Saturday, April 23, 2005

MCI Says Qwest's $9.9 Bln Bid Superior

Reuters today reports that "MCI Inc. on Saturday declared a $9.9 billion takeover bid from Qwest Communications International Inc. superior to its existing $7.8 billion merger agreement with Verizon Communications Inc., marking a significant twist in the three-month takeover battle for the No. 2 U.S. long-distance telephone company."

Afghanistan to open market to two new mobile phone operators

An AFP newswire article on Yahoo! News reports that "Afghanistan said it will open its mobile phone market in 2006 to two new companies, allowing more competition in one of the few booming sectors in the war-shattered country."

Ute VC firm pursues homeland security

Apparently American Indians have more on their financial minds than just casinos. John Moore reports in Federal Computer Week that "The venture capital arm of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe is striking deals in the homeland security sector and may pursue 8(a) status."

OneWorldStore "chksettings.asp" Denial of Service Vulnerability

The FrSIRT reports that "A new vulnerability was identified in OneWorldStore, which may be exploited by remote attackers to conduct denial of service (DoS) attacks. This flaw is due to an unspecified error in the 'chksettings.asp' file when called directly, which may be exploited by a remote attacker to cause a denial of service." Also, Secunia reports of multiple vulnerabilities with OneWorldStore.

Windows 2000 Users: The Clock Is Ticking

Mary Jo Foley writes in Microsoft Watch that "June 30 marks the end of mainstream support for both the client and server Windows 2000 releases. A Windows 2000 rollup pack is still due by midyear."

Friday, April 22, 2005

Truck with $2 million of Maxim's chips hijacked in Asia

...and apparently Maxim is also offerring a $50,000 reward. Mark LaPedus writes in the EETimes that: "Chip maker Maxim Integrated Products Inc. late Thursday (April 21) said that some $2.2 million worth of untested chips were stolen in Malaysia."

Beware of fraud ahead of ".eu" launch, says European Commission

Peter Clarke writes in the EETimes that:

"The European Commission is advising companies and individuals to beware of fraudsters during the run-in to the intended introduction of the .eu top-level domain (TLD) at the beginning of 2006. Registration of addresses is due to start later this year."

Official Xbox 360 Image Surfaces?

Nate Mook writes on BetaNews that:

"Microsoft's second generation Xbox has been the subject of much speculation over the last few months, as the videogame console nears its mid-May unveiling. But Microsoft has successfully kept the new Xbox all but a mystery - until now. A seemingly official picture of the "Xbox 360" has made its way onto the Web."

As an aside, a quick Google search turned up this "picture"....

RSS Reaches Out for Enterprise, Social Networks

Matt Hicks writes about the growing popularity of RSS in this eWeek article:

"The software and services used to read XML-based news feeds are continuing to branch out as the syndication method gains popularity on the Web.

The enterprise is becoming a target for NewsGator Technologies Inc. as it preps a server-based version of its RSS aggregation service. Meanwhile, upstarts Rojo Networks Inc. and Onfolio Inc. this week expanded the availability of their respective RSS readers, each of which puts a new twist on finding and organizing feeds."

Microsoft Security Products Chief Takes On Spyware

Stuart Glascock writes on TechWeb News that "Keeping spyware from bothering users, bogging down networks, and gunking up systems is something Gordon Mangione thinks a lot about, and as vice president, Microsoft Security Products Group, his thoughts on the subject carry some weight."

The Truth about Linux and Windows

Steve Hamm over on the BusinessWeek TechBeat blog has written a very nice summary of his thoughts on the ongoing Linux v. Windows debate (debacle?), especially the latest row over the Yankee Group's Laura DiDio, the analyst who wrote a report favoring Windows. A snippet from Steve's article:

"My beef with Yankee started April 1. That’s when I got an advance look at the press release announcing the study, and a phone interview with Laura DiDio, the analyst who wrote the report. My thought was I’d use this report to really delve down into the way such research is done and figure out how credible it is. So I not only questioned DiDio about her methods and her conclusions, but I also asked for the data upon which here conclusions were drawn. The headline on the press release is 'Yankee Group Survey Reveals Majority of Enterprises rate Quality and Performance of Windows Equal to or Better than Linux.' DiDio described the survey as 'totally independent, web-based, and self selecting.' She went down through her findings and conclusions."

Definately worth the read.

Web helps scalpers corner the concert market

A report on the NBC Nightly News tonight (and subsequently posted to the MSNBC web site) explains that ticket sales web sites, such as TicketMaster are making it easier for people to buy up large blocks of choice seats at all sorts of entertainment venues, only to turn around and scalp them for ridiculously high prices. A quote from the beginning of the article explains that:

"The only way you can get to see Bruce Springsteen perform in East Rutherford, N.J. — in a concert that sold out on the first day seats went up for grabs — is to buy tickets at hugely inflated prices from scalpers. And now, the Internet makes it easy for them to nail down the best seats to all sorts of major events."

The story was written by George Lewis (NBC News).

Nasdaq buys Instinet electronic trading arm

An AP newswire story on MSNBC provides some insight into the NASDAQ-Instinet deal:

"The Nasdaq Stock Market Inc. is purchasing Instinet Group Inc.’s electronic trading network for $934.5 million, a move designed to improve Nasdaq’s position as competition grows among the world’s stock markets. The long-rumored announcement Friday came two days after the New York Stock Exchange said it would merge with Archipelago Holdings Inc., operator of the ArcaEx electronic trading market, a surprise move that boosts the NYSE’s electronic trading offerings and increases its competitiveness against Nasdaq and other markets."

Pope Receives More Than 56,000 E-Mails

An AP newswire story on Yahoo! News reveals that the Holy See has been swamped with e-mail for the newly elected Pope.

Torvalds Gives Inside Skinny on Git

"In an exclusive [eWeek] interview, the Linux founder talks about the new Linux software configuration management program he created: Git." Article by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols.

