Earlier this month, McAfee (MFE), one of the industry leaders in computer security, hosted a conference in Sydney, Australia. Not long afterward, it sent out emails with an attached spreadsheet that contained contact details for the conference's 1,408 attendees.

As many of McAfee's competitors chuckled over its major breach of confidentiality, the company scrambled, quickly placing the blame on human error and discounting the usefulness of the information. However, one attendee told Computerworld that the list included the entire registration database, down to employment details and menu choices for the conference banquet. Any hackers who wanted to know if their foes preferred steak or chicken would likely find this list highly illuminating.
Ironically, McAfee's products include Total Protection for Internet Gateways, a program that offers: "Automatic enforcement of industry and regulatory controls" and will "Apply policies consistently to stop sensitive and protected data from leaving the enterprise through email and web traffic."

McAfee just released its second quarter Threats Report, which asserts that spam is up 80%, and is reaching record levels. Last month, the company counted the largest amount of spam in history, and estimates that 92% of all email is spam. Of course, 60% of those messages are selling prescription drugs.

The number of Zombie computers, which have been taken over remotely without the owner's awareness, is also climbing rapidly. McAfee reports that 150,000 new ones hit the Internet every day.

The company also warns of Trojans designed to pilfer passwords; in fact, programs for creating Trojans are even available on-line. McAfee also warns of the danger of short URLs, as are commonly used on Facebook. Since the user can't see the ultimate address, spammers can use such services to disguise virus-ridden addresses.

Now if they could only protect against human error...

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