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Strike one up for the humble firewall, veteran of network security software.
McAfee, the 25-year-old security software maker founded by John McAfee and bought by Intel in 2011, has made a conditional offer for Finland’s Stonesoft, which makes military-grade firewalls for securing networks. Read more
There aren’t many markets where, when the old products have failed, customers flock back for more.
That could explain why the leading lights of computer security – who have converged on San Francisco this week for their industry’s biggest gathering – have been struggling to strike the right tone.
There seems to be a sea-change underway in the willingness of companies to admit when they have been the victims of cyber attacks. More have been coming forward, even when they appear to have no legal obligation. But the timing and nature of the disclosures differs greatly.
Take Microsoft’s apparent admission that it has succumbed to the same attack that has hit several other big tech companies. Compared even with Apple, traditionally the tech industry’s most secretive company, its disclosure was both late and light on detail. Read more
Apple and the FBI have both denied any involvement in the alleged hacking attack which AntiSec, an offshoot of Anonymous, disclosed on Tuesday. Read more
Google has agreed to pay a $22.5m fine to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived users about tracking “cookies”, which it used to serve them targetted ads in the Safari browser.
At a cybersecurity conference in Tel Aviv yesterday, the Russian antivirus expert who discovered the Flame computer virus, a type of malicious software, appealed to the US and Israel to cease deploying cyberweapons. They “are a very bad idea”, he said. “My message is: stop doing this before it’s too late.” How right Eugen Kaspersky was.
Until now, cyberwarfare has been largely confined to Hollywood or to the prophecies of a few Cassandras warning darkly of a “digital Pearl Harbor” or “Cybergeddon”. But two closely linked events last week should give everyone cause for concern. An arms race in cyberspace is a distinct reality.
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