HIPAA Deadline Passes

Tim Gray wrote yesterday on eSecurity News that "The deadline to complete the security requirement segment of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) passed today without much fanfare, but it could be sometime before it is known who has complied with the government regulations."

College freshmen less interested in tech

Ed Frauenheim (Staff Writer, C|NET News) is the author of an article which explains that "Incoming college students seem to have developed an allergy to computer science during the past four years -- with women particularly being uninterested in the field. That's the gist of a new report from Computing Research Association (CRA), a group made up of academic departments, research centers and professional societies."

Verizon Secures Deals for TV Channels

Very cool.

"Verizon revealed that it has entered into a long-term relationship with A&E Television Networks to broadcast A&E's programming to subscribers of its upcoming FiOS TV service. Under its agreement with A&E Verizon will broadcast content from The History Channel, The Biography Channel, History International, Military History Channel, and Crime & Investigation Network."
Article by David Worthington in BetaNews.

CA Drafts New Policy for Spyware Vendor Appeals

Paul F. Roberts writes in an eWeek article that "Computer Associates International Inc. is changing its policy for handling appeals from suspected spyware vendors. CA's eTrust PestPatrol unit will no longer remove detection signatures for suspected spyware from its database of known spyware and adware programs while it considers appeals filed by the makers of those programs, said Tori Case, director of eTrust Security Management at CA."

Public Interest Registry Welcomes New Worldwide Leaders to the .ORG Advisory Council

Press Release (April 18, 2005) from the PIR web site:

"The Public Interest Registry (PIR) announced today the appointment of five new Worldwide Advisory Council members and the reappointment of three returning council members to fill expiring term open seats. The Advisory Council is one of PIR's key resources established to solicit input from and be responsive to the needs, concerns, and views of the global non-commercial Internet community in the management of the .ORG Internet domain registry."

India's Satyam buys into business consulting

Alorie Gilbert (Staff Writer, C|NET News) writes that "Satyam Computer Services in Hyderabad, India, has acquired London-based business consulting company Citisoft, the companies said this week. Satyam, one of India's leading outsourcing companies, agreed to pay up to $38.7 million for the company, which includes $15.5 million in performance-based pay. Citisoft specializes in advising institutional and private wealth investment companies with operations in London, Boston and New York." There is an announcement of the acquisition at the Citisoft web site, as well.

An interview with Symantec's Tim Mather

"Symantec's network security chief, Tim Mather, talks about attacks on his company, the folly of regulations and why he'd never hire a hacker." By Eileen Yu, Special to C|NET News.

Vigilante worm attacks music-sharers

Jack Kapica writes in the Daily Globe and Mail that the "... Nopir-B, appears to have been written by a French hacker, says the London-based security company Sophos Labs, which found it in the wild late yesterday. Nopir-B spreads along peer-to-peer file-sharing systems posing as a program to make copies of commercial DVDs. If opened, it displays an anti-piracy graphic, and attempts to delete all MP3 music files, disable various system utilities, and wipe other programs on the infected computer."

Pope Domain Squatter Hands Over Gains To Charity

An article on TechWeb reports that "The Florida man who squatted on half a dozen possible Papal names -- including the one eventually chosen by former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict XVI -- said Thursday that he would be turning over the domains to a New York-based charity."

Chinese group hosts camp for kids addicted to Internet

In the May 9 issue of Forbes, Lea Goldman writes that "Some parents send their kids to camp to drop a few pounds, learn guitar or belt out standards from the 'Pippin' songbook. Not in Beijing, where the Communist Youth League reportedly hosted a weeklong camp in April for a dozen or so kids addicted to the Internet."

New crop of thieves: Pharmers hit Net banking

Jane Larson wrote in the The Arizona Republic on Tuesday that "It's the next Internet scam, and it could be the most menacing. The reason: Even experienced Internet users can become victims and not know it. The ploy is called pharming - a play off 'phishing,' the previous Internet fraud - and it involves highly skilled hackers who secretly redirect users' computers from financial sites to the scammers' fake ones, where they steal passwords and other personal information. Even the Web address looks the same."

Update: It looks like New Scientist has even picked up on the hype of pharming.

McAfee Tests Virus Scans During Boot

According to an article over on BetaNews (written by David Worthington), "McAfee is developing an antivirus product that will intervene in native mode while Microsoft Windows is starting up to provide more flexibility and control over its products."

"Emacs vs. vi all over again..."

I give you yesterdays User Friendly -- "Impairing Productivity Since 1997." Enjoy.

Star Wars Fans gather in Indy

Today in Wired News, Jacob Ogles reports from"Celebration III, a fan festival exalting the Stars Wars franchise, attracted nearly 30,000 people to the Indiana Convention Center, as well as several sponsors and exhibitors ready to sell to the well-heeled, tech-crazy clientele." I love the fan photos that these events create. Too bad Triumph didn't make the trip...

Euphemisms, Buzzwords, and Marketing (Oh! My!) has a spot-on post this morning about how an ISP in the UK has obfuscated the language in their service offering to make it sound like they do not have a cap on customer bandwidth usage (while they actually do). I have to agree with one of my heroes, George Carlin, on how the absence of straight talk and truthfulness in society has really become standard practice.

Iron Mountain Admits Tape Loss, Recommends Encryption

Yet another loss of confidential data reported this morning. Paul Shread writes on that "In a move that could fuel efforts to change data storage practices, records management giant Iron Mountain has admitted losing a customer's backup tapes and is recommending that customers begin encrypting backup tapes." Does anyone else find it disturbing that Iron Mountain is, according to it's web site, "Providing Real World Solutions"? I guess that given all the recent public disclosures of unauthorized personal data losses, you can't get much more "real world" than that.

EBay Launches Polish Web Site

An AP newswire report on Yahoo! News reports that "EBay Inc. said Friday that it launched a Web site to bring the online auctioneer's services to Poland."

