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Symantec Reveals SaaS Plans For 2010

The security company has discussed its plans for the SaaS space in the coming year

One of the underlying trends in security of late has been the adoption of cloud-based services. On the acquisition front, the past few years have seen several independent SaaS security vendors get gobbled up.

Among those was Symantec’s acquisition of MessageLabs. After more than a year under Symantec’s wing, former MessageLabs CEO Adrian Chamberlain—now senior vice president of Symantec’s Software-as-a-Service group—said he sees a future with even more security technology in the cloud.

“The world is moving toward security-based services,” Chamberlain said in an interview with eWEEK earlier in December. “You can see the penetration in the developed countries of hosted security displacing licensed software and appliances.”

For Symantec, taking advantage of that means blending not only hosted and on-site technology but also the respective sales forces and channels. In the year since the acquisition, Symantec has recognised the inherent differences between customer operations and R&D; in its services and licensed software businesses as well as the relationship between those units and marketing, Chamberlain said. Looking ahead, the company will stress what it feels is appropriate bundling of services and software businesses.

“Stage two, which is about to happen quite soon, is to put hosted variations of our offerings within the Symantec protection suites,” he said.

The company is on that road with Symantec Data Loss Prevention 10, which allows users of hosted e-mail security services to monitor and protect outbound e-mails without requiring on-site e-mail gateway infrastructure.

“In many ways I think not just with us, but with almost all the hosted services providers, many of our customers are ahead of us in saying they’d like services in the cloud we simply haven’t developed yet because it’s just tough … We know we see big demand for Web services … and for more and more sophistication in the ability to set policy around the Web usage,” Chamberlain said. “We see a big demand for archiving, business continuity and encryption.”

Customers are also showing an interest in URL filtering, he said.

“The services I’ve just described really are in their infancy in being developed … I think you will see further developments where technology will be able to manage files in the cloud … that will further advance the argument for shifting on-premises or licensed software solutions into the cloud to set policy,” he said.

Symantec’s emphasis on SAAS should not come as a surprise. Symantec CEO Enrique Salem predicted SAAS would account for 15 percent of the company’s business in five years. However, a number of challenges remain before the acquisition can be truly successful, opined Forrester Research analyst Jonathan Penn.

“Most notably, there’s the technical integration between [on-premises] e-mail security and hosted: There shouldn’t be a notable difference in quality of protection between [on-premises] and hosted, and for that to happen they must run off of a unified technology platform that creates parity between the two offerings,” Penn said. “Second is the way in which Symantec takes all this to market, which today is as two distinct solutions. Symantec should be packaging this such that customers selecting Symantec for e-mail security should be able to select their preferred delivery model simply as an implementation option. As it stands today, the packaging is not at all integrated in this fashion.”

Other vendors will also face the same challenges. There were a number of acquisitions in the security SAAS space in 2009, including McAfee’s purchase of MX Logic, Cisco Systems’ acquisition of ScanSafe and Barracuda Networks buying Purewire. Where Symantec will seek to differentiate itself, Chamberlain said, is by trying to offer the most complete and integrated portfolio of security technologies.

“You can buy these services at the moment through a series of point plays, you can get archiving specialists, you can get Web specialists … what we expect customers will want is to buy the hosted services of one provider who can offer a universal interface on which you can set policy and authentication once,” he said.

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Symantec Warns Of Spam Campaign Using Shortened URLs

Symantec MessageLabs has warned that the proportion of spam containing shortened hyperlinks has increased significantly over the last year

In an effort to beat spam filters, Symantec’s MessageLabs has warned that spammers linked to the Storm botnet are increasingly turning to shortened URLs.

According to Symantec’s July 2010 MessageLabs Intelligence Report, spam with shortened hyperlinks reached a peak of 18 percent 30 April, translating to 23.4 billion spam emails. An analysis of the spam campaign has linked some of it to the notorious Storm botnet, which first appeared in 2006 before declining in 2008. The botnet re-emerged in May, and now accounts for 11.8 percent of all the spam containing shortened hyperlinks circulating the web.

Shortened URLs

“While botnets are often the source of short URL spam, 28 percent of this type of spam originated from sources not linked to a known botnet such as unidentified spam-sending botnets or non-botnet sources such as webmail accounts created using CAPTCHA-breaking tools,” said Paul Wood, MessageLabs Intelligence Senior Analyst for Symantec Hosted Services, in a statement.

