Hackers, Spammers Partner Up To Wreck Havoc
Gregg Keizer writes in TechWeb News:
A one-two-three assault of disparate spammer and hacker groups in the last 24 hours bodes nothing but ill for users, a security expert said Thursday.
The attack, which involves a new combination of malicious code, shows evidence of "tactical coordination that is unprecedented," said Sam Curry, vice president of Computer Associates' eTrust security group.
Unlike blended threats, which were first popular two years ago -- and in which one piece of malicious code uses multiple tricks or tactics to spread -- this recent attack is a convergence of malware itself and its creators, Curry went on.
"They're collaborating, and making quite an effective parcel," said Curry.
DHS exec stresses privacy
David Perera writes on FCW.com:
Writing protections for civil liberties and civil rights into the business rules of federal information sharing projects is a necessary step to ensure their viability, a top government official said last week.
"We in America have an expectation of personal privacy," said Richard Russell, Homeland Security Department director of information sharing and collaboration. Russell spoke during a panel of the annual Management of Change conference in Philadelphia.
Much of the data government entities need to share is available from commercial sources, Russell noted. Car dealers can reasonably predict when you might buy your next new car and what models you’d probably purchase -- down to the color you’re likely to select -- all based on public information, Russell said.
But unlike car dealers, the government can put people in jail, "and that's where people get very nervous and very concerned," Russell said.
Netcraft: Hostway and Energis Share Most Reliable Hosting Company Site during May
Hostway and Energis share the top slot as as the most reliable hosting companies site this month, followed by Go Daddy, Datapipe, INetU and France Telecom. Hostway, which is based in Chicago and has operations in six countries, was also the most reliable hoster in April 2005. Energis provides connectivity to Netcraft, but has no particular advantage over any other hosting company site in the performance analysis, as none of the performance data collection machines are on the Energis network.
Notably half of this month's top 10 are running Windows. Recent months have seen a real mixture of operating systems in use on the most reliable sites, in contrast to the early months when FreeBSD dominated the upper end of the table.
NYSE Trading Halt Triggered by 'Network Storm'
Steven Marlin writes in InformationWeek:
An error message that was duplicated millions of times overwhelmed network routers at the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, leading to a four-minute halt in trading just before the closing bell.
Trading resumed normally at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
In a statement, the NYSE blamed the system failure, which suspended trading at 3:56 p.m., on a communication problem. In an interview Thursday with cable-news channel CNBC, NYSE CEO John Thain said the problem was caused by a "network storm" in which "an error message was created and then duplicated millions of times," overwhelming both the system's primary and backup network routers.
Secure SIP-Compliant VoIP Phone Set To Make Debut
Matthew Friedman writes in Networking Pipeline:
Snom technology AG will unveil its new, session initiation protocol (SIP)-based secure VoIP phone at the Supercomm trade show in Chicago next week.
Designed for office use, the snom 320 is fully SIP-compliant and supports three-party conference bridging on the phone itself to reduce latency and maximize network efficiency while reducing the load on IP public branch exchanges (PBXs). The phone's extensive security features include support for the secure real-time transfer protocol (SRTP) to protect against eavesdropping and transport layer security (TLS).
Japan to allow first new cellphone market entrants in 12 years
An AFP newswire story on Yahoo! News reports that:
Japan's government is set to allow new entrants into the cellular phone service market for the first time in 12 years, a report said.
The communications ministry will give priority to newcomers when it allocates frequency spectrum for third-generation cellphones later this year, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported without citing sources.
Windows 2000 users to miss out on IE 7
Ingrid Marson writes in C|Net News:
Microsoft has drawn some criticism after confirming that it will not make the next version of Internet Explorer available to users of its Windows 2000 operating system.
In a blog posting at the end of last week, a Microsoft employee confirmed that the company would not be releasing IE 7 for Windows 2000, as this would involve a lot of work for an operating system that is in the later stages of its lifecycle.
"It should be no surprise that we do not plan on releasing IE 7 for Windows 2000. One reason is where we are in the Windows 2000 lifecycle. Another is that some of the security work in IE 7 relies on operating system functionality in XP SP2 that is non-trivial to port back to Windows 2000," according to the blog posting.
Although Windows 2000 will be supported until 2010, at the end of June of this year Microsoft will no longer accept requests for design changes or new features for the operating system.
"Video Over IP" Plugin Developed For Skype
Well, here's one sure way to kill Skype VoIP. Creeping featurism. - ferg
Via The Register.
