Get Norton 360 5.0 3-user for free

Happy 2012, everyone!

New year, new outlook. For example, while in the past I've championed freeware security tools over their pricey commercial counterparts, I'm starting to think there's something to be said for the latter--especially for less tech-savvy users. (You know who you are. :)

Expiring today, Newegg has Norton 360 5.0 3-user edition for free after a $45 mail-in rebate (PDF). That includes shipping of this boxed copy of the software.

For those unfamiliar with it, Norton 360 offers robust protection against the likes of viruses, spyware, phishing, identity theft, and rootkits.

It also provides automated … Read more

Spam sinks to lowest level in almost three years, says Symantec

Think you're seeing less junk mail in your inbox these days? If so, it's not just your imagination.

The rate of spam across the world has hit close to a three-year low and now encompasses just 70 percent of all e-mails, according to Symantec's November Intelligence Report (PDF).

That number is a healthy drop from 2009 when spam accounted for 90 percent of all global e-mails. And it's close to the 68 percent level seen in late 2008 after the spam hosting ISP McColo was shut down.

In particular, pharmaceutical spam is at its lowest level … Read more

Android's popularity makes it open target for malware, says study

Android's surge in popularity has triggered an accompanying surge in malware aimed at the mobile OS, says a new study today from Fortinet.

Analyzing the malware landscape this year, the security vendor tracked a 90 percent jump in Android malware families in 2011 compared with 2010. That figure doesn't account for infection rates or severity, only the rise in malware seeking to infect Android devices.

In comparison, malware directed toward Apple's iOS rose by only 25 percent over last year.

Fortinet pointed to two reasons for the larger bull's eye painted on Android's back.

Google'… Read more

Googler: Android antivirus software is scareware from 'charlatans'

Google's open-source software leader has lashed out at companies selling antivirus software for mobile devices including Google's Android operating system, calling them "charlatans and scammers."

Chris DiBona, Google's open-source programs manager, unleashed his tirade after seeing a press report about "inherent" insecurity of open-source software, which is used not just in Android but also Apple's iOS. He argued that Android, iOS, and Research in Motion's BlackBerry OS don't need antivirus software.

"Virus companies are playing on your fears to try to sell you BS protection software for Android, RIM, … Read more

Most kids who break 'Internet house rules' have bad experiences

A 24-country study conducted by Symantec found that 82 percent of kids who've broken "Internet house rules" have experienced something negative online." That compares to 52 percent of kids who "follow house rules."

More than six in 10 (62 percent) of kids reported that they have had a negative experience while online. Those negative experiences include being bullied, responding to an e-mail scam, downloading a virus, or being pressured online to do something that the child thought was wrong.

Cyberbaiting The study also found that a fifth of teachers (21 percent) have personally experienced … Read more

Should lying online be a crime?

Google lets you remove your Wi-Fi info from its location database, iTunes Match goes live, and the Department of Justice pushes Congress to make it a felony to use a fake name on a social network or lie on a dating-site profile.

Links from Tuesday's episode of Loaded:

Lying online: Is it a crime? Removing your Wi-Fi network from Google's map iTunes Match AT&T expands LTE 4G Twihards targeted Subscribe:  iTunes (MP3)iTunes (320x180)iTunes (HD)RSS (MP3)RSS (320x180)RSS HD

Norton now on tablets--and in your wallet

While some app makers are taking a unified approach to Android, Norton has decided to split its security apps into a phone version and a tablet version.

Norton Tablet Security debuted today as Symantec also released a minor update to Norton Mobile Security, its smartphone version.

Norton Tablet Security is an updated version of Symantec's Android app, Norton Mobile Security. The Tablet Security version comes with an interface optimized for Android tablets. This means that instead of presenting its features in a narrow column, its interface is in a widescreen format.

Like its smartphone counterpart, Tablet Security offers anti-malware … Read more

Zero-day Windows kernel bug used in Duqu infections

Researchers have figured out one way the Stuxnet-like Duqu Trojan is infecting computers--via a Word document that exploits a previously unknown Windows kernel bug.

The installer file is a Microsoft Word document that exploits the kernel vulnerabilty, which allows code to be executed on the infected system, Symantec said in a post on its site. There may be other infection methods used by other Duqu variants that have not been uncovered yet, Kevin Haley, a director with Symantec Security Response, told CNET.

Microsoft is working on a fix, according to Jerry Bryant, group manager for response communications at Microsoft Trustworthy … Read more

Symantec uncovers cyber espionage of chemical, defense firms

Hackers targeted about 50 organizations--including chemical and defense companies--in a global wave of cyber espionage attacks this summer, Symantec said in a report released today.

The goal apparently was to steal intellectual property such as design documents, formulas, and manufacturing processes. "The purpose of the attacks appears to be industrial espionage, collecting intellectual property for competitive advantage," according to the report. (PDF)

Meanwhile, French nuclear power group Areva was reportedly targeted in a cyber attack in September.

The wave of espionage attacks on the chemical and other firms started in late July and continued through mid-September, but command … Read more

New data-stealing Trojan could be Stuxnet version 2.0

Malware has been discovered on computer systems in Europe that has identical code to the Stuxnet worm and could be the precursor to the next big computer attack on critical infrastructure systems, Symantec said today.

Unlike Stuxnet, which targeted specific Siemens SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) software and appeared to have been written to sabotage Iran's nuclear program, the new malware installs a backdoor and is designed to gather information, like design documents, that could be used in future attacks, Symantec said.

The malware, written to run on Windows systems, is dubbed Duqu because it creates file names … Read more