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Browsing the Internet could get you infected?

29-1-2009
Web sites rigged with malicious code are becoming more numerous by the day, but the time those sites are online is declining, according to new
research from security vendor AVG Technologies.

AVG is seeing between 200,000 to 300,000 new Web sites per day hosting code that can in some cases result in a PC being infected with malware just by
visiting the site, said Roger Thompson, AVG's chief research officer.

Up to 70 percent of those Web sites are regular ones that have been hacked in order to host malicious code, a statistic that shows how poor Web
site security is across the Internet. The remainder are custom-built sites, he said.

Of those custom-built sites, however, there is some positive news. One common social-engineering trick is to put up a
Web site offering codecs, or bits of software used to encode and decode video files. While purporting to be a codec, the file is often
malicious software designed to steal data. 

http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/27...p=4&fpid=1

*ALSO* An impressive Search engine… 🙂

ARE YOU STILL USING GOOGLE? WHY?
http://ixquick.com/

As of Jan 28 2009
Just got that much better!
Consider this to be THE BEST SEACh ENGINE! :)
no ip address collection! and
Ixquick Protects Your Privacy !

The only search engine that does not record your IP address.

Your privacy is under attack !

Every time you use a regular search engine, your search data are recorded.
Your search terms, the time of your visit, the links you choose, your IP address and your User ID cookies all get stored in a database.

The identity profiles that can be constructed from this cloud of information represent modern day gold for marketers.
But government officials, hackers and even criminals also have an interest in getting their hands on your personal search data.
And sooner or later they will…

What could happen ?

Consider the following story:

In August 2006, the online world was jarred by the AOL privacy scandal:
AOL released three months’ worth of aggregated search data from 650,000 of its users, publishing all the details in an online database. This database is still searchable. It is an absolute eye-opener to see the potential for privacy nightmares.

—>Enter a query and find who searched for it
—>Then click on a “User ID” to find what else this user searched for

Shocked ? You are not alone.
When we search, we share our most private thoughts with our computers.
These private thoughts should be safe.

Ixquick’s position:

You have a right to privacy.
Your search data should never fall into the wrong hands.
The only real solution is quickly deleting your data or not storing them to begin with.
In June 2006 we started to delete our users’ privacy data within 48 hrs.
As of January 2009 we do not even record our users’ IP addresses at all anymore.
We are the first and only search engine to do so.
Our initiative is receiving an overwhelmingly positive response!

Ixquick will wholeheartedly continue on its mission to offer you the best results in full privacy!

Ixquick Warranties:

European Privacy Seal
On July 14th 2008 Ixquick received the first European Privacy Seal from European Data Protection Supervisor Mr. Peter Hustinx. The Seal officially confirms the privacy promises we make to our users. It makes Ixquick the first and only EU-approved search engine. Both EU Commissioner Viviane Reding and Dr.Thilo Weichert, German Privacy Commissioner complemented Ixquick on its privacy achievements.
You can find the press release here.

Certified Secure, a leading Certification Authority, has certified Ixquick’s Privacy procedures.
The CS Privacy Certificate has been awarded after an extensive audit.
It safeguards your Privacy!

Ixquick has been registered with the Dutch Data Protection Authority (CBP) under number M 1346973.
This Authority supervises the fair and lawful use and security of your personal data, to ensure your privacy today and in the future.

Ixquick’s Privacy Q&A:

* Why did Ixquick decide to take leap steps in June 2006 and in January 2009?
* Had Ixquick ever data mined its search data for commercial use before 2006?
* How does Ixquick make use of the limited logfiles it does keep?
* Why did Ixquick first delete user related data within 48 hours and now doesn’t even record IP addresses at all anymore?
* What is Ixquick’s policy now with regard to IP addresses and the use of ID cookies?
* Why is it so important not to store IP address or User ID cookie?
* What are “cookies” and does Ixquick use any?
* What other measures has Ixquick taken to protect my Privacy?
* Does Ixquick support SSL?
* Where are Ixquick’s servers located?
* How can I learn more about the privacy issues with other search engines?
* Why are other search engines not yet following Ixquick’s lead?
* Where can I find more background information on these privacy issues?
* What is Ixquick’s view for the near future when it comes to search engine privacy?