Japanese firms banned from Hong Kong IT Expo

Paul Hales writes in The Inquirer that "The current spat between China and Japan has led to Japanese companies being banned from an IT exhibition to be held in Hong Kong."

Porn represents 20% of New Zeaand police IT capacity

An article in The Register (written by Thomas C. Greene) reveals that police " New Zealand waste so much time surfing for porn while on the job that fully 20 per cent of police computer system capacity is devoted to storing the images, an official audit has revealed."

UK police tackle mounting internet porn caseload

An article by Peter Warren on The Register reveals that "British police are refining their crackdown on internet paedophiles as a swelling caseload of offences involving the downloading of images of child abuse pushes computer forensics teams to their limits. According to police sources over 300 people a month are still being referred to special police paedophile units. This is despite the success of 'Operation Ore' which led to the names of 7,272 suspects being passed to forces in the UK after US police broke up a paedophile website operation."

Privacy watchdog warns job seekers to beware

Robert Lemos wrote yesterday in an article on SecurityFocus that "Would-be workers need to be more cautious with résumé services and posting their personal information online. Online fraudsters are increasingly taking advantage of vulnerable job seekers by using online résumés to steal their identity, a privacy expert warned this week."

Ex-boyfriend, nude photos create Web calamity for girl

From Friday's Globe and Mail, Joe Friesen writes that "A 16-year-old Toronto girl is struggling with a cyber nightmare after sexually explicit photos taken by a vengeful ex-boyfriend were posted on the Internet. Although child-pornography charges have been laid, police can't get the anonymous webmaster to remove the photos."

Videotron to name file swappers

In a Canada Press article in the Globe and Mail, yet another revealing example of one of the many reasons why attorneys have the reputation that they have earned. The Globe and Mail article states that "Producing the identities of Internet users alleged of wrongdoing happens so regularly, says a lawyer for Videotron, that he's bewildered as to why other ISPs are fighting a motion from the music industry to hand over the names of people who share large volumes of songs on-line."

Bill Proposes Ending Free Weather Data

I wrote about how assinine this was last night, but here's some additional information on BetaNews this morning (article by Ed Oswald). Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) is now at the top of my Top Ten List of Scumbags for the week.

All the News That's Fit to Wiki

In a humorous, yet interesting, article on Wired News this morning, Joanna Glasner writes that "A few weeks ago, when the death of Terry Schiavo and deathbed vigil for Pope John Paul II dominated headlines, Wayne Saewyc was surprised to see an odd bit of papal news pop up on his computer screen. On the website Wikinews, which posts stories from a network of volunteer reporters, someone had written that the pope's feeding tube had been removed."

Emails more damaging than cannabis

From the "No-Duh" Dept: Iain Thomson ( writes this morning that "Researchers at the University of London Institute of Psychiatry have found that the constant distractions of email and texting are more harmful to performance than cannabis." I guess that's why many people have been calling them"Crackberries"...

Microsoft plans joint research center with French gov't

Peter Sayer (IDG News Service) writes in InfoWorld this morning that "Microsoft plans to open a research center in France in conjunction with a French government research organization. An announcement could be made as early as Tuesday afternoon during a visit to Paris by Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer."

Europe's .eu domain to go live early next year

"The top-level domain '.eu' will be ready for use from the start of next year, the European Commission said this week," writes Simon Taylor (IDG News Service) in an article on InfoWorld this morning. "The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) has agreed to enter the .eu domain in the Internet root servers in the coming days, the Commission said Thursday. Once this has been done, final technical preparations can be made to ensure companies and public authorities can begin using .eu in their Internet addresses from the start of 2006."

India's Wipro reports 58 percent profit growth

John Ribeiro (IDG News Service) writes in an InfoWorld article that "Indian outsourcing company Wipro reported net income of $363 million for the fiscal year to March 31, a jump of 58 percent, it announced Friday."

Microsoft Confirms Critical Win2K Flaw

An article By Ryan Naraine posted on the eWeek site yesterday reveals that "Software engineers at Microsoft Corp.'s security research center on Thursday confirmed a potentially dangerous security hole in fully patched Windows 2000 systems that could put users at risk of malicious hacker attacks." According to the article, Microsoft was forced to go public about the unpatched vulnerability after GreyMagic Software, a private security research company located in Israel, posted details and proof-of-concept exploit code on the Web.

Retailers feel security heat

Alorie Gilbert (Staff Writer, C|NET writes in an article this morning that "Following several recent high-profile data theft incidents, retailers are under increasing pressure to clean up their computer security act. Leading the effort are MasterCard International and Visa USA, which are giving major retailers until June 30 to comply with a new set of computer security standards aimed at protecting consumer data. Retailers that don't comply with the Payment Card Industry, or PCI, data security standard may face penalties, including fines."

Thursday, April 21, 2005

New Bill Would Ban Public NOAA Weather Data

This has got to be one of the most assinine pieces of proposed legislation that I have witnessed in a long time -- and we should all write Senator Rick Santorum and let him know how we feel. Thanks to /. for alerting us to this spectacularly idiotic attempt to yank the carpet out from under the collective feet of the people in favor of lining the pockets of special interest groups and lobbyists.

Regulator orders VSNL to give bandwidth to all ISPs

Via Telecom Asia, a brief news report which explains that "The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has directed VSNL to release international bandwidth to all ISPs without discrimination. TRAI has ordered the Tata Group managed telecom firm to provide international leased line to even those ISPs that have not co-located their routers within VSNL's premises. VSNL has been directed to comply with this order within seven days." (Thanks for the pointer, Tom!)

Sprint to expand Wi-Fi hot spot network

This is a really smart move on Sprint's part, in my humble opinion. An AP wire story on MSNBC reports that "Sprint Corp. said Thursday it had signed agreements to dramatically expand its network of locations offering wireless Internet service." And apparently they are striving for up to 25,000 WiFi hot spot locations by the end of the year....

