The week in security: A bitter bar of SOPA

While much of the online world followed Wikipedia’s unprecedented SOPA legislation protest, security concerns provided a more definitive solution as the Obama administration promised to veto SOPA on the basis that it would push people to “dangerous, unreliable DNS servers” and compromise secure improvements like DNSSEC.

Supporters of the legislation remained defiant after the week’s protests, but the floating of an alternative plan suggests Obama isn’t the only one concerned about the legislation.

Speaking of network improvements, hackers will no doubt have rejoiced at the announcement that June 6 will mark the official kickoff for the worldwide transition to IPv6, the next-generation Internet addressing protocol that incorporates IPSec security at its heart and will no doubt give online troublemakers all kinds of new ways to cause havoc like they were mooted to do at last year’s dry run.

SOPA caused its own share of security-related dramas this week, as hacker group Anonymous threatened that it will next week hack Sony’s home page to fill it with links to pirated downloads. Their goal is to retaliate against the often-hacked company, whose penetration was one of 2010’s biggest security headlines, for its support of the controversial US legislation; time will tell whether they follow through on the threat or they’re just trying to keep the company’s executives up at night.

On the malware front, new research found there were 58 new variants of Mac malware discovered during the last nine months of 2011 – way less than on Windows, but way more than there used to be. It also seems to be way less than the volume of new Facebook malware – but many security professionals are fed up with the flood of attacks and are striking back.

Facebook is one of them: this week, the company – which has gone on the offensive in tracking down the Russian and Czech instigators of the Koobface worm – named five people who it alleges tricked hundreds of thousands of Facebook users to download malware that tied up their systems with all sorts of bad behaviour.

Symantec also came into the spotlight after a US man sued the company alleging it’s tricking customers with an old bait-and-switch technique: after installing its software, unwitting customers are told their systems are riddled with malware – and directed to buy other Symantec products to fix them. The lawsuit provided a point of solidarity for hackers, who have already threatened to compromise the company by releasing 1.7GB of Norton Antivirus source code that they apparently stole from Symantec back in 2006.

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