Skype users can now download a free plug-in from Dialcom that will enable video conferencing using the Skype P2P engine. The Spontania Video4skype, allows any users with a webcam connected to their PCs and a Skype account and broadband internet access, to make video-calls using the Skype client.
Microsoft to Roll Out Windows 2000 Update Rollup
Ryan Naraine writes in eWeek:
Microsoft Corp. plans to announce as early as next week that it is ready to ship a Windows 2000 Update Rollup, the final security patch for the 5-year-old operating system.
The Update Rollup, which replaces Windows 2000 SP5 (Service Pack 5), is a cumulative set of hot fixes, security patches and critical updates packaged together for easy deployment.
Bank of America gets personal
What could make you feel more at ease than a picture of your dog, Scruffy?
Bank of America will require Internet clients to register their computers and assign a digital image, such as a photo of a pet, to their accounts in an effort to cut down on fraud, the bank announced.
The free service, called SiteKey, lets clients pick an image, write a brief phrase and select three challenge questions.
The image will appear on the site every time a customer has to enter a password.
Bagle variants punch, punch and punch again
Matt Loney writes in C|Net News:
The latest variants of the Bagle worm have alarmed antivirus companies because of the multiple-stage process they use to attack PCs.
The variants, which Computer Associates International has given a new name--Glieder--because it says they are so different from previous Bagle worms, combine several elements in a way not seen before. In this staged approach, viruses seed their victims, then disarm them, and then finally exploit them.
.net vote stalls
Kieren McCarthy writes in The Register:
A controversial vote to give VeriSign control of the .net registry for the next six years has stalled.
A special meeting of the ICANN Board on Wednesday - the second in a month, both with .net top of the agenda - failed to reach agreement after a number of members abstained and the necessary quorum to pass a resolution wasn't reached.
Panel paints grim picture of cybercrime battle
Joris Evers writes in C|Net News:
Consumers, government and technology companies have to step up to the plate to thwart increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, experts on a security panel said Wednesday.
In a discussion before a group of Silicon Valley businesspeople, a panel including representatives from Cisco Systems, Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security discussed recent changes in cybercrime and what can be done to fight it. The event was organized by the Churchill Club.
A grim picture was painted of reality. Hackers were once perceived to be teenagers testing computer security for fun. But over the past 18 months or so, criminals, spammers and the teens who know how to hack have joined forces in online crime rings, said Marcus Sachs, deputy director of Homeland Security's Cyber Security R&D Center.
Biggest ever cosmos simulation
Via The BBC.
Astronomers have used supercomputers to re-create how the Universe evolved into the shape it is today.
The simulation by an international team is the biggest ever attempted and shows how structures in the Universe changed and grew over billions of years.
The Millennium Run, as it is dubbed, could help explain observations made by astronomers and shed more light on the Universe's elusive dark energy field.
Details of the study appear in the latest issue of Nature magazine.
Inmarsat plans trip to market
Via The International Herald Tribune.
Inmarsat, a British provider of global satellite services, said Wednesday that it planned to raise $690 million in an initial public offering to reduce debt.
Shares in the London-based company will be sold at 215 pence to 245 pence each, valuing the company's equity at £1.09 billion, or $1.97 billion, at the midpoint of the price range, Inmarsat said. The shares will be listed on the London Stock Exchange.
New .xxx domain will be reserved for porn
John Blau writes in InfoWorld:
Numerous groups, including several outspoken U.S. politicians, have been demanding for some time a separate Internet domain for pornography in a move to prevent sexually explicit content from landing on the screens of young Net users. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) took a big step Wednesday to meet that demand by approving a plan for pornographic Web sites to use new addresses that end with ".xxx."
Philips wins German passport wireless chip deal
Dutch Philips Electronics said on Thursday it will supply the German passport printing authority with wireless chips for the new smart passports for the country's 80 million citizens.
"Based on sophisticated encryption technology, the highly secure chip will be used to hold personal information on the passport holder, reducing fraud and forgery of travel documents and increasing security for travelers. Philips is the first volume supplier of such chips for smart passports," it said in a statement.
AT&T Rolls Out Beefed Up Managed Security Services
Karen Chaffraix writes in TechWeb News:
AT&T introduced on Wednesday an expanded package of managed security services including upgraded e-mail security, personal firewalls, additional policy enforcement applications, and expanded security compliance consulting.