SBC, Vonage Working on 911 Service Access Deal

Well, it looks like Vonage is making progress in obtaining access to major LEC E911 data facilities. Last week it was Verizon, this week SBC. In a Reuters News article this evening, it appears that "SBC Communications Inc. is in talks to provide Internet telephone provider Vonage Holdings Corp. with enhanced 911 emergency services for its customers, after an initial fight between the two carriers."

Qwest makes new $9.9B bid for MCI

Tom Krazit (IDG News Service) writes in an an InfoWorld article that "Qwest Communications International has made what it called its 'best and final offer' to purchase the outstanding shares of MCI for about $9.9 billion, Qwest said in a statement Thursday."

Target, Yahoo in Online Picture Developing Pact

Reuters reports that "Yahoo Inc. said on Thursday it has launched an online photo service with Target Corp. that this fall will enable consumers to order prints of their digital pictures for pick up at a Target store. The site, Target Yahoo Photos, extends Yahoo's existing online photo site."

Arizona Phishers Lived High On The Hog

Via Techweb News: " A pair of Tucson men were arrested Wednesday after being accused of supporting their expensive buying habits by bilking consumers of more than $230,000 in a phishing scam."

IE May Get Tabs Before Summer

Gregg Keizer, in an article on, writes that "Windows enthusiast site on Thursday claimed that Microsoft's MSN group is working on a new toolbar that will add tabs to Internet Explorer, an idea one analyst thinks could boost the whole browser-as-money-maker idea." I'm kind of surprised it hasn't before now...

Verizon Corrects 'Naked' DSL Reports

Nate Mook writes in BetaNews that "Telecommunications giant Verizon has been forced to break some bad news to customers - they cannot simply drop their phone service while keeping Verizon DSL. Instead, subscribers can port their number to another telephone service provider. The clarification comes after news reports said Verizon would begin offering 'naked' DSL."

Major Carriers To Snub Moto's iTunes Phone

I'm not sure whether this is a case of the "Not-Invented-Here" syndrome, a fear of increased bandwidth usage, or simply (as the article states) that the wireless carriers mentioned in the article actually would like to "make money both from the transmission of the songs to users and from sales of the songs themselves." An article in Mobile Pipeline begins by stating that "At least two major U.S. wireless carriers -- Verizon Wireless and Sprint -- will snub the forthcoming iTunes cell phone being developed by Motorola and Apple, BusinessWeek reported Thursday."

Web bugs may break state law

Another snippet (with a pointer to an article) I ran across this afternoon on Boing Boing is one regarding how Intuit and H&R Block intentionally placed web "bugs" in their online tax preparation software this year "to monitor taxpayers' online behavior." Not only does that sound creepy, but it is probably a violation of California state law. The referenced article is written by David Lazarus at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Funny cartoon about Berkeley Professor who lost his laptop

Ah, yes. Humor. Via Boing Boing, that delicious Directory of Wonderful Things.

Lawsuit Claims AOL Worker Seduced Teen

My Way News first posted this AP story on April 17th, and likewise, I posted a snippet here in the blog referencing the article. Well, more details are becoming available today, as this AP story reveals, as repoted on Yahoo! News. "America Online markets itself as a safe place for children, with parent-friendly features and a force of employees who monitor kids' chat rooms and watch out for adults prowling for youngsters," writes Alex Veiga for the Associated Press. "But is AOL doing enough to monitor the monitors?" Read the entire article here.

Opera 8 Surpasses 600,000 Downloads

Nate Mook writes on BetaNews that "Firefox may be garnering most of the attention as an alternative to IE, but Opera 8 has been met with a massive response from Internet users - so much so that new Opera download servers had to be installed. In just 48 hours since its launch, Opera Software says over 600,000 people have downloaded its new Web browser."

Man unearths [UK] Defence secrets at rubbish dump

The Register reports that "A Hampshire man has found sensitive Ministry of Defence plans on a laptop he was given at a rubbish dump. Martin Dunn, 31, was foraging for computer parts when a woman gave him a bag containing a laptop she was about to ditch, The Sun reports. A subsequent investigation of the PC revealed '70 top-secret files' giving details of contingency plans at Army and Navy bases about what do in the event of a terrorist attack."

States Take Spyware Action Into Their Own Hands

In an article on, Roy Mark writes that "Impatient with the efforts of Congress to deal with spyware, states are increasingly taking matters into their own hands. The home turf of Microsoft and Amazon is the latest to join the battle. Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire is expected to soon sign the nation's third anti-spyware law, following the lead of Utah and California. For good measure, Olympia, Wash., is throwing in an anti-phishing bill."

Attack on game raises prospect of online extortion

An article by Will Knight in the New Scientist discusses the possibilities of online extortion in light of the recent events surrounding the Final Fantasy XI Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. Writes Knight, "An attack against a prominent online computer game has prompted fears that lucrative virtual communities could be the next target for internet extortionists. Final Fantasy XI, a popular fantasy role-playing game run by Japanese company Square Enix, suffered disruption after being bombarded with bogus traffic sent from hundreds of remotely controlled computers"

'Let us go forth,' new pope says in first text message

An AFP news article on Yahoo! News reports that "Pope Benedict XVI sent his first text message to Italian cellphone users -- "Let us go forth" -- carrying on a service launched by his predecessor, the late John Paul II."

BT welcomes free Wi-Fi hotspots

In an article on this morning, Iain Thomson writes that "While telecoms companies in the US are trying to block free Wi-Fi hotspots, BT has stated that it has no problems with the concept."

Family gains access to dead Marine's e-mail

Well, I'm relieved to see that this situation has been straightened out. However, let's hope that the resolution between the slain Marine's family and Yahoo! does not open a Pandora's Box in future siutuations where the entity (or entities, as the case may be) requesting access to a deceased person's private communications, post-mortem, is not the family. This could begin a slippery-slope on the issue of the status of personal communications privacy, even after death, and could insight a lot of fiery rhetoric on both sides of the issue. An article on CNN this morning reports that "E-mail provider Yahoo! has pledged to give the family of a Marine killed in Iraq full access to their son's e-mail account, ending a court battle that began after his parents sought messages he wrote before his death."