The peak of 18 percent this year is more than double last year’s highpoint of 9.3 percent recorded last 28 July. In the second quarter of 2009, there was only a single day when shortened hyperlinks appeared in more than 1 in 200 spam messages, Symantec reported. In the second quarter of 2010 however, there were 43 days when that happened.

Dodging Filters

Security pros have repeatedly warned users to be wary about shortened URLs in emails and on social networks because they are sometimes used to trick people into visiting malicious sites. That wariness however should not necessarily transform into panic, as an analysis of shortened URLs in Twitter’s public timeline by Zscaler revealed they were far less likely to lead to malicious sites than search results on Google.

Still, for spammers pushing pharmaceuticals and other goods, using shortened emails can be relatively effective. According to the report, researchers found an average of one website visit for every 74,000 spam emails with the shortened URLs. The most frequently visited shortened links from spam received more than 63,000 website visits.

When it comes to spam, the name of the game is dodging filters, and any tactic that can make it harder to block email messages is going to be adopted by the spammers out there, Wood said.

“When spammers include a shortened URL in spam messages, these shortened hyperlinks contain reputable and legitimate domains, making it harder for traditional anti-spam filters to identify the messages as spam based on the reputation of the domains found in the spam emails,” he said.

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Symantec Warns Over Rising Use Of Scareware

Cybercriminals are getting rich with online scare tactics that convince users to hand over money for useless rogue security software, says Symantec

Symantec has warned in a new report that online criminals are duping members of the public into purchasing rogue security software, by employing increasingly persuasive online scare tactics.

Symantec defines rogue security software (or ‘scareware’) as software that pretends to be legitimate security software. It warns that these rogue applications provide little or no value and may even install malicious code or reduce the overall security of the computer.

In its findings of its ‘Rogue Security Software report’, Symantec said that that cybercriminals are potentially growing very rich indeed by employing this technique. It says a new generation of organised criminals are earning more than 34 times the average UK worker’s salary every year.

For example, Symantec says scareware can net cybercriminals profits of more than £850,000 a year. In order to get to the £850k figure, Symantec looked at an average week’s sales on a leading rogue security software distribution site, where affiliates can register to obtain the appropriate files and links to market the scam. It then multiplied the figure by 52 and converted it into pounds.

And even more alarming is the fact that according to the study, 93 percent of the software installations for the top 50 rogue security software scams were intentionally downloaded by the user, believing they are doing the ‘right’ thing.

Professor David Wall, an expert in cybercrime from Leeds University told eWEEK Europe that scareware manufacturers are becoming increasingly adept at manipulating people emotions.

“The typical scenario is someone is busy working away on their PC and up flashes this warning. With sophisticated scareware, the warning looks like it has come from their own operating system,” said Wall.

“The warning will say something like ‘you are under attack and in 20 seconds, your hard disk will be erased. Please click here for remedies,’” Wall said. “People click the link and are hooked. In four minutes it is all over. Sophisticated scareware can claim to fix a problem. It is a scammer’s dream if people think they have brought a service, as there is little to no come back.”

Professor Wall also noted that scareware is moving away from criminal boundaries, and is increasingly lurking in a grey area, where it is hard to justified punitive action. “Some scareware is like a nasty form of entrapment marketing,” said Wall. “I have it on good authority that there is a distinct trend to make it more like a clean scam, but it is still wrong. Indeed, many victims actually don’t believe they have been a victim.”

He said that often police cannot act in these cases, and the Crown Prosecution Service will not think it is in the public interest to prosecute, and therefore cyber security companies don’t have the authority to intervene.

“Someone is getting away with a lot of other people’s money,” Wall said. “A lot of findings from various companies in the cybercrime industry all point to same trend. In the last 6 months of this year, there has been a marked increase in the amount of scareware circulating.”

“It is all about plausibility when these pop up warnings appear,” he said. “People trust these symbols because it runs their computers. If they tell people to download software and then people are asked to pay for an upgrade, the user doesn’t feel scammed. In earlier days a skull would have appeared on your screen threating to eat your hard drive. Now it has become silky smooth social engineering.”

“The public has to be more cyber savy and they must use their gumption,” said Wall. “People must also make sure they keep their operating system up to date, as well as installing some security software.”

As of June 2009, Symantec has detected more than 250 distinct rogue security software programs. The initial monetary loss to consumers who download these rogue products ranges from $30 (£18) to $100 (£61).

