Weekly brief, December 14, 2009

A wallet has been developed that is designed to protect against unwanted RFID readers picking up your information. The unit is crafted from steel, creating what amounts to a Faraday cage that will keep readers from beaming signals to your passports and smart cards and harvesting your data.

Google has filed suit against Pacific WebWorks and several other unnamed defendants. The search engine giant is going after companies that use its name for alleged scams, it said. The scams generally offer victims the chance to make money working from home using Google, but then wheedle cash out of respondents.

Hackers are now targeting the memory chips of point of sale systems, according to a security report from Verizon Business. The report says that new regulations requiring card data to be stored in an encrypted format are leading hackers to develop malware that scans RAM, looking for data that may have been stored in the clear in computer memory.

Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, enraged privacy activists during an interview on CNBC. When asked whether people should treat Google as their ‘best friend’, he said that people who don’t want others knowing what they’re doing online shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. He also said that Google may be required to turn their data over to the authorities under the US PATRIOT Act. Mozilla’s director of community development Asa Dotzler advized people to switch their default search engine to Microsoft’s Bing.

Kaspersky Labs has had two of its websites hacked. Its Malaysia and Singapore sites were compromised by Romanian hacker Unu, who has been a thorn in the side of several companies, including Symantec, and Orange. The hacker performed a similar attack on Kaspersky’s US site earlier this year.

The State of Minnesota has admitted that Lookout Services of Bellaire, Texas has accidentally been displaying the personal details of up to 500 state employees on its website. Minnesota has advized all state agencies to stop using the firm, which was providing staff background check services, say reports.

Game developer Chris Corneau has created a website called VirusZoo, which lets users infect a virtual system with a real virus. Using virtual machines and viruses culled from BitTorrent, the service lets users see what an infection looks like, without subjecting their own computers to harm.

A hacker has developed an attack against Motorola’s Droid smartphone. The exploit gives the attacker root privileges on the phone, which is powered by Google’s open source Android 2.01 operating system.

Jeffrey Steven Girandola and Kajohn Phommavong have been charged in Southern California with conspiracy and computer fraud after installing P2P file sharing software on computers they controlled, and then using it to search the systems for login credentials.

Warnings are emerging of a security flaw in the Thunderbird email client that allow for arbitrary code execution. A remote array overrun bug in the part of Thunderbird that allows for plugin integration is the source of the problem, say reports. Upgrading to Thunderbird 3 is recommended.

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