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News - September 14, 2004

by Brent Welch / September 14, 2004 1:12 AM PDT

New Worm Installs Network Traffic Sniffer

A new worm whose payload includes the SDBot trojan tries to install a "sniffer," seeking to use infected computers to capture login and banking information for other computers on the same network. While sniffers are hardly new, the bundling of a sniffer with an auto-propagating worm is a new wrinkle, according to security firms.

Sniffers are devices that monitor network traffic, and are a useful network administration tool. They can also be useful to hackers, who install them on compromised computers to monitor and intercept packets flowing through a network. This in turn enables the attacker to capture unencrypted usernames and passwords, which can be used to compromise additional machines on the network.


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Microsoft's spam plan rejected
by Brent Welch / September 14, 2004 1:14 AM PDT

Attempts to fight spam by identifying e-mails have hit problems over Microsoft's involvement in the process. The Internet Engineering Task Force, an international standards body, has rejected Microsoft's contribution to the so-called Sender ID proposal.

The proposal, which would identify where e-mail has come from, could lead to better filters to siphon out spam. But Microsoft's decision to impose restrictions on the use of the system has angered some.

The working group charged by the IETF with looking at the standard has decided that Microsoft's decision to keep a possible patent application secret was unacceptable. It was also concerned with possible incompatibilities with open source software.

Microsoft remains hopeful that the Sender ID system can be kept alive.


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Symantec labels China censor-busting software as Trojan
by Donna Buenaventura / September 14, 2004 5:41 AM PDT

Symantec has labelled a program that enables Chinese surfers to view blocked websites as a Trojan Horse. Upshot? Users of Norton Anti-Virus cannot access Freegate, a popular program which circumvents government blocks, the FT reports.

Freegate has 200,000 users, Dynamic Internet Technology (DIT), its developer, estimates.

A Symantec staffer in China told the FT that Norton Anti-Virus identified Freegate as a Trojan horse, but declined to provide a rationale for such a definition. The absence of an explanation from Symantec raises concerns. We hope that the mislabelling of Freegate is a simple mistake, soon rectified, rather than yet another example of an IT firm helping Beijing implement restrictions.

Complete article - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/09/14/symantec_targets_freegate/

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Spycam may be watching you work
by Donna Buenaventura / September 14, 2004 5:49 AM PDT

If you have a webcam and a microphone on your computer and a broadband connection to the internet, as many now do to chat with their friends around the world, a hacker could be watching you - maybe, if your PC is in your bedroom, just when you really needed privacy.

Computer security experts warned last week that a series of Windows viruses released to the internet are capable of taking control of the audio and video accessories to spy directly on people at home or work.

The worm, dubbed W32/Rbot-GR, is "the equivalent to a peeping tom... peering through your curtains", said Graham Cluley, at Sophos, the British-based antivirus company.


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Analysts herald arrival of smart security patching tools
by Donna Buenaventura / September 14, 2004 5:53 AM PDT

IT security managers can look forward to the arrival of enhanced patching technology which will automate and reduce the cost of installing software security and maintenance updates, industry experts have predicted.

According to a newly released report from Yankee Group, software patch management is developing to include features that are necessary to manage an upgrade process such as identifying new code versions, aid testing, installation and rollback.

The study, Need to Free Critical IT Resources Propels Patch Management, found that traditional software maintenance tools are better suited to software installation than security patching and code upgrades. It identified emerging next-generation patching offerings from firms including Shavlik, BigFix and PatchLink.


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German gov computing security office recommends switch
by Donna Buenaventura / September 14, 2004 5:56 AM PDT

to Opera

The BSI (Bundesamt f

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Re: German gov computing security office recommends switch
by glenn30 / September 14, 2004 6:19 AM PDT

There are some issues in play here between the German Government and Microsoft. Perhaps these should be taken into consideration in making relevant decisions as to an alternate browser.


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