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Tesco Expected To Disrupt UK Banking With Outsourced Model

Tesco and others are using outsourcing and new IT to break further into the UK banking sector

The banking crisis has opened up the UK financial services sector to new entrants which will use new software licensing models to help them break into the previously closed market, according to analysts.

In a research note released this week, analyst group Datamonitor outlined its view on how technology could help new entrants break into the UK banking sector. In particular the analyst singled out retail giant Tesco which is hoping to expand on its foothold in financial services and offer customers full-blown banking services. Tesco has previously been in partnership with troubled RBS group but recently bought out its banking partner in favour of going it alone.

“That relationship is now winding down, however, with Tesco having bought RBS out of the partnership and established a timetable for the business to transfer to other infrastructure. Tech vendors say that Tesco has already selected its core banking system provider and intends to run the software itself,” said the report’s author Rik Turner, senior analyst with Datamonitor’s financial services division.

The report does not go into detail about what banking platform Tesco has selected but explains that other entrants are using new approaches to banking technology to give them a competitive edge against the troubled incumbents. For example, Vernon Hill, the US entrepreneur who founded Commerce Bancorp, plans to open a UK financial services institution called Metro Bank in October this year. Hill apparently plans to use banking software from Swiss firm Temenos but will avoid having to lay-out hefty up front IT costs by using a rolling payment approach.

“In terms of the IT platform that Metro Bank will be using, Hill has signed a deal with Swiss core banking provider Temenos for its T24 Model Bank. He has also expressed his amazement, in an interview with Retail Banker International magazine, that: “The typical outsourced IT model that all new US banks use, where you pay per account per month rather than paying the money up front, has never been used in the UK.” Industry sources say the deal with Temenos reflects that method,” Turner stated.

According to Turner, Metro Bank is not the only banking group that will adopt this approach to its banking software. “Core banking system providers tell Datamonitor that they have had talks with entrepreneurs from areas such as the Middle East, some of them with links to sovereign wealth funds, and that the common theme in all such conversations is for any venture in the UK to be, like Metro Bank, more opex- than capex-led with regard to its IT infrastructure,” the report stated.

New approaches to banking technology won’t just have an impact on banks but also other tech vendors that already supply software to the financial sector according to Datamonitor. “The big US players Fidelity and Fiserv should be in a good position, given that the service bureau model is in their DNA. Temenos says it has gained such expertise since its 2007 acquisition of German software company Actis-BSP. Computer Sciences Corp is also looking to pick up such business through its relationship with Oracle’s i-flex banking software division,” the report stated.

However, although Swiss banking software provider Temenos should benefit from its involvement with Metro Bank, the tech company has also been linked to some of the previous fall-out from the banking crisis.

In March, Scotland’s largest building society, Dunfermline Building Society was sold today to Nationwide in a move underwritten by the UK Treasury. Dunfermline, was reported to have lost £31 million in setting up an expensive IT subsidiary to outsource mortgage activity at other financial institutions.

Dunfermline Solutions mortgage IT system was developed in cooperation with Temenos, over a period of at least five years. In a case study on Temenos’ website, Stewart Cooper, director of operations for Dunfermline discussed how the building society was using Temenos’ Globus application to develop its own mortgage IT system that would be distributed via Dunfermline Solutions.

 

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Tesco Adopts CA Software For Carbon Audit

Retailer Tesco is using CA’s ecoSoftware to manage its carbon emissions worldwide, with cap-and-trade laws due in the UK

The UK’s biggest retailer, Tesco, will use CA’s ecoSoftware to manage and reduce its carbon emissions worldwide, and meet the UK’s requirements for carbon accounting.

Tesco has been keeping track of its carbon emissions for several years, and plans to reduce them by 50 percent before 2020, compared with a baseline of 2006, but the data collection has been difficult, according to Simon Palinkas, head of Tesco’s Green IT group.

“It’s been a time-consuming process, which we’ve done manually, with spreadsheets until now,” said Palinkas. “It has become an unmanageable task – those spreadsheets were not sustainable.”

Tesco has used the CA ecoSoftware to automate the collection of the data it already collected, and apply workflow, so the data is reliable and backed by an audit trail, which would stand up to the external examination which will be applied when the UK’s carbon reduction commitment comes into force in April 2010, requiring larger companies to buy and trade carbon credits.

