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Google Inc Google today acquired ReCAPTCHA Inc., a spin-off of Carnegie Mellon University's Computer Science Department, has been acquired by Google Inc. The Pittsburgh company developed online puzzles that serve the dual purpose of protecting Web sites and digitizing printed text. Read More The reCAPTCHA puzzles, which consist of words with distorted letters that computer users must decipher to register for services online or otherwise gain access to a Web site, began as a research project of Luis von Ahn, assistant professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon. ReCAPTCHAs were introduced in 2007 and are used by many leading Web sites. The company, ReCAPTCHA Inc., was founded by von Ahn in 2008.

Like similar CAPTCHA (Completely Automatic Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) puzzles, reCAPTCHAs distinguish human visitors to Web sites from automated intruders. But reCAPTCHAs are created using words from printed texts that current optical character recognition programs are incapable of reading. So when humans solve the puzzle, they also help digitize pre-computer-age books, newspapers and other printed materials.

"Google is the best fit for reCAPTCHA," von Ahn said. "From the very start, people often assumed the project was connected to Google, so it only makes sense that reCAPTCHA Inc. ultimately would find a home within Google."

Multiple ties exist between Google and Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science, von Ahn noted. Many researchers from the two organizations collaborate with each other and Google's Pittsburgh engineering office is situated on Carnegie Mellon's campus. In 2006, Google licensed the ESP Game, an online game devised by von Ahn, for use as the Google Image Labeler.

Von Ahn will remain on the computer science faculty, but will also work at Google's Pittsburgh engineering office.

ReCAPTCHA Inc. is among the startups that have participated in Carnegie Mellon's Project Olympus, which provides advice, incubator space and investor connections to help faculty and students explore the commercial potential of their ideas.

About Carnegie Mellon: Carnegie Mellon (www.cmu.edu) is a private, internationally ranked research university with programs in areas ranging from science, technology and business, to public policy, the humanities and the fine arts. More than 11,000 students in the university's seven schools and colleges benefit from a small student-to-faculty ratio and an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. A global university, Carnegie Mellon's main campus in the United States is in Pittsburgh, Pa. It has campuses in California's Silicon Valley and Qatar, and programs in Asia, Australia and Europe. The university is in the midst of a $1 billion fundraising campaign, titled "Inspire Innovation: The Campaign for Carnegie Mellon University," which aims to build its endowment, support faculty, students and innovative research, and enhance the physical campus with equipment and facility improvements.

Source: Prnewswire

1. Avira Premium Security Suite 9

I often recommend Avira's free AntiVir virus scanner (www.free-av.com)—I especially like the fact that it offers a bootable rescue CD as a free download. Unfortunately, I didn't find quite as much to like in the full Avira Premium Security Suite 9. A significant bug in the on-demand malware scanner could leave users thinking malware was removed when in fact it was ignored,. Avira had a relatively low impact on system performance, coming in with the second smallest impact on two of my tests. But a default setting in its spam filter slowed e-mail downloading. I also have a problem with the suite's needlessly complex user interaction. I'm hoping for a complete makeover before the next version.


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2. G data
G DATA AntiVirus 2009 (formerly AntiVirusKit) is a simple and effective antivirus solution. It’s a basic and easy-to-use product that actually does what it’s supposed to do: protect your computer. G DATA has been one of the best European antivirus software manufacturers for over 20 years, and continues to find new users worldwide with their simple and valuable security software. AntiVirus 2009 from G DATA is no exception, delivering new innovations that make virus protection software straightforward without sacrificing security.

3. ESET Smart Security 4.0
ESET Smart Security 4.0 keeps its performance impact low by including only the most essential security elements: firewall, antivirus, antispyware, and spam filter. It had the least impact of any suite on browsing and came in third or better (out of 16) on all but one performance test. The independent testing labs praise its antivirus component, but the firewall's program control is turned off by default. This version includes the option to (laboriously) create a bootable rescue CD. It also integrates ESET's extremely useful SysInspector diagnostic tool.

4. Kaspersky Internet Security 2009
Kaspersky Internet Security's new user interface hides messy security details but leaves them accessible to power users. The new application-filtering feature renders the suite smart enough to make its own decisions without hassling the user. As long as you don't plan to rely on it for spam filtering or parental control, Kasperksy's suite is a good choice.


5. BitDefender Internet Security 2009
BitDefender has added a ton of new features—online backup and remote configuration, for example. It includes all the expected security elements, with decent performance from most of them. It's a reasonable choice if you're excited by those extra features.



6.TrustPort PC Security 2009
The new consumer-side suite from enterprise security vendor TrustPort PC Security 2009 doesn't offer either the tough security protection or the unobtrusive, helpful interface that consumers have come to expect. The corporate version, managed by an IT department, might work just fine, but this consumer offering doesn't belong on your desktop.

7. F-Secure Internet Security 2009
F-Secure Internet Security 2009 is easy to use, without complicated settings and extras. But installing it was a nightmare, and it took too long deleting inactive malware. The firewall is old-fashioned, and the antispam and parental-control apps are ineffective. The suite hasn't kept up with the times.



