Security

Browser War Redux, Patch Time, IPod News

Google garnered headlines all week with its new Chrome browser. Rival Microsoft announced it will release just four patches next Tuesday, but that may not be cause to think the day will be an easy one for those responsible for keeping systems patched. Also looking ahead, Apple is expected to announce iPod news. Otherwise, a warning was issued about new trickery from spammers and in case we all weren't aware of it by now, social-networking sites could be ripe for malware.

1. Continuing coverage: Google's Chrome browser: Google offered up a Labor Day holiday surprise when it inadvertently posted a look at its new Chrome browser at an unofficial company blog. Google then made the news official later in the day and released the browser, which shifts the landscape of that market, in beta on Tuesday. Reviewers found the Chrome browser fast, functional and, following the Google home-page pattern, with a stripped-down look. By week's end, though, the first security problems had surfaced.

2. Upcoming Microsoft patch lineup could be 'massive,' says researcher: A word of warning for next week -- don't assume that because Microsoft is releasing only four patches this month that it will be a snap to deal with them. "It's not going to be an easy month, what with all these different applications and different operating systems affected. Patching will be a lot more involved than you'd think with just four bulletins," said Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle Network Security. The job of applying the patches could be "potentially massive," he said.

3. Researchers build malicious Facebook application: A research team built a malicious Facebook program to show the perils of social-networking applications. Their experiment shows how easy it could be for a miscreant to trick a big group of users into downloading an application that seems harmless, but that contains malicious code.

4. What's at stake for Apple at Tuesday's iPod event?: Apple has invited a select group of reporters to an event Tuesday that seems to involve the iPod -- the sort of event that used to set Apple fans aflutter. But a new sentiment has emerged this time around, approaching what has become an annual September IT event, with Apple announcing iPod news. Some users are expressing wariness about any forthcoming Apple products as they recall that recent product launches haven't lived up to the marketing hype from Apple.

5. Sony recalls 73,000 Vaio laptops due to burn hazard: Sony recalled 73,000 Vaio TZ laptops because a manufacturing defect could cause them to overheat in some circumstances. Wiring near the hinge of the computer models could short circuit, Sony said. One person has suffered a minor burn and Sony has gotten 15 additional reports about computers overheating.

6. Spammers use free Web services to shield links: Spammers are using free Web services to try to make the spam links they send out look more legitimate, according to MessageLabs. Photo-hosting sites and the like are being used by spammers who are taking advantages of various features offered as part of free services, the e-mail security vendor has found.

7. Microsoft, Red Hat, HP, Sun give desktop virtualization a boost: Desktop virtualization has been constantly in IT headlines in recent days, with Microsoft, Red Hat, HP and Sun all getting into the mix, announcing virtualization products, plans and related acquisitions.

8. Online ad targeting progresses in UK, lags in US: A behavioral ad targeting system that has raised privacy concerns in the U.S. may soon be in use in the U.K. BT plans to use the Webwise tracking system from online ad company Phorm and two other U.K. Internet service providers, Virgin Media and Carphone Warehouse, are planning to test the system, according to Phorm. Webwise tracks the sites Internet users visit and the keywords they use in searches and then sends them ads related to where they've surfed and what they've searched.

9. Internet traffic growth slowing, research firm shows: Remember the alarming reports that the Internet is going to collapse under the weight of its own data, especially as more video goes online? Well ... For the second year in a row international Internet capacity grew at a quicker pace than Internet traffic, according to TeleGeography. International Internet traffic grew 53 percent from the middle of last year to the middle of this year, compared to 61 percent in the prior year. Between 2007 and 2008, average traffic utilization levels on the Internet dropped to 29 percent from 31 percent, with peak utilization decreasing from 44 percent to 43 percent, the market-tracking firm found.

10. Cheaters: Inside the hidden world of IT certification fraud: A group of IT hardware and software vendors have joined with independent certifying agencies, test centers and some others to create the IT Certification Council in an effort to share information to keep certification fraud from occurring. Certification cheating is apparently a dirty little IT secret that the council seeks to bring into the open.

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