"We've built an anti-virus and anti-spam function into the AT&T network. That did not exist before," said AT&T Vice President of Managed Security, Stan Quintana. "And today we have a solution for a personal firewall. We can detect the software that is applicable to a corporation and reject anything else that comes along that doesn't have a match."
McAfee to acquire Wireless Security
Guy Matthews writes on The Inquirer:
McAfee plans to acquire Wireless Security to boost its credentials in the SME Wi-Fi security market.
Privately-held Wireless Security already has a relationship with McAfee, providing the scanning technology that McAfee currently offers free to consumers and SMEs. The service lets users check out their wireless connections and hardware to see if intruders have tried to breach their wireless connection points.
Hackers target voice over IP
Robert Jaques writes on vnunet.com:
Service providers need to focus more resources on voice over IP (VoIP) security if they are to provide the level of reliability and trust that subscribers have come to expect with traditional telephone services, analysts have warned.
According to a white paper from business consulting and systems integration firm BearingPoint, broadband operators need to address security problems before rushing to VoIP as a way to increase revenue and provide new services.
The BearingPoint study warned that hackers are targeting VoIP to exploit ways to steal information or simply disrupt services.
Microsoft to adopt XML for next Office version
Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker, said on Wednesday that it will make XML, a data format increasingly used by businesses, standard in the next version of its Office program due out next year.
XML, or extensible markup language, is used to transfer data back and forth between different programs, computers and organizations.
The upcoming Office upgrade -- code-named "Office 12" -- will have new default XML file formats for the Word wordprocessing, the Excel spreadsheet and Powerpoint presentations programs, Microsoft said.
Sun Micro to buy StorageTek for $4.1 bln
Duncan Martell writes for Reuters:
Network computer maker Sun Microsystems Inc. said on Thursday it agreed to buy Storage Technology Corp. for $4.1 billion in cash, bolstering its presence in the fast-growing market for data storage.
Santa Clara, California-based Sun will pay $37 per share for Louisville, Colorado-based Storage Technology, also known as StorageTek, and the price includes the assumption of StorageTek employee stock options. The $37 price is an 18.5 percent premium to StorageTek's closing price on Wednesday.
Israeli Spy Software Code Had Design Flaw
Ted Bridis writes in an AP newswire article on Yahoo! News:
The spy software at the center of an Israeli economic espionage scandal quietly harvested stolen business documents and e-mails from victims' computers and secretly transmitted them to a computer in London, where police arrested a key suspect.
Here's how it worked: Some victims received e-mails that appeared to include a packet of confidential documents. But when the recipient clicked on the e-mail attachment, the spying software — a variant known among Internet researchers as "Hotword" — was installed.
Once active, the so-called Trojan horse software recorded every keystroke and collected business documents and e-mails on a victim's PC and transmitted information to a rented computer server registered by a Paris firm using a Seattle address but located in London.
eBay buys Shopping.com for $620 million
eBay continued its acquisition spree by agreeing to buy comparison shopping site Shopping.com for about $620 million in cash. The move should benefit eBay's sellers by giving them access to a new sales channel and a new set of buyers, while Shopping.com will be improved by the addition of eBay's listings on its site. eBay had annual revenue of $3.3 billion in 2004, and net income of $778.2 million. In the same year Shopping.com made $99 million in revenue and net income of $12.2 million. But Shopping.com has been adding customers at a faster clip, according to research company comScore Media Metrix. It attracted 22.6 million unique visitors in April, up 15 percent from the same month a year earlier, compared with 63.8 million for eBay, an increase of 6 percent over the same period. In December eBay agreed to buy property listings site Rent.com for $415 million, and a month before that it bought Holland's top classifieds site, Marktplaats.nl, for $290 million. Earlier last year it acquired a 25-percent stake in Craigslist of San Francisco, beefing up its classifieds business.
Yahoo!, Cisco Combine Antispam Efforts
Matthew Fordahl writes in an AP newswire article on Yahoo! News:
Network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc. and Internet portal Yahoo Inc. are combining their efforts to combat e-mail spam and forgery in a step that's expected to help expand adoption of the technology.
The move, announced Wednesday, combines two techniques that rely on cryptography to help determine whether the sender of an e-mail message is legitimate. Sending messages using a false address is a common tactic of spammers.
Cisco Debuts New SSL VPN
Via Networking Pipeline.
Cisco today announced a new SSL VPN for enterprises and service providers that offers remote VPN capabilities from any web browser.
The WebVPN Services Module provides flexible network segmentation and network device consolidation, and supports the Cisco Secure Desktop (CSD) which offers pre-connection security posture assessment and eliminates traces of sensitive data.
