Daily gapingvoid fix...
I leave you with this bit of humor, however, from gapingvoid.com until I get a chance to post again. Now, back to packing boxes!
I leave you with this bit of humor, however, from gapingvoid.com until I get a chance to post again. Now, back to packing boxes!
I'm moving into a new residence here in Austin this weekend (beginning today, groan), so blog coverage will be spotty over the course of the weekend.
Please bear with me during this busy time! I'll try to post as time and connectivity allows, but you know how chaotic moving can be...
Florence Olsen writes on FCW.com:
President Bush intends to nominate a White House science and technology policy official to become director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Bush’s nominee is William Jeffrey, senior director for homeland and national security and assistant director for space and aeronautics in the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Washington DC - May 26, 2005 - Today at the National Press Club, researchers from leading universities and technology companies will provide the first ever demonstration of a next-generation 911 (NG9-1-1) prototype solution that was developed to address the time-critical issue of locating users of Internet-based phones and other Internet-enabled communication applications to ensure they receive the vital help they need when they need it.
John Borland writes on C|Net News:
The Recording Industry Association of America filed lawsuits against people at 33 university campuses accused of using the high-speed Internet2 network to swap music files, the group said Thursday. The actions follow a first set of lawsuits focusing on this network last month.
The group also said it had filed an additional 649 lawsuits against people making music files available on traditional file-swapping networks.
Media organization Reporters sans Frontières (Reporters without Borders) report on their website that:
Reporters Without Borders expressed concern at a new decree governing registration of websites, put forward by the Ministry of Transport and Communication, that has already come under attack from the Ukrainian media.
Compulsory registration has so far been adopted only by countries that trample free expression, such as China and Vietnam, the organisation pointed out.
"This step could damage freedom of expression on the Internet. We will be watching closely to see that this registration procedure does not become obligatory for private websites," the organisation said.
I guess my next question is: if you're using Netscape 8, why do you care? But I digress....
Nate Mook writes in BetaNews:
In a Web log posting, Internet Explorer program manager Dave Massy has called out Netscape 8 for purportedly breaking XML rendering in IE6. The news comes as the second blow to the revived Netscape browser, which initially shipped with critical security flaws. But at least one user says the XML bug does not affect everyone.
"We've just confirmed an issue that has started to be reported on newsgroups and forums that after installing Netscape 8 the XML rendering capabilities of Internet Explorer no longer work," Massy wrote. "That means that if you navigate in IE to an XML file such as an RSS feed or an XML file with an XSLT transformation applied then rather than seeing the data you are presented with a blank page."
Gregg Keizer writes for TechWeb News:
Bank of America, plagued by phishers targeting its 13.2 million online banking customers, on Thursday debuted a new two-factor, two-way authentication scheme in an attempt to deflect identity theft and reduce fraud.
Dubbed SiteKey, the free service allows customers to pick an image, write a brief phrase, and select three challenge questions. The information is then passed back and forth between the customer and Bank of America to confirm each other's identity. SiteKey will debut in Tennessee, said the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank, and roll out nationwide by the end of the year.
Dinesh C. Sharma writes in C|Net News:
Cisco Systems on Thursday announced it will take over FineGround Networks, a privately held company specializing in network optimization technologies.
The deal is worth $70 million in cash and options, Cisco said. It is subject to regulatory approvals and is likely to close before July. FineGround, started in 2000, has 42 workers. It will be integrated with Cisco's security technology group, and its products will be sold through Cisco's sales channels.
Via TechWeb News.
To the inhabitants of Norway's Svalbard archipelago, living in one of the world's northernmost settlements, surrounded by glaciers and accustomed to long polar nights, cutting-edge broadband technology has been about as common as flip-flops and hula skirts. But that's about to change.
Thanks to Nokia and Telnor, residents are due to get one of the world's most advanced VDSL-powered broadband solutions.
Nokia has teamed up with Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor to bring not only high-speed VDSL broadband, but also IP-based TV to the archipelago, also known as Spitzbergen.
International travelers should get used to having their fingerprints taken or their irises scanned because traditional airport security tests are outdated and open to abuse, a leading U.S. official said on Thursday.
"As a general principle, certainly in the area of international travel, biometrics is the way forward in virtually every respect," said Michael Chertoff, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary.
Software giant Microsoft Corp. on Thursday launched MSN China, a Chinese-language Web portal with content provided by Chinese partners, to tap deeper into the world's second-largest Internet market.
The portal will be run through Shanghai MSN Network Communications Ltd., a joint venture Microsoft established on May 11 with government-operated Chinese firm Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd.
Joris Evers writes in C|Net News:
Spammers and phishers are learning more about potential victims to better hone their attacks.
Web sites that use e-mail addresses as identifiers for password reminders and registration are open to exploitation by scammers to generate detailed profiles of people, security company Blue Security said in a research report this week.
In the technique described in the report, spammers and phishers automatically run thousands of e-mail addresses through Web site registration and password-reminder tools. Because many online businesses return a specific message when an e-mail address is registered with the site, attackers can find out whether that address represents a valid customer.
I just got a call from my eldest son in Virginia--my second grandson was just born this hour. What a relief!
He is born Preston Grey Ferguson, May 25, 2005.
I am very thankful.
Update: Preston was born at 21:42 EDT. He weighed in at 6 lbs., 11 oz.
His dad (my son, Joshua), is excited and understandably exhausted. Preston's mom is also healthy and happy.
Thanks for all the Congrats. :-)
Be afraid. Be very afraid, anytime a large group of IPv6 protagonists gather together in the same place. And run away.
Ellen McCarthy writes in the WashingtonPost.com:
The 500 technologists hunkered down in the Reston Hyatt this week are plotting the best way to push us onto the new Internet.
They assume everyone's heard that there's a new Internet coming. Didn't know we needed an upgrade? Yes, the one we're working on now is a bit antiquated, they say nonchalantly, and it's about time we moved to a sleeker model.
