Random Access

Security Quest #12:Privacy

Facebook caused an uproar over the past week with their new Beacon advertising service. Being the last human not to have a Facebook account I didn’t follow the story too much at first, but then it became hard to ignore. At the very least it was a public relations disaster for Facebook, although I suspect it won’t really affect their membership numbers. Ars Technica has a pretty good summary and includes the changes Facebook made in response to the outcry. But it appears Facebook may still have a ways to go. PC World reports that Beacon tracks non-Facebook users and logged off Facebook users. It appears nobody at Facebook talked to their users and they implemented Beacon without really explaining what it meant before it kicked in for users.

I find it interesting that Google most definitely has as much info about users but tries to keep a low profile. When there’s a uproar about Google it’s what they might do with the data. With Facebook it’s what they were actually doing with the data. Google pulls us in slowly, Facebook wanted it to overwhelm us.

Also in the privacy arena, the November 22nd Security Now Podcast talked about third -party cookies, specifically PayPal’s routing of links through Doubleclick to avoid the issue of browsers rejecting third-party cookies. As the podcast mentions, this could give the Doubleclick advertising access to information about you. I don’t use PayPal a lot, and while I don’t like what they do I won’t use it any less. I use PayPal when a credit card isn’t accepted or I don’t want to give a website my credit card number so it would remain my preferred, if reluctant, choice. It may get me go through the hassle of using a one-time credit card number my bank offers.

Software Vulnerabilities

Symantec is reporting than an active exploit is in the wild for a QuickTime vulnerability that was first reported last week. From the article:

Hamada said the exploit code was found on a compromised porn site that redirects users to a site hosting malicious software called “Downloader.” Downloader is a Trojan that causes compromised machines to download other malicious software from the Internet. Symantec rates Downloader as “very low” risk.

A second QuickTime flaw has also just been reported.

News & Links

Blogger in Draft: New feature: OpenID commenting – Google has begun testing OpenID with their “Blogger in Draft” program. McAfee Internet Security Suite 2008 – complete package Internet security and firewall reviews – CNet review McAfee Internet Security Suite 2008 and rated it 7.3 out of 10 and said “McAfee Internet Security 2008 trounces Norton Internet Security 2008, offering a better designed product with more security tools.”

Google Online Security Blog: Help us fill in the gaps! – Google is asking users to report malicious websites they come across by filling out a online form. Virus experts warn of ‘Google poisoning’ – The Red Tape Chronicles – Info about malware distribution via websites is making it’s way in to the general news. Inviting the hackers inside – article about how Microsoft has taken a more inclusive approach to security. Yahoo, Adobe team on PDF ads – Advertising can now infect PDF files. Windows Live OneCare 2.0 Reviewc- Good review of the latest Windows OneCare version Spammers Giving Up? Google Thinks So – Google says that spam is down (as a percentage of all mail) through their GMail system. Flaw leaves Microsoft looking like a turkey – Vulnerability in Windows that was thought patched 5 years ago still exists under some conditions. Vista is affected too. via