“We need a process for people to follow, so the data is validated,” said Palinkas. “At Tesco we like things to be out of the box and simple.”

The software was adaptable enough to handle existing sets of data, he told eWEEK Europe: “It’s not the tail wagging the dog – we didn’t have to change the way we operate to adopt this system.” The company is moving to further automate, and get real-time energy usage data for better control, he said.

The Carbon Reduction Commitmentn (CRC) will require companies using more than 6000MWh or electricity a year to register by next April, and buy carbon credits, at a price of £12 per tonne of CO2, said Harry Morrison, general manager of the Carbon Trust Standard Company, at an event organised by CA.

Although awareness of the CRC rules is improving, most companies are not ready, warned David Metcalfe, director of green analysts Verdantix: “A year ago, there was a fear that business might boycott this. Now they are on board, but a lot of them will get in a panic.

IT departments are unprepared for carbon trading, analyst firm Gartner warned earlier this year. Accountant PricewaterhouseCoopers has produced a model of how to report carbon emissions.

Around 22 products are available for carbon accounting, but most have not achieved much recognition so far, said Metcalfe: “The market leader is Microsoft Excel,” he said, referring to home-made solutions like Tesco’s spreadsheets.

Tesco selected CA comparing against other products, said Palinkas, and in all a few dozen Tesco staff will use the software: “We’ll have them trained up in the next few weeks.”

Tesco has 468,000 Tesco employees, and 4,000 locations in 14 countries. Compared with 2006 figures, the country plans to halve emissions from its buildings by 2020; halve the emissions produced by its distribution network by 2012; and halve emissions from new stores by 2020. The company has already halved its energy use per square foot in its UK stores and now sends no waste at all to landfill, Palinkas said.

some green campaigners would prefer Tesco to compare its carbon emissions to figures from 1990, in line with organisations meeting the Kyoto targets, but the company argues differently.

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Tesco To Provide Free In-Store Wi-Fi

Supermarket chain Tesco is testing free in-store Wi-Fi in four of its stores, with plans to roll out across the UK

Tesco is set to become the first British supermarket chain to offer customers a free Wi-Fi Internet service inside its stores.

The company is currently piloting the scheme in four outlets around the UK. Tesco’s chief information officer Mike McNamara said that if the trials prove successful, the technology will be rolled out across the company’s 2,700 stores, adding to the free Wi-Fi available from other sources.

Read reviews as you shop

Tesco believes that in-store Wi-Fi will offer customers a richer shopping experience [ie: it will make them buy more – Editor], allowing them to compare prices and read product reviews as they shop. The company hopes the move will help to reinvigorate its domestic business.

“You can stand Canute-like and pretend nothing is happening … or you can say it’s happening, and I am going to help it happen,” McNamara told the Financial Times. “My guess is it will go to all stores.”

Much of the required infrastructure is already in place, as Tesco already uses Wi-Fi in its own operations. However, the company warned that if customers “sit there streaming video forever”, it may have to switch off the service.

Wi-Fi is already provided in a number of food and drink chains, such as Starbucks and McDonalds, allowing customers to surf the net over a cup of coffee or a hamburger. Some analysts are now predicting that retailers will be next in line.

Indoor positioning

As well as allowing customers to surf the web, Wi-Fi can also be used to provide indoor navigation services, using Wi-Fi triangulation. Tesco already offers an iPhone application that can locate any grocery product on any shelf, allowing customers to “satnav” their way around the store.

The company installed a prototype “satnav” system at the Tesco Extra in Romford earlier this year, but warned that it would not be rolled out to customers in general for a while. “We have to think about how useful it’s going to be,” said Nick Lansley, head of R&D for Tesco.com, in a blog post. “It would be awful if we did all this work but few customers really used it.”

While indoor location-based services can be useful for the consumer, it can also enable retail chains to gather intelligence on how consumers shop. For example, they could track how customers move around a store and place their products accordingly.

Public Wi-Fi hotspots

Consumers are becoming increasingly used to accessing the Internet over public Wi-Fi.  Both BT and Virgin Media offer a network of public Wi-Fi hotspots in city centres across the UK, offering data transfer speeds of up to 8Mbps and up to 5Mbps respectively. Providers often allow free access for specific users – for instance BT offered free access to iPad users.