"What we've found over the last 10 years is that we need to do a number of things to improve [the Internet]," said Rod Murchison , senior director of product management for Juniper Networks of Sunnyvale, Calif. The current Internet simply wasn't designed to handle the volume of users and devices that are tapping into it, he adds.
David Worthington and Nate Mook write on BetaNews:
BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen has launched an online search that links to torrent files, which are used to download content via the protocol. The move comes in the midst of a crackdown by the entertainment industry in conjunction with Federal agencies against illegal file sharing happening on BitTorrent Web sites.
Along with the online search comes a new decentralized BitTorrent client that eliminates the need for a "tracker" - Web sites that aggregate torrent files. In essence, this means that while the Feds may have gained some ground by shutting down tracker Web sites, actual file sharing and the ability to search for illicit content will not be brought to a standstill.
Federal authorities on Wednesday shut down an online file-sharing network that had the new Stars War movie before it was shown in theaters.
The Elite Torrents network was engaging in high-tech piracy by allowing people to download copies of movies and other copyright material for free, authorities said.
The action was the first criminal enforcement against individuals who are using cutting-edge BitTorrent technology, Justice and Homeland Security Department officials said.
Gregg Keizer writes on TechWeb News:
The FBI is investigating a security breach at Stanford University that may have resulted in the theft of nearly 10,000 identities stored in its Career Development Center computer system, university officials said Wednesday.
The hack, which took place May 11, exposed some 9,600 clients and 300 recruiters who had used the school's job placement department since 1995, said Debra Zumwalt, Stanford's general counsel, in a statement. The exposed records contained information such as the clients' names, resumes, and Social Security numbers.
The university said that no client records included financial data that could be immediately exploited, such as credit card or bank account numbers. Recruiters' records, however, could have included credit card data.
Ryan Naraine writes in eWeek:
David LeBlanc, Security Architect in Microsoft's Office division, is leaving Redmond to join enterprise anti-spyware specialist Webroot, the company announced on Wednesday.
LeBlanc, who was charged with improving the security of some of the most widely deployed software products at Microsoft Corp., will become Chief Software Architect at Boulder, Colo.-based Webroot Software Inc.
An AP newswire article by Ted Bridis on Yahoo! News:
The CIA is conducting a war game this week to simulate an unprecedented, Sept. 11-like electronic assault against the United States. The three-day exercise, known as "Silent Horizon," is meant to test the ability of government and industry to respond to escalating Internet disruptions over many months, according to participants.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because the CIA asked them not to disclose details of the sensitive exercise taking place in Charlottesville, Va., about two hours southwest of Washington.
Stephen Shankland writes in C|Net News:
Cray is getting $17 million over two years from the U.S. government to match a same-size investment of its own in a next-generation supercomputer code-named Black Widow. The funding will advance Cray's schedules for the machine, Chief Executive Jim Rottsolk said in a statement on Wednesday.
Via TechWeb News.
A new high tech research center built by the Institute for Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) officially opened its doors Wednesday in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The 40,000-square-foot facility is based in the Northern Ireland Science Park and houses five separate teams of researchers. The institute will focus initially on broadband wireless communications, electronic data security, telecommunications software, antenna design for mobile communications, and video and image processing.
Matthew Friedman writes in Networking Pipeline:
Synchronoss Technologies, Inc. has inked a deal to provide VoIP provider Vonage with local number portability (LNP) and e-commerce order management technology.
Vonage will use Synchronoss' ActivationNow order gateway and a workflow management platform to identify and resolve incorrectly provisioned voice over IP (VoIP) transactions. Synchronoss' LNP fallout management system will allow the carrier to track local numbers throughout the migration process and inform subscribers when they will be ported to the VoIP network.
C. Jeffrey MacDonald (Christian Science Monitor) writes in an article on USA Today:
Earlier this year, 13-year-old Shannon Sullivan of Wood-Ridge, N.J., was socializing in the same way as dozens of her classmates at Our Lady of the Assumption School. She maintained a personalized page on a Web site that contained her photograph and details about what makes her unique. Friends would surf by and leave fun messages.
But then her mother found out. And now her site, and those of her friends — once lovingly adorned with everything from sound bites to video clips — are fast disappearing at the insistence of their safety-minded parents.
"They're not aware how easily something [predatory] can happen over the Internet," says Shannon's mother, Margaret, who is a computer-science teacher at Assumption. "They really shouldn't have these sites. Maybe when they're older, in college or something, but it's just not safe before that."
An article by Bob Anez (AP) on Yahoo! News reports that:
State agencies failed to remove private information before retiring outdated state computers, risking public disclosure of Social Security and credit card numbers, medical records and income taxes, a new report discloses.
The legislative audit, obtained Tuesday, blamed unclear state policy for the computer hard drives not being properly "scrubbed" before the machines were donated to school districts, given to other state agencies or sold to the public.
Chip designer Cirrus Logic Inc. Wednesday said it will sell its digital-video product line to an investment group led by Investcorp and August Capital.
The Cirrus Logic announcement begins:
AUSTIN, Texas – May. 25, 2005 – Cirrus Logic Inc. (Nasdaq: CRUS) today announced that it has signed a Definitive Agreement to sell its digital video product line to Magnum Semiconductor Inc., a privately held company formed by an investment group led by Investcorp and August Capital.
By divesting the video product line, Cirrus Logic is focusing on its core analog, mixed-signal and embedded integrated circuit (IC) product lines for audio and industrial markets. With this focus, Cirrus Logic is poised to leverage its intellectual property and high-margin analog product lines to drive growth and sustainable profitability. Magnum Semiconductor will focus on digital video ICs for consumer applications such as DVD recorders, hard-disk-drive-based camcorders and network media adapters. In the fourth fiscal quarter of 2005, Cirrus Logic's core analog, mixed-signal and embedded product line net sales accounted for $36.7 million and the video product line accounted for $3.7 million.
