News Analysis

Security Bytes: Hackers target the Terminator

SearchSecurity.com Staff

Hackers target the Terminator
Digital desperados may have hacked into Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's computer system and downloaded a privately taped conversation, a spokesman for the governor told the Reuters news service Monday. The recording is now causing problems for Schwarzenegger because during the conversation, he spoke of African Americans and Latinos, including a Hispanic state lawmaker, as having "hot" blood, or being passionate.

Democrats have lashed out at Schwarzenegger, a Republican seeking re-election in November, over the comments. State Treasurer Phil Angelides, the Democratic candidate for governor, called the comments offensive and embarrassing, Reuters reported. Schwarzenegger has apologized for the comments.

Computer hacking, not a leak within Schwarzenegger's office, is suspected. "We can confirm that we are looking into the security of the governor's office computer system," Fran Clader, a spokeswoman with the California Highway Patrol, told Reuters. The recording was stored on digital files in state computers with only a few people authorized to access them.

Symantec upgrades its Norton product line
Rootkit detection and removal capabilities have been added to the 2007 edition of Symantec Corp.'s Norton AntiVirus product, along with a so-called "zero-hour protection" feature that will be updated every time a new flaw is uncovered on a Windows machine. The Cupertino, Calif.-based antivirus giant announced the upgrades Monday along with upgrades to Norton Internet Security and a new offering called Norton Confidential, designed to protect online business transactions.

Rootkit scanning will also be a new feature in Norton Internet Security 2007. The firewall function in Internet Security has also been tweaked to address configuration problems customers have grappled with, Symantec officials said. Internet Security 2007 will also include a new security history feature IT administrators can use to view the actions the software took and undo them if necessary.

Meanwhile, Symantec said it developed Norton Confidential to address the risks of online commerce. The software is designed to keep users away from known or suspected phishing sites. The product blocks access to those sites, and can also scan Web sites and block any malware that tries to compromise the desktop.

Norton Confidential does not contain the full antivirus/antispyware protection of Norton AntiVirus. The product is meant to compliment Norton AntiVirus, Symantec officials said.

A summer surge in phishing activity
The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) said Monday that the number of phishing sites in cyberspace exploded this summer, as phishers found new ways to go on the attack. The number of fraudulent Web sites trying to dupe people out of their sensitive personal information rose to 14,191 in July, an 18% increase over May, the previous all-time high, according to the APWG.

The phishing sites also mimicked a record 154 brands, up 20% over June and 12% over the previous high in May, APWG said. The organization said digital miscreants are trying to diversify and go after smaller financial institutions, Internet service providers and government agencies. Despite the shift, the financial services industry is still the top target, with more than nine out of 10 phishing sites aimed these companies.

Overall, the United States hosts nearly 30% of all phishing sites, followed by South Korea at 13% and China at 12%, APWG said.

The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) describes itself as a global pan-industrial and law enforcement association focused on eliminating the fraud and identity theft caused by phishing, pharming and email spoofing.


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