Searching for 'free' online can cost you

Wednesday - 9/15/2010, 8:20am EDT

Cybersecurity Update - Tune in weekdays at 30 minutes past the hour for the latest cybersecurity news on the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris (6-10 a.m.) and the DorobekINSIDER with Chris Dorobek (3-7 p.m.). Listen live at FederalNewsRadio.com or on the radio at 1500 and 820 AM in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The Cybersecurity Update is brought to you by Tripwire.

  • Downloading music and movies has become second nature for a lot of us, but you might want to think twice before clicking. Security software firm McAfee warns that how you search will likely add to your risk. McAfee researchers say that adding the word "free" to a search will increase your risk of landing on a malicious site. For example, they say that when they added the word "free" to a search for ringtones, they saw a 300-percent increase in the riskiness of sites. Cybercriminals can hide malicious content in music and movie-related sites, and even fan web pages. They advise you avoid searching for "free" content, avoid clicking on banner ads on music or movie sites, and don't click on links posted in forums or on fan pages.

  • We've been telling you about how more and more vendors are snapping up cybersecurity firms. It's happened again. Zytel specializes in cybersecurity and mission systems for an undisclosed agency based at Fort Meade. The Washington Business Journal reports Global Defense Technology and Systems has agreed to pay nearly $27 million for Zytel. Zytel has more than 70 employees, all of whom work at Fort Meade. The company does not have a physical headquarters. The deal is expected to be done by the end of this year.

  • If you thought FireFox is a safe alternative web browser, beware. Mozilla has stopped providing security updates to Firefox. Computerworld reports, the company is investigating a bug that has caused computers to crash. Blogger Michael Horowitz first reported on the problem after he tried to update older editions of Firefox on several different machines. The problem occurred when Mozilla released patches for 15 vulnerabilities, 11 of them critical. Versions of Firefox for both PCs and Macs are affected. For the time being, Mozilla says it has halted security updates for two versions of Firefox.

Check out all of Federal News Radio's coverage of cybersecurity issues here.