2012's worst security exploits, fails and blunders

Stolen social security numbers. Erased online identities. Pilfered payment information. Yep, 2012 was a banner year for the bad guys.

By Brad Chacos, PC World |  Security, privacy

In April, hackers managed to "export" a whopping 1.5 million credit card numbers from the database of Global Payments, a payment processing service used by government agencies, financial institutions, and around 1 million global storefronts, amongst others.

Fortunately, the breach was fairly contained. Global Payments was able to identify the card numbers affected by the hack, and the data stolen only contained the actual card numbers and expiration dates, not any cardholder names or personally identifiable information. The hits kept coming, though. In June, Global Payments announced that hackers may have stolen the personal information of people who applied for a merchant account with the company.

Microsoft Security Essentials fails AV-Test certification

Well, isn't this embarrassing. AV-Test is an independent information security institute that regularly rounds up all the top antimalware products that are out there, tosses a whole bunch of nasties at said products, and sees how the various solutions hold up under the withering barrage. The organization did just that with 24 different consumer-focused security solutions at the end of November, and only one of those solutions failed to meet AV-Test's certification standard: Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows 7.

MSE actually did a decent job tackling well-known viruses in the test, but the security program provided appallingly little, well, securityin the face of zero-day exploits. Its 64 protection score against said zero-day attacks is a full 25 points lower than the industry average.

The blunder that wasn't: Norton source code released

It sounds scary on the surface: Groups of rogue hackers managed to get the source code for one of Symantec's popular Norton security utilities, then dumped the code on Pirate Bay for the world to dissect. Oh, noes! Now, nothing can stop the bad guys from running willy-nilly past the defenses that comes preinstalled on gajillions (approximately) of boxed systems sold throughout the world--right?


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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