Jim Wagner writes on internetnews.com:
Specialty chemicals manufacturer Degussa AG signed a five-year, $45 million contract with AT&T to put its worldwide network under one roof, officials announced Wednesday.
With the contract in place, the Dusseldorf, Germany-based multinational will connect its entire network of 45,000 employees, 63 production facilities and 327 offices worldwide under AT&T's Multiprotocol Label Switching-based virtual private network (VPN).
Via Newsfactor Technology News.
Priced at $350, the Nokia Internet Tablet is being positioned as an alternative to buying an extra personal computer or laptop for different rooms, providing a cheaper, quicker and less-cumbersome way to connect to the Web.
An AFP newswire report on Yahoo! News:
Taiwan Mobile Co said it has launched the first 3G services to be offered by any cellphone operator on the island.
Taiwan Mobile President Harvey Chang said at a soft launch in Taipei that as an incentive, subscribers to Taiwan Mobile's 3G services will be entitled to free value-added services including video calls until July 31.
Humor--thanks to Declan McCullagh for the pointer!
Over on The Onion:
WASHINGTON, DC—Confusion and disbelief reigned at the White House after President Bush announced Monday that an Arizona man, known to authorities only as H4xX0r1337, stole his identity and used it to buy electronic goods, veto a bill, and meet with Mexican President Vicente Fox.
"This is incredibly frustrating," Bush told reporters Tuesday. "Not only does this guy have my credit-card information, he has my Social Security number, all my personal information, and the launch codes for a number of ballistic intercontinental nuclear missiles. I almost don't want to think about it."
"I feel so violated," Bush added.
Bush said he has canceled his credit cards and changed the national-security codes, but he labeled the process a "total nightmare."
Luigi Auriemma has reported a vulnerability in Halo: Combat Evolved, which can be exploited by malicious people to cause a DoS (Denial of Service).
The vulnerability is caused due to an error in the communication handling. This can be exploited to cause a vulnerable service to enter an infinite loop and consume a large amount of CPU resources by sending a specially crafted UDP datagram to the server.
The vulnerability has been reported in version 1.06 and 1.00 (Custom Edition), and prior.
The vulnerability will reportedly be fixed in the upcoming 1.07 version.
Host games on a trusted network only.
Robert Lemos writes in SecurityFocus:
The Witty worm, which infected more than 12,000 servers a year ago, came from a single computer in Europe and used a U.S. military base's vulnerable systems to kick-start the epidemic, according to an analysis released by three researchers this week.
The researchers combined records from the initial spread of the Witty worm along with an analysis of the random number generator used by the program to pick its targets and discovered that the worm almost certainly spread initially from a computer owned by a customer of a European Internet Service Provider. The analysis also found that about 10 percent of the Internet's addresses would not have been generated, thus infected, by the Witty worm and that 110 computers at a U.S. military base were likely among a "hit list" of systems that were targeted explicitly by the worm.
Robert Jaques writes on vnunet.com:
Microsoft has patched a potentially dangerous flaw on its www.xbox360.com website after security experts warned the software giant of a cross-site scripting vulnerability which could be exploited by hackers to launch phishing attacks.
The vulnerability could be used by web criminals to gather personal and confidential information, such as email address, home address and credit card number, from innocent consumers wishing to pre-order Microsoft's forthcoming gaming console.
Jonathan Krim writes in the WashingtonPost.com:
Betty (but call her BJ) Ostergren, a feisty 56-year-old from just north of Richmond, is driven to make important people angry. She puts their Social Security numbers on her Web site, or links to where they can be found.
It's not that she wants CIA Director Porter J. Goss, former secretary of state Colin L. Powell, or Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to be victims of identity theft, as were millions of Americans in the past year. Ostergren is on a crusade to scare and shame public officials into doing something about how easy it is to get sensitive personal data.
Kim Zetter writes in Wired News:
Three young hackers under investigation for unlawfully accessing personal information on thousands of people in a LexisNexis database have characterized their act as a cyberjoyride that got out of hand.
The hackers, ages 16, 19 and 20, spoke with Wired News by phone Monday and said that in January and February they accessed LexisNexis data -- which included the Social Security number, birth date, home address and driver's license number of numerous celebrities and hacker friends -- to claim bragging rights, rather than to steal identities or sell the information to identity thieves, as some published reports have stated.
An AFP newswire story on Yahoo! News:
Internet costs in an already wired Singapore are set to fall after the government decided to triple the number of broadband operators to six and allow them to operate over wireless technology.
The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) awarded the licenses to the four new entrants on Tuesday and allowed the two existing operators, SingTel and StarHub, to operate on wireless as well as their existing cable systems.
Power supply to hundreds of households and public facilities was interrupted Wednesday following a breakdown at a power plant in southern Moscow, Russian news agencies reported.
The reasons for the blackout have yet to be established, a source in the Moscow government told the Interfax news agency.
The city’s emergency bodies are taking measures to establish what led to the power cut, he said.
Ryan Naraine writes over on eWeek:
America Online on Tuesday confirmed the inadvertent suspension of an undisclosed number of Trojan-infected AIM screen names.
The company said its internal anti-SPIM (spam over IM) mechanism flagged the infected screen names for terms-of-service abuse and led to the account cancellations.
The suspension is directly related to the virulent "Oscarbot" Trojan Horse that targets AOL's Instant Messenger users and propagates by sending IMs to every buddy on an infected user's buddy list.
America Online Inc.'s behavior-pattern tracking system noticed the unusual surge in IM activity and unintentionally flagged the infected users as potential IM spammers.
Brett, over at techdirt.com, writes:
Contributed by Brett on Tuesday, May 24th, 2005 @ 06:09PM
from the control-issues dept.
