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The 10 Biggest Security Stories Of 2010 | Nov 30, 2010

Out With A Bang

Indeed, 2010 was a year that went big — big data breaches, big threats and bigger-than-big acquisitions. Major security players were gobbled up left and right by private equity firms or stack giants. Seemingly impenetrable multinational corporations scrambled to keep their data secure in the wake of sophisticated hacker attacks. And botnets evolved to incorporate search and destroy code that could target nuclear plants and other critical infrastructure.

So, in the spirit of the year’s larger-than-life happenings, here’s a look at what the 10 biggest security stories 2010 had to offer.

1. Intel’s Surprise McAfee Move

In a blockbuster move Intel in August unveiled plans to buy McAfee for a whopping $7.68 billion, including $48 per share in cash.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini has said that he does not plan to change McAfee’s business model, sales practices or products. However, Intel has also said that current security measures fail to address billions of new Internet-ready devices such as mobile and wireless devices, TVs, cars, medical devices and ATM machines. The marriage of security onto the chipset could better protect Internet-ready devices from a myriad of sophisticated malware threats.

Meanwhile, some partners have said that the merger, while potentially revolutionary, carries weighty implications that could significantly impact McAfee’s channel program and lower-end offerings.

2. Google Blindsided By ‘Operation Aurora’

Kicking off 2010, Google and more than 30 other corporations, including Intel and Adobe, suffered a serious malware attack, considered by some to be the most significant in corporate history. The attack, which appeared to be sourced from China, enabled hackers to infiltrate corporate networks to steal critical assets such as intellectual property.

During the attack, dubbed Operation Aurora, victims received a link delivered via e-mail or IM from what appeared to be a “trusted source.” The victims clicked on the link, which redirected them to a malicious Web site hosted in Taiwan that exploited a zero-day Internet Explorer vulnerability to download malware onto their systems. The malware then set up a backdoor that connected the victims’ computers to command and control servers in Taiwan, which turned the machines into drones and gave the attackers access to the crown jewels of all internal corporate systems.

3. Stuck By Stuxnet

4. Symantec Buys The Stack

5. Zeus Takedown