Q: Why did Ixquick decide to take leap steps in June 2006 and in January 2009?
A: Beyond striving to offer our users the best Web search results possible, we also feel strongly about safeguarding their privacy. With other search engines, millions of law abiding citizens world wide expose themselves to serious invasions of privacy while performing innocuous searches across the internet.
We feel the right to privacy is a very important right, worth defending.
These were the principles that guided Ixquick’s decision in June 2006 when we started our privacy initiative. Our determination to offer our users the best possible privacy search engine has only increased ever since. That’s why we are pleased we were able to stop recording IP addresses altogether in January 2009.

Q: Had Ixquick ever data mined its search data for commercial use before 2006?
A: In its history before June 2006, Ixquick had never used IP addresses and Unique ID cookies for anything other than tracking its own statistics and improving our site’s performance . Unlike most of our competitors, we are an independent company and unable to combine user data with other services we offer. As such, these records had no commercial value to us. Since June 2006, and especially after January 2009 there is nothing to mine.

Q: How does Ixquick make use of the limited logfiles it does keep?
A: As a search engine, we log data for maintenance purposes like tracking site performance and statistics. Users’ IP addresses are not logged, other data like the anonymous search queries are deleted from the log files within a maximum of 48 hours, often sooner.

Q: Why did Ixquick first delete user related data within 48 hours and now doesn’t even record IP addresses at all anymore?
A: Before January 2009 this was done for diagnostic and maintenance purposes. For example, if a site was abusing our servers and causing server overloads, our log files enabled us to trace and block the particular IP address responsible for the abuse. Our technicians have worked hard to develop alternative means to prevent abuse of our systems without the need to retain IP addresses of our legitimate users. We are very happy not recording their IP’s anymore.

Q: What is Ixquick’s policy now with regard to IP addresses and the use of ID cookies?
A: IP addresses: Ixquick does not record the IP addresses of our legitimate users.
Cookies: Ixquick abolished the use of Unique ID cookies as of June 6th, 2006.
Ixquick only uses an anonymous cookie that is used to remember the search engine settings, stored on the local PC, and a session-only cookie to prevent showing duplicate search results.

Q: Why is it so important not to store IP address or User ID cookie?
A: People can either have a static IP address or a dynamic IP address that changes from day to day. If they have a static IP address, one can reconstruct their search history with just that IP address. If they have a dynamic IP address one can reconstruct their search history for today but not for yesterday. The user’s ISP, however, can provide the missing link between the various IP addresses. The Unique user ID can also be used to tie the different IP addresses together.
So the IP address is unique to the specific computer or router, but may change from day to day. The User ID is unique for one specific search engine or website.
The combination of the both delivers extensive possibilities to track users’ behavior, especially for internet conglomerates with multiple services where the users information can be combined.
Tracking within a site is typically done with the aim of producing usage statistics, while tracking across sites with so-called third party cookies, is typically done by advertising companies to produce anonymous user profiles. These profiles are then used to target advertising (deciding which advertising image to show) based on the user’s profile. But advertising companies are just one of many groups that may take an interest in user profiles. Ixquick deletes both the IP address and the User ID cookie. Ixquick does not record IP addresses or use Unique ID cookies.

Q: What are “cookies” and does Ixquick use any?
A: A cookie is a small piece of data that is sent and saved to your computers’ hard drive when visiting a site. Ixquick uses only 2 cookies. The “preferences” cookie is to remember the search preferences you saved for your next visit. It expires after 90 days. The “exclude repetitive results” cookie prevents the same results from being shown when you perform a follow up search with the same search term. It expires immediately at the end of your search session. Both cookies are anonymous.