Carnegie Mellon Says Computers Breached

An Associated Press (AP) wire report in the Washington Post this morning reports that "Carnegie Mellon University is warning more than 5,000 students, employees and graduates that their Social Security numbers and other personal information may have been accessed during a breach of the school's computer network." Hey, wait a minute -- isn't CMU where the CERT is located?

MCI promises faster repairs and better uptime

In a Network World article, announced Wednesday that it has improved its service-level agreement for its Managed Network Service customers. The carrier has changed its mean-time-to-repair (MTTR) guarantee to a time-to-repair (TTR) guarantee and has improved its network availability SLA."

Traffic crushes fed Monster

From the "We-Couldn't-See-That-One-Coming" Dept., Federal Computer Week reported yesterday that "A high volume of online job listings and applications at two agencies has forced Monster Government Solutions to take down its Internet-based federal job application programs for more than a month, officials said today. The software program, QuickHire, is used by more than 100 federal agencies, but systems at the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency and the Department of Health and Human Services crashed because of the unexpectedly high number of people applying for jobs, and the large number of jobs the agencies posted online."

Time Warner, Comcast Win Bid for Adelphia

Reuters reports this morning that "Bankrupt cable operator Adelphia Communications Corp. on Thursday accepted a buyout offer from joint bidders Time Warner Inc. and Comcast Corp. for $12.7 billion in cash and a stake in a new cable company."

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Computer generates verifiable mathematics proof

New Scientist reports on its website that "A computer-assisted proof of a 150-year-old mathematical conjecture can at last be checked by human mathematicians. The Four Colour Theorem, proposed by Francis Guthrie in 1852, states that any four colours are the minimum needed to fill in a flat map without any two regions of the same colour touching."

Verizon Calls On Congress for Fiber TV

BetaNews reports that "Two days after calling on broadcasters to support changing local regulations that are hindering its rollout of a television service, Verizon took its case directly to Capitol Hill to have the laws changed by the lawmakers themselves."

Researchers Propose Early Warning System for Worms

Ryan Naraine writes in eWeek that "Researchers at the University of Florida have designed an Internet-worm early warning system that offers a new approach to pinpointing the first sign of a malicious network attack. Shigang Chen and Sanjay Ranka, professors in the university's Computer and Information Science and Engineering department, outlined the plumbing for the system in a research paper that promises a fix for known weaknesses in existing early warning mechanisms."

Cyber attack early warning center begins pilot project

Acoording to an article in Network World Fusion, "A fledgling nonprofit group working to develop an automated cyber-attack early warning system, the Cyber Incident Detection Data Analysis Center (CIDDAC), is about to begin a pilot project to collect data on network intrusions from a group of companies in national-infrastructure industries." According to it's own FAQ, CIDDAC operational services are scheduled to commence in Decemeber 2005.

Engineers Joked That Enron Broadband Software Was "Pixie Dust," Witness Says

I have a definate appreciation for twisted humor, and it sounds like these Enron engineers did, too. In an article on Networking Pipeline, it appears that "Enron Corp. engineers jokingly called software that was purported to make the company's broadband network work better and faster than any other 'the secret sauce or pixie dust,' a former employee testified Wednesday at the trial of five former executives of the failed Internet venture."

Corporate Data Leaks Spur Interest in Storage Security

Article via "Recent data security breaches like the loss of backup tapes at Bank of America and Ameritrade are boosting the fortunes of storage security vendors..."

House subcommittee elevates cybersecurity position

Article via InfoWorld: " A bill that would create a high-level cybersecurity official in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was approved Wednesday by a House of Representatives subcommittee."

House subcommittee elevates cybersecurity position

Article via InfoWorld: " A bill that would create a high-level cybersecurity official in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was approved Wednesday by a House of Representatives subcommittee."

Bells' fiber plans spark political flame war

Article via C|Net News: "Verizon Communications and SBC Communications' plans to wire American homes with high-speed fiber connections may encounter regulatory roadblocks, members of Congress suggested Wednesday."

Qwest gives Vonage the 911

Ben Charney, Staff Writer at C|Net News, is the author of an article which reveals that "Vonage says it has negotiated access to Qwest Communications International's 911 infrastructure, another sign that Vonage and other VoIP operators are closer than ever to tackling a major hurdle to offering better emergency service."

NBC Analyst Admits Receiving Tech Payola

It looks like Wall Street Journal broke this story first, but here's the DL from BetaNews. Ed Oswald, for BetaNews, writes that "Details of a payola scheme by NBC tech analyst Cory Greenberg surfaced Wednesday, in which he was receiving upwards of $15,000 a piece from technology companies to positively promote their products on NBC's Today Show. The news underscores an emerging trend of questionable review practices, both online and off."

Check it out. A Wired News article explains that "If the newly elected pope wants his own website, he'll have to talk to Rogers Cadenhead first." The Register also says that "Pope Benedict XVI's position on cybersquatting is unknown."

: Reuters has a rather humorous article on this that explains "An American who registered the Internet name before the new Pope was chosen said on Wednesday he had not worked out what to do with it but was pretty sure it would be a sin to sell it to a pornographer."

'Researchware' watches where you click

MSNBC has posted an interesting article on what is being dubbed "Researchware." You and I may already know about this type of questionable software, but the vast majority of Internet users probably don't. Bob Sullivan, MSNBC Technology Correspondent writes that "It's just a small download, promoted as a free antivirus program. But the software is really designed to sit silently on consumers' computers, watch everything they do online, and send the critical data back to the program’s creator. The program has swept the Internet in the last year, with millions of people downloading it. The newest spyware? Nope. Welcome to the Internet's newest marketing tool, 'researchware.'"

