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Phil Zimmermann's post-PGP project: privacy for a price

He rocketed to privacy stardom over two decades ago with the release of PGP, the first widely available program that made it easy to encrypt e-mail. Now Phil Zimmermann wants to do the same thing for phone calls.

Zimmermann's new company, Silent Circle, plans to release a beta version of an iPhone and Android app in late July that encrypts phone calls and other communications. A final version is scheduled to follow in late September.

This time around, Zimmermann is facing not the possibility of prison time on charges of violating encryption export laws, but a more traditional challenge: … Read more

Flame virus can hijack PCs by spoofing Windows Update

The infamous Flame virus can infect even secure PCs by tricking them into believing its malicious payload is actually an update from Microsoft.

As we already know, Flame has gained traction by tapping into security certificates for Microsoft's Terminal Server. Though they appear to be digitally signed by Microsoft, the certificates are actually cooked up by the people behind Flame, thereby tricking PCs into accepting them as legitimate.

Microsoft and Symantec revealed yesterday that the virus can up the ante by using the fake certificates to spoof Microsoft's own Windows Update service. As such, Windows PCs could receive … Read more

Symantec takes up the iAntivirus reins

When it comes to anti-malware and security software for OS X, while tools like ClamXav and the recently released Sophos home edition for OS X are popular free options, another package that has fallen off the radar has been the relatively lightweight iAntivirus utility.

iAntivirus was originally developed by PC Tools in 2008 as a free Mac-specific antivirus tool, but the project did not last long and the latest version (1.36) was released in 2009 with no further updates. This has resulted in iAntivirus losing its relevance as a valid anti-malware tool for OS X users, and PC Tools … Read more

Flashback makers missed out on their payday, Symantec says

The high-profile Flashback Trojan that is estimated to have infected more than 600,000 Macs at its peak earlier this year would have earned its creators $14,000 in the course of three weeks.

The only hitch is that the money isn't going anywhere.

In a blog post today, security firm Symantec says the pay-per-click provider the malware makers were using spotted the activity as fraudulent.

"Many (pay-per-click) providers employ anti-fraud measures and affiliate-verification processes before paying. Fortunately, the attackers in this instance appear to have been unable to complete the necessary steps to be paid," the … Read more

PGP Desktop disks not mounting after OS X 10.7.4 update

Some users of Symantec's PGP Desktop encryption software are finding that after installing OS X 10.7.4, the program does not appear to respond properly and encrypted disks can no longer be accessed. When attempting to mount the drives, nothing happens, and the program states in its logs that the disks are already mounted.

If you experience this problem, then you may find an entry similar to the following in the PGP Desktop log files:

... 2012-05-12 9:52:38: Setting up PGP Virtual Disks 2012-05-12 9:52:38: Setting up PGP Whole Disks 2012-05-12 9:52:39: Setting … Read more

Norton 2013 to support Windows 8

Better firewall technology, smarter bandwidth monitoring, and Windows 8 compatibility are the hallmarks of the latest Norton betas, now available for download.

The Norton AntiVirus 2013 beta, Norton Internet Security 2013 beta, and Norton 360 v7 beta all include support for Windows 8, though the company has yet to reveal what the specific Windows 8 enhancements are. Savvy Symantec observers will note that Norton 360, usually a first-quarter release, has been moved to the company's fall schedule.

Norton has updated its firewall, too, so that it uses the suite's Insight analysis technology to detect and block suspicious Internet … Read more

Symantec: Flashback malware now down to 140K machines

There's some good news and some bad news in Mac malware land: the number of machines estimated to be infected has dropped, but that number hasn't gone down as fast as experts expected.

In a blog post today, software maker and security firm Symantec lowered its estimate of machines that still have the malware to 140,000, which is down considerably from estimates of more than 600,000 less than two weeks ago. Even so, the firm said it was expecting a lower tally.

"The statistics from our sinkhole are showing declining numbers on a daily basis. … Read more

Flashback malware removal tool roundup

The Apple community is tackling the Flashback malware threat for OS X. Despite these efforts, the malware is still out there with the potential to infect unpatched Mac systems or even those that are patched, but for which the user fell for the fake Flash updater traps used by earlier variants of the malware.

You can check for the presence of the malware using our instructions or others, or use automated online options such as Dr. Web's checker to determine if your system may be compromised. So far, a number of tools have been released by some reputable security … Read more

Why 'data breach' isn't a dirty word anymore

Three years ago one of the largest payment processors in the country reported that hackers had accessed its computer system, exposing millions of credit card numbers in what is believed to be the largest hacking-related security breach ever.

Heartland Payment Systems' CEO said at the time that the breach had occurred in 2008, but had only been discovered in January 2009. According to the DataLossDB site, the Heartland breach involved 130 million credit and debit card numbers. The company was sued by shareholders, but the suit was dismissed. Meanwhile, after pleading guilty to that hack as well as a slew … Read more

Most who find a lost smartphone look at the pics

Losing a smartphone is like losing your voice, your eyes, and your heart.

But have you ever wondered what really happens when a lost smartphone is found? Might you even have experience with finding someone's smartphone and then enduring a brief conversation with your moral code?

Symantec--people who are rather invested in the idea of security--decided to test what really happened when people found smartphones that weren't their own.

They scattered 50 phones around New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles and then waited for the results. The phones were sprinkled with made-up apps … Read more