Tag Archives: computers

Microsoft says small number of its computers hacked

00-024SEATTLE: Microsoft Corp said on Friday a small number of its computers, including some in its Mac software business unit, were infected with malware, but there was no evidence of customer data being affected and it is continuing its investigation.

The world’s largest software company said the security intrusion was “similar” to recent ones reported by Apple Inc and Facebook Inc.

The incident, reported on one of the company’s public blogs happened “recently”, but Microsoft said it chose not to make any statement publicly while it gathered information about the attack.

“This type of cyberattack is no surprise to Microsoft and other companies that must grapple with determined and persistent adversaries,” said Matt Thomlinson, general manager of Trustworthy Computing Security at Microsoft, in the company’s blog post.

Over the past week or so, both Apple and Facebook said computers used by employees were attacked after visiting a software developer website infected with malicious software.

The attacks come at a time of broader concern about computer security.

Newspaper websites, including those of The New York Times , The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, have  been infiltrated recently. Earlier this month US President Barack Obama issued an executive order seeking better protection of the country’s critical infrastructure from cyber attacks.

Copyright Reuters, 2013

Apple computers ‘hacked’ in breach

Macbook Air Apple said a vulnerability in Oracle’s Java programming language was used by the hackers Apple has said its computers were attacked by the same hackers who targeted Facebook.

The iPhone-maker said a small number of its machines were affected, but added there was “no evidence” of data theft.

Last week Facebook said it had traced a cyber attack back to China which had infiltrated employees’ laptops.

Apple said it would release a software update to protect customers against the malicious software used in the attack.

In a statement, the Cupertino, California-based firm said: “Apple has identified malware which infected a limited number of Mac systems through a vulnerability in the Java plug-in for browsers.

“The malware was employed in an attack against Apple and other companies, and was spread through a website for software developers.

“We identified a small number of systems within Apple that were infected and isolated them from our network. There is no evidence that any data left Apple.

“We are working closely with law enforcement to find the source of the malware.”

Java vulnerabilities

News of the hack comes as a US-based cyber security firm claimed to have pinpointed a specific building in Shanghai that was being used to house one of the world’s “most prolific cyber espionage groups”.

Mandiant said Unit 61398, part of the country’s People’s Liberation Army, was believed to have “systematically stolen hundreds of terabytes of data” from at least 141 organisations around the world.

China denied hacking and questioned the validity of Mandiant’s report.

Apple said it had taken measures to protect users from vulnerabilities in Java, a widely-used programming language that was found to have serious security flaws.

“Since OS X Lion, Macs have shipped without Java installed, and as an added security measure OS X automatically disables Java if it has been unused for 35 days,” the company said.

“To protect Mac users that have installed Java, today we are releasing an updated Java malware removal tool that will check Mac systems and remove this malware if found.”

Apple to make Mac computers in US

6 December 2012 Last updated at 14:10 GMT Tim Cook Tim Cook announced the new Mac range in October Apple is to begin manufacturing one of its Mac lines exclusively in its home country.

In an interview with NBC, the firm’s chief executive Tim Cook said the company had been working on “doing more and more” in the US.

Apple’s products are mostly assembled in China, where the company has faced criticisms over working conditions.

It was Mr Cook’s first broadcast interview since taking over from Steve Jobs, who died in October 2011.

Speculation that Apple was about to shift manufacturing of its Mac range grew when some of the products in its latest line had the words “Assembled in USA” inscribed on the back.

In a separate interview with Bloomberg Business Week, Mr Cook said the company would be investing “over $100m” (£62m) in making more in the US.

Speaking to NBC’s Brian Williams, Mr Cook noted that key components in Apple products such as the iPhone were already manufactured in the US, but were then shipped out to be assembled.

“The engine in [the iPhone] is made in America… but engines are made in America and are exported. The glass on this phone is made in Kentucky. We’ve been working for years on doing more and more in the United States.”

Mr Cook said Apple was indirectly responsible for creating more than 600,000 jobs in the US through retail stores, research and development and third-party app developers.

Skills shortage Apple has come under pressure to create more jobs in the US rather than in low-wage parts of the world.

Mr Cook said there were no issues over cost, instead blaming a lack of skills in the US to facilitate modern manufacturing.

“The consumer electronics world was really never here,” Mr Cook said. “It’s a matter of starting it here.”

Mr Cook also discussed the furore around Apple Maps – created to replace Google Maps software on its devices.

The software was widely criticised by users who complained it contained many inaccuracies.

“We screwed up and we are putting the weight of the company behind correcting it,” Mr Cook said.

“On Maps, a few years ago, we decided that we wanted to provide customers features that we didn’t have in the current edition of Maps.

“It didn’t meet our customers’ expectation, and our expectations of ourselves are even higher than our customers’.”

Speaking of former chief executive Steve Jobs, Mr Cook said: “I loved Steve dearly, and miss him dearly.

“He told me, on a couple of occasions before he passed away, to never question what he would have done. Never ask the question, ‘What Steve would do?’… just do what’s right.”

Samsung to ship 16mn Windows 8 and 7 computers this year

samsungNEW DELHI: Samsung Electronics Co Ltd will ship 16 million tablets and laptop computers operating on Microsoft Corp’s Windows 8 and Windows 7 operating systems this year, said Jin Park, vice president of the IT solutions business at Samsung.


Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, launched its new-look, touch-friendly Windows 8 earlier this year to grip customers’ imagination, as it looks to regain ground lost to Apple Inc and Google Inc in mobile computing and shake up the moribund PC market.


