Blog_round-up-5Every week it seems that security products are used to shine a light on both humanity’s triumphs and absolute low points. This week is no exception; read all about how hidden cameras have uncovered child abuse, how GPS tracking is helping save the elderly, and much more.

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firefox-bomb1 A recent Microsoft software update (.NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 (SP1)) puts Mozilla Firefox browsers at risk. An added browser plug-in (that cannot be deleted, nor deactivated) lets the plug-in secretly and silently install programs onto your computer. This plug-in, known as the .NET Framework Assistant, might have been created with the intention of updating Firefox and improving your browsing experience, has been exploited, and hackers learned how to use it against you.

The way Microsoft engineers described this threat was a “browse-and-get-owned” situation. What this means is that if you visit a rigged website, even if you don’t install or download anything yourself, your computer can be hacked and get all kinds of spyware and malware installed on it without you even knowing.

After this has been found out and reported, Microsoft responded by putting out another software update that allows you to disable and uninstall the .NET Framework Assistant, however, it has not apologized to Mozilla Firefox for secretly sneaking this plug-in into their browser. To make sure that you are protected, and are not at risk of getting hacked, make sure that your browser does not have the .NET Framework Assistant activated.

(Via ComputerWorld)

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hitbmalaysiaHackers around the world have stepped up their game by targeting computer applications and services hosted on the Internet such as mobile services and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. To combat this development, IT professionals and government officials held a conference in Kuala Lumpur called Hack In The Box that aimed to address the growing concerns in cyber security.

Hackers have been enjoying time in their new playground dubbed “the cloud,” which refers to computer applications and services hosted on the Internet. Dhillon Andrew Kannabhiran, the host of the Hack In The Box conference said, “The focus [of security] is definitely moving towards ‘the cloud’ and to the security of embedded devices (Android, iPhone) to more advanced client-side attacks which leverage on Web 2.0 technologies, such as attacks on Facebook, Twitter and other popular sites.” The conference this week hopes to spend specific time attacking this problem specifically.

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1225296568-silveralertprofilelogo8_rgb-600x450Silver is the new amber ever since a 77 year old man disappeared into the woods and died.

William Young, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, was declared missing after taking the family’s car for a drive and never returning home.  Countless search parties, dozens of worried family members and friends, and 5 days later his car was found in a bay.  The next day his body was found 5 miles from the car, drifting away from the initial point of impact.

William Young’s tragic story broke down the traditional barriers of safety alert systems.  Local police officials responded to the inundation of worry for elders suffering from dementia with a volunteer search and rescue effort, named  “Silver Alert,” honoring Young.   The Silver Alert has already been adopted in several states scattered throughout the U.S, including Florida, North Carolina, Texas.  Imitating the idea of the “Amber Alert,” the “Silver Alert” hopes to get as many elderly people suffering from dementia registered with local authorities, making it much easier for them to distribute information to the public and other authorities in an emergency.

Another vital feature of this program is the use of GPS tracking devices.  With new technology, GPS tracking devices can be placed in family cars or on bracelets or necklaces that can be worn by the elderly.  In cases of missing children, and now, missing elderly people, reaction time is key.  A second can make the difference between finding them at the side of the road and finding them at the bottom of a bay.  GPS tracking devices enables people to find the fastest route available back to their loved ones.

GPS tracking devices can also be used to give elderly more freedom.  Family members can set up a GPS fence around the community or any predetermined area they felt comfortable having their family member roam free in.  If the elderly person left that area, family members would get a text message, and the GPS would help them track down the person.

Had this technology been in place when William Young went missing his family may have been able to save him, and police are doing everything they can to ensure that other families will get the chance that the Young’s didn’t have.

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