Security Web Digest: Symantec, McAfee, Announce New Antivirus Versions

New versions target spyware and adware in addition to viruses FBI subpoenas Arizona ISP in Sobig Inquiry CA Supreme Court upholds DVD crack posting ban Kazaa user resists RIAA subpoena New Computer ID system in


The FBI has subpoenaed an Arizona ISP believed to be the source for the original posting of the Sobig virus, a virulent E-mail virus that raised havoc last week among home and business computer users. Easynews Inc. said Monday that it was cooperating with the FBI in trying to locate the person who uploaded the virus to a Usenet news group hosted by the ISP. The virus was disguised as an adult photo and was posted Aug. 18 through a home PC on a cable modem. The computer had been hacked by an unknown user and the Easynews account was created with a stolen credit card, apparently for the sole purpose of uploading the virus, said Michael Minor, chief technology officer for the Arizona ISP.

Leading antivirus software makers Symantec and Network Associates Inc. (NAI) announced updates to their products on Monday, touting protection against "spyware" and Internet worms to entice customers. Symantec unveiled a new version of Norton AntiVirus 2004. The new version of Norton AntiVirus can detect a range of snooping programs that are not technically viruses, but still pose a threat to Internet users privacy, Symantec said. NAI announced a new version of its antivirus software, McAfee VirusScan, continuing the race between the antivirus software vendors. The latest version of McAfee VirusScan also spots spyware and adware, allowing users to detect and remove the suspect software applications from systems running VirusScan. Following two weeks of high-profile worm outbreaks, NAI is calling attention to a new WormStopper feature. That feature enables VirusScan to spot worm-like activity such as a high volume of e-mail and repetitive e-mail content, NAI said.

Intellectual Property

The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that courts may block Internet users from posting codes that could be used to illegally copy DVD movies, in a case that pitted trade secret rights against free speech. The justices did not resolve whether the code was in fact a trade secret, leaving that for a lower court to determine. They did rule, however, that they would not tolerate the posting of legitimate trade secrets online and reversed a lower court that said disseminating trade secrets was protected free speech. The case centered on San Francisco computer programmer Andrew Bunner, who in 1999 posted the code to crack the encryption technology. Bunner, 26, said he has removed any reference to it from the Internet and is fighting the case to stand up for free speech rights. He is one of dozens of people throughout the United States that the DVD Copy Control Association is suing for posting the code.

Lawyers representing a California woman who was targeted by a Recording Industry Association of America subpoena have filed a motion in U.S. federal court challenging the subpoena as an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. The woman, whose motion was filed under the name Jane Doe, is an Internet subscriber of Verizon, which is one of two major Internet service providers (ISPs) that have filed suit in resistance of the RIAA subpoenas. Verizon is currently appealing a court ruling that upheld the legality of the RIAA subpoenas. Glenn Peterson, an attorney with McDonough, Holland and Allen -- the firm that filed the motion on Jane Does behalf -- said the woman was a Kazaa user, but that she used the application to play music that was lawfully on her computer.


Japans national computerized ID system that was criticized for its big-brother overtones when launched last year became fully operational Monday, allowing the countrys 126 million citizens to cut through red tape with an 11-digit number. The online database, which contains every citizens name, address, birth date and sex, is the centerpiece of an government initiative to speed administrative procedures such as filing change-of-address forms or applying for a passport.