Archive | February, 2012

Apple pushes ‘Gatekeeper’ to protect Mac OS X from malware attacks

29 Feb

The new anti-malware feature processes indirectly to let Mac users either let or refuse application downloads based on where they come from. Apple has brought a ‘Gatekeeper’ to help saving Mac OS X users from downloading and running malicious software.

The new anti-malware feature, now fitted into the new OSX Mountain Lion, works behind the scenes to let Mac users either allow or deny application downloads based on where they come from.

In the “Security and Privacy” preference, the end user gets the choice over whether to allow applications downloaded from

  • Mac App Store
  • Mac App Store and identified developers
  • Anywhere

The pre-checked default is the “Mac App Store and identified” developers, a setting that works in tandem with Apple’s new Developer ID Program.

As part of the Mac Developer Program, Apple gives developers a unique Developer ID for signing their apps. A developer’s digital signature allows Gatekeeper to verify that their app is not known malware and that it hasn’t been tampered with. If an app doesn’t have a Developer ID associated with it, Gatekeeper can let you know before you install it.

More on Gatekeeper from Apple Insider and Daring Fireball.

Source: zdnet




Report: Android malware up 3,325% in 2011

29 Feb

Summary: Android malware samples had increased from 400 to 13,302 in six months.

Everything has its own value. In 2011, there was an ‘unprecedented growth’ of mobile malware attacks, with Android up a stratospheric 3.325 percent, according to a report by the Juniper Networks Mobile Threat Center.

The report shares stressing news. Comparing all platforms, mobile malware attacks are up 155 percent, with mobile malware samples increasing from 11,138 in 2010 to 28,472 in 2011. BlackBerry malware grew by 8 percent, and Java ME saw a 49 percent increase. But the platform hit hardest was Android, with malware increasing by an incredible 3,325 percent in a year. During the last six months of 2011, Android malware samples had increased from 400 to 13,302.

Spyware stood top as the most popular Android malware, numbering 63 percent, meanwhile 36 percent were premium rate SMS Trojans. And 30 percent could obtain location information without user acceptance and 14.7 percent of them are capable to make calls behind the users’ back.

The report also notes that malware is becoming more sophisticated, with malware like Droid KungFu using encrypted payloads to avoid detection and Droid Dream disguising itself as a legitimate app.

Security guru Bruce Schneier isn’t surprised. ‘I don’t think this is surprising at all,’ wrote Schneier in a blog post. ‘Mobile is the new platform. Mobile is a very intimate platform. It’s where the attackers are going to go.’

Full report here.

Source: zdnet

Are Android mobile apps too expensive?

29 Feb

Summary: According to the report, the top paid-for Android apps are typically “priced dramatically higher” than those made for iOS — specifically for the iPhone — within the United States.

Depending upon a survey form global market research firm Canalys , if you are an Android smartphone or tablet owner, there are chances for you to pay more for your mobile apps than other iOS counterparts.  For example, top 100 paid-for apps in the Android Market would cost a cumulative $374.37, averaging – an average of $3.74 per app. Compare that to the top 100 paid iPhone apps, which would reportedly retail for $147 all together, or $1.47 on average per app.

That equates to Android apps costing roughly 2.5 times more than iOS smartphone apps.

Canalys senior analyst Tim Shepherd explained in the report how the different qualities and environments in the Apple App Store and the Android Market heavily figure into this:

Electronic Arts, for example, regularly offers discounts across its portfolio of games in the App Store to ensure they remain visible to customers by featuring in the top app lists. Price competitiveness is crucial in Apple’s store, where the vast majority of top paid apps cost just $0.99, in a way that is not the case in the Android Market. This leads to disparities whereby an app such as Monopoly is priced at $4.99 in the Android Market, but is discounted to just $0.99 in the Apple App Store.

Shepherd also added that in-app purchases encouraged more heavily “within the Apple ecosystem than on Android, giving iOS developers an advantage in this regard.”

Canalys added that they found similar results when researching this topic in Germany, India, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.

However, that doesn’t mean that the top 100 paid apps for Android were the exactly  same as that of 100 apps for iPhone. Thus, the types of apps being paid for and downloaded more frequently could factor into this stark difference as well.

Source: zdnet

Dell adds data encryption service to their cloud

29 Feb

Summary: Dell joins hands with Trend Micro to add security and control to customer cloud data

With businesses considering moving services to cloud based solutions, even those who plan on using a private cloud have concerns about maintaining the privacy and security of their data. While individual applications and services often have their own security and encryption methodologies, enterprise environments demand centralized management of all critical services.