TiVo principal engineer resigned

Things must be getting shakey inside of TiVo. There's a post on the C|Net News Gadget Blog, that reports "Arthur van Hoff, principal engineer at TiVo, resigned in late February, he confirmed Wednesday. His resume posted to his Web site indicated he left the digital video recorder company this year."

Content-Skipping Bill Headed For Law reports that "The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly supported technology over Hollywood Tuesday afternoon. On a voice vote, the lawmakers approved legislation allowing companies to sell filtering technology that skips ads, violence and obscene content in movies."

U.K. court lifts veil on 33 more file-sharers

C|Net News is reporting that "The U.K. record industry has announced it has won a court order to force Internet service providers to reveal the identities of 33 suspected file-sharers."

W3C cuts member fees to help developing countries

C|Net News reports that "The World Wide Web Consortium [W3C] is drastically cutting membership fees for certain organizations, in a bid to support developing countries. Realizing that steep dues discouraged organizations from lower-income countries from joining, the Web's main standards body slashed fees by 15 percent to 60 percent for small companies and nonprofit organizations in developing countries."

Troubles Surround Windows Server 2003 SP1

An eWeek article reports that "The first reports from users installing Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 are in. And as was the case with its client counterpart — Windows XP Service Pack 2 — the latest Windows Server service pack breaks several key Microsoft and third-party applications."

Cingular reports $240 million Q1 loss

The (San Jose) Mercury News has an article this morning (registration required, sorry) which reports that "Cingular Wireless LLC, the nation's largest cell phone provider, reported a $240 million loss in the first quarter despite solid growth in subscribers and revenue."

WiPhishing hack risk warning

An article from The Register explains: "You've heard of war driving and phishing but now there's yet another reason to wear a tin-foil hat every time you surf the net. 'WiPhishing' (pronounced why phishing) involves covertly setting up a wireless enabled laptop or access point in order to get wireless-enabled laptops to associate with it as a prelude to hacking attacks."

20 arrested in crackdown on Internet pharmacies

CNN reports this morning that "Twenty people in the United States and abroad were arrested on charges they ran Internet pharmacies that illegally shipped narcotics, steroids and amphetamines to teenagers and other buyers around the world, federal authorities announced Wednesday."

RFID expansion at JFK highlights uses, issues

Finally -- a good use for RFID tags. Network World Fusion reports that "The RFID system that tracks and identifies vehicles used to transport aircraft fuel at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York is now being used on hundreds of food-service and employee transportation vehicles at the air traffic hub."

But don't forget -- in other ways, RFID kills.

Vonage Inks Deal For VoIP Monitored Security Systems

Well, it looks like Vonage is making progress on several fronts. Advanced IP Pipeline reports that "Home security vendor and voice over IP (VoIP) provider Vonage Holdings Corp. have inked a joint marketing agreement to offer broadband VoIP subscribers telephony-independent monitored security systems."

Voice Over Broadband Traffic Skyrockets In Europe

An article from Networking Pipeline reveals that "Voice over Broadband (VoBB) voice traffic in Europe skyrocketed in 2004, going from half a million connections to 2.5 million connections, according to a recent study from IDC. The research firm also found that the number of connections will rise to more than 22 million by 2008, for total revenue of $7 billion, of which 60% will come from the consumer market."

Juniper Doubles Earnings in Q1

"Juniper Networks predicted continued growth Tuesday as the company grew both income and revenue for its first quarter, beating analysts' earnings expectations by a penny." Article from Advanced IP Pipeline.

Could IP Addressing Benefit from the Introduction of Competitive Suppliers?

Extract from an excellent paper by Geoff Huston and Paul Wilson:

"In recent months proposals have been made for the introduction of competition into the system of allocation of IP addresses. In particular, calls have made for new IP address registries to be established which would compete with the existing Regional Internet address Registries (RIRs)."

eBayer pleads guilty to 'anthrax' scare

From The Register: "UK man has admitted threatening to kill an eBay trader after a DVD drive he ordered failed to show up. Daniel Finch, 31, from Humberston in Lincolnshire, was so hacked off with eBay trader David Mackie when the £40 DVD drive he ordered failed to arrived, he sent two letters to the trader both containing white powder."

Denmark ranks 1st in Web-savvy, U.S. 2nd

Reuters article which reports that a study conducted by IBM and The Economist found that "The United States and Switzerland boosted their rankings in an annual survey of the world's Web-savviest nations by aggressively rolling out broadband and wireless Internet connections."

Prison terms on tap for 'pre-release' pirates

"File-swappers who distribute a single copy of a prerelease movie on the Internet can be imprisoned for up to three years, under a bill that's slated to become the most dramatic expansion of online piracy penalties in years." Read this article on C|Net News.

AOL to (attempt to) block phishing sites

I say "attempt" because phishing sites are generally set up, taken down (or simply abandoned after they've served their purpose), and moved to another compromised host in a fairly short time frame, sometimes in a matter of a couple of days or even hours. Reuters reports in an article this morning that "The online unit of Time Warner struck a partnership with Cyota, a New York-based online security company, to help identify and block sites imitating legitimate companies--such as banks--that are suspected of soliciting personal information, a process known phishing." Also, for more information on phishing, visit the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) web page and the Fight Identity Theft web page.

Microsoft patents 911

The Register reports that "Microsoft was today granted a patent for accessing data used by the emergency services."

Porn law booster also heads firm that filters Internet

From the Conflict-of-Interest-Dept: The Salt Lake Tribune reports that one of the most energetic cheerleaders of Utah's new Internet porn law also happens to be President and CEO of ContentWatch, a Salt Lake City-based company that produces Internet blocking software, raising questions about a potential conflict of interest. Read the Salt Lake Tribune article here.

ChoicePoint Division Changes Tack

Article via Wired News: "A division of ChoicePoint that conducts background checks for employers and other organizations will begin notifying individuals when it provides damaging personal information about them. The newly announced policy is designed to bring the company into compliance with a federal law that requires such notice in certain cases."