Many people are still waiting to see how the government’s Digital Economy Act will impact on provision of Wi-Fi hotspots. Under the terms of the Act, all Wi-Fi hotspots have been declared “public communications services”, which means the owner of the free Wi-Fi hotspot will be held responsible for any misuse of the connection.

Meanwhile, small businesses and entrepreneurs in the US who offer Internet access to their customers are being urged to properly secure it, to avoid allegations of online piracy.

 

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TJX Hacker Admits To More Hacking Charges

TJX hacking mastermind Albert Gonzalez is facing a longer stretch in prison after pleading guilty to yet more hacking charges

Notorious hacker Albert Gonzalez, who has already coughed up to hacking TJX Companies, BJ’s Wholesale Club, OfficeMax, Boston Market, Barnes & Noble and Sports Authority, has now also pleaded guilty to cracking the networks of Heartland Payment Systems, 7-11 and Hannaford Brothers.

The hacks netted Gonzalez access to data from tens of millions of credit and debit cards.

Gonzalez previously pleaded guilty in September to hacking into the systems of “major U.S. retailers including TJX Companies, BJ’s Wholesale Club, OfficeMax, Boston Market, Barnes & Noble and Sports Authority” and the Dave & Buster’s restaurant chain, the Department of Justice said in a news release 29 December. “The case is one of the largest data breaches ever investigated and prosecuted in the United States.” More than 40 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen as a result of the hacking activity.

“Based on the terms of the [29 December] plea agreement, Gonzalez will not seek a prison term under 17 years and the government will not seek a prison term of more than 25 years,” the DOJ said. In his previous convictions, Gonzalez faces a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 25 years in prison. The sentences will run concurrently.

“The conviction of Gonzalez, and the unravelling of one of the most complex and large-scale identity theft cases in history, should serve as a reminder to hacker organisations that the Department of Justice will vigorously investigate and prosecute cyber-crimes, regardless of their sophistication and global reach,” US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Carmen Milagros Ortiz said in a statement.

According to the DOJ, “Gonzalez leased or otherwise controlled several servers … and gave access to these servers to other hackers, knowing that they would use them to store malicious software … and launch attacks against corporate victims. Malware used against several of the corporate victims was also found on a server controlled by Gonzalez. Gonzalez tested malware by running multiple antivirus programs in an attempt to ascertain if the programs detected the malware. According to information in the plea agreement, it was foreseeable to Gonzalez that his co-conspirators would use malware to steal tens of millions of credit and debit card numbers, affecting more than 250 financial institutions.”

“The Department of Justice will not allow computer hackers to rob consumers of their privacy and erode the public’s confidence in the security of the marketplace,” Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said. “Criminals like Albert Gonzalez who operate in the shadows will be caught, exposed and held to account. Indeed, with timely reporting of data breaches and high-tech investigations, even the most sophisticated hacking rings can be uncovered and dismantled, as our prosecutors and agents demonstrated in this case.”

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Toshiba Launches Laptop Trade-In Program

Toshiba has launched a laptop trade-in scheme that could include up to £150 cash back for an old machine

In a sign of the fiercely competitive nature of the laptop market at the moment, Toshiba has launched a trade-in scheme in an effort to drive laptop sales in the run up to Christmas.

Last month, PC World announced an incentive of a £100 laptop trade-in, so as to encourage users to buy a new laptop, although the actual figure depended on the quality and viability of the laptop.

Toshiba is pushing its trade in service for both consumers and businesses. The way it works is this. Users go to a dedicated trade-in website and get a quote for their old laptop. They then purchase a new Toshiba laptop and the old machine will be collected free of charge, where it will be assessed, before any money is sent back to the user.

Of course, the trade in cash value depends on the specification and condition of the machine, but Toshiba is promising up to £150 cashback for customers who hand over their old laptop after buying a new Windows 7 machine.

For example, eWEEK Europe was quoted £150 as the trade-in value for a Sony Vaio VGN-CR11Z/R machine with an Intel Core Duo 2-based processor [eWEEK Editor’s note – I got a quote of only £38 for my treasured IBM Thinkpad T22, still in daily use after nine years]. 

Toshiba is touting the scheme as an ethical and secure way of disposing of old machines. “You will also be taking part in an ethical process that is both environmentally friendly and gives you a 100 percent guarantee that any data remaining on your old laptop will be securely erased,” Toshiba says.

