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    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Reuters - Google's cyber woes in China may aid security firms

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    Google's cyber woes in China may aid security firms

    Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 9:59PM UTC

    By Jim Finkle

    BOSTON (Reuters) - Cyber attacks on Google Inc's China operations could scare businesses and consumers into spending more on protection, benefiting security companies like McAfee Inc, Symantec Corp and Trend Micro.

    Hackers frequently succeed in attacking businesses, security experts say, but companies rarely disclose the breaches because they are afraid of damaging their reputations and encouraging criminals.

    "It's basically a call to arms. If Google can be hacked, it can happen to anybody," said Laura DiDio, analyst with technology research firm ITIC.

    On Tuesday, Google said that in mid-December, it detected a "highly sophisticated and targeted attack" on its corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google.

    The world's largest Internet search engine said its investigation showed that not just Google but at least 20 other large companies from a wide range of businesses, including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical, had been similarly targeted.

    Google said it had evidence suggesting that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

    It said accounts of dozens of U.S.-, China- and Europe- based Gmail users who are advocates of human rights in China appeared to have been routinely accessed by third parties.

    Google has threatened to quit China, the world's biggest Internet market, saying it would no longer tolerate strict censorship of its search engine.


    "People's security departments are constantly saying, 'We need more security.' Business leaders say, 'Justify that expense'," said Jeff Moss, a member of the U.S. government's Homeland Security Advisory Council and founder of the Black Hat and DEFCON computer hacker conferences.

    Moss said that when Google makes a disclosure about such attacks, "It gives the people arguing for budget a really strong argument."

    Google offered the anti-virus industry a free advertisement when it disclosed the attack.

    "We would advise people to deploy reputable anti-virus and anti-spyware programs on their computers," Google wrote in its official blog,

    The attacks on Google are the latest in a string of high-profile cyber attacks that Wall Street analysts said have helped security companies outperform the broader technology market.

    They cited last year's April 1 "Conficker" worm attack, the "Koobface" Facebook virus, and attacks on U.S. government websites that were believed to have originated from North Korea.

    Facebook said on Tuesday that its 350 million users could download a free six-month trial of McAfee's Internet Security Suite, which protects computer users from viruses and other Internet threats.

    Market researcher IDC estimates that sales of security software rose 4 percent last year to $15.4 billion, even as overall technology spending declined. IDC projects that it will rise another 6 percent this year.

    "Symantec and McAfee are the Batman and Superman in terms of protecting enterprises and consumers," said FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives. "The situation with Google brings the issue even more to the forefront."

    Symantec, McAfee and Trend are the three largest makers of anti-virus software.

    Jefferies & Co analyst Katherine Egbert said that beneficiaries of increased security spending would include Checkpoint Software Technologies Ltd, SonicWALL Inc and Websense Inc.

    "Any time you have a high profile breach like this it creates a wave of awareness. That's nothing but good for the security companies," Egbert said.

    (Reporting by Jim Finkle; Editing by Paul Thomasch)

    Reuters - Haiti earthquake triggers massive Twitter response

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    Haiti earthquake triggers massive Twitter response

    Thursday, Jan 14, 2010 12:7AM UTC

    By Dan Whitcomb

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The devastating earthquake in Haiti is the biggest natural disaster so far in the Twitter era, and response on the micro-blogging site has been accordingly momentous.

    According to, four of the 10 most popular topics posted on the site were related to Haiti, where the death toll from a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck on Tuesday could run into the tens of thousands.

    Among them were the terms "Port-au-Prince," "Help Haiti," and "Yele," a charity organization founded by Haitian-born musician and record producer Wyclef Jean.

    Jean was asking people to text the word "Yele" to the number 501501, which will charge the user $5 and donate the funds to the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund.


    Since its creation in 2006, privately owned San Francisco-based Twitter has become wildly popular as a social networking site and means of communicating information in 140-character bursts.

    A search for the term "Haiti" on Twitter found it awash with other means to help, in several languages, including links to websites for such agencies as the Red Cross and Unicef.

    Twitterers also shared news from the region, such as aftershocks rattling the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, or the rising death toll. Some sought information about missing or injured friends and relatives.

    Others took to the website to pour out their shock, grief or anger. A user with the screen name Crys_Michelle said: "R.I.P. to all involved with the Haiti disaster!!! Ssooo sad."

    A user named ladybot wrote: "Reading about Haiti on; started crying. It sounds like absolute hell on earth. Not feeling like my $$ are nearly enough."

    Many reacted to U.S. televangelist Pat Robertson, who told viewers of his Christian Broadcasting Network on Wednesday that Haiti had been cursed by a "pact to the devil" in 1804 -- a reference to the date of its independence from France.

    User michaelianblack wrote, "What kind of deal with the devil did we make to deserve Pat Robertson?"

    Facebook spokesman Larry Yu said that since the quake, there had been over 1,500 status updates a minute containing the word "Haiti."

    (Editing by Ed Stoddard and Peter Cooney)

    CNN - More than 100,000 feared dead in Haiti quake, officials say

    Sent from's mobile device from

    More than 100,000 feared dead in Haiti quake, officials say

    Officials fear more than 100,000 people have died as a result of Tuesday's 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti.

    The capital, Port-au-Prince, "is flattened," said Haiti's consul general to the U.N., Felix Augustin, who said he believed more than 100,000 people were dead. Hospitals are gone, and medical supplies and heavy equipment are desperately needed, he said.

    The country's prime minister said the death toll could be in the hundreds of thousands.

    "I hope that is not true, because I hope the people had the time to get out," Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told CNN.