Q: What other measures has Ixquick taken to protect my Privacy?
A: Contrary to other search engines Ixquick uses the so-called POST method (in stead of the GET method) to keep your search terms out of the logs of webmasters of sites that you reach from our results. Search terms tell a lot about what you are thinking, which is why this is a privacy issue. With the POST method Ixquick uses, your search terms are stripped off.

Q: Does Ixquick support SSL?
A: Yes, Ixquick servers have been enabled to handle https requests using SSL.
Secure Socket Layer is an encryption protocol that is available in almost all browsers.
It establishes a secure connection between your browser and Ixquick’s servers.
Ixquick uses SSL to hide your search terms from anyone who might be monitoring traffic between your browser and Ixquick’s servers. The only drawback of using SSL is a slightly longer processing time.

Q: Where are Ixquick’s servers located?
A: Ixquick has multiple servers in two locations. Our European servers are located in Amsterdam -the Netherlands. Ixquick’s USA servers are located in Fremont, California.
Ixquick will normally connect you with the server that is closest to you in order to get you the shortest response time possible.

Q: How can I learn more about the privacy issues with other search engines?
A: Search engines are frequently silent on their efforts to use and combine data. Their privacy policies may provide some guidance as to their intentions. So the best to do is look for the privacy policies. Ixquick’s privacy policy is crystal clear, and can be found here.

Q: Why are other search engines not yet following Ixquick’s lead?
A: After the AOL story some search engines quickly commented they will not give up recording the privacy data of its users.
Ixquick’s competitors are generally very large and often publicly owned search engines.Such a large share of these company’s valuations is based on their ability to mine data from their users, they cannot afford to give the practice up. Commercial pressures to increase effectiveness of advertising and other commercial services, and the profit opportunities that arise by combining data collected across multiple services will ultimately drive these companies to make even greater impositions on your privacy. Even though lately announcements have been made by Yahoo, Google and MSN to lower data retention time, their true intentions can be questioned. The way in which IP addresses are made “anonymous” and the ability to continue to combine search data through the use of ID cookies and logins make these promises far less positive than they seem. Read more here.

Q: Where can I find more background information on these privacy issues?
A: The web sites of various privacy organisations are a great starting point for locating an abundance of background information on this subject. Ixquick recommends:
http://privacyrights.org/
http://www.eff.org/
http://epic.org
http://worldprivacyforum.org/

Q: What is Ixquick’s view for the near future when it comes to search engine privacy?
A: We see an increasing threat to online privacy in general and search engine users’ privacy in particular. Ad networks, search engines and government agencies have all stepped up their efforts to exploit private search data. Positive is that consumer awareness is also slowly but surely rising. The resulting political pressure (especially in the EU) may help to force the larger search engine to change their privacy policies for the better. There is only one real solution to this problem: not storing or quickly deleting the data. Only then is data safe from future privacy breaches.

Ixquick will wholeheartedly continue on its mission to offer you the best results in full privacy!

Recent articles on Ixquick:

Protecting yourself from search engines
CNET News.com

Could meta-search engine usage shield your privacy from an AOL-like flub?
ZDNet

AOL drops the ball on user privacy
Blogging Stocks

Keep Your Internet Searches Private
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

Protect your privacy when searching online
ZDNet UK, UK

AOL security breach puts Web on notice
Christian Science Monitor

How to Digitally Hide (Somewhat) in Plain Sight
New York Times, United States

Google Privacy
Guardian Unlimited, UK

Has the time finally come to stop using Google?
Guardian Unlimited, UK

Le Monde.fr : Vos données numériques personnelles les intéressent!
Le Monde, FR

The London Times Online
London Times Online, UK

Audio:

A search engine that remembers little about its users
RealAudio or MP3
National Public Radio
Interview of CEO Ixquick Robert Beens
RealAudio or MP3
The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Radio Show

Other Articles of Interest:

A Race to the Bottom: Privacy Ranking of Internet Service Companies
Privacy International

What does Google know?
George C. Dimitriou

When companies have the ability to combine data from different resources or services,
the privacy consequences become even more staggering:

They know all about you.
The Guardian

List of Google services:
Wikipedia

Google listening to your every move.
Techcrunch

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