Security Watch

Microsoft Wants You for Security Essentials Beta

Plus: One dumb hacker tries to blackmail his way into a job; FBI cracks down on counterfeit merchandise online.

Actually, it's only looking for a handful of participants. But those that get into Microsoft's beta program for the next version of Security Essentials will be able to test drive what Microsoft is touting as an "updated engine [that] offers enhanced detection and cleanup capabilities."

While details on the beta are lacking, Microsoft has highlighted some of the newly included or enhanced features, including:

  • Automatic removal of "high-impact" malware infections
  • Improved performance (whether this means that Security Essentials will suck up less juice when running is of yet to be seen).
  • A redesigned, streamlined UI.

Those interested in giving the Microsoft Security Essentials beta a spin on your home computer (SE is not designed for the enterprise setting) can sign up here.

What do you like and dislike about Microsoft's free antivirus software? What would you like to see in the next version? Share all your thoughts concerning Security Essentials with me at [email protected].

Hackers Need Not Apply
I don't know about you, but hacking into a potential employer's system, swiping confidential information and then attempting to blackmail the company into giving you a job doesn't sound like the best strategy for landing employment, even in these trying times.

But that's exactly what one not-too-bright Hungarian hacker attempted to do. The 26-year-old Attila Nemeth pleaded guilty last week after he hijacked eight documents from the hotel chain Marriot's system and sent an e-mail to the company demanding a job in its IT department.

When the company failed to respond, he sent a second e-mail outlining exactly what he had stolen and threatened to release the private information to the public. That's when Marriot sprung into action.

The company, with the aid of the U.S. Secret Service, created a fictitious Marriott HR representative to trick the hacker into providing personal information and taking a trip to Washington, DC for an interview (unbeknownst to Nemeth, he was interviewing for up to a  10-year sentence in federal prison).

Will Attila Nemeth win the award for the dumbest hacker of 2011? I can't imagine anybody topping him. Share your favorite dumb hacker stories with me at [email protected].

Authentic Cyber Monday Takedown
In an attempt to burn off those excess Thanksgiving calories, the FBI are chasing down Web sites that are selling counterfeit goods.

 In this year's annual takedown, part of the FBI's Operation In Our Site, authorities have taken control of over 150 domains that are believed to be selling fraudulent and knockoff goods -- goods that include Ugg boots, bootleg DVDs and unlicensed sports memorabilia.

While this action looks to save customers from disappointment once their items arrive, ICE Director John Morton sees this as a way the government can help a shaky business climate. "More and more Americans are doing their holiday shopping online, and they may not realize that purchasing counterfeit goods results in American jobs lost, American business profits stolen and American consumers receiving substandard products."

Too bad the FBI couldn't use thes resources and manpower to track down the jerk that sold me a counterfeit version of Windows 7 over eBay…

Have you ever inadvertently purchased bogus goods online? Does the knowledge that this occurs stop you from buying online? Share your thoughts at [email protected].

About the Author

Chris Paoli (@ChrisPaoli5) is the associate editor for Converge360.

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