Malware triples in 2005

A new report from security vendor Webroot has painted a grim picture of the rising incidence of malware in the last year. All...

A new report from security vendor Webroot has painted a grim picture of the
rising incidence of malware in the last year.
All in all, the company detected 400,000 sites being used to spread a toxic
cocktail of spyware, Trojans, worms, and other malevolent programs to the
unsuspecting computer user.
The big change that came about in 2005 which confirms what other sources have
been reporting is that malware is no longer written primarily to spread and
advertise its existence. The motivation is now criminal and that means
infecting peoples computers while remaining invisible for as long as possible.
The deeper patterns reported in The State of Spyware make intriguing reading.
Overall, 2005 saw 130 significant information breaches at companies that put in
jeopardy the personal data of 55 million U.S. computer users, and an unknown
number of people from outside the U.S.
In an increasing number of cases the ChoicePoint scandal for instance this has
resulted in significant fines for the company experiencing the information
breach. Most of these occurrences are not entirely new but U.S. legislation
enforces reporting of incidents that would have remained hidden before.
The U.S. still hosts the most exploit sites, with just under a third of the
total detected by Webroot. China is now number two, only a fraction behind,
with The Netherlands in third place. The U.K. has relatively 2.2 percent,
although that still puts it in the top 10.
It is also difficult to know whom to trust in the new security-conscious world
the list of top spyware threats includes two program Webroot describes as
"rogue" products masquerading as genuine anti-spyware software.
Webroot takes a sideswipe at traditional anti-virus programs a type of software
not sold by the company. "As malicious spyware grows in complexity it presents
a problem for traditional virus-detection methods. Most spyware behaves
drastically different than viruses."RFID-enabled make-up simulator
Martyn Williams, IDG News Service

RFID (radio frequency identification) and computer technology could soon make
it easier for women in Japan to visualize what different shades of make-up look
like on their face without testing them.
A new system developed by NTT Communications Corp., fashion and make-up
simulator maker Digital Fashion Ltd. and drug store operator Seijo Corp.
combines the two technologies and will be used in trials later this month, they
said Monday.
The system resembles a traditional make-up mirror with lights placed either
side but instead of a mirror there is a computer monitor in the center. On the
monitors screen are various panels showing details of different make-up and an
image from a video camera mounted just above the screen.
The customer sits in front of the system and places the desired make-up on a
pad in front of the monitor. The make-up samples are tagged with RFID chips and
the pad includes a reader so the system can grab the RFID tag number and look
this up in a database for product details. These details are then sent back to
the system which uses visual recognition technology to determine the different
areas of the customers face in the video and then manipulates the image to
simulate the desired make-up.
Once this is done the system recommends matching shades of eye shadow, eye
liner and other make-up and allows the customer to simulate what these would
look like in addition to those initially selected. A print-out of the
recommendation including a picture of the simulation grabbed from the video can
also be obtained.

Skip airport security lines?
Melissa Bell, PC
Are you tired of long security lines at the airport? They could soon become a
thing of the past for some fliers. Tests of the Registered Traveler program,
which will offer expedited security checks for prescreened, low-risk
passengers, have been successful, the International Biometric Group said this
week. The program is expected to go into effect nationwide this June. The four
initial pilot tests of the program were run by independent firms and followed
and analyzed by the Biometric Group. The Registered Traveler program will
prescreen volunteer passengers who can then use special security lines that
accelerate the airport screenings. The details have not yet been determined,
but screening could include fingerprint scans and criminal record checks. The
screened passengers will use smart cards to store fingerprint data for
identification purposes. TSA (Transportation Security Administration) is also
considering using iris-based biometrics. Kip Hawley, the secretary of TSA,
testified before a Senate committee on behalf of the program. He said the group
was working to ensure the program would not cost the government and that it
could not be penetrated by terrorists. Some privacy advocates have raised
concerns that the program would be invasive. But Dana Marhon, a consultant with
International Biometrics Group, says TSA is carefully following guidelines set
by the Privacy Act. All information will be collected by a private firm, not by
the government, she says. And, she points out, "If individuals are concerned
about providing information, they simply need not participate."

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