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Can You Trust Anti-Virus Rankings? 258

Slatterz writes "It seems nobody can agree on a universal set of tests for rating anti-virus software, with Eugene Kaspersky the latest to weigh in on the topic, criticizing the well-known Virus Bulletin 100. Kaspersky is one of several big anti-virus brands to fall foul of the VB100 tests, reportedly failing to pass a recent test of security software on Windows Server 2008, along with F-Secure and Computer Associates. At Kaspersky, bloggers have pointed out that they don't focus on detecting PoCs, calling it a 'dead end,' and saying their anti-virus database focuses on 'real threats and exploits.' 'I don't want to say it's rubbish,' Kaspersky told PC Authority. 'But the security experts don't pay attention to these tests. It doesn't reflect the real level of protection.'"

Malware Modification Contest Has Antivirus Vendors Upset 167

SkiifGeek writes "Race to Zero, a sideline competition being set up at this year's DefCon, already has some Antivirus vendors steaming over the objectives of the contest. They are upset because it is essentially a polymorphism exercise. Entrants are given a set of malware samples which they must then modify to pass through a battery of antivirus scanners without detection while still carrying a viable payload. Even if competitors ignore the published vulnerabilities and weaknesses affecting antivirus vendors, the competition should turn up some interesting results. It may provide technical insight and concepts for further research as similar competitions have done in the past."
United States

Bush Cyber Initiative Aims To Monitor, Restrict Access To Federal Network 120

dstates writes "Details of George Bush's Cyber Initiative are beginning to trickle out. The Cyber Initiative was created in January to secure government against electronic attacks. Newsweek says that over the next seven years, Bush's Cyber Initiative will spend as much as $30 billion to create a new monitoring system for all federal networks, a combined project of the DHS, the NSA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The U.S. government has launched a classified operation called Byzantine Foothold to detect, track, and disarm intrusions on the government's most critical networks. ComputerWorld reports that all data traffic flowing through agency networks will be checked, and that it will be inspected at a deeper level than the current system is capable of. BusinessWeek, meanwhile, reports that one requirement is to reduce the number of internet access points in the Federal Government from the thousands now in use to only 100 sites by June 2008. How this will impact public information resources such as the Library of Congress, National Library of Medicine or even the US Congress remains to be seen."

Fingerprint-Protected USB Sticks Cracked 166

juct writes "Manufacturers of USB sticks and cards with fingerprint readers promise us that their data safes can only be opened with the right fingerprint. In their tests, heise Security found that it is easy to bypass the authentication and get access to the protected data. This works by sending a single USB command, using the open source tool PLscsi, that changes the accessible partition. They found the vulnerability in several USB sticks that use the same chipset. The article concludes: 'The fingerprint sensors in the products mentioned above apparently only serve one purpose: they mislead interested buyers. They do not provide any significant level of protection. We can only recommend that these products not be purchased.'"

Cracking a Crypto Hard Drive Case 238

juct writes "A label on the box reading 'AES' does not ensure that your data are protected. heise examined a hard drive enclosure with an RFID key that is typical of many similar products. They found that the 128-bit AES hardware encryption claimed in advertisements was in fact a simple XOR encryption that they were able to break easily with a known plaintext attack." The manufacturer of the drive examined has announced that the product is being retooled and will be reintroduced later this year, presumably with actual AES encryption.
The Internet

Companies That Clean Up Bad Online Reputations 180

Radon360 writes "As the ever-increasing amount of information available online becomes indexed and searchable, more and more people find themselves potentially at risk of having unwanted personal information revealed or their names incorrectly associated with inflammatory topics. The are several firms that now sell their services of trying to remove or bury such information that their client deems offensive or troublesome. Companies, such as ReputationDefender and DefendMyName will, for a fee, do the legwork to find content that negatively impacts your reputation and have it removed or buried deeper in search rankings. However, some of these efforts can backfire, as the act to get it taken down can sometimes draw more attention than the offending content in the first place."

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