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This must read PDF document by McAfee contains a crystal-ball look into threats in the cybersphere and on our computers and digital devices.

The table of contents includes important – and chilling – information about how the bad guys will exploit your social media, mobile devices, Apple products and applications.

Also included is Sophistication Mimics Legitimacy, malware that imitates legitimate files and “friendly fire” – in which personalized attacks are about to get a whole lot more personal and will appear to come from your social media friends.

The evolving, sophisticated and challenging threats are presented by Botnets, hacktivism, information and identity theft and, as disturbing, the inspiring and fomenting of riots and other real-world demonstrations; and that’s not even counting Advanced Persistent Threats, in which companies of all sizes that have any involvement in national security or major global economic activities could come under pervasive and continuous attacks that go after email archives, document stores, intellectual property repositories and other databases.

More threats via tech gadgets

Got one of those best-selling Internet-ready HDTV models? If so, listen up.

“Consumer electronics makers as a class seem to be rushing to connect all their products to the Internet,” said Adrian Turner, Mocana’s chief executive. Mocana is a security technology company in San Francisco. “I can tell you for a fact that the design teams at these companies have not put enough thought into security.”

His statement came after Mocana researchers discovered they could hack into the Internet-ready HDTV model with unsettling ease.

U.N. makes its move – Internet Governance Forum

Underscoring an already uneasy relationship between organizations that have helped steer the Internet since its infancy and the United Nations, the action of “officials” from 18 countries, including China and Iran, who held an unplanned late-night meeting last month in Geneva, set off a storm of protest from civilian Internet organizations.

The reason? All 18 countries voted to staff a governmental working group on the future of cyberspace through the Internet Governance Forum.

As a result, a worldwide community of Internet technical experts, academics and civil society groups howled that they had been excluded from the deliberations. Fourteen technical organizations wrote an open letter asking the U.N. Commission on Science and Technology for Development to reverse its decision. Eleven days later the Commission succumbed to the pressure and agreed to include up to 20 non-governmental groups.

Question: Is a U.N. Internet takeover looming?

Cyber crime worth over $100 billion annually

“I hope I’m wrong, but a next world war may well start on the ‘Net, in cyberspace,” says Dr. Hamadoun Toure’, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union. “Cyber war is not occurring right now, but some nation states are preparing themselves for it, and that’s unfortunate. Cyber threats can reach parts of a nation that physical threats cannot. Attacks on critical infrastructure can stall a country’s progress and quickly cause civil unrest.

“Cyberspace is driven by innovation and, unfortunately, the concept of a superpower no longer exists in the way it did before,” he says. “Every individual on the planet can be a potential superpower and can make an attack that can be lethal.
“Cyber threats have to be taken very seriously and that’s why we urgently need to put in place a platform for global cooperation and coordination,” he claims.

Question: Do you think a “cyber peace treaty” should be created by the U.N. to prevent the Internet from becoming a domain in which countries wage war against one another, as they do by air or at sea?

Only 21 percent want Internet control

More than half of American voters surveyed in a Rasmussen poll believe free market competition will protect Internet users more than government regulation. And they are concerned that regulation will be used to push a political agenda.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 54 percent are opposed to Federal Communications Commission’s attempt to regulate the Internet as it does television and radio. Only one out of five — or 21 percent – say they want to FCC to control the Internet through regs. Another 25 percent said they weren’t sure.

View the survey questions here.

Digital fast lane puts Tweeters on plane in 140 characters or less

Twitter’s bluebird helped some snowstorm-stranded travelers wing their way home, leaving less tech savvy flyers behind in all that white dust.

It is said that necessity is the mother of invention, and Twitter users stuck at shut down airports came up with a gem of an innovation: When all else failed, they Twittered airlines to get the inside track on flight information, lost luggage and book a seat home.

Nine Delta Air Lines agents with special Twitter training rotated shifts to help tweeting travelers who knew enough to “dm” or “direct message” them for assistance. Other airlines also answered Tweets, even if they were nothing more than messaged complaints.
“Although airlines reported a doubling or tripling of Twitter traffic during the latest storm, the number of travelers who use Twitter is still small. Only about 8 percent of people who go online use Twitter,” said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project, a nonprofit organization that studies the social impact of the Internet.

“This is still the domain of elite activist customers,” Mr. Rainie said.

SKYPE offline

If you use Skype, you might have been inconvenienced last week when a bug in an older version of Skype software caused an outage to more than half of its users. The bug overloaded the servers last Wednesday and Thursday too after a group of offline messaging servers became overloaded, according to the Skype company’s blog.

Newer versions of Skype’s software, such as version 5.0.0.156, and older versions of Skype were not affected by the initial problem.

Do ask, do tell, and meet me there as well

Homosexual U.S. military men and women can now find a friend from a new social network website named Out Military.