ICANN Ok's .XXX TLD
From ICANN announcement:
ICANN is pleased to announce that the independent evaluation process, which began last year, has resulted in a further sponsored Top Level Domain (sTLD) application moving to the next stage.
As the process for selecting new sponsored Top Level Domain (sTLDs) continues from a pool of ten applications, ICANN has now entered into commercial and technical negotiations with an additional candidate registry, ICM Registry, Inc, (.XXX).
ICANN recently announced the designation of two new sponsored Top-Level Domains (sTLDs), .JOBS and .TRAVEL at the 22nd ICANN International meeting in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
ICANN has also recently entered into commercial and technical negotiations with the following additional candidate registries, .CAT, .POST & .MOBI.
Discussions continue among ICANN Board and Staff regarding the evaluation of four additional proposed sponsored Top Level Domains (sTLDs): .ASIA, .MAIL, .TEL-Pulver, & .TEL-Telnic.
An update on the status and progress of the additional applicants will be made as they proceed further through the process.
Please address any media enquires concerning the registry applicant, ICM, to Stuart Lawley +1 (202) 585- 0259 or visit www.icmregistry.com for more information. For any enquires concerning ICANN please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SBC Is Everybody's Friend In Washington
Living down here in Austin, I can assure everyone that we are painfully aware of the situation.
Paul Kapustka writes in Advanced IP Pipeline:
Telco giant SBC may have lost an unusual home-court lobbying battle last weekend, but don't expect that trend to continue, especially at the national regulatory level. Why? Because SBC gives generously to anyone and everyone in political office, something that probably doesn't get ignored when it comes time to craft new telecom regulations.
The fact that SBC spends big bucks on both sides of the aisle isn't necessarily news; but following a link on the National Journal's home page that lists "who's donating?," you can proceed to Federal Election Commission contribution figures for the latest election cycle -- and find SBC on top in telecom giving, with just over $500,000 in political contributions.
Zarlink develops timing-over-packet technology
This sounds pretty cool--something to keep my eye on, methinks.
Zarlink Semiconductor today announced that it has developed an innovative Timing-over-Packet (ToP) technology that allows carriers to support time-critical voice, video and data services over packet networks.
Carriers rolling out packet-based equipment face a major stumbling block because many services – including video, online gaming and cellular phone services – have critical time dependencies that cannot be met by “best-effort” packet infrastructures. As a result, carriers must rely on expensive solutions such as GPS (global positioning system) receivers and circuit-based T1/E1 connections to ensure accurate synchronization of services across packet networks.
Internet fraudsters make simultaneous attack on four French banks
Major phishing aimed at four French banks.
An AFP newswire story on Yahoo! News reports that:
Four major French banks have issued warnings to their clients after Internet fraudsters made a simultaneous attempt to gain access to confidential customer information, a bank spokeswoman said.
BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, CCF and CIC all issued warnings to their clients via their websites after the massive attempted fraud on Friday which police are investigating.
The fraud involved an unsolicited or "spam" email to potential bank clients which appeared to come from a bank and which asked for "confirmation" of confidential account details on the bank's Internet site, which was a fake copy.
Artimi, Staccato Passing UWB Tape-Out Milestone
Mark Hachman writes in ExtremeTech:
UWB developers Artimi Inc. and Staccato Communications are taping out their first UWB chips this week, an important milestone for the industry at large.
This week, Staccato Communicatins confirmed that it is in the "final throes" of taping out a chip combining the MAC, baseband and RF portions of the UWB subsystem.
MPAA May Not Seek Broadcast Flag in DTV Bill
UK ID cards plan faces increased hostility
Sarah Arnott writes on vnunet.com:
The government's plans for national identity cards are facing a series of setbacks after the legislation was reintroduced to parliament last week.
Experts at the London School of Economics (LSE) say costs could rise as high as £300 per person, on top of infrastructure costs of £18bn, according to a report seen by The Observer.
The government rejects the LSE's estimates, due to be published shortly, and says the scheme will cost £5.8bn for the central database and infrastructure and £93 to each cardholder.
National Muni-Broadband Ban Proposed By Former SBC Employee
Personally, I think this issue needs a lot more exposure. I can't sum it up any better than did Mike over on techdirt.com, so I'm just pasting this snippet from techdirt.com as-is...
Contributed by Mike on Wednesday, June 1st, 2005 @ 09:55AM
from the paying-back... dept.
