A high-profile hack of a Twitter employee’s e-mail and Google Apps accounts tops our news this week, in part because the whole saga offers a reminder about the need for strong passwords and exercising caution about what personal information is posted at social-networking sites, especially if, say, that information gives clues to your passwords. Elsewhere in security news, or perhaps we should say just about everywhere in security news, the search spread worldwide for the source of the massive denial-of-service attacks earlier this month.
1. Hacker break-in of Twitter e-mail yields secret docs, Twitter/Google Apps hack raises questions about cloud security and Possible Twitter lawsuit would dive into murky blog waters: A hacker got into a Twitter employee’s e-mail account and stole confidential documents about a month ago, raising concerns about cloud-computing security and leading to another round of warnings about the need for strong passwords and the pitfalls of posting personal information on social-networking sites, among other things. The hacker used information obtained from the administrative assistant’s e-mail account to access the employee’s Google Apps account. In a further twist, the hacker offered the confidential documents to some bloggers and online sites, prompting Twitter cofounder Biz Stone to threaten legal action against those who publish the information.
2. Cyberattack probe goes global: British authorities are investigating the cyberattacks earlier this month that brought down prominent Web sites in the U.S., including government sites, and in South Korea. Security researchers traced the master command-and-control server used in the denial-of-service attacks to the U.K., but the master server apparently was located in Miami.
3. Reports: Microsoft and Yahoo close to search ad deal: The story that refuses to die reared its head again this week with reports that Microsoft and Yahoo are close to a search ad deal that could happen in less than a week. If it does, we will fill you in on the details next week and then hope to never have to speak of the matter again.
4. Wall Street Beat: IT investors eye bellwether financials: Various IT bellwethers reported quarterly financials this week, with some encouraging signs that tech spending has bottomed out and will begin to climb out of the rut it has been in as the second half of the year progresses.
5. Analysts see alarming development in mobile malware: Mobile botnets are surely on the horizon, with the first worm that spread on mobile devices via spam text messages the harbinger, says one security vendor.
6. Sun shareholders give nod to Oracle deal: Sun shareholders approved the company’s acquisition by Oracle, but the voting margin in favor of the deal was “surprisingly low” in the opinion of Dan Olds, an analyst with Gabriel Consulting Group.
7. China’s Internet users outnumber U.S. population: China had 338 million Internet users at the end of June — more than the U.S. population, which stands at just shy of 307 million. More people in China are using e-commerce and accessing the Web using mobile phones than previously, and overall Internet use there is the highest of any country, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.
8. Survey says most companies won’t deploy Windows 7: Almost six in 10 companies have no current plans to move to Microsoft’s Windows 7, which is supposed to be out in October, according to a survey published by ScriptLogic, which makes software tools for the Windows OS.
9. Spam: Still a shopper’s paradise: For those of us who remain mystified about why it is that spam messages purporting to sell products keep rolling into our inboxes — who in the world clicks on those links? — the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group supplied some answers. Twelve percent of respondents to a recent survey said they bought something that way, and that apparently is a high enough percentage to make spam a lucrative venture. As Ian Paul says at the outset of his column about the survey — “All right. Listen up people: We have a problem.”
10. 10 gifts from Apollo and Apollo’s 40th anniversary shows true wonder of the Internet: We end this week’s Top 10 with a Network World slide show that looks at 10 technologies brought to us by NASA’s Apollo 11 project that landed men on the moon 40 years ago on July 20. “And today, through the true magic of the Internet, we are able to again see, hear and experience a second-by-second re-enactment of that spectacular event and relive it right on our computer screens,” Todd Weiss marvels in his PC World column.