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Weekly Brief - June 8 2009

Privacy

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched TOSBack, a site designed to track terms of service conditions for major websites.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center has submitted comments to a Department of Homeland Security review on the US Government's use of social media.

Sears has settled charges that it sneaked software onto customers' machines from web research firm ComScore. The software would monitor their online activities and feed the information back to the retail giant.

Enforcement

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has shut down internet service provider Pricewert, which it says has been hosting botnets, phishing sites, and child porn, among other online nasties. Pricewert is gearing up for a fight.

Attacks

Penetration testing tool company Immunity has commercialized an attack that enables software in a virtual machine to punch out of the virtual sandbox and attack its host.

Investigators from Trustwave say that Eastern European gangs have been infecting ATM machines with malware that allowed them to steal cash. The breaches are probably inside jobs because physical access to the ATM is needed.

According to a report from Microsoft, the size of the underground economy that trades stolen personal information via IRC channels has been grossly over-estimated.

That wasn't the only report that Microsoft announced. It also reported a new vulnerability in its DirectX graphics system. Accessing specially crafted Quicktime files could allow arbitrary code to be executed on a victim's system, says the company.

Defenses

US firm Pramana is to launch a service that it says can tell when bots as opposed to humans are conducting online activities such as filling out web forms.

The Department of Homeland Security is to create an online review of homeland security in conjunction with security and policy experts across the US.

The Election Assistance Commission has issued a set of proposed draft revisions to US Voluntary Voting Guidelines, which are federal guidelines designed to test voting systems for security.

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