India among the most popular malware destinations

Dubai: India features among the countries where malware spam, or anything that comes with a virus or Trojan attachment urging you to visit an infected website, is the most popular, reports PTI.

According to the McAfee Threats Report, which was simultaneously released here, Colombia, South Korea, Russia and Vietnam are the other countries in this category.

Argentina had the most variety in spam, with 16 different topic areas, ranging from drugs to lonely women to diplomas. Italy came in with the least variety, with just six types of spam, it said.

The report uncovered that malware has reached its highest levels, making the first six months of 2010 the most active half-year ever for total malware production.

At the same time, spam levelled out with only 2.5% growth from Q1 2010. Malware continued to soar in Q2 2010, as there were 10 million new pieces catalogued in the first half of this year.

Consistent with last quarter, threats on portable storage devices took the lead for the most popular malware, followed by fake anti-virus software and social media specific malware.

With approximately 55,000 new pieces of malware that appear everyday, globally AutoRun malware and password-stealing Trojans round out the Top Two malware threats, the report said.

After reaching its highest point in Q3 2009, with nearly 175 billion messages per day spam rates have hit a plateau.

Cybercriminals took advantage of anticipation on and hype of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, and used various methods to promote scams and search-engine "poisoning".

Globally, the most popular types of spam varied from country to country with some interesting findings.

For instance, delivery status notifications, or non-delivery receipt spam, were the most popular in United States, Italy, Spain, China, Great Britain, Brazil, Germany and Australia.

Malware spam, or anything that comes with a virus or Trojan attachment urging you to visit an infected website, was the most popular in Colombia, India, South Korea, Russia and Vietnam.

"Our latest threat report depicts that malware has been on a steady incline in the first half of 2010," said Mike Gallagher, senior vice president and chief technology officer of Global Threat Intelligence for McAfee.

"It's also obvious that cybercriminals are becoming more in tune with what the general public is passionate about from a technology perspective and using it to lure unsuspecting victims", he added.


Parliament passes bill on dilution of govt equity in SBI

New Delhi: Parliament on Thursday passed a bill allowing the government to reduce its stake in State Bank of India (SBI) to the bare minimum of 51%, reports PTI.

The stipulation so far has been that the government can dilute its stake up to 55%.

If the government chooses to dilute its stake, from 59.41% to 51%, it can raise around Rs15,000 crore, going by the prevailing share price of the state-owned lender.

The Rajya Sabha yesterday passed the State Bank of India (Amendment) Bill, 2010, which was earlier approved by the lower house.

However, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee indicated that dilution of the government's stake would not be rushed, even though both Houses of Parliament have passed the Bill.

"It is just an enabling provision and it does not mean that tomorrow it is going to be implemented," he said in Parliament.

SBI chairman O P Bhatt also said a follow-on public offer (FPO) is not the priority of the bank and it plans to raise Rs 20,000 crore from a rights issue, which does not necessarily dilute government equity, this fiscal.

"It (the new provision) gives us a leeway of 4%," Mr Bhatt told reporters here.

However, he said his option would be to go for a rights issue for mobilising Rs20,000 crore in this financial year.

"We do plan to raise capital by rights issue... We have written to the government," Mr Bhatt said.

"It is up to them (government) to decide to participate (in rights issue) or not," he added.

If a rights issue does not happen, the bank has the option to go for a preferential issue or follow-on offer, he said.

A rights issue will normally not lead to a dilution of government equity in SBI. The government's equity will only be reduced if it decides not to participate in the rights issue or does not fully subscribe to its quota.

The government currently holds a 59.41% stake in SBI, after acquiring the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) stake in the public sector lender in 2007.

This will enable the government to mop-up around Rs15,000 crore from the markets at the current rate if it decides to dilute its stake in SBI up to the minimum limit.

Seeking to allay members' apprehensions, Mr Mukherjee said in the Rajya Sabha, "There is no intention of having interference in the working of SBI.


Why Apple and Google cannot be smart-phone control freaks any more

Third-party developers are constantly unlocking systems and opening various platforms to total end user control.

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