We've long contended that the entertainment industry just doesn't get it when it comes to new technology. But don't take our word for it -- take theirs. Ed Felten recounts an article about a recent panel discussion, in which News Corp. VP Rick Lane actually said, responding to concerns that a broadcast flag would lead to incompatibility among TVs and other digital devices, "Compatibility is not a goal." Translation: "We are so ossified and resistant to change that we'd rather inconvenience, alienate, and anger consumers and stifle technological innovation than give up some control over our content and figure out new ways to grow our business." The industry is so hell bent on keeping content locked up behind proprietary walls that it can't grasp the idea that open and compatible is good for progress (e.g., the internet). Attempts to keep the content and media proprietary are just asking for trouble. As Felten points out, you don't want to put yourself between Americans and their televisions. Amazingly, the most egregious violations of this premise are being made by television networks.
(Of all Places...) PhysOrg.com reports that:
Fujitsu Limited and Cisco Systems, Inc. today introduced the first product to be delivered under the strategic alliance announced on Dec. 6, 2004, a Fujitsu and Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing System built on the Cisco IOS XR next-generation operating system.
In December 2004, the companies reached a fundamental agreement to form a strategic alliance in the field of routers and switches. The companies have since worked together to customize the Cisco IOS XR for high-end routers, and focused collaboration on enhancing product functionality and the support structure needed to respond to the demanding quality requirements of Japanese telecommunications carriers.
The newly introduced product is expected to become the core routing platform of choice for Internet Protocol Next-Generation Networks (IP NGNs), enabling service providers to converge their costly and complex service-specific networks to deliver the services and applications demanded by their customers.
The FBI has designed a new computer system to replace a failed $170 million one aimed at helping agents share information but it will not be ready for use until the end of 2006, the FBI director said on Tuesday.
The need for the system was identified after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, when investigators found deficiencies in the sharing and recording of information by U.S. agencies.
FBI Director Robert Mueller told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee the FBI had designed a new electronic information management system called Sentinel. The bureau expected the first phase to be deployed by the end of next year.
Gregg Keizer writes in TechWeb News:
An online business based in Russia will pay Web sites 6 cents for each machine they infect with adware and spyware, security researchers said Tuesday, calling the practice "awful."
iframeDOLLARS.biz, which according to a WHOIS lookup, is registered to a Nick Fedorov in Nizhny Novgorod, a Russian city on the Volga about 240 miles east of Moscow, will pay Webmasters to place a one-line exploit on their sites. The code exploits a number of patched Windows and Internet Explorer vulnerabilities, including some that go back as far as 2002. Systems that haven't been updated, however, would still be vulnerable to the exploit. According to analysis done by the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Center, the exploit drops at least nine pieces of malicious code, including backdoors, other Trojans, spyware, and adware, on any PC whose user surfs to a site hosting the exploit code.
This is, in my opinion, quite a draconian, perhaps even bordering on criminally ignorant, view by a state appeals court.
I think the crime for which the man was convicted was appalling, perverted, and deserves every bit of prison time he ultimately gets, but to classify anyone who values their privacy--and uses strong encryption--as attempting to hide criminal activity, is absurdly wrong on its face.
Thanks to Declan McCullagh over on C|Net News for this story:
A Minnesota appeals court has ruled that the presence of encryption software on a computer may be viewed as evidence of criminal intent.
Ari David Levie, who was convicted of photographing a nude 9-year-old girl, argued on appeal that the PGP encryption utility on his computer was irrelevant and should not have been admitted as evidence during his trial. PGP stands for Pretty Good Privacy and is sold by PGP Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif.
But the Minnesota appeals court ruled 3-0 that the trial judge was correct to let that information be used when handing down a guilty verdict.
Roy Mark writes on internetnews.com:
As he promised in February, U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) is moving forward with legislation to force television broadcasters out of their beachfront analog spectrum to make way for advanced services, such as wireless broadband.
Under the draft "discussion" legislation introduced this week by Barton, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, broadcasters must cease transmitting programs in analog format by December 31, 2008.
In a follow-on to the previous article (The C|Net interview with Skype's CEO Niklas Zennström), we now see that Skype is maneuvering to position itself as an "emhancement" to existing telephomy services, not a replacement (for E911, of course).
It would appear, at first blush, that the entire VoIP-provider community is getting a bit defensive. Rest assured, although the technology is moving in this direction, everyone is just a little uptight about a very serious issue--providing emergency services in a technology that is just now finding it's niche.
W. David Gardner writes in TechWeb News:
With three million users in the U.S. and a rapidly-growing group of partners in its new affiliates program, Skype Technologies is facing a unique challenge presented by the FCC's order that VoIP providers must provide access to emergency 911 numbers.
The Europe-based firm is positioning itself as an "enhancement" service to existing telephone service and not as a "replacement" service. "We're an enhancement like fax," said Kelly Larabee, a Skype spokeswoman in the U.S. "You should know that Skype is not an emergency service."
Ben Charny writes on C|Net News:
Skype CEO Niklas Zennström vowed to shake up the phone industry 20 months ago with his creation, the first ever peer-to-peer Internet phone service.
More than 110 million downloads and 2 billion minutes of phone conversations later, Zennström has shown that he wasn't kidding. But Skype's success has led to perhaps the most difficult chapter yet for the Luxemburg-based company. It now faces mounting concerns over a lack of customer service and a growing backlash by utility regulators as it hunts for new revenue opportunities. Zennström spoke to CNET.News.com about these and other issues earlier this week.
An AFP newswire story on Yahoo! News:
Greeks will from July 4 for the first time be able to name their Internet sites with letters from the Greek alphabet, the country's telecommunications authorities (EETT) said, in a move aimed at increasing use of new technologies here.
Currently Greek websites only use the Latin alphabet, due to a combination of technical problems and a lack of preparation by the registration companies, the EETT said.
However, Greek users will not be able to forget the Latin alphabet altogether, as they will still have to fit their Greek website names between the Latin versions of http://www and the suffix .gr.