Copyright Reuters, 2012

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Samsung to ship 19mn Windows 8 computers this year-exec

samsung2 400NEW DELHI: Samsung Electronics Co Ltd will ship 19 million laptop computers and tablets operating on Microsoft Corp’s new Windows 8 operating system this year, said Jin Park, vice president of the IT solutions business at Samsung.


Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, launched its new-look, touch-friendly Windows 8 earlier this year to grip customers’ imagination, as it looks to regain ground lost to Apple Inc and Google Inc in mobile computing and shake up the moribund PC market.

Copyright Reuters, 2012

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Hackers crack corporate computers

15 November 2012 Last updated at 00:01 GMT By Mark Ward Technology correspondent, BBC News  Many sites are selling access to corporate networks for only a few pounds Cybercriminals are openly selling illegal access to the computer networks of many of the world’s biggest companies.

For only a few pounds or dollars, fraudsters and scammers can get the login in details for a server sitting on the network of a Fortune 500 firm.

Those renting access can use the machine to carry out their own scams, such as sending spam, or use it as a springboard for a wider hacking attempt on a big company.

The network access is just one of a wide range of cybercrime services now available on the underground economy.

Called Dedicatexpress, the hacked server service was uncovered by security researcher Brian Krebs who spent two weeks tracking down the site, accessing its forums and getting hold of a list of the corporate networks to which it offered access.

Currently, the site has about 17,000 servers available but he estimates that about 300,000 have been listed since the site started in 2010. Since Mr Krebs wrote about it, the site has changed to become member-only.

Spam funnel

Mr Krebs said the site was acting as a broker on behalf of hackers who had already won access to the networks as a result of separate attacks.

“It seems to they are gathering these from people who are selling them to the service,” he told the BBC.

“They maybe individual hackers that have no use for these but know they have value and are re-selling them.”

Network cables Servers on corporate networks tend to be powerful and have fast net links

The servers listed could prove useful to spammers or other fraudsters who want to use corporate resources, which typically include high speed net links and powerful computers for their own ends.

Dedicatexpress puts some restrictions on what customers can do with some hacked servers, said Mr Krebs. Paypal fraud, online gambling and dating site scams are among activities banned on some.

While openly offering hacked servers for sale may be a surprise or a shock to some, Mr Krebs said it was likely that the computers had been compromised for a long time.

“My sense is that a lot of these systems are probably abused quite a bit before they get to this point,” he said. “They may have been wrung out in other ways before they are sold to a service like this.”

The first cybercriminal or hacker that won access to the server probably used it for their own ends, he said. That might have involved stealing company secrets, using it as a server for a phishing scam or to funnel spam through.

“These could provide someone with full control of a machine which is on the inside of a major corporation’s network,” said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, chief technology officer at security firm AVG. “They can be used to attack machines outside of the network under the disguise of a trusted company.”

Mr Ben-Itzhak said it was easy for firms to stop cyber-thieves winning access if they changed default passwords and made sure those they did pick were hard to guess. Anything else, he suggested, was just being “sloppy”.

Underground express

Rik Ferguson, director of security research and communications at Trend Micro, said the existence of Dedicatexpress showed how sophisticated the underground economy had become.

Spam in email inbox Cyber criminals often pump spam through compromised computers

“That’s the beauty of digital crime as far as the criminal is concerned,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be exclusive, the same ‘stolen goods’ can be sold and resold with no deterioration in quality, whether that is intellectual property, credentials, stolen accounts or network access.”

Dedicatexpress was just one of many, many sites run out of countries in Eastern Europe that made up the underground economy, said Mr Ferguson.

A report by security firm Trend Micro showed that Russia was at the centre of this widespread criminal economy in which any and every cybercrime service is on sale – at a price. The rates being charged for the various services, including everything from hacking corporate mailboxes to sending junk texts, were detailed in the report.

One of the most expensive services on offer on the underground was the purchase of an entire botnet for about £435 ($700). A botnet is a network of hijacked home computers that a hacker has compromised. The computers on this network can be plundered for saleable data or used as proxies for spamming campaigns or phishing attacks.

If buying a botnet is too expensive, renting one for an hour can cost as little as £1.20 ($2), and sending a million emails out via it would cost about £6. The Trend Micro report found that custom hacking jobs were more expensive though unlikely to break the bank. For instance, hacking a Gmail, Facebook or Twitter account would cost about £100.

Cybercrime in Russia had long ceased being a “hobby” for hackers, said Mr Ferguson, and had become a way of life for many criminals who were making a good living from their nefarious deeds.

Brian Krebs said he was no longer shocked by the scale and sophistication of the hi-tech crime economy.

“A few years ago I would have been,” he said. “Now? Not so much. There are just so many of these types of services out there and these hacked servers are very widely available.”

AkzoNobel Pakistan donates computers to SOS village and school

KARACHI: AkzoNobel Pakistan has once again ventured to add value to its neighboring community. This September, Akzo Nobel Pakistan Limited donated a total of 15 computers to its neighbor, the SOS Village & SOS School. These computers will be set up in computer labs which will be used by the children of the SOS primary School, SOS Village, and Boys Youth Hostel. The company’s Executive Team Members, along with the IT and Corporate Communications teams attended a ceremony at the SOS Primary School to unveil their newly set-up computer lab. Activities at the ceremony included a drawing competition for the primary school students, after which gifts were distributed to all participants. This endeavor was greatly appreciated by the administration, staff and students of the SOS Village.**