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and gained access to critical information.

While talking to the media, AK Antony said, “Intelligence agencies are investigating the matter at this stage and I do not want to say anything else”.

According to an Economic Times report, the Union Minister had directed Defense Secretary Shashikant Sharma to conduct an investigation and submit a report. DRDO, in the meanwhile, has rejected reports that its computers were hacked. “As per available information, no incidence of breach of security of DRDO’s computers has come to notice. Appropriate measures are in place for safety and security of computer systems”, said DRDO spokesperson Ravi Gupta.

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