Home computer users who unwittingly send out spam e-mail should be disconnected from the Internet until their machines are fixed, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Tuesday.
The FTC said it would ask 3,000 Internet providers around the globe to make sure that their customers' computers haven't been hijacked by spammers who want to cover their tracks and pass bandwidth costs on to others.
Stephen Lawson (IDG News Service) writes in InfoWorld:
A cable-free version of USB (Universal Serial Bus) took a big step forward on Tuesday with the completion of the Wireless USB 1.0 specification, but there is still some work to be done and questions remain about its prospects for widespread adoption.
The specification was created by the Wireless USB Promoter Group, a league of seven vendors that includes the heavyweights of the PC universe: Intel and Microsoft. The group has now handed over management of the standard to the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the governing body for all USB specifications, said Jeff Ravencraft, chairman and president of the Wireless USB Promoter Group. Testing for compliance and interoperability should begin by the end of this quarter in a lab being set up at Intel, he said. The group is aiming for the plug-and-play simplicity of the current wired USB and will certify all products for interoperability before it allows a Wireless USB logo on the packaging, he said.
Not my usual genre of tech news, but this is such a monumental event (in my humble opinion) that I feel I must mention it here.
Over on the NASA website:
NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered the solar system's final frontier, a vast, turbulent expanse where the Sun's influence ends and the solar wind crashes into the thin gas between stars.[another excerpt...]
"The consensus of the team now is that Voyager 1, at 8.7 billion miles from the Sun, has at last entered the heliosheath, the region beyond the termination shock," said Dr. John Richardson from MIT, Principal Investigator of the Voyager plasma science investigation.
The termination shock is where the solar wind, a thin stream of electrically charged gas blowing continuously outward from the Sun, is slowed by pressure from gas between the stars. At the termination shock, the solar wind slows abruptly from its average speed of 300 to 700 km per second (700,000 - 1,500,000 miles per hour) and becomes denser and hotter.
Tony Dennis writes in The Inquirer:
AS THE VOIP industry was getting its collective knickers in a twist over the ability to provide a guranteed capability for calls to reach the emergency services, a pair of Swedish companies have come up with the solution, as if by magic.
Operax, a Swedish software house, has banded together with Swedish hardware supplier, i3 Micro Technology to pull this particular rabbit out of a hat.
The duo has developed a system for next-generation telephone networks (NGNs) such as BT's 21 century network and a similar scheme here in Sweden by TeliaSonera.
Basically the package offers a guaranteed QoS connexion for an emegency call from the VoIP's subscriber's equipment. It means that the call will succeed even if the connexion is loaded with data or video calls.
The pair claim that it will meet the demands of the US National Security and Emergency Preparedness (NS/EP) requirements.
Until now the general feelling here at the VON Europe exhibition show in Stockholm was that the US' E911 dictat might stamp on the growth of VoIP networks in general.
Alexandria Sage writes for Reuters:
Whether or not Michael Jackson's jurors still have a reasonable doubt about his guilt, the wild world of Internet betting has rendered judgment: the smart money is on acquittal.
No longer limited to chats around the water cooler and late-night talk shows, speculation about the outcome of the Jackson trial has become a staple of online betting sites and trading exchanges.
With the trial in Santa Maria, California, nearing its end, online speculators believe the likelihood of an acquittal is higher than Jackson's chances of being convicted.
Declan McCullagh writes over on C|Net News:
Microsoft wants the Senate to rewrite anti-spyware legislation in order to protect companies that provide spyware removal utilities.
The software maker warned Tuesday that two bills approved by the House of Representatives this week fail to prevent "frivolous lawsuits" filed by adware and spyware companies that are upset when their code is removed.
An AP newswire report on ABC News reveals that:
Hong Kong customs officers seized 504 disc copying drives, about 10,000 pirated discs and more than 34,000 blank discs at the largest pirated disc operation uncovered in the territory, the government said Tuesday.
On Monday, officers raided two disc-making factories masquerading as a car mechanic shop and a renovation company, the government said in a statement. Both factories are believed to be controlled by the same criminal syndicate, it said.
Ryan Naraine writes over on eWeek:
A high-risk buffer overflow vulnerability in Computer Associates International Inc.'s eTrust Vet anti-virus engine could put users at risk of PC takeover attacks, the company warned in an advisory.
The Islandia, N.Y., software giant issued an alert for the flaw late Monday with a chilling warning that a successful attacker using a specially crafted Microsoft Office document could "gain full access to the computer without any user interaction."
Andy Sullivan writes for Reuters:
The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday voted to establish new penalties for purveyors of Internet "spyware" that disables users' computers and secretly monitors their activities.
By overwhelming majorities, the House passed two bills that stiffen jail sentences and establish multimillion-dollar fines for those who use secret surveillance programs to steal credit-card numbers, sell software or commit other crimes.
Finally--it looks like people are starting to get it.
Robyn Weissman writes a very nice piece over on eWeek about how the FCC initially "dropped the ball" on the whole VoIP issue. My favorite quotes from her "news analysis":
"...the FCC dropped the ball to a large extent by not making the distinction between traditional telephone service and services offered by VOIPs.
"The FCC regarded VOIP offerings officially as an information service rather than phone service, which meant VOIP providers could sidestep the sorts of regulatory requirements that traditional ILECs (incumbent local exchange carriers) and later, CLECs (competitive local exchange carriers) who entered local markets after the Telecommunications Act of 1996 have had to follow.
"These stipulations include paying taxes to state governments and following certain processes to certify in every state in which the company does business."
Part of a bugging device allegedly found hidden in the floorboards of a Sinn Fein office in Belfast is being sold on the internet.
Described as a section of an "MI5 British spy device", it is being sold on the online auction site, eBay, accompanied by a framed, handwritten letter from party president Gerry Adams.
Miki Tanikawa writes in the International Herald Tribune:
Among Japanese e-commerce companies, Livedoor has received all the attention lately, with its rarer-than-rare hostile takeover bid for a local TV company last month.