Almost immediately following President Obama’s signing of the new law repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule established in 1993, Outmilitary.com was established as a Facebook-type social network site for homosexual and lesbian military men and women.

The U.S. military is in the process of drafting rules to implement the new policy, and a specific date for implementation has not been set.

Twitter and the high-tech arms race

The escalating war for IT talent in Silicon Valley is reportedly creating competition between tech companies. Facebook, Zynga and Twitter are hiring. Google is offering employees a 10-percent pay increase for 2011.

Google’s Eric Schmidt agrees there is a talent war.

About.me was acquired days after launch; and job postings, approaching astronomical levels, are likely to spill out of the Valley into other countries.

London is a prime spot, with its English speaking labor force and draw for existing tech people in Europe working for U.S. multinationals. Twitter is the latest to consider London for its high concentration of media companies and global advertising agencies and engineers.

Social media not as effective during shopping season

Market research firm ForSee Results has found that just 5 percent of online holiday shoppers were primarily influenced to visit top retailer sites by social media channels. Nineteen percent were motivated to shop by promotional e-mail.

ForSee’s survey also found Amazon.com and Netflix tied for the highest satisfaction score, and six online retailers, including BestBuy.com and Target.com, tied for last. Here is the full list.

But the Northeast blizzard did help with online sales, surging totals to a record $30.8 billion.

Sears adds online movies

Sears is getting into the online streaming movie download market. The Alphaline Entertainment site went live last Tuesday. The site enables Sears and Kmart customers to download movies for $2.99 to $3.99 a clip, the same day they are released on DVD and Blu-ray. Customers also have the option to buy movies.

e-books out-selling real books online

Did you get an e-reader for Christmas? If so, you were among a million who did. In a sign of the changing times, bookseller Barnes & Noble now sells more digital books than physical volumes on its online bookstore. Nearly one million e-books were bought or downloaded on Christmas Day alone, with the Nook e-reader among the best sellers. The Nook Color was the B&N’s No. 1 selling holiday gift item. It’s estimated that about two million of them have been sold, compared with about six million Amazon Kindles.

Staggering numbers

In a twenty-minute slice of time, what had:

  • 1 million links shared
  • 1.3 million tagged photos
  • 1.5 million event invites sent out
  • 1.6 million wall posts
  • 1.8 million status updates
  • 1.97 million friend requests accepted
  • 2.7 million photos uploaded
  • 10.2 million comments
  • 4.6 million messages?

If you guessed Facebook, you’d be correct.

According to TechCrunch:Democracy UK, a UK-focused political campaigning initiative by Facebook, has just released a number of mind-blowing stats on the massive usage of the network by its 500-plus million members in 2010. Over the course of the year, Facebook reports that 43,869,800 members changed their status to single, 3,025,791 changed their status to ‘it’s complicated,’ 28,460,516 changed their status to in a relationship, 5,974,574 changed their status to engaged and 36,774,801 changed their status to married.”

Best of …

With the new year come the “Best Of” lists. And I suppose this column would not be complete without adding at least one. So, here’s a list of ten of the most remarkable ideas to have emerged in 2010, including the iPad, mobile giving, and Ushahidi.

Hint: Ushahidi, from the Swahili word meaning “testimony,” is a social-media app that was built in Kenya to let citizens alert each other to election unrest. It also played a crucial role in mapping the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the earthquake in Haiti.

Ushahidi’s latest role: helping Washington, D.C. dig itself out from its Snowpocalypse of 2010.

The time capsule

1884 – Fabian Society formed in London

1920 – Yankees purchase Babe Ruth from Boston

1947 – Congress’ first live TV broadcast

1951 – Seoul evacuated as communist forces move to re-capture

1959 – Alaska becomes 49th state

1965 – LBJ introduces “Great Society” at State of the Union

1994 – Skater Nancy Kerrigan attacked, withdraws from competition

Now playing at the Princess Theater in Urbana, Ill.

Congratulations to WorldNetDaily readers Chuck Nixon of Gamerco, N.M., and Harry Wolfenbarger Jr. of Dodge City, Kan., who were among the first to correctly guess actor Sean Connery in his portrayal of William Forrester in the award- winning 2000 film “Finding Forrester”, directed by Gus Van Sant.

Jamal Wallace (portrayed by Rob Brown) is a black American teenager invited into a prestigious private high school. By chance, Jamal befriends reclusive writer William Forrester through whom he refines his natural talent for writing and comes to terms with his identity. View the movie trailer.

The quote: “The key to a woman’s heart is an unexpected gift at an unexpected time.”

This week’s quote: “All the arguing in the world can’t change the decision of the umpire.”

Name the movie, the actor and the character. Send your answer to me at the email address below. Good luck!

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