Well, to satisfy these concerns in their cloud service business, Dell has announced integration with the Trend Micro Secure Cloud as a security model for sensitive data in their Infrastructure-as-a -service Dell Cloud with VMware vCloud Datacenter Service. This service provides encryption in such a way that it has unique server validation and policy-based key encryption. Though the service is directly integrated with the Dell IaaS service, Trend Micro exert its control over encryption and it is not by Dell. Only Dell customers have to access these keys, so that there is an extra level of security there, separating the key management form the hosted Dell service.

With services being hosted in Dell’s cloud datacenters, offering customers this level of security control over their own information is a key component in assuring customers that deploying using Dell services does not reduce the level of control they have over the security of their data. As this is often a primary concern of potential customers, the addition of SecureCloud to the Dell datacenter portfolio is an important one.

SecureCloud fits in with the Dell SecureWorks security services that Dell offers to its customers. SecureWorks offers a full line of services that includes product support and building integrated security solutions. These solutions include everything from perimeter security to ongoing-enterprise-wide infrastructure security services.

Source: zdnet

Report: IBM cutting over 1,000 jobs

29 Feb

IBM, one of the world’s largest companies, is letting go of more than 1,000 employees across North America. Bloomberg says that IBM is letting go of more than 1,000 workers across the United States and Canada on Tuesday

Another report from Information Week, also published on Tuesday, mentions the number of cuts is nearer to 800. However, IBM has forbear  from announcing an official number.

Most of the job cuts are said to have been taken place within the United States — especially the Global Technology Services outsourcing unit — amidst IBM’s reorganization.

On Monday, IBM was said to have cut more than 250 jobs across the U.S. already. IBM spokesman Doug Shelton informed Bloomberg that the layoffs will enable IBM to “remain competitive and relevant in an industry that is constantly changing.”

Computerworld reports that even more layoffs this week remains a possibility.

Captivatingly, the depressing news comes just after a bright note for IBM, which was just hailed by Gartner as the leader in the server market share race as of the end of the fourth quarter of 2011.

Source: zdnet

Microsoft: We’re not involved in an antitrust complaint over Google+

29 Feb

Summary: Microsoft is not part of any new antitrust complaints against Google+ in Europe, company officials said.

A Reuters report on February 28 cited that Microsoft was joining in with other undisclosed companies to convince European regulators of antitrust issues raised by Google+, Microsoft is not part of any such action, Microsoft officials said.

Reuters — citing “two people familiar with the matter” — reported that “Microsoft and several other firms have complained to EU antitrust regulators about Google’s social networking tool … in a move that may prompt the EU to broaden its ongoing investigation into Google.”

A Microsoft spokesperson shared that they  have not filed a complaint regarding Google+.

Twitter and Facebook officials have made no bones about their qualms
about Google’s attempt to tie its search results to its fledgling social-networking service via a combination Google has called “Search Plus Your World.” But Microsoft isn’t a top-tier player in social networking and has less of a vested interest here. This isn’t to say that Microsoft hasn’t sought European Union regulatory intervention on other Google matters. Just last week, Microsoft filed an antitrust complaint against Google and Motorola Mobility around FRAND patents. And in March 2011, Microsoft filed a broad antitrust case against Google with  the European Commission over claims that Google was limiting access to some of its data.

So far, The EC has not issued a statement of objections based on Microsoft’s complaints. The Commission has been formally investigating various antitrust issues involving Google there since November 2010.

Source: zdnet

Dell picks up server share as IBM is No. 1, says Gartner

29 Feb

Global server revenue was up 7.9 percent for 2011, but the fourth quarter ended with a knock down as sales fell 5.4 percent, said Gartner.

IBM is the topper in the server market share race as HP lost ground, according to Gartner data. At the same Dell was able to make  raise in its market share for the fourth quarter.

Gartner said that the shortfall of hard disk drives due to flooding in Thailand hampered server units. Most regions showed growth in the fourth quarter except for Western Europe.

As for the standings, Dell was the only vendor to show fourth quarter revenue growth in servers. One constant in the fourth quarter was that server vendors were focused on poaching from each other. IBM has repeatedly touted its competitive wins against HP and Oracle.

Among the specific data points:

  • Lenovo and Dell were the only vendors to grow shipments in the fourth quarter.
  • HP led in unit shipments in the fourth quarter.
  • IBM is No. 3 in unit shipments, but No. 1 in revenue.
  • For 2011, blade server revenue was up 14.5 percent with shipments up 4.2 percent. HP led in blade servers with 44 percent of shipments. IBM was No. 2 with 21 percent. Cisco had 8 percent shipment share and closed in on Dell at 9.3 percent.