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Is end point security a waste of time?

This article is part of the Business IT Series in association with Intel

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‘I’m past the point of no return’: inside hacker’s world before becoming FBI plant

At the large public housing project in New York City where he lived, outsiders knew him as a quiet family man. But federal prosecutors say Hector Xavier Monsegur was an internet saboteur known as Sabu.

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Check Point ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2012 review

Check Point’s ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2012 (£30.95 for one year and three PCs) isn’t bad, but it’s merely very good compared to the recent crop of internet security suites.

ZoneAlarm fully blocked 92.3% of live attacks in our real-world tests, which help determine how well a security suite can stop brand-new malware. That isn’t a bad showing, but it does lag slightly below the average for the suites we looked at in recent tests. It detected 99.17% of known malware samples; although that result would have been strong one year ago, this year it’s merely average.

This suite wasn’t especially good at cleanup, either: Despite detecting all infections on our test PC, it disabled only 90% of them, while most products in recent tests successfully disabled all test infections. ZoneAlarm removed all malware components just 40% of the time, too, tying for last in that test. Fortunately, it didn’t flag a single safe file as being potentially malicious.

Even though ZoneAlarm had a moderate impact on system performance on the whole, it added a staggering 24 seconds to our PC’s shutdown time (compared with how long the system took with no antivirus software installed), easily landing at the back of the pack in that particular test. It was also one of the worst performers in our app-installation test — it added 72 seconds to the completion time, which is about 28 seconds longer than the average.

Scan speeds were mixed: ZoneAlarm required 2 minutes, 53 seconds to finish our on-demand test, which shows how quickly a suite can complete a manually initiated scan of 4.5GB. This showing was second-slowest result we saw in the 2012 test group. Its on-access scanner took 3 minutes, 45 seconds to plow through 4.5GB of data, which was the third-best result we saw this year. Since the on-access scanner runs when you open or save a file, it’s a little more important than the manual on-demand scan, so we were happy to see that ZoneAlarm performed well in this area, at least.

Check Point did reasonably well on the interface. The main screen gives you a good idea of whether your PC is protected, and sections are nicely arranged and fairly easy to use. It has slider controls that make it easy to toggle features on and off, as well. The settings screens are decent, but inconsistent at times. One in particular — the Antispam settings window — looks like a holdover from an older version of ZoneAlarm software, and it doesn’t work the way the other panels do.

On the plus side, ZoneAlarm Extreme Security comes with a few extra features, such as credit report monitoring, which you may find useful. At the same time, though, it lacks some features that are common in other suites, and its support options appear to be scant.

If you already use ZoneAlarm products and like them, you should upgrade to this newest version. Otherwise, while ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2012 is a good all-around package, you should consider some other suites first.

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View full post on National Cyber Security » Computer Hacking

Stratfor cyberattack adds an exclamation point to ‘Year of the Hack’

Don’t be too surprised if historians look back at 2011 and dub it “The Year of the Hack.” If so, it won’t likely be due to raw numbers of computer networks infiltrated or websites defaced, but rather the fact that cyberspies, criminals, and hacktivists finally registered as a major threat in the public mind and with news media.

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Shell Point Village resident reports credit card fraud

Lee County sheriff’s deputies are investigating a case of credit card fraud at Shell Point Village.

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Hacker’s Hill funding at the halfway point

CASCO — Loon Echo Land Trust reported this week that it has
raised more than half the amount it needs to purchase Hacker’s

The land trust’s executive director, Carrie Walia, reports the
campaign has so far received donations and pledges totaling
$435,000. The campaign began in earnest in late July, and has until
June to raise the remaining balance.

The bulk of the donations come from the town of Casco ($75,000),
the state Department of Conservation/Land for Maine’s Future Board
($220,000), the Davis Conservation Foundation in Yarmouth ($25,000)
and the Carol and David Hancock Charitable Trust ($15,000).
Numerous smaller private donors from the area have also donated to
the cause, Walia said.

“Loon Echo is pleased and somewhat surprised to reach the halfway
point four to five months into the effort, especially in this
economy,” Walia said this week. “We were a little hesitant whether
we could pull this off in this economy, but so far, so good.”

Hacker’s Hill has been owned by the Hall family of Casco for
several generations and is accessible by car up a steep approach
road off Quaker Ridge Road in Casco. Once at the top of the hill,
visitors can take in a 270-degree vista of surrounding Sebago Lake,
the White Mountains and western Maine. The road is only open in
warmer months.

The Hall family, as well as family friend Don Fowler, have
maintained bathroom facilities and cared for the grounds for years.
With Conrad Hall retiring, however, the family decided to put the
20-plus-acre property on the market two years ago for $1.6 million.
With the economic recession and the family’s desire that a future
owner maintain public access, the property failed to sell.

