Week in review: “Facebook closing” hoax, spam trends and third-party software vulnerabilities

Here’s an overview of some of last week’s most interesting news, videos and articles:

Spam moving to social networks and mobile
While at the moment it is not completely clear why spam activity from the Rustock botnet is down, one of the key reasons why we are seeing a global drop in email spam is because fraudsters are shifting their focus onto more lucrative social networking and mobile channels.

Facebook closing on March 15th hoax spreads like wildfire
More than one million Facebook users are believed to have fallen for a hoax claiming that the popular website will close its doors on March 15th.

NSA building one million square-foot data center
The National Security Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers broke ground on a $1.2 billion data center at Camp W.G. Williams National Guard Post. The massive, one million square-foot facility currently is the largest U.S. Department of Defense project in the nation.

Tuesday is the most active day for threats
The most active day for threat-related traffic worldwide is Tuesday, with Monday a close second. This pattern holds true for the U.S., China, India, Mexico, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, and several European countries.

USA number one as spam becomes more malicious
Sophos has published the latest ‘Dirty Dozen’ of spam relaying countries, covering the fourth quarter of 2010. The United States increased its lead at the top spot, and continues to be responsible for nearly one in five junk emails – 18.6% of all spam messages.

Piracy and counterfeit goods websites generate 53 billion visits per year
Sites offering pirated digital content draw the lion’s share of the 53 billion annual visits while sites selling counterfeit goods, including prescription drugs and luxury goods, generate more than 92 million visits per year.

24% of clicks generated by a Facebook scam came from mobile platforms
According to Google statistics, one of the URLs used for the propagation of a recent massive Facebook scam – promising to show users a girl’s Facebook status which got her expelled from school – generated 28,672 clicks, 24% of which originated from mobile platforms.

Details on January’s Patch Tuesday
In this video, Qualys CTO Wolfgang Kandek and Qualys vulnerability labs manager Amol Sarwate discusses this month’s Microsoft Patch Tuesday release.

Third-party software responsible for most vulnerabilities
Most people owning a PC are familiar with Microsoft’s patching process – it’s easy and it’s there. For a lot of them, it also gives the impression that Microsoft’s products are chock-full of flaws. But, according to Stefan Frei, Research Analyst Director with Secunia, it’s not the vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s products we should worry about, but those in third-party software.

38 billion spam e-mails: A sign of things to come?
Over the last twelve months, AppRiver quarantined more than 38 billion spam messages, almost double the amount quarantined just two years ago. Of that total, 450 million messages contained viruses.

Raising the security bar: Know and fine-tune your IPS
Buying a security product, turning it on and choosing the default policy doesn’t make you safe. As a test conducted by NSS Labs in 2009 has shown, fine-tuning policies in Intrusion Prevention Systems is critical for an increased effectiveness.

Adobe changes Flash Player feature to prevent user tracking
Adobe announced that they’ve been working with a number of browser vendors in order to make Local Shared Objects (LSO) management possible from within the browser.

Safety advice to protect connected devices
If you were one of the millions of people who received tech gifts during the holidays, beware. Computer and cybercrimes have risen by more than 22% according to the most recent statistics from 2009. Here are some practical tips from McAfee to ensure optimal Internet safety and security in 2011.

Gamers breached medical server to play Call of Duty
An office server on which the New Hampshire Seacoast Radiology had stored sensitive personal and medical information of more than 230,000 patients has been breached in November by hackers who used its bandwidth to play Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Former TSA employee sentenced for hacking agency’s databases
He was accused of tampering with the agency’s databases and trying to inject malicious code into a server containing the Terrorist Screening Database.

Bogus airline charge leads to Zeus Trojan
A recent spam campaign is targeting frequent users of a popular German airline carrier, baiting them with a exorbitant bogus fee that has apparently been charged to their credit card.

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