links for 2009-06-12

  • If you like to search for “music lyrics” or “free” things, you are engaging in risky cyber behavior. And “free music downloads” puts 20 percent of Web surfers in harm’s way of malicious software, known as “malware.”
    A new research report by U.S.-based antivirus software company McAfee has identified the most dangerous Internet search words that place users on pages with a higher likelihood of cyber attacks.
    The study examined 2,600 popular keywords on five major search engines — Google, Yahoo, Live, AOL and Ask — and analyzed 413,000 Web pages.
    (tags: Security)
  • As the automobile industry sheds jobs, it comes as good news that over the last decade or so the Internet has created 1.2 million jobs, many paying higher salaries than average, a new study finds.
    Internet business contributes 2.1%, or $300 billion, to the total GDP (gross domestic product) of the U.S. And IT and related online business may be faring better in this recession than they did in the dotcom bubble of 2000-2002, still growing revenue but at slower pace.
    Consumers are now making 10% of their retail purchases online, with the exception of groceries, on the Internet, and Internet-based advertising has increased four-fold since 2002 to more than $20 billion, said John Deighton, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, and one of the authors of the study along with Hamilton Consultants Inc.

  • Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is getting more aggressive about eroding Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT)’s dominance in the enterprise and taking away the software maker’s business customers.
    The stance was very apparent during a media event in San Francisco on Tuesday, where Google’s enterprise group assembled a group of technology journalists and presented an update on its enterprise business.
    (tags: google)
  • Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has opened its new Wave messaging platform to developers, as it promised to do at its developer conference last week.
    Wave testers have embraced the service with enthusiasm. They’re conducting experiments like embedding Waves in WordPress blogs — not accessible unless you have a Wave sandbox account — and contemplating ways that the platform can be extended.
    (tags: google wave)
  • As of 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time on June 13, Facebook is letting page owners create the vanity URLs that many have been clamoring for. That means pages will be able to shed their lengthy addresses in favor of one that becomes facebook.com/yournamehere. Marketers can go to http://www.facebook.com/username to make the switch.
    Which Marketers Are Eligible
    The Facebook Page must have been live on Facebook with at least 1,000 fans as of May 31. Trying to create a Page now or racking up fans won’t help.
    Why Marketers Should Care
    The most important reason is brand protection. If your company is Acme Widgets, you can claim facebook.com/acme or facebook.com/acmewidgets. The other key reason is for brand promotion. The Facebook username can be promoted through other marketing channels online and offline.
    (tags: marketing)
  • Adobe has released critical security patches, fixing 13 bugs in its Reader and Acrobat software.
    The patches were released Tuesday, the same day as Microsoft’s monthly security update, making for a hectic day of patching for some system administrators. Microsoft patched a record 31 bugs, including critical flaws in Windows, Office, and Internet Explorer.
    Adobe’s software has increasingly been targeted by attackers who have found ways to use bugs in the code to install malicious software on computers. They do this by tricking a victim into opening a maliciously encoded .pdf file. “These vulnerabilities would cause the application to crash and could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system,” Adobe said in its security advisory Tuesday.
    Adobe’s patches are for Windows and Macintosh users. Unix customers will have to wait until next week to get their updates, Adobe said.
    (tags: adobe Security)
  • Online social networking giant Facebook is giving its 200 million users a chance to choose an alias for their Facebook profile on a first-come, first-serve basis.
    Starting at 12:01am Eastern Saturday morning, Facebook will start allowing users to create usernames for personalized URLs, also known as “vanity URLs,” making it easier for people to navigate around the site.
    Usernames will be available to anyone with a Facebook profile or a page with more than 1,000 fans. Names must be at least five characters long, and once you pick a name you cannot change it. At the moment, users’ profiles appear as http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=%5Bstring of nine numbers]. The new vanity URL selection will allow you to have a vanity URL for your Facebook page in the format http://www.facebook.com/yourusername.
    (tags: facebook)
  • Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) is getting ready to unveil a long-anticipated free anti-virus service for personal computers that will compete with products sold by Symantec Corp (SYMC.O) and McAfee Inc (MFE.N).
    A Microsoft spokesman said on Wednesday that the world’s biggest software maker is testing an early version of the product with its own employees. Microsoft would “soon” make a trial version, or product beta, available via its website, he added, but declined to provide a specific date.
    Symantec shares fell 0.5 percent on Nasdaq and McAfee fell 1.3 percent on the New York Stock Exchange, while Microsoft was up 2.1 percent. The Nasdaq composite index .IXIC was down 0.47 percent.
  • IPhone mania is biting back at AT&T.
    A stream of online chatter that began shortly after Apple announced that a faster and beefed-up iPhone would hit AT&T on June 19 has swelled into an online tsunami of discontent among iPhone users upset that they can’t purchase the new iPhone for $199. If they want the new iPhone 3GS, they will need to fork over at least $399 for the entry-level 16-gigabyte model.
    The outrage has led to a Twitter petition asking AT&T to “offer reasonable iPhone 3GS upgrade prices.” The petition link was re-tweeted dozens of times on any single web page displaying the AT&T-iPhone tweets. As of this afternoon, more than 5,000 people had signed the petition. AT&T did not respond to requests for comment.

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