With all of the stories about attempts at creating muni-broadband offerings, and an equal number of stories about incumbent lobbyists pushing laws to ban muni broadband it was only a matter of time before those lobbyists realized that fighting fires on a city to city basis (or even a state to state basis) was inefficient. Instead, they convinced a former SBC employee, now Congressman, Pete Sessions to sponsor a bill that would ban muni-broadband across the country, except in cases of "market failure." Unfortunately, the details show that the definition of "market failure" is quite ridiculous. It basically is defined as if anyone is offering any broadband anywhere nearby," the market is working fine. So, poor, under-served communities can't get muni-broadband if the incumbent decides to redline and only offer DSL to the wealthy neighborhoods. On the whole, we agree that there shouldn't be muni-broadband where the market can take care of things -- but, honestly, if the market is working effectively and there's real competition for broadband, then why would a municipality plan to offer broadband anyway? In most places people only have one or two choices for broadband, and despite showy claims and promotional prices, there is almost no real competition at all. The muni bans aren't about "competition," but the opposite. They're about protecting regulated monopolies by incumbent providers.
Study: Shoppers naive about retail prices online
An AP newswire report on CNN.com:
Most American consumers don't realize Internet merchants and even traditional retailers sometimes charge different prices to different customers for the same products, according to a new survey.
The study [.pdf], "Open to Exploitation," found nearly two-thirds of adult Internet users believed incorrectly it was illegal to charge different people different prices, a practice retailers call "price customization." More than two-thirds of people surveyed also said they believed online travel sites are required by law to offer the lowest airline prices possible.
The study, expected to be released Wednesday by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, is the latest to cast doubt on the notion of sophisticated consumers in the digital age.
New Mytob worm poses as IT administrator
Scarlet Pruitt (IDG News Service) writes in InfoWorld:
Another variant of the Mytob worm began wiggling its way into inboxes this week, enticing recipients to open an e-mail attachment that could allow a remote hacker to access and perform commands on an infected machine.
The variant, dubbed "Mytob.bi" by some security researchers, scans the hard drive of an infected machine and sends copies of itself to e-mail addresses it finds in the Windows Address Book, antivirus firm Trend Micro said Tuesday. The worm poses as a message from an IT administrator, warning recipients that their e-mail account is about to be suspended, Trend Micro said.
Google shares surge to new highs after stock report
Shares of Web search company Google Inc. hit fresh highs on Wednesday after an analyst report raised the company's price target and advised investors that the stock has "further to go."
Google's share price rose $12.05, or 4.35 percent, to $289.32 following the report from CSFB. CSFB raised its target to $350 from $275.
Spaniards stick sword in P2P website
Lester Haines writes in The Register:
Spanish P2P music website Weblisten is - as of right now - closed by order of the 3rd Criminal Court of Madrid for intellectual property violations.
The judgement, as recorded on Libertad Digital (Digital Freedom), prohibits Weblisten from further music distribution activities, and orders the destruction of those databases which "contain music files and other material pertaining to the offence". The sentence concludes by explaining that it "clarifies the scope of internet music distribution and decisively contributes to the promotion of quality, legal distribution".
Writing Lolita in Tehran
Christopher Dickey writes in his Shadowland column in Newsweek that "Iranian bloggers have harnessed the subversive power of the Web to express themselves politically--and also to find dates in a society that curtails public courting."
A curious query from Iran: “Has everyone noticed the spooky absence of graffiti in our public toilets since the arrival of web logs?”
I confess, this little detail of modern life in Tehran—which tells you so much about young people desperately in need of self-expression—might have slipped right by me if I hadn’t been sent a new book called “We Are Iran: The Persian Blogs.” Written by Nasrin Alavi (a pseudonym), and due for international publication this fall, it’s a survey of the personal diaries that Iranians post online. Five years ago, there were none. Now there are many tens of thousands. And you won’t get a better glimpse of the obsessions and frustrations that exist behind the imposed cliché of the black chador; ideas and passions that thrive despite the rule of what Alavi calls “mutant Islamists.”
Russian Long-Distance Operator Opens Access Point in New York
Russia’s former long-distance monopoly Rostelecom is planning to open an access point in New York. On Wednesday, June 1, the company published a press statement, saying that the agreement on the issue was reached in the course of the Global Telecommunications Meeting 2005.
“One of the main results of participation in the congress was the reaching of final agreement regarding the opening of Rostelecom’s access point in New York,” the press release, quoted by RIA Novosti, stated.
