Stories by Meridith Levinson

How to tell if an email is a phishing scam

Email phishing scams have grown more sophisticated since they first began popping up in corporate inboxes in the 1990s. Early phishing emails were relatively easy to detect as they were characterized by poor grammar and spelling. No legitimate business would send an email to customers chockfull of typos.

Mobile malware: Beware drive-by downloads on your smartphone

While Jeff Schmidt, the CEO of JAS Global Advisors, was surfing the Web on his new Android smartphone (his first Android phone) earlier this year, what appeared to be an ad popped up on his screen. The "ad" looked like the prompt that appears when his phone rings. He clicked the button on the ad to pick up the putative call, and the ad began downloading a binary file - malware - onto his Android phone. Schmidt had been hit by a drive-by download, a program that automatically installs malicious software on end-users' computers--and increasingly, smartphones--without them knowing.

IT professionals lack confidence in the security of their systems

Would you bet money on the security of your company's systems? If your answer is no, you're far from alone. Most IT professionals lack so much confidence in the security of their organizations' networks that they wouldn't bet a dime on it, according to the results of a recent survey.

6 ways to defend against drive-by downloads

In the first quarter of 2011, enterprise users encountered an average of 274 web-based malware attacks, a 103 percent increase over 2010, according to research from Cisco ScanSafe. Why the dramatic increase? One major cause is the growing number of drive-by download attacks. Drive-by downloads are an especially pernicious method cybercriminals use to install viruses and spyware, and otherwise take control of unsuspecting end users' computers.

4 ways to prevent domain name hijacking

On the night of Monday, January 23, the hacktivist group UGNazi hijacked, the Internet domain name of luxury goods manufacturer Coach. For several hours, fashionistas who wanted to ogle Coach's new Willis handbag on or get a deal on its Penelope shoulder bag at were redirected to UGNazi's cryptic website. Imagine the confusion—and frustration—the redirect must have caused in their coiffed little heads—not to mention the wear and tear on their manicured nails as they typed and retyped and into their browser windows.

FBI warns hacktivists: You're breaking the law

Last July, the FBI executed what is arguably its most public campaign against hacktivists--individuals who breach computer systems to make a political or ideological statement. On Tuesday, July 19, the G-men cuffed 12 men and two women allegedly associated with hacktivist group Anonymous for their supposed involvement in a dedicated denial of service (DDoS) attack against PayPal's website in December 2010.

Why US law enforcement can't stop hackers

On July 19, 2011, FBI agents in nine states rounded up 14 men and two women ranging in age from 21 to 36 for their alleged involvement with the international hacking group Anonymous. Fourteen of these individuals were arrested for allegedly plotting and executing a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack in December 2010 that took down PayPal's Website.

How to network: 7 ways to give, not just receive

One of the reasons you may not like to network is because, in asking others for help with a job search, you feel you're imposing on your contacts (and their contacts). But viewing networking as an imposition demonstrates several common misconceptions about the practice: that only one person benefits from the exchange; that job seekers have nothing to give to the people with whom they're networking; and that the people being contacted don't want to meet or see the job seeker.

Salary survey strikes a hopeful note

IT professionals have good reason to feel anxious about their careers: job losses among IT workers are mounting as CIOs cut their IT budgets and IT departments shed staff and institute hiring freezes.

The Danger of Being Too Nice at Work

If you're a nice person, you probably think that being nice works to your advantage in the office. After all, how could it be any other way? Genuinely nice people are well liked. They're generally easy to work with. They care about others and tend to have good values. In a fair and just world, that sort of behavior should be rewarded. Right?

Everyone works from home at software firm

Rick Boyd used to spend US$500 (NZ$648) a month on petrol and road tolls commuting between his home and office in New York state. Now Boyd doesn't commute any more because his company, Chorus, which provides clinical and management software for community health centres, has gone virtual.

Recruiters question former Microsoft CIO's new job

Stuart Scott's appointment as chief operating officer of Florida-based mortgage lender Taylor, Bean & Whitaker — 16 days after he was fired as Microsoft's CIO for violating the software giant's corporate policies — may not be as fortuitous as it seems, according to some executive recruiters.

Michael Capellas to lead First Data

New Zealand employees of Peace Software, which was acquired by Denver-based electronic payment solutions vendor First Data last year, will have former Compaq CEO Michael Capellas as their ultimate boss later this year.

CIO finds smooth transition to consulting

Dave Clementz fancies himself a "pathfinder." He says he takes pride in charting new turf. And for most of his 30-year career, Clementz found fertile ground at ChevronTexaco Corp. to plant and cultivate the seeds of transformation and innovation. But in May 2003, Clementz felt that the soil had dried up. After laboring over the integration of the two companies that merged in October 2001, Clementz says he found himself in a spot with nowhere to grow. He says ChevronTexaco's board appointed "some very talented young people" well-positioned to run the company, and "they were perfectly happy to keep me on the ranch, doing what I was doing as CIO," he says of his colleagues at ChevronTexaco. "But it was clear to me that I wasn't going to be doing much else with the farm, so I decided to find another path."

Former U.S. Customs Service CIO joins SAIC

Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) announced that Spain "Woody" Hall Jr. has been named corporate vice president for project management at its Enterprise and Infrastructure Solutions Group. In this role, Hall will assist the Group and SAIC's corporate homeland security staff with business strategy, improved integration of client support across business units, and evaluation of potential SAIC teammates.