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Verizon Offering "Naked" DSL in Northeast

My Way News article: "Verizon Communications said Monday that some customers who already subscribe to its phone and high-speed Internet service can drop their local calling plans but still keep their speedy Web connection." UPDATE: Well, apparently, Verizon's "Naked" DSL announcement has a few catches -- it's really "partially clothed." Details and appropraite links available here at

Yahoo! beats the street, shares jump

CNN/Money article: "Internet media company Yahoo Inc. said on Tuesday its quarterly profit doubled from a year ago on higher revenue from Web advertising."

Spammers Mining P2P For Addresses

Spammers seem to always find a way to target-harvest e-mail addresses. An article on Security Pipeline reports that "Spammers are mining peer-to-peer (P2P) networks for addresses, and finding it lucrative work, a security expert said Tuesday. According to Eran Reshef, the chief executive and co-founder of Blue Security, sophisticated and smart spammers are harvesting e-mail addresses from systems linked to P2P networks via such software as eDonkey 2000 and Gnutella."

UK court orders ISPs to reveal IDs of 33 more filesharers

The Register reports that "A British judge today ordered five ISPs to name another 33 music file sharers. The individuals concerned had uploaded more than 72,000 music files to the internet, according to a statement by the BPI (British Phonographic Industry), which sought the court order as part of its broader legal offensive against illegal downloading on P2P networks."

Ameritrade warns 200,000 clients of lost data

Gee, whiz -- what a surprise -- another one. MSNBC reports this afternoon that "Ameritrade Inc. has advised 200,000 current and former customers that a computer backup tape containing their personal information has been lost, has learned. The tape contained information spanning the years 2000-2003, and included both current and past consumers, according to spokeswoman Donna Kush." Anyone wanna bet that tomorrow, this number will have grown "after further examination...blah blah...."?

Outsourcing not all it's cracked up to be

Here's what we like to see -- a report that realistically points out the possible pitfalls in outsourcing. From InfoWorld's Techwatch blog: "Just when the zealots would have us believe that outsourcing was on the verge of steamrolling IT departments and leaving far fewer employees in its wake, Deloitte and Touche issued the results of a study that indicates myriad twists in just such a plot." Read the remainder of the Techwatch article here.

Virus writers turn away from worms

An article from News reports that e-mail "worms are falling out of favour with the hacking community, according to a report investigating malicious internet activity."

The Register: Right of Reply -- LexisNexis responds

Kurt Sanford of LexisNexis responds to The Register's previous story on prior personal data exposures at the company.

Lucent profit quadruples, stock rises

Reuters article: "Lucent Technologies Inc. on Tuesday said quarterly earnings rose four-fold on strong sales of wireless network products and services, sending its shares up nearly 6 percent."

Flaw found in McAfee suite

Article via C|Net News: "A flaw in McAfee Internet Security Suite 2005 could let employees sharing the same computer break into one another's files, according to security consultant iDefense. The vulnerability, which exists in the default settings applied during installation, gives anyone the same access rights on a PC as an IT administrator."

How vulnerable is the 'Net?

"The unusual activity began two weeks before the attack. Officials from the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis [CAIDA], which had begun monitoring Internet nameserver behavior at the start of 2002, noticed varying levels of performance degradation in early October of that year. Little did they realize that on Oct. 21 they would witness a flood of ping messages on the Internet's 13 DNS root nameservers that would cause the most notorious denial-of-service attack on the Internet to this date." Article available via NetworkWorld Fusion.

Viacom May Seek Cable Networks, Web Companies

Article via Reuters news service: "Viacom Inc. is interested in buying cable networks aimed at older audiences and Internet companies focusing on video games and community sites, a top executive said on Tuesday."

Please Don't Call It a G-Rated Dispute

The New York Times this morning reports (link via Techdirt) that the MPAA, in it's infinite wisdom (not!), and in an obvious effort to continue providing quality shock and top-notch, carnival-quality entertainmant to those of us watching their legal prowess from the sidelines, is up to it's usual intimidation thuggery. Quoted from the NYT article, "The Motion Picture Association of America's ratings code - G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17 - is so familiar that the initials are used in everyday conversation about subjects that have nothing to do with movies. But that doesn't mean that the association wants just anybody to use them. Recently the association sent e-mail messages and letters to people who write online fan fiction, demanding that they stop tagging stories with the ratings." This is reaching new heights (depths?) of ludicrous behaviour.

PHP falls down security hole

Article via "Servers running PHP are vulnerable to a number of serious security exploits, including some which could allow an attacker to execute malicious code, as well as denial-of-service exploits, according to the PHP Group. The project has issued updates fixing the bugs, available from the PHP website and directly from various operating system vendors. 'All Users of PHP are strongly encouraged to upgrade to this release,' the PHP Group said in its advisory."

Telecom Providers Target Surprising New Market: Eastern Europe

In the spirit of the pursuit of the ever-elusive profit, this article comes to you via Networking Pipeline. "Having tapped out markets on their home turf, European telecommunications companies are aggressively exploring a new frontier: Eastern Europe. The signing last week of a $3.58 billion deal between the Czech government and Spain's Telefonica SA for 51.1 percent of Cesky Telecom illustrates where companies are looking for new customers."

'Popesquatting' Seen on Potential Papal Domains

The lengths some people go to..... Article available via Netcraft News: "While Internet betting sites set odds on the identity of the next pope, domain speculators are buying up domains connected to names that might be adopted by the new Catholic leader."

Vulnerability in CVS Software is Patched

Short article via Netcraft News: "Serious vulnerabilities have been found in Concurrent Versions System, a source code maintenance system used by many open source development projects. The security holes, which could allow a remote compromise of unpatched servers, are addressed in a security update from the CVS development team."

Lucent Converges, Jobs to Go

The "old school" telecom companies continue to shape-shift. Article via Light Reading: "Lucent Technologies Inc. is combining its fixed and wireless business units under one roof, with former Mobility Solutions president Cindy Christy at the helm of the new Network Solutions Group. The move will result in "improvements to our cost and expense structure by integrating resources and simplifying the business," stated the company's press release, referring obliquely to upcoming job losses."

