Daily Report Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Daily Highlights

The Associated Press reports the University of California.Los Angeles alerted about 800,000 current and former students, faculty, and staff on Tuesday, December 12, that their names and certain personal information were exposed after a hacker broke into a campus computer system. (See item 10)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that it has not found E. coli in samples of green onions suspected of sickening hundreds of Taco Bell patrons, but that investigators have not yet determined the source and have ruled nothing out. (See item 22)

Information Technology and Telecommunications Sector

33. December 12, Reuters — Survey: Text messaging traffic set to double by 2010. Text messages sent to and from mobile phones will more than double over the next five years to 2.3 trillion messages sent by 2010, a survey said on Tuesday, December 12. The number of messages transmitted over short message service (SMS) systems in 2005 was estimated at 936 billion, according to British market research group Gartner. Total revenues from text messaging is forecast to grow to $72.5 billion in 2010 from $39.5 billion in 2005. Gartner said new messaging services are needed, including instant messaging, picture messaging and video messaging, but they would only match the popularity of SMS if they are simple to use and affordable, which are the reasons behind SMS success.
Source: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2071518,00.asp

34. December 11, eWeek — Search engines less risky, but problems remain, study shows. An updated report by McAfee shows search engine users continue to run the risk of clicking through to Websites that can compromise their online safety. The study, conducted by McAfee SiteAdvisor, analyzed the five major U.S. search engines .. Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL and Ask .. and found that although the overall chance of clicking through to a risky site fell by 12 percent, consumers click through to risky sites more than 268 million times each month. On average, 4.4 percent of search results link to risky Websites, according to the study. Adult search terms are twice as likely to lead to unsafe results as non.adult search terms. Forty.one percent of the risky ratings are due to e.mail sign.ups that result in spam, while risky downloads and scams each account for a quarter of the results. In addition, McAfee officials said the rankings of the search engines changed, with Google, AOL and Ask now returning safer results, and Yahoo and MSN returning riskier ones.
Source: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2070861,00.asp

35. December 11, Security Focus — Market research company receives spyware allegations. Market research company comScore Networks has allegedly been found installing its market research software without a user's consent. In a report published on Forbes.com, spyware researcher Ben Edelman and anti.virus researcher Eric Howes from Sunbelt Software allege that the company is effectively operating as spyware. Edelman says he has documented more than a dozen examples where the software is installed without permission. A critical aspect of spyware, which has long been software of questionable legality, is that a user's permission is not clearly obtained before it is installed through a browser .. which is typically, but not limited to, Internet Explorer. Spyware companies work with third party "middlemen" that install their spying software and receive payment for their efforts. Some types of spyware are known to have virus.like capabilities that steal passwords and other private information from a user's computer.
Report: http://www.forbes.com/security/2006/12/07/internet.security.research.tech_cx_ll_1208comscore.html
Source: http://www.securityfocus.com/brief/381