Security Shorts

To help you to get an idea of the news you need to know this spring, we've rounded up a list of spring-time "security shorts" - summaries of online security stories making headlines around the world. Read on to stay up-to-date on the latest security news. Click "Read More" at the end of each summary to view the full story.

Malware Found in Energizer Battery Charger Software

A Trojan, malware capable of sending files to attackers or downloading additional malware, was found in a download for Energizer DUO battery charger software. According to reports, the Trojan may have been in the software since it was first offered. Energizer's DUO has been sold in the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia since 2007. In a statement, the battery maker has said that it is unaware of how the Trojan came to be in the software, and is working with the United States Computer Emergency Response Team as well as U.S. government officials to understand how the code was inserted.

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Web Camera Spyware Investigation in PA, USA

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating allegations that school officials at a Pennsylvania, USA school district remotely spied on a high school student in his home. The lawsuit that the student's parents have brought against the school alleges that the district unlawfully used its ability to access a web cam remotely on their son's school-issued laptop. According to the complaint, the student was told by an assistant school principal that he was captured in a photo taken by his PC's web cam engaging in "improper behavior". The family says that they were not notified of the school's ability to access the laptop's web cam remotely. The FBI and local authorities are currently looking into whether the school district broke any computer-intrusion or federal wiretap laws.

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Will Major Botnet Bust Serve As Cyber Crime Deterrent?

In March, Spanish authorities took down one of the world's largest botnets, and arrested three of the alleged masterminds behind it. The botnet — known as Mariposa (Spanish for 'butterfly') — is believed to have infected more than 13 million PCs in nearly 200 countries, and was found to be made up of computers inside over half of the Fortune 1,000 companies as well as more than 40 major banks. One main question still looms: will this botnet bust serve as a deterrant for further cyber crime? According to reports, the accused may not go to jail because Spain does not have legislation that addresses the crimes of the accused; in Spain, it is not a crime to own and operate a botnet or distribute malware.

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Cyber Crooks Surpass Real-Life Robbers

According to online crime estimates by the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), computer scams targeting small businesses cost U.S. companies $25 million in the third quarter of 2009 alone. Almost all of the incidents reported to the FDIC "related to malware on online banking customers' PCs". How does that compare to 'real-life' crime? During the same period, traditional bank robberies netted $9.5 million. In the first three quarters of 2009, traditional bank robbers nabbed a total of $30 million, only $5 million more than the cyber criminals reaped in the third quarter of 2009 alone.

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Rogue Security Software Cons 100 Million Victims Worldwide Per Day

In Lavasoft Malware Labs' Internet security predictions for 2010, scareware and rogue (fake) security products were listed as a rising threat to watch out for. The money made from this malware model ensures that cyber criminals will not abandon what is a very profitable endeavor for them - meaning that this prediction will, unfortunately for users around the world, continue to ring true this year. In fact, security researchers at McAfee recently reported that an estimated one million people fall for these rogue programs on a daily basis, with the criminals behind the fake products netting more than $300 million from their victims.

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BY THE NUMBERS
How does Ad-Aware stack up to the competition? Ad-Aware uses 33% less memory during a scan than Microsoft Security Essentials; AVG takes more than 7 times longer to perform a scan than Ad-Aware. Read more in our How Fast Is Your Ad-Aware? article.
TIPS & TACTICS
Do your part for Earth Day, which falls on Thursday, April 22, 2010. Find out how to safely recycle your old PC and electronics.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
“This utility is simple to use and does an excellent job of detecting and killing spyware.”
- PC World article describing Ad-Aware — and naming it one of the 10 greatest free downloads and services of all-time.
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