    Hear the prime minister describe the situation

    President Rene Preval said he heard reports of death tolls ranging from 30,000 to 100,000 -- but he said the true toll is not yet known.

    "Let's say that it's too early to give a number," he told CNN's Sanjay Gupta at the airport in Port-au-Prince.

    Preval said the country desperately needs medical help.

    "Some of the hospitals, they have collapsed," Preval said. "We need some hospitals, some medicine and some doctors."

    Late Wednesday afternoon, CNN's Gary Tuchman described the devastation as "horrifying and disturbing."

    "Block after block after block, there is not one building," he reported from downtown Port-au-Prince. There also are bodies everywhere, he said, adding there were 12 bodies on one block alone.

    People have been piling bodies in the streets, because there is nowhere to take them, CNN's Susan Candiotti reported.

    The 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday, centered about 10 miles (15 kilometers) southwest of Port-au-Prince, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. It could be felt strongly in eastern Cuba, more than 200 miles away.

    The earthquake's power matched that of several nuclear bombs, said Roger Searle, a professor of geophysics in the Earth Sciences Department at Durham University in England. He said the combination of its magnitude and geographical shallowness made it particularly dangerous.

    About 3 million people -- one-third of Haiti's population -- were affected by the quake, the Red Cross estimated. About 10 million people felt shaking from the earthquake, including 2 million who felt severe trembling, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated.

    President Obama said the U.S. would have a "swift, coordinated and aggressive" response.

    "The reports and images that we've seen of collapsed hospitals, crumbled homes and men and women carrying their injured neighbors through the streets are truly heart-wrenching," Obama said.

    Watch survivors describe what they saw

    Aid groups scrambled to help.

    None of the three aid centers run by Doctors Without Borders is operable, the group said, and the organization is focusing on re-establishing surgical capacity so it can deal with the crushed limbs and head wounds it is seeing.

    Authorities braced for civil disturbances.

    Edmond Mulet, the U.N. assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, told CNN that the National Penitentiary collapsed and the inmates escaped, prompting worries about looting by escapees.

    Built in 1915, the prison was overcrowded. Enlarged to a total capacity of 1,200, it held 3,908 inmates in December, the U.S. State Department has said.

    The earthquake sheared huge slabs of concrete off structures and pancaked scores of them, trapping people inside those buildings, and knocking down phone and power lines.

    "One woman, I could only see her head and the rest of her body was trapped under a block wall," said Jonathan de la Durantaye, who drove through Port-au-Prince after the quake. "I think she was dead. She had blood coming out of her eyes and nose and ears."

    Impact Your World: How you can help

    CNN's Anderson Cooper, viewing Port-au-Prince from a helicopter, called the sight of the destroyed buildings in the quake-devastated city "incredibly shocking" and "eerie."

    He said many people are "just kind of standing around on the streets, not really sure what to do or where to go. And for many, there is nowhere to go."

    AC360 Blog: Anderson Cooper in Haiti

    A worker at a youth ministry said he was on the second floor of a two-story building, and there were many children on the first floor, when the quake hit.

    "Everything was flying everywhere and we ran downstairs and we started grabbing kids, four or five of them at a time, and just throwing them to the door. All of the houses around us totally collapsed and not one was left standing, but the one that we're in ... is still standing and every one of us are alive and nobody's hurt," he said.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the U.N. headquarters at the Christopher Hotel collapsed in the quake, and that people were still trapped inside. He said possibly 100 or 150 people were in the building around the time the quake struck. He said the chief of the U.N. mission in Haiti and a deputy special representative had not been accounted for.

    At least 15 peacekeepers were reported to have died. The Brazilian army said 11 of its soldiers were killed, while state-run media in Jordan reported the deaths of three Jordanian peacekeepers. The Argentine military confirmed the death of one peacekeeper from Argentina.

    Joseph Serge Miot, the archbishop of Port-au-Prince, died in the quake, according to the official Vatican newspaper. Also among the dead were 100 priests and aspiring priests, said Papal Nuncio Bernardito Auza, speaking to the Vatican's Fides news agency, which is owned by the Roman Catholic Church.

    A religious conference was under way when the quake occurred, he said. "There were priests and nuns in the street. ... Everywhere, you heard cries from beneath the rubble."

    Are you there? Submit an iReport

    The presidential palace in Port-au-Prince was in ruins. Preval, Haiti's president, said he did not know where he was going to sleep Wednesday night.

    "I have plenty of time to look for a bed," he said late in the afternoon. "But now I am working on how to rescue the people. Sleeping is not the problem."

    A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter evacuated four critically injured U.S. Embassy staff to the Naval Station Guantanamo, Cuba, hospital for further treatment.

    Cheryl Mills, counselor to the secretary of state and the driving force behind Haiti policy formulation at the U.S. State Department, said about 80 embassy spouses, children and non-essential personnel planned to leave Wednesday afternoon.

    Obama urged Americans trying to locate family members in Haiti to telephone the State Department at 888-407-4747.

    Are you looking for loved ones?

    Haiti's main airport appeared to be operable, which should enable foreign aid to start flowing into the country, State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said Wednesday.

    The U.S. military is working to get ground and air assessments of the damage. Two Coast Guard cutters were off Port-au-Prince Wednesday afternoon, one of which was providing air traffic control for the airport, where the control tower was damaged, U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, R-Florida, said.

    Military airplanes and choppers were deploying to the scene, and Navy ships were getting ready to go.

    Many countries and agencies across the globe geared up to help Haiti. A 50-member Chinese rescue team planned to deploy, Xinhua news agency said, and Ban said the U.N. plans to release $10 million in aid immediately.

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