But in reality, Livedoor is a minor player, overshadowed by the Internet conglomerates led by Yahoo and Softbank on one hand and Rakuten on the other. All three are trying to create e-commerce empires, expanding into financial services, travel agencies and even baseball.
Jonathan Stempel writes for Reuters:
At least two more arrests of bank employees are expected soon over a scheme to steal the financial records of hundreds of thousands of customers at four major U.S. banks, a New Jersey police detective said on Monday.
Authorities in Hackensack, New Jersey last month had charged nine people, including seven former bank employees, over the possible compromising of accounts at Bank of America Corp. , Wachovia Corp., PNC Financial Services Group Inc. and Commerce Bancorp Inc.
FrSIRT Advisory : FrSIRT/ADV-2005-0610
CVE Reference : CAN-2005-0036 - CAN-2005-0037 - CAN-2005-0038
Rated as : Moderate Risk
Remotely Exploitable : Yes
Locally Exploitable : Yes
Release Date : 2005-05-24
* Technical Description *
A vulnerability was identified in the Domain Name System (DNS) protocol, which may be exploited by remote attackers to cause a denial of service. This flaw resides in the recursion process used by some DNS implementations to decompress compressed DNS messages (RFC1035), which may be exploited by attackers to cause a denial of service by sending a specially crafted DNS packet to a vulnerable server.
* Affected Products *
Domain Name System (DNS) protocol
* Solution *
Many vendors include support for this protocol in their products. Customers are advised to contact vendors in order to obtain more information about affected products and fixes.
* References *
* Credits *
Vulnerability reported by Steve Beaty
* ChangeLog *
2005-05-24 : Original Advisory
David S. Isenberg writes in his isen.blog:
Public CIO Magazine asks
What happened to the urgent call for" broadband" -- the new information infrastructure that is vital to success and survival in the global knowledge economy -- President Bush promised he would push in his second term?Answer: It went to the same place that, "Mission Accomplished," went, to a magic land where thankful people throw rose pedals to celebrate imagined events. It went to the same place Kevin Martin imagined when he said that the U.S. had "the best communications system in the world."
U.S. online retailers expect sales to climb 22 percent to $172.4 billion in 2005, with cosmetics, perfume and other categories aimed at women likely to show the biggest gains, according to a survey released late on Monday.
The annual Forrester Research and Shop.org study of 136 retailers found that online sales rose 23.8 percent to $141.4 billion in 2004. Excluding sales of travel services, online sales were also up 23.8 percent, to $89 billion, representing 4.6 percent of total U.S. retail sales.
Preston Gralla writes in Networking Pipeline:
Like a nagging parent telling recalcitrant children to eat their vegetables, Juniper Networks has been berating IT folks for not being interested enough in IPv6, the so-called "next-generation" Internet. The company recently released a study that found only seven percent of respondents consider IPv6 "very important to achieving their IT goals." But there are good reasons why IT folks aren't interested in IPv6.
Tom Saunders writes on vnunet.com:
Indian security consultant Debasis Mohanty has published a workaround that allows users of illegal copies of Windows to circumvent the software's copy protection technology.
Microsoft is currently experimenting with a technology dubbed Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) which gives users access to patches only after they have proved that they run a legitimately licensed copy of Windows.
Well, this is certainly a new twist on things.
An AP article by Ted Bridis appears on Yahoo! News:
Computer users already anxious about viruses and identity theft have new reason to worry: Hackers have found a way to lock up the electronic documents on your computer and then demand $200 over the Internet to get them back.
Security researchers at San Diego-based Websense Inc. uncovered the unusual extortion plot when a corporate customer they would not identify fell victim to the infection, which encrypted files that included documents, photographs and spreadsheets.
A ransom note left behind included an e-mail address, and the attacker using the address later demanded $200 for the digital keys to unlock the files.
An AFP newswire story on Yahoo! News reports that:
Italian authorities have broken up a wide paedophile network over the Internet that involved nearly 200 people, including priests, a mayor and a traffic police official, prosecutors in Sicily said.
The investigation began about a year ago following accusations brought by an association for the protection of children.
Dennis Fisher writes in eWeek:
A new timing attack against the AES algorithm can be used to extract entire Advanced Encryption Standard keys from remote servers.
Daniel Bernstein, an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, recently released a paper showing how an attack against a server running the OpenSSL AES implementation could recover the entire encryption key.
The attack is based on an attacker watching the victim machine and observing how long it takes to perform various cryptographic functions in AES. Through that observation, the attacker can glean certain data about the secret key and use statistical analysis to recover the key. "This attack should be blamed on the AES design, not on the particular AES library used by the [target] server," Bernstein wrote in his paper.
Stephen Shankland writes on C|Net News:
The Open Source Development Labs, the organization that employs Linux leader Linus Torvalds, has laid off nearly a sixth of its staff as part of a shift to new priorities.
The group cut nine of its 57 staff and contractor positions, Chief Executive Stuart Cohen confirmed Monday. The cuts affected several programmers who worked on the open-source operating system as well as staff in sales, marketing, business development and internal computer operations.
A LARGE NUMBER of unions and work councils in Europe have said they will act together to oppose IBM's plans to slash up to 13,000 jobs - many of which are expected to happen in the old Continent.
I just had to post this.