Netcraft June 2005 Web Server Survey
In the June 2005 survey we received responses from 64,808,485 sites, an increase of 1.27 million from last month's survey. In the first six months of the year, the Internet has added 7.83 million sites, a pace which approaches the torrid growth rate of 2000, when the Web added 16.1 million sites. By comparison, the survey added 10.4 million sites in 2003 and 10.9 million in 2004.
The bulk of this year's growth has occurred in the United States, with a gain of 5.14 million hostnames. Other countries with strong growth in the survey thus far in 2005 include Germany (+575K), The United Kingdom (+436K), South Korea (+237.9K) and Sweden (+143K).
Hacking's Cost: Stanford, MIT, And Harvard Reject Applicants
An AP newswire article in InformationWeek:
Stanford University's Graduate School of Business has rejected 41 applicants who tried to access an admissions Web site earlier this year in hopes of learning their fate ahead of schedule.
School officials said the applicants were given the opportunity to explain why they attempted to gain access to their admissions files before the date when the university was to tell them if they were admitted.
"At the end of the day, we didn't hear any stories that we thought were compelling enough to counterbalance the act," said Robert Joss, dean of the business school.
Vonage homes in on 1 million subscriber mark
Jeffrey Hodgson writes for Reuters:
Vonage Holdings Corp. will easily cross the 1 million subscriber mark before year-end, the head of the fast-growing Internet phone company said on Tuesday.
Vonage chief executive Jeffrey Citron said the closely held firm currently has more than 700,000 subscribers, and was adding about 15,000 a week.
EU executive wants phone logs for up to a year
A bill for mandatory logging of emails, phone calls and other electronic communications to combat terrorism and fraud will limit data storage to a year at most, the European Commission said on Wednesday.
Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media, said a similar proposal put forward by four member states in 2004 wanted data to be stored for three to four years, which she said would impose a costly burden on phone and internet companies.
Employers must shred personal data
Mindy Fetterman writes in USA Today:
Starting Wednesday, employers must destroy personal information about their employees before they throw it out if they got the information from a credit report.
All employers — even if they have only one worker — are covered by the new regulations, which are part of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act passed in December 2003.
The regulations are part of a government effort to crack down on identity theft. The identities of about 7 million Americans were stolen in 2003 and their personal information used to set up credit card or bank accounts, according to two studies. Thieves get the information in a variety of ways, from stealing wallets to online scams to hacking into computer networks.
Bulldog unleashes 8Mbps broadband
Robert Jaques writes in vnunet.com:
Broadband provider Bulldog Communications today launched an 8Mbps service which it claims will be available to almost a third of homes across the UK.
The local loop unbundling firm claimed that the offering is the UK's first 8Mbps service with no download caps and a selection of price plans.
New customers will be able to buy the 8Mbps service for the price of the current 4Mbps service, starting from £15.50 per month.
'All the News That's Fit for Print'
Robert MacMillan writes in WashingtonPost.com's "Random Access" column this morning:
The message on the Vanity Fair reader forum asked the question at 11:47 a.m. ET Tuesday morning: "Where can we access the info about this being 'Deep Throat'?"
The phrasing was inelegant, but the message was clear: Every major television station and news Web site in the nation was broadcasting the news at warp speed: Vanity Fair might have broken Washington's best-kept secret. But you couldn't find that news on vanityfair.com.
Telekom Austria Takes Over Mobiltel AD
An AP newswire article on Yahoo! News reports that:
Telekom Austria AG said Wednesday that it is completing its purchase of Bulgarian mobile-phone operator Mobiltel AD earlier than planned.
DHS, GAO spar over security
Michael Arnone writes in FCW.com:
The Homeland Security Department disagrees with a new Government Accountability Office report that argues that DHS is not doing enough to protect the nation's critical infrastructure from cyberattacks.
"Until it overcomes the many challenges it faces and completes critical activities, DHS cannot effectively function as the cybersecurity focal point intended by law and national policy," states the report, issued last week. "As such, there is an increased risk that large portions of our national infrastructure are either unaware of key areas of cybersecurity risks or unprepared to effectively address cyber emergencies."
FBI and DHS object to use of cell phones aloft
Declan McCullagh writes in C|Net News:
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security are objecting to a proposal to permit the use of cellular telephones and other wireless devices on airplanes.
Unless telecommunications providers follow a lengthy list of eavesdropping requirements for calls made aloft, the FBI and Homeland Security don't want cellular or wireless connections to be permitted.
