Did you know that it takes 140 liters of water to produce a cup of coffee, 170 liters of water to produce a glass of orange juice, 70 liters of water for an apple. All that water just for  one breakfast.

Are we letting our ecological footprint grow out of control? What kind of planet we want leave to the next generations?

A warming planet alters weather patterns, water accessibility and food suplies. It also threatens a sustainable way of life for us and the world’s wildlife. At F-Secure, we believe it’s our responsibility to leave our children and their children an environment where they can thrive.

Earth Hour is a global call to action for individuals, businesses and governments around the world to unite against the climate change.

F-Secure will participate in this weekend’s Earth Hour movement. All of the lights in our Helsinki headquarters will be turned off between 20.30 and 21.30 local time on Saturday evening. It’s a small step but an important reminder that we can all do our part individually and together.

We invite you to join Earth Hour to help protect the irreplaceable earth we all share.

This earth will grow cold,
a star among stars
and one of the smallest,
a gilded mote on blue velvet

I mean this, our great earth.

This earth will grow cold one day,
not like a block of ice
or a dead cloud even
but like an empty walnut it will roll along
in pitch-black space …

You must grieve for this right now
–you have to feel this sorrow now–

for the world must be loved this much
if you’re going to say “I lived” …

-Nazim Hikmet

Cheers,

Ulla

CC image by  Mișu Trașcă

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You’ve probably heard the news that employers in the United States have been asking for job applicants’ Facebook accounts. The ACLU has said that users should not provide it and so has Facebook.

As Billy on our Facebook page points out, asking for a private password would certainly violate the rights of citizens of the European Union. And even in a country where this might be legal, it seems to violate every notion of both privacy and security.

As a basic rule, you should not share your passwords with anyone. For the accounts that matter to you the most, you should choose a unique password that cannot be guessed. We recommend this system.

Lawmakers in the US have tried to make sharing a password to a content site such as Netflix illegal. But might there be some instances where you’d want to share your password.

For instance, 1 out of 10 people in the United Kingdom reported that they included their passwords to their online accounts in their will. And certainly some couples share their passwords with each other. And some parents make sure they know their kids’ passwords. These personal reasons for sharing passwords are up to a family’s discretion.

But when it comes to professional life, no one needs to know your password – including your boss.

Can you think of a situation when you’d share your password with an employer?

Cheers,

Jason

CC images by woodleywonderworks

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What motivates most of the world’s most advanced mobile malware authors? One word: money.

Mobile Threats Motivated by Profit, 2004-2011

“The most credible threat is coming from hackers who want to profit monetarily with their attacks. And right now we’re seeing more profit-motivated mobile malware than ever before,”  F-Secure’s Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen said, in the Mobile Threat Report Q4 2011 (Available here).

Since 2009, more than half of mobile malware has been profit-motivated. Do you remember  what was happening in the mobile world around 2009? The Android mobile platform emerged and has since replaced Symbian as the mobile OS most often targeted by mobile malware.

From the Mobile Threat Report: “Android malware continues to expand rapidly in the fourth quarter of 2011, with malware originating from Russia forming a significant presence in the scene.”

Mobile Threats by Platform, 2004-2011

You’ll notice that while the iOS platform that powers Apple devices has expanded exponentially but it has not experienced a boom in new malware targeting it. F-Secure Labs has credited the security approvals required for placement in Apple’s AppStore for keeping malicious apps to a minimum. Mobile malware that affects jailbroken iPhones but the Labs does not expect an iOS malware boom.

What does a boom in malware look like?

Notice a trend? That’s why we recommend that you secure your Android phone the way you do your PC. You can try our Mobile Security for free.

Cheers,

Jason

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Are you ready for the new Facebook Timeline?

Since the winter of 2011, Facebook has been slowly rolling out its new profile look to the nearly one billion people who use the world’s largest social network.

Facebook has indicated every user will be forced to move over to the new profile look called Timeline. All Facebook brand pages now have the look but Facebook is still rolling it out to profiles. (To get it now, go here and click “Get it Now.”) Some will be annoyed by this change, of course. They’ll note that the old profiles worked and there are some unforeseen consequences that raise privacy issues. This inevitable when Facebook makes changes that affect so many people.

But the world’s largest network seemed to learn a valuable lesson from its vanquished competitors Friendster and MySpace: change happens. Unless they continually give users fresh new social experiences, their users will move on.

The Timeline is definitely new. Looking at the Timeline from a social media security and privacy perspective alone, I say that the new Timeline and the updated privacy settings Facebook put in place in late 2011 are both improvements.

The average Facebook user is “friends” with well over 100 people. Add that to the 100 pages more users like and you have an account that is out of hand. Sensing this, Facebook has made it easier than ever to unlike the people and pages you no longer wish to connect with.

The rollout of the Timeline gives you the perfect opportunity to take control of your Facebook and edit your account. (It also gives you a space to post a cool cover photo, which is completely optional.)