John Murrell writes over on Good Morning, Silicon Valley:
Early in May, Dr. Blaise Cronin, dean of Indiana University's School of Library and Information Science, wrote a brief piece on blogging more notable for its condescending sniping than any insights (see "Quoted") and quickly became the blogosphere's piñata for a few days. Dean Cronin has emerged from under the debris long enough to say that he is appalled, appalled, that the unwashed masses of the Web responded to his insults in kind, thus reinforcing his original characterization of blogs as Bathetically Ludicrous Online Gibberish. "For my sins," Cronin writes, "I was variously labeled a ‘jerk,’ ‘asshat,’ (new to me), ‘bastard,’ ‘fool,’ ‘flamer,’ ‘arrogant, aging academic,’ ‘snob blocking blogger’ (sic), ‘Chock-full Reservoir Of Narcissistically Inflated Nonsense’ (witty, I suppose), ‘closed-minded demagogue,’ ‘pretentious, precious twit’ (Wodehousian), ‘strutting snark,’ ‘Gorman Wannabe,’ (now, that is getting close to the bone)." Cronin bemoans a medium in which ignorant insults cannot be met with civility, but he vows to press on: "In the long run, the net effect of such mean-spiritedness will be to chill public debate, deter people from blogging and depress free trade in ideas. Personally, I would much rather face another, even angrier fusillade of blogs than be cowed into silence." Atta boy, doc, you hang in there.
Arik Hesseldahl writes in Forbes:
Reports of Apple Computer shifting to building its computers with Intel chips, moving away from using chips made by IBM and Freescale Semiconductor, usually surface around the time Apple is close to making an important change in its system.
So the latest round of speculation on Monday suggested that once again Apple is close to making the leap to the Intel camp. And though such a change is still not likely to happen, the emergence of such tales say more about Apple's unhappiness with IBM than any intention to switch to another chip maker.
A Web site touting Paris Hilton's racy television spot for burger chain Carl's Jr. crashed for four hours as Internet surfers raced to see the seductive swimsuit-clad socialite doused in suds.
The 30-second commercial, which features the hotel heiress washing a Bentley and chomping on Carl's Jr.'s Spicy BBQ Burger in a stringy black swimsuit, has generated media attention since hitting the TV airwaves last Thursday.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will reopen the record against Rambus Inc. and alleged that the company destroyed documents in an antitrust case.
Rambus (Los Altos, Calif.) granted — and rejected — in part the complaint counsel's request to reopen the record. In 2002, the FTC brought antitrust charges against Rambus, relying on its finding in the company's suit against Infineon Technologies AG.
Gregg Keizer writes on TechWeb:
Spammers and phishers are using new kinds of attacks to build wide-ranging profiles of online users -- everything from their political views to their sexual preference -- a security firm said Monday.
Blue Security, which has offices in Menlo Park, Calif., and Israel, laid out details of what it's calling "registration attacks" and "password reminder attacks" in a report released Monday. Together, these attacks are used, said Blue Security's chief executive Eran Reshef, to conduct hostile profiling of Internet users.
In a registration attack, a spammer tries to register large numbers of e-mail addresses -- using automated scripts somewhat similar to those used in directory harvest attacks -- with a variety of Web sites. Because sites typically return errors on addresses already in use -- Reshef said his research showed a majority of sites do this -- spammers and phishers can determine not only which addresses are valid, but match an address with a Web site.
This story is part of the aftermath of the incident I mentioned back on April 29 where a disturbing story about a fairly massive "inside-job" in New Jersey surfaced. Now today, an AP newswire article on MSNBC reports that:
More than 100,000 customers of Charlotte-based banks Wachovia Corp. and Bank of America Corp. have been notified of the theft of their financial records by bank employees.
The records were allegedly sold to collection agencies by bank workers in New Jersey.
YES, it was a stoopid mistake to release the new Netscape 8.0 with Firefox 1.0.3 code, chock full of critical security vulnerabilities--but that's been fixed now, no sense dwelling on it. Personally, I think Netscape is a superior browser to Firefox, and as a long-time Netscape user, I upgraded my own browser to 8.0.1 (from 7.2) last week.
In any event, this revelation comes to us via TechWeb:
Responding to Netscape 8's release and immediate security gaffe last week, a lead developer of Firefox lambasted the rival browser -- which uses much of the same code as Mozilla's Firefox -- as "unsafe."
Ben Goodger, a former top Mozilla Foundation developer who now works at Google -- albeit still at least part time on Firefox -- used his blog to blast Netscape.
Goodger posted a link on his blog to a demonstration of exploit code that the original Netscape 8 was vulnerable to when it first rolled out early Thursday.
Aliya Sternstein writes in FCW.com:
Lawyers representing a group of American Indians suing the Interior Department say wireless Internet service could grant unauthorized access to Indian trust fund account information. But Interior plans to issue a solicitation notice for departmentwide wireless service soon.
Interior lawyers are reviewing the final version of the notice and would not comment on its contents.
Last Tuesday, lawyers gave a federal judge a report published in December by Interior’s inspector general on wireless management and security. It details how easily hackers could manipulate trust accounts held by 500,000 American Indians.
A nice interview piece on Engadget for anyone interested in the corporate mindset over at Vonage.
We recently sat down with Jeffrey Citron, the chairman and CEO of Vonage, to talk about the future of Voice over IP, whether or not Skype is their number one competitor, Vonage’s wireless strategy, and how they’re responding to the recent controversy over VoIP and E911 calling. Oh, and for all the Treo fans out there, we also asked them how much longer we’re going to have to wait until we see a version of Vonage’s softphone client for the Palm OS.
One thing I've always insisted is that it takes a while for legislators to understand that the Internet "knows" no national boundaries (unless you're talking about the "Great Firewall of China"). What's to stop UK punters from ordering their pr0n from, say, Sweden?
Via the BBC:
Adult-only porn videos and DVDs cannot be sold in the UK by mail order, the web or phone, the High Court has ruled.
Lord Justice Maurice Kay and Mr Justice Newman said "R18" sexually explicit recordings had to be sold in person in licensed sex shops.
They said the aim of the law was to stop the material falling into the hands of children.
It was argued at a recent hearing that the law harmed UK mail order firms and benefited overseas sex companies.
Patrick Mannion writes in EE Times:
Metalink, SyChip and Atheros will all announce Wi-Fi-based chips this week, in the belief that video, voice-over-Internet Protocol and embedded consumer applications ranging from handsets to digital cameras will supercharge the growth of Wi-Fi wireless networking.