In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission sent last Thursday, the police agencies said any rule permitting "in-flight personal wireless telephone use must consider public safety and national security" concerns.
Microsoft meets Brussels deadline
Via The BBC.
US software giant Microsoft has met a 1 June deadline for responding to a landmark European Union antitrust ruling against the company.
"We have submitted proposals and we are awaiting a response from the EU Commission," a spokesman said.
In 2004, Brussels found Microsoft guilty of abusing its market dominance and fined it 497m euros ($655m; £340m).
If the EU considers Microsoft's response to have fallen short, it could hit the firm with daily fines of $5m.
Domain system creator honoured
Via The BBC.
The man largely responsible for developing the system which turns addresses on the web into numbers has received a prestigious award.
Paul Mockapetris, chief scientist at Nominum, has been given an ACM Sigcomm lifetime award.
He is widely credited with creating the Domain Name System (DNS) 22 years ago.
Former Scam Artist Helps Combat Identity Theft
Via ABC News.
More than 50,000 fraudulent student loan applications are filed each year, according to estimates by consumer advocates. Now the U.S. Department of Education is trying to combat such scams by getting help from the perpetrators themselves.
As part of a plea deal, prosecutors forced former identity thief John Christensen to reveal his scamming secrets, in an effort to help stop an exploding problem.
SBC to Cut High-Speed Internet Price
SBC Communications, the second-largest U.S. telecommunications company, plans to slash its price for high-speed Internet service by 25 percent, upping the ante in its rivalry with cable competitors.
SBC said on Wednesday it would offer broadband service for $14.95 per month to new customers who sign up online, $5 per month less than its previous lowest price. The deal, which requires a one-year contract, makes SBC competitive with many dial-up Internet services and is among the lowest prices for broadband in the United States.
Online service foils ransom plot
Jane Wakefield writes in the BBC Technology News:
Monday 23 August 2004 was a normal day in the office for Asif Malik, security director of online payment firm Nochex.
That is until an e-mail popped into his inbox at 7pm when most of his colleagues had gone home for the night.
The e-mail was a ransom note offering a stark choice - immediately send a wire for $10,000 to a European bank account or face an attack on the company's servers.
Others may have panicked but such a note was not out of the ordinary for Mr Malik.
"We get quite a few, maybe once a month so we don't always take it too seriously," he said.
Spyware Software Dubbed 'Ransom-ware'
Gregg Keizer writes on TechWeb:
An apparently bogus anti-spyware tool is the newest addition to the expanding "ransom-ware" category of malware, Panda Software said Tuesday.
Ransom-ware, the term some have slapped on malicious code that infects a PC, then demands money in return for cleaning up the machine or unlocking suddenly-encrypted documents, is just another example of how hackers are increasingly driven by greed, Luis Corrons, the director of Panda's research lab, said in a press release. Now, said, Corrons, a purported anti-spyware product, SpywareNo, joins the list of ransom-ware.
Joi Ito's gapingvoid.com business card print
I just love gapingvoid.com.
Microsoft faces fines as EU deadline looms
An AFP newswire report on Yahoo! News:
The European Union's executive arm warned that Microsoft could face huge fines in coming months if the US software giant does not meet a 2004 antitrust ruling by a midnight deadline.
The European Commission, which polices competition issues in the EU, has been dissatisfied with the company's suggestions so far to comply with the ruling because the company is, in the view of the regulators, maintaining its stranglehold on the market.
Administration Asks Appeals Court To Compel ISP Searches
An AP newswire article on Security Pipeline reveals that:
The Bush administration asked a federal appeals court Friday to restore its ability to compel Internet service providers to turn over information about their customers or subscribers as part of its fight against terrorism.
The legal filing with the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York comes amid a debate in Congress over renewal of the Patriot Act and whether to expand the FBI's power to seek records without the approval of a judge or grand jury.
U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero of New York last year blocked the government from conducting secret searches of communications records, saying the law that authorized them wrongly barred legal challenges and imposed a gag order on affected businesses. The ruling came in a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union and an Internet access firm that received a national security letter (NSL) from the FBI demanding records. The identity of the firm remains secret.
Skype To Release VoWLAN Phone
Via Mobile Pipeline.
The CEO of voice-over-IP provider Skype told a conference earlier this week that the company plans to offer its customers a phone that can connect to its voice network via Wi-Fi networks, the Reuters press service has reported.
The Wi-Fi phone will be offered later this year, according to Reuters. The move would match that of Vonage, which also is expected to provide its users with a phone that can be used for voice-over-IP using wireless networks.
