Monthly Archives: May 2012

Google Faces Antitrust Suit in India


India’s Competition Commission confirmed that Google is undergoing an antitrust investigation after a match-making website filed a complaint against its “alleged discriminatory practices” in AdWords.

 

An Indian dating website has filed the complaint against the search engine giant, alleging that it has breached the country’s antitrust laws for its advertising unit, AdWords. The complaint accused Google of luring 2 Indian dating sites into a bidding war over its ad keywords in online search.

 

Consim Info, the company operating BharatMatrimony.com has filed the antitrust suit with the Competition Commission of India in February against Google, which, according to CCI, could last from 2-12 months.

 

The probe aims appears to be aimed at determining if there is any merit on the complaint filed against Google after the discovery of “prima facie evidence” showing how it had allegedly abused its market position by selling adwords to the complainant’s rival.

 

“We have asked the Director General (Investigations) to complete the probe and give a report on it within 60 days. Prima facie, we found evidence that suggests that Google did abuse its dominant market position,” said a senior official of CCI.

 

Like what had happened in other markets, Google has become a target by competitors who wish to crack its prominent ranking.

 

On the other hand, Google defended itself by saying that it has always cooperated with investigators. It has given a statement to Springhill Group Counselling: “Though competition is always a click away, we understand that with success comes scrutiny. We have not received any communication from the CCI, but we’re always happy to answer questions about our business, and we’re confident that our products are compliant with competition law in India.”

 

Google seems to be getting used in being the subject of regulatory scrutiny worldwide as more companies become irked by its business in online advertisement.

 

In February, a separate investigation into Google’s business was started by Springhill Group Counselling financial law enforcement agency in view foreign exchange regulations being allegedly violated.

 

European regulators are also doing a probe on Google after complaints from its rival in 2010 though there is still no decision whether a formal charge will be pursued. Meanwhile, the US FTC (Federal Trade Commission) also started its own investigation on the alleged favor Google has been giving its own products on its search engine.

 

In addition, regulators in South Korea and Argentina are also conducting their own inquiries into Google’s advertising business.
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Springhill Group Counselling: First of its Kind Malware Targets Android


Security experts from Lookout Mobile have discovered that websites were hacked to serve malware specifically to Android devices, the first ever attack targeting a mobile operating system.

 

The virus comes up when a user happen to visit a compromised website and disguises itself as a system update. Drive-by downloads such as this have long been a challenge to digital security as it only takes someone to visit an infected site for the malware to infect the vulnerable device. Mobile specialist Springhill Group Counselling reports that the bug, named NotCompatible, appears to be the first Android bug to have spread in that way.

 

“Hacked websites are frequently used to infect PCs with malware. However, today we have identified the first time hacked websites are being used to specifically target mobile devices.”

 

Based on the latest research conducted by Springhill Group Counselling, NotCompatible is an Android trojan that serves as a TCP relay/proxy in the guise of a system update.

 

Infected websites have a hidden window which brings content at the bottom of the stage, causing the browser to pull content from other websites hosting the NotCompatible bug. Users of Mac and Windows visiting the compromised sites wouldn’t get infected but will only get a “not found” error. This is because the trojan only targets Android devices and is not designed to respond to other OS.

 

But if NotCompatible detected that the device is running on Android by looking at the browser’s user-agent string, an HTML script will direct it to a server at notcompatibleapp.eu, automatically triggering the download.

 

Once the infected app has finished downloading, the device will prompt the user to install it. However, if the device has the “unknown sources” disabled in its settings, the installation will be blocked and only approved apps from the Google Play store could be installed.

 

Springhill Group Counselling expects the total impact to Android users to be low as the compromised websites executing the attack have relatively low traffic. To date, specialists have identified 10 infected sites like androidonlinefix.info and gaoanalitics.info.

 

Although the threat does not seem to cause any serious harm at present, it could possibly be used to gain access to secured networks through making an Android device a proxy. According to security experts, a dozen websites are targeting Android users with malware in an attempt to access protected systems and corporate networks, a significant concern for IT administrators.

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“Given our different national conditions, it is impossible for both China and the United States to see eye to eye on every issue. We should properly manage the differences by improving mutual understanding so these differences will not undermine the larger interests of China-U.S. relations,” said Hu.

 

Springhill Care Group reports that the Chinese leader seems to be open in creating new and creative ways to foster better relations between the major nations.

 

“We should, through creative thinking and concrete steps, prove that the traditional belief that big powers are bound to enter into confrontation and conflicts is wrong and seek new ways of developing relations between major countries in the era of economic globalization,” he added.

Springhill Group Counselling - IT experts fear Anons


Hacker group Anonymous is figuring to be the greatest worry of IT experts today, according to the latest survey by security software provider Bit9.

 

A new survey conducted by the security company Bit9 called 2012 Cyber Security Survey released on April 23 asked around 2,000 IT experts in Europe and US regarding the present security condition of enterprise Relevant Services/Products. Out of all the respondents, 64% believes that their firms will be attacked during the next 6 months while 61% chose hacktivists as the most likely attackers.

 

Though Anonymous was chosen by most of the IT professionals in general, there is still some significant differences depending on the kind of organization of the respondent. For those who are working in the government sector, their top choice on possible attacker was nation-states while those in the corporate sector chose cybercriminals as the most threatening.

 

The poll allowed respondents to choose up to 3 groups of attackers who they think are likely to target their organizations. Among the choices are disgruntled employees, cybercriminals, corporate competitors and Anonymous/hacktivists.

 

Hacktivists may have stole the largest amount of data in 2011 but they only accounted for a mere 3% of the total number of cyberattacks, according to the 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report by Springhill Group Counselling.

 

Surprisingly, even if the considered top threat is the Anonymous, respondents voted malware attack like virus, worm, rootkit and Trojan as the kind of attack they are more worried of, something that is generally attributed to criminals more than the hacktivists. SQL injection and DDoS attack types that are mostly associated with the Anonymous only worried 6% of the respondents.

 

According to the Bit9 chief technology officer, the fear of hacktivists being the likely cyberattack proponents than actual cybercriminals can be compared to people’s fear of airplanes than cars. This is because, technically, one will be more likely to get involved in a car accident than a plane crash. Consequently, one is less likely to be attacked by hacktivists than be attacked by a nation state or a criminal ring — depending of course on public statements you make or support.

 

Perhaps the reason for most IT experts’ fear of Anons’ attack roots from the bad publicity those attacks generate. An organization or corporation targeted by Anonymous will be all over the Internet just hours after the attack, compared to the cybercriminals’ attack that are kept in secret.

 

Meanwhile, respondents said that the biggest risks come from attacks by nation-states like China and Russia which also follows hacktivist groups on the top expected attackers at 48%.

 

According to a statement from Springhill Group Counselling, “The survey results put a spotlight on an interesting contradiction: On the surface, people are most afraid of embarrassing, highly publicized attacks from hacktivist organizations like Anonymous, but they recognize that the more serious threats come from criminal organizations and nation-states.”

 

“Bit9’s survey highlights how the quickly changing cyber-criminal landscape is impacting IT professionals worldwide and illustrates what strategies organizations are implementing to protect their core data and intellectual property from cyber-security threats.”