Last May, the family entered a one-year agreement allowing Loon
Echo Land Trust, a nonprofit environmental group based in Bridgton
that already preserves or maintains 800 acres in the Lakes Region,
to raise $800,000 to purchase the property. The sale price is
$700,000, and the land trust is attempting to raise $100,000 extra
to pay for legal fees, fundraising expenses and ongoing maintenance
of the property.

Walia said her group has held fundraising events such as a hawk
migration walk and geology-themed field trips. A donor party was
held this summer at Migis Lodge in South Casco.

In the next month or so, Walia said, she will be attending a Casco
Board of Selectmen meeting to discuss uses of the property if the
land trust is able to acquire the property.

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View full post on National Cyber Security » Computer Hacking

Check Point Announces ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 2012

REDWOOD CITY, CA–(Marketwire — Nov 9, 2011) — Check Point’ Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP), the worldwide leader in securing the Internet, announced today the availability of ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 2012, the latest version of ZoneAlarm’s powerful two-way firewall. ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 2012, compatible with any standalone Antivirus (AV) package, blocks hackers and prevents viruses and spyware that by-pass antivirus software. To download a free copy, please visit

“More than 200 million people today use free antivirus software, but they lack a strong two-way firewall, leaving their PCs vulnerable to online attacks,” said Bari Abdul, vice president of consumer sales at Check Point Software Technologies. “Antivirus alone is not enough. It misses almost 30% of viruses, and it does not provide any protection against hackers. At a minimum, consumers need to strengthen their security by adding a strong, two-way firewall on top of their antivirus software. ZoneAlarm is offering an effective solution.”

ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 2012 boasts a new intuitive user interface, offering consumers a simple way to protect their PCs. Once installed, it works automatically and quietly in the background. It monitors both incoming and outgoing traffic to and from a PC and the Internet — blocking hackers from getting into a PC and stopping them from sending out information and attacks.

For example, ZoneAlarm Free Firewall renders a PC invisible to hackers, preventing them from gaining access to a user’s computer and stealing information. And when malware, such as spyware or bots, bypasses AV software and infects a user’s PC, ZoneAlarm Free Firewall’s unique “outbound” protection kicks in. Outbound protection stops thieves from sending stolen information back to its host servers and distributing attacks or spam to the PC owner’s contacts. ZoneAlarm Free Firewall provides a critical first and last defense.

While other firewalls create too many confusing alerts or, like the default Windows firewall, provide only partial protection, ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 2012 simplifies the experience for all users. It is powered by ZoneAlarm DefenseNetT, a proven 3rd generation cloud-based service. ZoneAlarm DefenseNet automatically verifies the safety of a program by analyzing data from more than 60 million users through the cloud, eliminating overwhelming alerts and interruptions.

ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 2012 Summary of Features

2-Way Firewall — Stops inbound and outbound attacks
New User Interface — Makes it simple for all users
New Installer — Provides faster installation and set up
ZoneAlarm DefenseNetT — Delivers robust protection without overwhelming alerts
Identity Theft Protection- — Delivers data encryption and offers offline identity protection
Anti-Phishing/Site Status Toolbar — Blocks spyware distribution sites and fraudulent phishing websites
Compatible with Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP
Compatible with all standalone antivirus software

ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 2012 is available today in English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian. All ZoneAlarm 2012 PC and Facebook premium products, including ZoneAlarm’ Extreme Security and ZoneAlarm’ SocialGuard, are also available worldwide in all of these languages.

Pricing and Availability
ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 2012 is available for download at It is completely free for individuals and not-for-profit charitable entities. For the latest updates, follow ZoneAlarm on Facebook and Twitter.

For security tips on protecting against the latest social networking risks, visit the ZoneAlarm blog at:

About Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.
Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (, the worldwide leader in securing the Internet, provides customers with uncompromised protection against all types of threats, reduces security complexity and lowers total cost of ownership. Check Point first pioneered the industry with FireWall-1 and its patented stateful inspection technology. Today, Check Point continues to develop new innovations based on the Software Blade Architecture, providing customers with flexible and simple solutions that can be fully customized to meet the exact security needs of any organization. Check Point is the only vendor to go beyond technology and define security as a business process. Check Point 3D Security uniquely combines policy, people and enforcement for greater protection of information assets and helps organizations implement a blueprint for security that aligns with business needs. Customers include tens of thousands of organizations of all sizes, including all Fortune and Global 100 companies. Check Point’s award-winning ZoneAlarm solutions protect millions of consumers from hackers, spyware and identity theft.