Skype CEO Niklas Zennstrom told attendees at the Reuters Telecoms, Media and Technology Summit in Paris on Wednesday that his privately-held company now has 39 million users. About 1.4 million of those users are paying for the ability to make calls to standard phones while the others use the service for free to call other computer-based Skype users.
Reuters reported that Zennstrom said that he expects the company to be profitable by the end of the year and that it is no plan to go public in the short-term, although he said that eventually could happen.
Self-wiring supercomputer is cool and compact
Will Knight writes on NewScientist.com:
An experimental supercomputer made from hardware that can reconfigure itself to tackle different software problems is being built by researchers in Scotland.
The system under construction at the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre - part of Edinburgh University, UK - will use Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) chips instead of conventional microprocessors.
July trial for Sasser suspect
John Leyden writes in The Register:
The German teenager accused of creating the infamous Sasser worm faces a July trial for computer sabotage offences.
Sven Jaschan, 19, was arrested in the village of Waffensen near Rotenburg, in northern Germany, on suspicion of writing and distributing the Sasser worm in May 2004. He later confessed to police that he was both the author of Sasser and the original author of the NetSky worm. Jaschan's trial, scheduled last week, is due to begin on 5 July in the juvenile court of the German town of Verden.
UBS Bank missing disk drive containing client data
John Leyden writes in The Register:
Investment bank UBS has launched an investigation after a disc reckoned to contain sensitive client data went missing. The lost drive held data from the bank's Tokyo share trading division raising fears that confidential trading histories from the bank's corporate clients might be disclosed, The Times reports. Japanese regulators told the paper they took the leak "extremely seriously". Japan's Financial Services Agency was told about the missing disc last week and though it’s unclear when the disc went missing, theories abound.
Blank virus blanks email
John Leyden writes in The Register:
It's happened yet again. A new version of the Bagle Downloader is spreading like wildfire via email, according to email filtering firm MessageLabs. MessageLabs has intercepted almost 70,000 copies since the arrival of the virus at lunchtime on Tuesday. The virus appears to have originated from a Yahoo! group.
The as-yet-unnamed Bagle downloader variant drops a Trojan that attempts to download updated malware from a long list of locations. Windows users who activate the file attached in the email invoke the virus, which harvests email addresses it finds on the computer's hard drive. The virus then forwards itself onto the list of email addresses it has discovered in infected computer.
Phone companies lose round in Texas TV bid
Being a "Naturalized" Texan living here in Austin, this issue has been very heated.
Jonathan Skillings writes for C|Net News:
Phone companies fell short in a controversial legislative effort over the weekend that might have made it easier for them to offer television services.
Legislators in Texas were unable to reach a compromise on a bill that would have allowed phone companies to negotiate a single statewide contract with the Texas Public Utility Commission to offer television programming, rather than work city by city to acquire franchises through local governments.
The bill had been seen as critical to SBC Communications and Verizon Communications, which have plans in the works to begin offering television service to consumers this year. It was opposed by cable providers, which said the bill unfairly favored the telephone companies.
Israel police hold 18 in industrial spy probe
An article via Reuters on C|Net News reveals that:
Israeli police investigating industrial espionage involving leading companies have detained 18 people, including company executives and private detectives.
The probe by the Tel Aviv fraud squad began several months ago and found evidence that Trojan horses, viruses designed to spy on computer systems, had been planted in computers of some of the country's top companies, an Israeli police representative said Sunday.
The officials the police are investigating work for firms including Israel's top mobile phone operator, Cellcom, and two subsidiaries of dominant phone company Bezeq Israel Telecom-- mobile phone operator Pelephone and the satellite television provider Yes.
All three companies issued statements saying they are cooperating with the police and had done nothing illegal.
RIM rival Good wins improved Cingular sales deal
Jeffrey Hodgson writes for Reuters:
Cingular Wireless, the No. 1 U.S. mobile phone service provider, will begin directly selling Good Technology's wireless e-mail service for the first time, the companies said on Tuesday.
Closely held Good said it believes the agreement will help it win more wireless e-mail users, a sector currently dominated by BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd.
I loathe moving....
It's just a pain in the ass, right? Plus, it rained on & off all weekend, making it more frustrating to move loads of furniture between rain storms.
But all-in-all, it has to be done, and it's not really that bad.
Getting all of your utilities reconnected, that's the fun part.
In any event, Memorial Day was a blessing. And I'm glad to have had an extra day this weekend.