While the official demise of IceFyre Semiconductor last week suggests that the Wi-Fi chip market may be consolidating, that hasn't put a damper on development. ABI Research (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) predicts that Wi-Fi/cellular handsets will reach 100 million units by 2010 and International Data Corp. (San Mateo, Calif.) forecasts that wireless-LAN semiconductor revenue will increase from $1.2 billion in 2004 to $3 billion by 2009.
Munir Kotadia writes on C|Net News:
Companies should not ban employees from writing down their passwords because such bans force people to use the same weak term on many systems, according to a Microsoft security guru.
Speaking on the opening day of a conference hosted by Australia's national Computer Emergency Response Team, or AusCERT, Microsoft's Jesper Johansson said that the security industry has been giving out the wrong advice to users by telling them not to write down their passwords. Johansson is senior program manager for security policy at Microsoft.
Tim Richardson writes in The Register:
Telenor has splashed out more than $1bn on two broadband businesses in a bid to bolster the provision of high speed services.
Telenor also splashed out DKK1.4bn ($237m) on Danish broadband outfit Cybercity. With 90,000 punters and 8 per cent market share, Cybercity's own DSL infrastructure covers more than two thirds of Denmark.
Jim Duffy writes in NetworkWorld:
Cisco this week said it has finalized the acquisition of privately-held Vihana, a Sunnyvale, Calif., developer of custom ASICs for computer and communications applications.
Cisco will pay $30 million in cash and options for the company, which employs 27 people. Vihana was founded in August 2001.
Cisco had already invested $15 million in Vihana as of January 29, 2005, according to Cisco's Feb. 22, 2005, 10-Q filing with the SEC.
I always like to point out (what I think is) a worthwhile blog--and this is one of those times.
Check out: Real ID Rebellion
Plus, if nothing else there interests you, this graphic wins my vote for political graffiti of the day.
Enjoy. - ferg
ps. This gives me another excuse to mention UnRealID.com.
News from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
EFF Obtains Draft PATRIOT Bill
Bill Gives Justice Department More Power to Demand Private Records
On Thursday, May 26, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will consider in closed session a draft bill that would both renew and expand various USA PATRIOT Act powers. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has obtained a copy of the draft bill, along with the committee's summary of it, and has made them available to journalists and interested citizens on its website, http://www.eff.org/.
"Even though Congress is still debating whether to renew the broad surveillance authorities granted by the original USA PATRIOT Act, the Justice Department is already lobbying for even more unchecked authority to demand the private records of citizens who are not suspected of any crime," said Kevin Bankston, EFF attorney and Equal Justice Works/Bruce J. Ennis Fellow. "The Senate's intelligence committee should focus on adding checks and balances to protect against abuse of already-existing PATRIOT powers, or repealing them altogether, rather than working to expand them behind closed doors."
Attorney, Equal Justice Works / Bruce J. Ennis Fellow
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Senior Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
An article by Gina Kolata (The New York Times), which appears in The International Herald Tribune, reveals that:
As an object of modern surveillance, e-mail is both reassuring and troubling. It is a potential treasure trove for investigators monitoring suspected terrorists and other criminals, but it also creates the potential for abuse, by giving businesses and government agencies an efficient means of monitoring the attitudes and activities of employees and citizens.
Now the science of e-mail tracking and analysis has been given a unlikely boost by a bitter chapter in the history of corporate malfeasance: the Enron scandal.
In an article on The International Herald Tribune, Tom Zeller Jr. (New York Times) writes:
The U.S. federal authorities have begun to seize sports cars and other assets from a Minnesota man whose online prescription drug business has been the focus of a yearlong inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies.
A U.S. District Court in Minneapolis on Friday agreed to seize control of about $18 million in assets related to what court documents described as a sprawling Web sales empire built, investigators contend, with millions earned in a separate spamming operation.
The number of undergraduates signing up for computer degrees continues to decline, fueling concerns among tech companies that there won't be enough skilled workers to meet demand, according to Monday's USA Today.
New enrollment in computer science and engineering programs has dropped four years in a row, the newspaper said, citing the Computing Research Association, a trade group for computer professors.
John Naughton writes in The Observer:
On 16 April, the celebrated media scientist, David Bellamy, published a letter in New Scientist magazine. Many of the world's glaciers, he claimed, 'are not shrinking but in fact are growing ... 555 of all the 625 glaciers under observation by the World Glacier Monitoring Service in Zurich, Switzerland, have been growing since 1980'.
Bellamy's letter was instantly taken up by climate change deniers (including lobbyists for the automobile industry). And it began to worry Guardian columnist, George Monbiot, who is a prominent environmental campaigner. What, he wondered, if Bellamy was right?
In a fascinating column, Monbiot recounts how he telephoned the World Glacier Monitoring Service and read Bellamy's letter to them. 'This is complete bullshit,' they told him, succinctly. They followed up with an email: 'Despite his scientific reputation,' it read, '[Bellamy] makes all the mistakes that are possible.' He had cited data that were simply false, failed to provide references, misunderstood the scientific context and neglected current scientific literature. The latest studies, the email went on, show unequivocally that most of the world's glaciers are retreating.
Claudia Grisales writes in the Austin-Amercan Statesman:
Texas phone giants won a major victory over cable companies Sunday when the House gave tentative approval to legislation that makes it easier for them to get into the television business.
The measure passed after nearly four hours of debate and over the objection of cities, which say they will lose money and control, and cable companies, which say the measure favors phone companies.
Senate Bill 408 will allow SBC Communications Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. to get a single statewide franchise for their planned Internet-based television service, instead of the myriad local agreements that cable companies have.
"It will allow for the first time for Texas to have competition" for cable TV, said Rep. Phil King, the sponsor of the television provisions.
But Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, a critic of the measure, said, "SB 408 should be called SBC 408."