Symantec's Ramzan on solving the antivirus puzzle

As technical director and architect at Symantec, Zulfikar Ramzan spends his time trying to outsmart the virus writers responsible for the onslaught of malware that infects millions of computers on a daily basis.

Ramzan, 33, talked with CNET News this week about how his early hobbies of chess and computer programming led to his cryptography studies and a job at Symantec, where he puts theory into practice.

Q: When did you get interested in computers? Ramzan: I think I was probably around 8 years old or so and my birthday was coming up and I saved a bit of allowance … Read more

That e-mail attachment is not a Twitter invite

Symantec is warning about a mass-mailing worm that comes in an attachment pretending to be a Twitter invite.

"The observed messages appear as if they have been sent from a Twitter account; however, unlike a legitimate Twitter message, there is no invitation URL present in the body," a Symantec blog post says. "Instead, the user will see an attachment that appears as a .zip file that purportedly contains an invitation card."

The name of the attachment is "Invitation" and Symantec identified it as W32.Ackantta.B@mm, a worm targeting Windows computers … Read more

Storage software industry takes a revenue hit

The storage software industry has seen its first quarterly sales decline after more than five years of solid growth, according to a report from market researcher IDC.

First-quarter 2009 revenue for the industry sank 5.2 percent to $2.8 billion from the previous year. The slump has impacted several key vendors, including Hewlett-Packard, EMC, and IBM, all of which sell storage software to enterprise clients.

"The combination of the normally slow first quarter for most companies with the continued economic climate was displayed in this quarter's results," Michael Margossian, research analyst for storage software at IDC, … Read more

Norton can't block Bing porn

As a followup to my post from Tuesday about the ability for someone to view porn from within Bing, I just heard from a Symantec spokesperson that the company's Internet monitoring and filtering service, OnlineFamily.Norton (review), can't yet prevent Bing users from searching sexually explicit terms for Web sites or videos. The company plans to add Bing to its protected search engines in the next release. Other major search engines, including Google, are covered by the software's SafeSearch feature.

In the meantime, Symantec recommends that parents use OnlineFamily.Norton to block access to all of Bing--which … Read more

Report: Spam now 90 percent of all e-mail

Spam now accounts for 90.4 percent of all e-mail, according to a report released Monday from security vendor Symantec. This means that 1 out of every 1.1 e-mails is junk. The report also notes that spam shot up 5.1 percent just from April to May.

Symantec's May 2009 MessageLabs Intelligence report reveals other disturbing trends, as well. Rather than just hijack disreputable Web sites, cybercriminals now favor older and well-established domains to host their malware. The report says 84.6 percent of all domains blocked for malicious content are more than a year old. One type … Read more

Symantec, McAfee target iPhone for new products

Security companies Symantec and McAfee will be the latest big-name developers to make products for Apple's iPhone, as the two look to cash in on the popularity of the device.

Speaking to Reuters, McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt said his company is developing security software for the iPhone, though no other details on the product were provided. DeWalt also said the company is working on a "much more comprehensive suite for the Apple family."

Symantec is throwing its hat into the iPhone ring too, but it won't be developing traditional security software. Instead, Symantec is looking at … Read more

Norton Online Family to leave beta, remain free

Editors' note: In the original version of this blog, we used the beta name for this product. The official name is OnlineFamily.Norton.

Back in February, Symantec debuted a new security program that sought to help parents talk to their kids about how they use the Internet. OnlineFamily.Norton has been a free beta since then, but this Monday at midnight, the program will leave beta and remain free at least until the end of 2009. The program was originally called Norton Family Online.

This parental control suite provides parents with an interesting and possibly unique approach to online child … Read more

Symantec acquires Mi5, expands security offerings

Updated 9:40 a.m. PDT April 21 with Symantec CEO comment from keynote.

SAN FRANCISCO--Symantec has acquired Web security firm Mi5 Networks and announced two new security suites at the RSA security conference on Tuesday.

Mi5 sells a Web security appliance that protects corporations against Web-based threats. Symantec will integrate the technology into its offerings later in 2009 and offer it as a stand-alone product, Joan Fazio, director of product marketing for Symantec Endpoint Security, said in an interview.

The all-cash transaction was completed in March, she said, declining to disclose the terms.

The company also is announcing Symantec … Read more

Symantec: Security holes, malware spike in 2008

If you worry that the Internet is a scary place full of digital pickpockets and online identity thieves, your fears will be bolstered by the latest Symantec Internet Security Threat Report released Tuesday.

The report finds huge increases in the number of security holes in software and the number of Internet threats, particularly attacks in which browsers are hijacked and forced to download malicious programs as people surf the Web.

Even visiting trusted Web sites isn't always safe. Most Web-based attacks target visitors to legitimate Web sites that have been compromised and that either serve up malicious content to … Read more

Symantec investigating customer credit-card data theft

Updated at 9 p.m. PDT with more details from a Symantec representative.

Symantec is investigating allegations that a call center in India leaked credit card numbers of its customers to someone who then sold them to BBC News reporters posing as criminals.

The security company has informed U.K. privacy authorities and attorneys general and officials in eight U.S. states and Puerto Rico of the allegations that three U.K. customers had credit card information leaked and that about 200 U.S. customers may have been affected because of interactions with the call center, Symantec spokesman Cris Paden … Read more