Verizon, NBC Universal in cable deal

Article via CNN/Money: "Verizon Communications Inc. continued its move into the television business by announcing a deal with NBC Universal Cable to carry all 12 of its cable networks, as well as NBC and other programming, Tuesday's Wall Street Journal reported."

Vonage And Skype Turn Up The Heat -- On Each Other

Article via Advanced IP Pipeline: "The 800-pound gorillas of VoIP -- Skype Technologies and Vonage Holdings--have so far been addressing different markets, but each firm is finally beginning to move into the other's space. Vonage has primarily targeted North American public switched telephone networks (PSTN) but its paid service has been creeping into international markets. Skype, in the meantime, which is primarily used for international calling, has been making big inroads into the U.S. market."

Vonage And Skype Turn Up The Heat -- On Each Other

Article via Advanced IP Pipeline: "The 800-pound gorillas of VoIP -- Skype Technologies and Vonage Holdings--have so far been addressing different markets, but each firm is finally beginning to move into the other's space. Vonage has primarily targeted North American public switched telephone networks (PSTN) but its paid service has been creeping into international markets. Skype, in the meantime, which is primarily used for international calling, has been making big inroads into the U.S. market."

New Sober worm shakes Windows security

This story come to us via The Register. "A new variant of the Sober email worm series is spreading rapidly across the net. Like previous variants, Sober-N spreads as an infected ZIP attachment to messages written in either German or English." Of course, the recurring moral here is "Don't open binary attachments in unsolicited e-mail."

Monday, April 18, 2005

China Sentences Two U.S. Men in Piracy Case

"A court in Shanghai has sentenced two U.S. citizens to jail terms of up to 2 1/2 years in prison for selling pirated DVDs online in a case China has used to highlight the difficulties of enforcing anti-piracy laws." Read the entire article on MyWay News.

Qwest protests SBC-AT&T merger as harmful to competition

One might wonder if Qwest is a little upset about being rebuffed by MCI in its efforts to merge the two companies. In article on, "Qwest Communications has filed the first of an expected series of protests against the SBC Communications-AT&T merger, telling California regulators the combined company would hurt consumers and businesses."

DSW Data Theft Larger Than Predicted

It just keeps getting worse, worse, worse. An article available via MyWay News explains that "Thieves who accessed a DSW Shoe Warehouse database obtained 1.4 million credit card numbers and the names on those accounts - 10 times more than investigators estimated last month."

LexisNexis Begins Warning 280,000 of Info Breach

"LexisNexis said on Monday that it has begun notifying about 280,000 people whose personal information may have been accessed by unauthorized individuals using stolen passwords and IDs. Last week, LexisNexis disclosed that criminals may have breached computer files containing the personal information of 310,000 people, a tenfold increase over a previous estimate of how much data was stolen." Article via MyWay News. LexisNexis also has a web page available on their site with information for anyone who recieved a notification letter from them on this unfortunate matter.

Java glitch hits OS X update

C|Net News article: "A minor update to Mac OS X is causing headaches for some computer owners, who find their systems no longer work properly when using Java-based applications or visiting certain Web sites."

'Final Fantasy XI' under attack

"Square Enix's PlayOnline service has been under a distributed denial-of-service attack since April 9, the company said today." Read the C|Net News article here.

IRS Flaws Expose Taxpayers to Snooping, Study Finds

"Computer-security flaws at the U.S. tax-collection agency expose millions of taxpayers to potential identity theft or illegal police snooping, according to a congressional report released on Monday." Read this Reuters article here.

Teenagers struggle with privacy, security issues

"High-schools students have a message for their parents: Trust us with technology. Security and privacy? We have it covered." Read the entire article from SecurityFocus News.

Judge tosses California suit against Microsoft

From C|Net News: "A Baltimore federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Microsoft brought by California cities and counties that accused the software maker of overcharging for Windows and other programs." Read the entire article here.

EV1Servers Becomes ICANN Registrar

Via Netcraft News: "EV1Servers has been approved as an ICANN accredited domain name registrar, the company said today. The Houston provider was approved for top level domains (TLDs) including .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info and .us. The ICANN approval follows a similar move by The Planet." Read the entire article here.

From the Humor Dept. -- Popalooza 2005!

Need I say more? Popalooza 2005.

US Airways Glitch Leads to Cheap Tickets

Article via My Way News: "US Airways became the low-cost carrier of all time over the weekend - selling round-trip flights to some U.S. cities for less than $2 - until the carrier fixed a glitch in its computer system. For several hours, US Airways Group Inc. was selling tickets to smaller cities for $1.86 plus fees, The Charlotte Observer reported Monday."

Symantec debuts integrated antispyware tools

C|Net News article: "Symantec took the wraps off its consumer spyware offering Monday, releasing a test version of tools it will soon add to its Internet security package. The company posted on its Web site a free download of the beta version of the spyware-blocking applications, which it will make available until roughly June 1. At that time, the product will arrive as part of Symantec's Norton Internet Security AntiSpyware Edition, a midyear update of its annual computer defense applications set."

Microsoft Issues Long-Awaited Media Player Fix

According to an eWeek article, Microsoft "...over the weekend pushed out an update for its flagship Windows Media Player to provide protection from a well-known spyware infection threat."

Web shops face tighter security

BBC article which explains that beginning "... 30 June this year all web shops will have to comply with strict security standards drawn up by the world's big credit card companies. Online shops will be certified annually and checked quarterly to ensure they maintain the security standards. Websites which flout the rules could be banned from trading or left to soak up the costs of break-ins all by themselves."

UK Students "Using Adult Websites"

An article in the BBC World News online relates that a study conducted by the National Foundation for Economic Research more than one in 10 teenagers frequently use the Internet to look at pr0n websites.