Microsoft software bug linked to "Duqu" virus

News of Duqu surfaced in October when security software maker Symantec Corp said it had found a mysterious computer virus that contained code similar to Stuxnet, a piece of malicious software believed to have wreaked havoc on Iran's nuclear program.

Government and private investigators around the world are racing to unlock the secret of Duqu, with early analysis suggesting that it was developed by sophisticated hackers to help lay the groundwork for attacks on critical infrastructure such as power plants, oil refineries and pipelines.

Details on how Duqu got onto infected machines emerged for the first time on Tuesday as Microsoft disclosed its link to the infection.

Separately, Symantec researchers said they believe hackers sent the virus to targeted victims via emails with tainted Microsoft Word documents attached.

If a recipient opened the Word document and infected the PC, the attacker could take control of the machine and reach into an organization's network to propagate itself and hunt for data, Symantec researcher Kevin Haley told Reuters.

He said some of the source code used in Duqu was also used in Stuxnet, a cyber weapon believed to have crippled centrifuges that Iran uses to enrich uranium.

That suggests that the attackers behind Stuxnet either gave that code to the developers of Duqu, allowed it to be stolen, or are the same people who built Duqu, Haley said.

"We believe it is the latter," he said.

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Privacy and concerns

As the world's largest community operator one would expect Facebook to be at the front of the debate on privacy. However Facebook is front, center, left and right - why? Is it because Facebook has scaled so quickly and is breaking new ground or are there fundamental cultural issues regarding Facebook's view of community?

Facebook has a history of being 'liberal' with members privacy:

  • According to SAI sources the following exchange is between a 19 year old Mark Zuckerberg and a friend shortly after he launched Facebook,
    Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
    Zuck: Just ask.
    Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
    [Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?
    Zuck: People just submitted it.
    Zuck: I don't know why.
    Zuck: They "trust me"
    Zuck: Dumb f***s.
  • Nov 2007 - Facebook launched Beacon - a part of Facebook's advertising service that sent data from external sites to Facebook. The controversial service created considerable concerns around privacy and Facebook later shutdown the service after first changing the system to be opt-in.

  • Feb 2009 - Facebook cut its TOS from 15 to 5 pages and users alleged Facebook's new terms claimed ownership over their photos, videos and other content posted to the site. Facebook quickly backtracked saying users, not Facebook, own the content - however there remains no export functionality.

  • Dec 2009 - Facebook announced new privacy changes in this blog post where users had privacy settings such as Posts I create (status messages, links, photos, videos and notes) auto defaulted to 'everyone' meaning the world via search engines.

  • Dec 2009 - Facebook notified users of privacy changes via a pop-up notification. While the message claimed that Facebook was displaying the message to give users more privacy controls, blindly clicking “next” was a way to make much of your data public. And in fact, some data like the Friends List has become more public without any settings changes by users (Mashable). Zuckerberg declared privacy as, "no longer a social norm"

  • Apr 2010 - Facebook launched Instant Personalization default opting-in all members. This made stirred up lawmakers. US Senator Charles Schumer raised concern to the FTC about how Facebook disseminates information.

  • May 2010 - Privacy blunder which exposed live chat sessions as detailed in a Tech Crunch blog titled, 'Major Facebook security hole lets you view your friends’ live chats.'

Source: IT Toolbox


May 13, 2010 at 7:22pm ET by Danny Sullivan

Are a significant number of people cancelling their Facebook accounts because of privacy concerns? The easy answer would be for Facebook to publish cancellation stats. I asked; they declined and gave me growth figures instead. Those growth figures suggest that yes, the privacy issues might be hurting.

Does Interest In Deleting = Quitting?

I’ve written twice this week now about how search-related data shows a spike in people seeking information about how to cancel their Facebook accounts:

But does that interest translate into actual cancellations? I asked Facebook if it would provide month-by-month figures for those deleting their accounts, along with user growth figures. Instead, I was provided this:

We don’t release the specific data you’re looking for. I can say that since our recent developer conference, Facebook has grown by more than 10 million active users.

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