Toshiba says it will remarket old working laptops wherever possible. “If your laptop can’t be re-used, we can dispose of it for you, ensuring that nothing goes to landfill,” said Toshiba.

Apparently non-functioning or worthless laptops will be recycled in accordance with the WEEE and RoHS regulations. Calls to Toshiba UK went unanswered.

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Toshiba Launches USB Methanol Fuel Cell

The device allows for speedy charging of two handsets from one dose of methanol

Japanese tech giant Toshiba has announced the Dynario – an external fuel cell for mobile phones and other devices which the company claims can charge two handsets from one refil of methanol.

The fuel cartridge will be launched in Japan in a limited edition of 3000 units and will only be available via the company’s direct-order web site – Shop1048, the company said.

“The power consumption of mobile electronic devices, including mobile phones, has greatly increased with added functionality, including TV reception and Internet connectivity,” the company said in a statement. “As a result, battery exhaustion has become a major concern. Dynario’s direct methanol fuel-cell delivers almost instant refueling that untethers electrical equipment from AC adapters and power outlets.”

According to Toshiba, once the device is fueled – via an injection of methanol from its dedicated cartridge –  Dynario starts to generate electricity that is delivered to the mobile phone or a digital media player via USB. “On a single refill of methanol, which can be made in around 20 seconds, Dynario can generate enough power to charge two typical mobile phones,” the company said.

Toshiba added that the Dynario also included a lithium-ion battery charged by the fuel cell to store electricity.

In April, The U.S. Department of Energy awarded mobile operator Sprint $7.3 million (£4.9m) in funding for fuel cell technology. The grant funding will be used to expand the number of Sprint mobile sites that rely on hydrogen fuel cells for backup power. Hydrogen fuel cells provide a cleaner alternative to diesel-powered backup generators that have been utilised in the past. Sprint will work with hydrogen fuel cell manufacturers, tank providers and hydrogen suppliers as part of the grant.

Technologies such as solar, that can charge mobile devices “off-the-grid”, could help boost service provider revenues by around 10 to 14 percent per user which could add up to around $2.3bn (£1.4bn), according to a report released last week, Charging Choices, from the mobile operator organisation GSMA.

Earlier this month, the UK Ministry of Defence announced details of a campaign to provide solar charging technology to troops in Afghanistan’s Forward Operating Bases thanks to sponsorship from Littlewoods and Woolworths.co.uk.

 

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Twitter Gets Fresh Injection Of Funding

Twitter co-founder Evan Williams confirmed the microblogging service closed a funding round from Insight Venture Partners, T. Rowe Price, Institutional Venture Partners, Spark Capital and Benchmark Capital

Twitter co-founder Evan Williams has confirmed the microblogging service closed a funding round from Insight Venture Partners, T. Rowe Price, Institutional Venture Partners, Spark Capital and Benchmark Capital.

Twitter lets users post messages of up to 140 characters to its Website. Numerous media reports said the funding totaled $100 million (£63m), valuing the startup at $1 billion despite the absence of any solid revenue.

Williams declined to provide financial details in a this blog post on the news, but wrote on the company blog: “It was important to us that we find investment partners who share our vision for building a company of enduring value. Twitter’s journey has just begun and we are committed to building the best product, technology and company possible. I’m proud of the team we’ve built so far and I’m confident in the future we’ll build together.”

Twitter, which has already received $55 million in funding from Benchmark Capital and Institutional Venture Partners, has become intensely popular in 2009. More than 54 million users use per month, according to comScore.

While Twitter’s acquisition talks with Facebook and Google earlier this year failed to bear fruit, the new funding proves is Twitter intends to stay and independent.

The company has been boosting its value proposition for businesses, publishing its Twitter 101 manifesto to instruct businesses how to use it. Twitter also revised its terms of service to allow for advertising in the future.

While Dell, JetBlue, PepsiCo and others have already used Twitter to boost sales, the company is expected to set up and charge for services to allow businesses to market and promote themselves on the service. Twitter would also charge for analytical insight into those services.

The company also said it will soon offer geolocation services to Twitter, enabling users to include their latitude and longitude to any tweet.

Twitter’s funding comes shortly after rival Facebook trumpeted that more than 300 million users use its social network.

Twitter has said internally it hopes to be the first Web service to reach 1 billion users. The company could also buy one or more of the myriad startups that have emerged in the company’s shadow to extend the value of the microblogging services on desktops and mobile phones.