8. McAfee Total Protection 2009
McAfee's latest suite has improved malware detection, and its spam filter is also much better. But its overabundance of features hasn't changed at all; its UI is sluggish; and it saps system performance.



9. Symantec
Continues to offer security in two flavors, Norton Internet Security 2009 and Norton 360 version 3.0. This version of Norton 360 received the same rebuild from the ground up that Norton 2009 got last year, so its impact on performance is way down. In fact it had the least system drag of any tested suite in two categories despite the fact that it added some significant new abilities across many different components. For the most part, Norton 360 does its work in the background without hassling the user—I like that. Its parental control and antispam components are still weak, but an offer to install Norton Online Family (beta) in place of the regular parental control suggests that this will improve soon. My evaluation was marred by some seriously questionable practices on the part of Symantec's chat-based tech support; Symantec is in the process of addressing this problem. Nonetheless, we chose to award the security suite an Editors' Choice based on the merits of the software itself, because it's an otherwise excellent product.

10. ZoneAlarm Extreme Security
For a year now, Check Point Software has offered two very different types of protection: ZoneAlarm Internet Security 2009 and ZoneAlarm ForceField. With the new ZoneAlarm Extreme Security, Check Point combined the two into one comprehensive security package that includes the tough firewall, accurate spam filter, and unusual identity protection features from ZoneAlarm 2009. To that solid base it adds ForceField's unusual virtualization-based malware protection, and ices the cake with its backup and tune-up capabilities. That full-scale feature set puts ZoneAlarm Extreme in direct competition with Norton 360, and it generally fares well by comparison—except in performance. ZoneAlarm Extreme put a bit less drag on test systems than ZoneAlarm 2009 did, but quite a bit more than Norton 360. Even so, it's an equally good choice for comprehensive protection. It shares Editors' Choice honors with Norton 360 and Norton 2009.

Give us your views on what antivirus your using and how good is it.

It’s amazing how everything now is done online, that is shopping online. Shopping online offers lots of benefits that you and me won’t find in a supermarket, mall, store or by mail.
Online shopping is always active, open 24 hours/7days. This is really good and simplifies everything. However online shopping is not that safe as it is in stores, supermarkets or through mail.
The following tips are to help you as client or seller to ensure that you’re online shopping or selling experience is safe.

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  1. Look for accurate, clear and easily accessible information about the goods or services being offered and clarify any queries before you place and order. In simple terms collect as much information as you can before proceeding to purchase or selling off.
  2. Understand the terms, and conditions, and get a full, itemized list of costs involved including currency conversions and delivery charges.
  3. Verify the seller’s details (name, location, email, and phone). To make this step even easier, take advantage of address verification services. These are provided by many merchants, and you are strongly encouraged to use them. You can use an AVS service on all transactions that come through. The AVS service will make sure that the info you are provided matches the info on file with the card issuing bank. If the information is different, then the AVS service will make sure that you are warned.
  4. If the price is very low compared to the retail value, take extra steps to verify the seller’s claims. Remember, if it’s too good to be true, there ‘s probably a catch. Simply take care of that order, this could be a scammer being a little greedy, and biting off more than he can chew. On orders that you notice are more than the average, pay special attention to them.
  5. Request proof of ownership, when buying from private parties. For example for a vehicle, they should produce evidence of title, registration, and vehicle identification number. In addition request for proof of possession. Ask for details someone like the owner or seller could have for such an item.
  6. As a seller or buy avoid free email addresses (yahoo, gmail, rocketmail and many more) on any orders that come in. Most online scammers are smart enough to use free email addresses when scamming online. This gives them extra padding from getting caught, so take precaution with these free email addresses. It may be a smart move to require email addresses from their ISP and ban any kind of free email addresses from being used. This will scare away potential fraudsters, as ISP emails are easily traceable.
  7. Be cautious with international sellers. If a dispute arises in the transaction, your home country laws may not apply to the international seller.
  8. Always use credit cards when buying or getting payments, since wire transfers services do not always provide protection or refunds. Most online merchants do provide security, exploit that advantage

Firewall is one of the great features that can be incorporated in your system for analyzing incoming and outgoing traffic. Based on this, they are capable to take an appropriate action. Also, they can perform several conditional evaluations.
These conditional evaluations are also referred to as 'rules'. When a firewall is constructed, it is set with rules that will be strictly followed by it. For example, if the company policy demands that only the sales department will have the access to the FTP site, the firewall can be set accordingly.