Here’s what you need to do now:

1. Decide if you want to hit the “reset button”.
The goal of Timeline is to make your life story available to as many people as you are willing to share it with. Facebook has reduced its privacy options to three levels.

They’ve eliminate “Friends of Friends”, which leaves some of your posts in a limbo. To make up for this, they’ve added what I call the “reset button”. You can with one click turn all of your past public and “Friends of Friends” posts into “Friends Only”. If you do this, you can reverse it. You’ll have to adjust each post or picture individually.

If you are a privacy minded person, hitting this button is a great idea and a great way to start your new Timeline. To do this:

a. Go to the arrow in the upper right corner and select “Privacy Settings”.
b. Next to “Limit the Audience for Past Posts” click “Manage Past Post Visibility”.
c.Then click “Limit Past Posts”.

2. Audit your Friends.
The best way to get a better news feed free of spam and distractions is to only people who share content you’re interested in.

Now that you have the Timeline, you can access your friends list easier than ever. Best of all: by simply scrolling over their images, you can unlike anyone quickly. Here’s how:

a. Go to your Timeline and click on your Friends navigation.
b. Put your mouse over any of your Friends’ names. This box will come up.
c. Put your mouse over the “Friends” box.
c. You can choose “Unfriend” or if you don’t want the person to have any idea you don’t want his or her updates, just click on “Show in News Feed”. This will automatically unsubscribe you from their updates. You can get pretty granular about which updates you want. This makes your Facebook life infinitely more complicated.

Facebook is simplest when you think of friending as an all or nothing thing. Either you want to stay in touch with someone or you don’t. If you don’t, unfriending is the best bet.

Go through your entire Friends list and get rid of anyone you don’t want to be in contact with. You can always go back and friend someone again if you make a mistake.

3. Audit your “Likes”
Unfortunately, Facebook does not make it so easy to stop following the pages you’ve liked.

Click on the Likes button. If the page happens to fit into the categories of music, books, movies or television, you can easily put your mouse over the page name, then the “Liked” button and choose unlike.

If you want to unlike any of the other pages you’ve liked, you have to scroll down the Likes page. There you’ll see the pages you’ve liked listed by the year you liked them. To unlike these pages, you have to open them in a new tab and click and the “Like” button there. Then click unlike. This process can take a long time.

Why did Facebook make it so easy to unlike friends and not pages? You probably would guess, as I have, that they’re doing businesses a service. The ads business buy on Facebook often use people who like a page to target their friends. Facebook is a business and this is a design that helps that business more than it helps you. Still, it’s worth taking a look at the pages you’ve liked to decide which you want to get rid of.

4. Audit your apps
Facebook’s new Timeline aims to make the music and media you consume part of your profile. For this reason, some apps—such as Spotify and Goodreads—have the ability to post directly on your Timeline.

Apps, like most software, come with terms and conditions most people skip over. Often, we have no idea how much access an app has to our private data. That’s why it’s always a good time to edit your apps to get rid of ANY that you are not using. Here’s how to do it.

a. In the upper right corner of your Facebook page, click on the arrow
b. Select “Privacy Settings”.
c. Scroll down to “Apps and Websites” and click on “Edit Settings”.
d. Under “Apps You Use” click on “Remove unwanted or spammy apps.”
e. Click the little blue x on the far right for any app you do not use.

Many of us having been using Facebook for years now. Your account is bound to still have the remnants of old relationships and tools you used to use. Facebook is demonstrating the control it has over your online life by implementing the Timeline. You should do the same by taking control of your account.
Cheers,
Jason

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What is Ransomware?

It is malware that upon infection expands Internet Explorer to a full screen (F11). Ransomware then displays a message claiming to be from a local police unit. The message usually states that your computer has been used to browse sites containing child and animal abuse. It also might claim that your PC has been used to send e-mail spam on topics related to terrorism. Or you may be accused of piracy. Thus your computer has been locked until a fine is paid.

It’s scary and the Labs has seen it in Finland, Germany and various other European countries. As with all malware, if it works, it will end up all over the world eventually.

The Labs reminds you: “If your computer is ever compromised by Ransomware, do not pay anything to the malware authors.”

In almost all cases, paying the fine does not free up your computer anyway. Also remember that neither the Finnish police nor any other Police in the world uses Paysafe, Ucash, PayPal or any other prepaid billing systems for fines. If any message is demanding your credit card or any other payment method it is most certainly a scam and not legitimate government official.

How can you prevent ransomware?

1. Keep your PC updated with the latest system and security software. Our Health Check makes that easy.

2. Especially update your Acrobat PDF reader to the latest version, or switch to another PDF reader.

3. Update your Java runtime. Or, if you do not need Java, it is highly advisable to uninstall it. If you do need Java, at least consider disabling it within the browser when not in use. Or, switch to Google Chrome which will ask before Java is executed from unknown sites.

Cheers,

Anna

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