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View full post on National Cyber Security » Spyware/ Cyber Snooping

Gergory Evans

Check Point Unveils ZoneAlarm(R) Free Firewall 2012

REDWOOD CITY, CA– — Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. , the worldwide leader in securing the Internet, announced today the availability of ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 2012, the latest version of ZoneAlarm …

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Gergory Evans

Check Point software takes aim at botnets

Check Point Software is coming out with technology designed specifically to fight bots and cyberattacks by discovering infections, finding command and control servers and cutting off communications with them.

Anti Bot Software Blade is a program that runs on Check Point gateways that also runs other security applications. The company founder and CEO Gil Schwed says it is a landmark for the company. “This is probably our biggest product announcement ever,” he said.

Anti-bot software blade monitors network traffic and discovers machines that get infected and stops bot damage by blocking command and control communications and any attempts to send out stolen data or carry out orders to send spam. The product includes forensics that give reports on the level of the attack, the number of machines hit, and details down to activity of individual machines that have been taken over


The heart of the new software is ThreatSpect, the anti-bot engine that identifies bots and focuses in three areas: detecting command and control computers via IP address, DNS and URL; detecting communications patterns; and detecting and blocking what data it is trying to send, Schwed says.

The company claims that Anti Bot Software Blade identified active bots at 100% of test sites. “This is an amazing statistic,” Schwed says. A pharmaceutical company found 61 bot infected machines in one department in the first hour the software was running, he says.

The new product is the latest security application available as a blade in Check Point’s software-blade architecture, which lets customers pick and choose which security functions it wants running on a single hardware platform. Other blades include firewall, VPN, IPS, identity awareness and application control.

New hardware

Check Point is also announcing a new family of hardware devices for delivering high-performance deployments of the security software. The new devices sell for about the same price as current Check Point devices but support up to triple the performance. Check Point says it will continue to sell and support the older models.

For example, at the low end, Check Point’s UTM-1 130 appliance costs $3,500 and has 1.5Gbps firewall throughput and 1Gbps IPS throughput. The new analogous device Check Point 2200 costs $3,600 and has 3Gbps firewall throughput and 2Gbps IPS throughput.

In another example, data-centre appliance Check Point 12200 costs $29,000 has 15Gbps firewall throughput and 8Gbps throughput. It is analogous to the current UTM-1 3070 that costs $27,900, has 4.5Gbps throughput and 4Gbps IPS throughput.

The new appliances are shipping now. Their names and prices are: Check Point 2200 ($3,600); Check Point 4200 ($4,900); Check Point 4600 ($11,000); Check Point 4800 ($21,000); Check Point 12200 ($29,000); Check Point 12400 ($45,000); Check Point 12600 ($59,000).

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View full post on National Cyber Security » Computer Hacking

Nuclear warheads could be next Stuxnet target: Check Point

Due to the complexity and sophistication of the code contained within the Stuxnet worm, the possibility of it being used to take control of a nuclear warhead is high, according to a security expert.

At Check Point’s Sydney conference this week, Check Point Israel security evangelist, Tomer Teller, said he analysed the code of the Stuxnet worm, which was used to take control of a nuclear facility in Iran in June, 2009.

“This is a huge file, it’s 1 megabyte [MB] of code and I respect the skill required to engineer that code as it is very complex,” he said.

Teller confirmed the code in Stuxnet could be modified to launch new SCADA attacks.

“Nuclear warheads are controlled by computers so if someone managed to slip a worm inside a facility that will reach the warhead component, they could launch it and than aim it back at the country’s facility,” he said.

“Stuxnet is the first cyber weapon that could cause major disruption.”

While Teller is uncertain which country was behind the Iranian nuclear facility attack, he said a USB stick was the most likely method used to carry the worm inside the facility.

However, Teller also mentioned a rogue employee may have helped compromise the facility’s internal security defences first to help the rapid spread of Stuxnet.

He explained that in order to insert certificates embedded with Stuxnet into a Windows 64-bit system, it had to be trusted by Microsoft.

“In order to get something trusted by Microsoft, you need to get those exploits signed,” Teller said.

“What we think happened is that an insider broke into JMicron, a chip manufacturing company based in Taiwan, as there is a computer at that office which is dedicated to signing these Microsoft drivers.”

According to Teller, Stuxnet is a blueprint for future SCADA attacks, and he is aware that people have downloaded and modified the worm.

“Stuxnet may have been deployed already but we don’t know about it because some companies won’t disclose breaches,” he said.

Got a security tip-off? Contact Hamish Barwick at hamish_barwick at

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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View full post on National Cyber Security » Virus/Malware/Worms

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