Read More So, even if any other department wants to access the site, it will not be possible. In this aspect, Firewalls are to networks what privilege schemes are to operating systems. For example, Windows XP will allow you to specify which users can access a directory or a file. In a similar way, firewalls can provide you with access control to your web sites or network work stations.
Some other features included in firewall are as follows:
a) Virtual Private Networking:
They are also referred to as VPN's. VPN's are used to move the traffic securely from point A to point B over the internet. it creates a tunnel between the points separating the private traffic from the public. There are many players both commercial and open source in the open market offering these services. Many firewall dedicated products offer both LAN-to-LAN and VPN functionalities.
b) Load Balancing:
It's more of a generic term and it refers to the art of moving the traffic in a distributed way. To minimize link congestion this done by routing traffic through two different tunnels they maybe from different internet service providers. These days, some firewalls products also incorporate certain features like directing FTP traffic and web in a distributed manner.
c) Content filtering:
Companies may want to block their employees from viewing certain websites like: underground sites, pornography sites, and web based emails to either reduce on the running costs in terms of bandwidth, maintainous costs etc Content filtering features in a firewall allows you to do just that. It blocks all the sites other than the specified ones.
d) Network Address Translation:
Firewalls allow you to bind one ip to hundreds allowing the outside world on the web to see your network as one it protects your internal users and servers from the web minimizing the hacker’s risk they are often used to map illegal address blocks to valid ones. NAT's are security related, devices that make use of them in corporate world are firewall products.

e) Intrusion Detection:
They detect unwanted attempts at accessing, manipulating, and/or disabling of computer systems, mainly through a network In general, this term could mean anything. But in this context, some manufacturers are beginning to combine different types of products into their firewall offering. Even though this in itself doesn't create a problem, users have to be a bit weary of the work load that might be imposed on their firewal

f) Fault tolerance:
Few higher end firewall products developed by companies like Nokia/Checkpoint combination and Cisco PIX support certain kind of fail-over features.
Fault tolerance features of firewall products are also referred to as High-Availability functionality. Advanced versions of fault tolerance features allow the firewalls to run in pairs. In this scenario, while one device is functioning, the other will act as a stand by.
Entertaining the thoughts of managing all these features in one single product, can be a daunting task. Hence, one has to approach it with a kitchen sink mentality and with a fair amount of skepticism. Let us not forget that they have a played a pivotal role in various security models of different organizations as well.

A botnet is a network of zombie computers controlled by a single entity. The term is a blend of the phrase "Robot Network".  Sometimes are known as a collection of software robots, or bots, that run autonomously and automatically.

Usually the zombies in use of a botnet are compromised computers running on the Microsoft operating system and sometimes Linux though it’s for it’s rare to get infected with some sort of malware.

Read More These computers communicate with other botnet machines via the Internet. Most botnets are distributed-design systems, with the botnet operator giving instructions to only a small number of machines. These machines then propagate the instructions to other compromised machines, usually via IRC. The distributed design prevents the discovery of the controlling computers. The anonymity that a botnet affords often helps the user avoid detection and possible prosecution.
Botnets are effective in performing tasks that would be impossible given only a single computer, single IP address, or a single Internet connection.
Originally, botnets are used for performing distributed denial of service attacks. designed to interfere with access to a Web site or Internet service. A common method of attack involves flooding a target server with so many communications requests that legitimate traffic can not get through However, some modern web servers have developed strategies to combat DDoS attacks, making this use of a botnet abit ineffective.

Additionally, many counter-DDoS strategies blacklist the IP addresses of attacking computers, thus exposing the botnet's machines.
The first big DDoS attack, in February 2000 took down some of the Web's most popular sites for hours, including Yahoo, CNN, eBay, Amazon.com, Buy.com, and E-Trade. Currently facebook, twitter and Google are trying to fend off a DDos attack.
As the spam market has become profitable, and, botnets are found to be an effective resource for sending spam. At any onetime ten thousand infected pc can send a simple email Furthermore, many compromised computers contain address books of email addresses which can be incorporated into the list of addresses to send spam to. Zombies that are not actively sending spam at any point in time can be configured to scrape the web looking for new email addresses to spam, adding further value to the botnet.
A secondary objective of the botnet is to find and compromise additional computers. While this is not considered a primary objective in and of itself, the expansion of the botnet via assimilation of new computers helps it perform the primary objectives more efficiently. Thus, this secondary objective is often the bulk of a botnet's tasks. Many computer networks, especially those using Microsoft Windows computers running the default settings, inherently trust other computers on the same network. Thus, a single compromised machine on such a network constitutes an attack vector against other machines on the network. Other secondary botnet objectives include website advertisement clicking, web browser toolbar installations, keylogging, and social bookmarking poll manipulation.

There is no surefire way to prevent a DDoS attack. However, a company can reduce its risk by buying plenty of servers and bandwidth, and hosting content on backup servers. Companies can also limit the number of connections that the Web server allows at any one time and set the firewall to block certain types of data that are used in DDoS attacks, said intrusecurity Uganda' David. .

In addition, companies can ask the ISP to impose bandwidth limits or block the IP addresses serving up the attack. Some companies offer DoS detection software, and website developers can configure their Web server to monitor traffic patterns and automatically ban IP addresses that could be associated with an attack.  Better yet  once an attack has been launched, a company can try to redirect the attack traffic to a null IP address, or a block it. Now the question comes back to you "Is your pc part of the Botnet?"