With the government shutdown of the popular file hosting website, Megaupload, cyber scammers have a new trick up their sleeves. It’s been reported that people in Germany have been receiving threatening emails accusing them of copyright infringement. To avoid a lengthy and expensive lawsuit, the victims are urged to pay a fee between 50 and 147 euros.

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When you think about hackers and malware, what normally comes to mind is probably the Windows operating system and all of the malware attacks that are targeted at it. However, this is at no fault of the Windows operating system itself, but instead is due to the popularity of the system and the value that a hacker gains by creating an effective hack against it. Apple users, for the most part, have been malware-free because of their low value to hackers.

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Gone are the days of clicking a Facebook link and hoping that the innocent-looking website your friend sent you to isn’t anything dangerous or inappropriate. Thanks to Facebook teaming up with the security firm Websense, all of the links that you click on from Facebook will now be scanned in real-time for anything that can harm your computer, expose your personal information, or mentally scar you.

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Internet security company McAfee conducts an annual study that classifies the top celebrities that might be harmful to your computer’s health. By harmful we don’t mean that the celebrities themselves might wreak havoc on your system, but instead that searching for websites or images of these people might bring up malware-loaded websites specifically created to look like innocent celebrity content.

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With so much of our society relying on the Internet to get through the day, we can easily see how much chaos and brain-ache a virus or cyber attack can cause. For example, a cyber attack aimed at an individual can not only wreak havoc on their social and personal life, but it can also bankrupt them financially as their bank accounts can be hacked and debt piled up under their name. As for large companies, those that are attacked by cyber criminals can not only lose millions of dollars due to downtime, but they can also have their most important trade secrets stolen  and shared with their top competitors.

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When asked about computer security and virus protection, most people are under the assumption that a Windows computer is expected to be in constant battle against malware and viruses of all kinds, while the Mac is generally safe, allowing users to do or download whatever they wish without any repercussions. Well, this assumption is not only being challenged at this point, but is actively being proven false thanks to the “Mac Defender.”

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In this capitalist society, almost anything and everything can be bought, or at the very least temporarily rented. Whether it be a home, car, or even a forehead, there is a price on almost everything. But unlike the few rent-able aforementioned objects, the topic of this story is renting something that the owner is unaware of—a personal computer for the purpose of committing cyber crime.

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We reported last week that about two dozen official Android market applications were infected with a particularly malicious identity-stealing virus. It turns out that about 58 apps in total had been downloaded, affecting approximately 260,000 phones. To combat the virus, Google has activated an Android kill switch which can remotely delete all malware.

Unlike previous applications of this kill switch, this time Google is going a step further and actually installing a new app (called the “Android Market Security Tool March 2011″) to the infected phones.

“That app, which will be installed automatically no later than Tuesday on all Android phones whose owners had downloaded one or more of the malicious apps, prevents attackers from accessing any additional information by undoing the root access the malware obtained by exploiting vulnerabilities,” writes Gregg Keizer for Computerworld.

While the search engine giant has its cutomers’ best interests at heart, it does beg some skepticism and worry as to how much power they actually have over our personal phones.

(Via Engadget and Computerworld) / (Image by Miki Toshihito, licensed under Creative Commons)

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