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Keeping up with cyber crime

The major conclusion of the latest Internet Security Report just released by Symantec is that cyber thieves are getting a lot more sophisticated at what they do and a lot more aggressive at how they do it, turning away from traditional attack modes such as viruses and worms and opting instead for targeted emails and other techniques to swipe critical personal information.

Meanwhile. the New York Times reports that Microsoft researchers claim to have tracked tens of thousands of junk websites, created only to lure search-engine users to advertisements to a small group of shadowy operators apparently with the acquiescence of some major advertisers, Web page hosts and advertising syndicators.

The Times also has a story about the controversial rise of the online dating, its racy ad campaigns, and its aggressive effort to gain a competitive advantage by getting state legislators around the country to require social websites to do criminal background checks on their members.

Meanwhile, Sony has reportedly reached a tentative settlement in a class action lawsuit, offering $7.50 or a free album to victims of the illicit copy-protection software its CDs clandestinely installed on customers’ computers.