Belgium Web Site Helps Gov't Cut Red Tape
An AP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
Belgians suffering under a morass of contradictory, complicated or just plain absurd regulations have for two years had a place to make their complaints known: a Web site called Kafka set up by their government.
The rare flash of bureacratic humor has had tangible results: a savings of $281 million over two years, Belgian officials said Friday.
The site www.kafka.be was set up by the government in 2003, encouraging individuals and businesses to come up with examples of needless and regulations. It was named after Franz Kafka, the late Czech-German author who hated irrational authority and whose work defined the alienated modern world of the 20th century.
More alarms over cell phone E911
Ben Charny writes in C|Net News:
A sizable percentage of U.S. cell phone subscribers aren't upgrading to new phones as quickly as they used to, throwing into doubt a major initiative designed to improve wireless 911 calling, cell phone industry groups say.
Late Thursday, a large number of U.S. operators asked federal regulators to suspend rules that, by year's end, require 95 percent of their subscribers to have handsets capable of sending details about their geographic location to emergency operators.
The companies argue that about 15 percent of U.S. cell phone subscribers are happy enough with their service and handsets to hold on to their old phones longer than most users do. On average, cell phone customers replace their handsets within 18 to 24 months. Those who hold on to them are less likely to upgrade to new location-sensitive handsets, argue two trade groups, the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, and the Rural Cellular Association.
DHS to Monster: You’re fired
Michael Arnone writes in FCW.com:
The Homeland Security Department has fired Monster, a company that provides Internet-based job search capabilities. DHS officials said today they made their decision because Monster has been unable to provide DHS with access to data from more than 230,000 job applicants for six months.
DHS terminated its contract with Monster Government Solutions (MGS), a subsidiary of Monster Worldwide, and warned company officials that the department will seek damages and compensation for losing opportunities to hire qualified personnel, according to a June 21 letter addressed to the company.
Utah man sues Groklaw, Slashdot, and 200 others
Adamson Rust writes in The Inquirer:
...The nature of the case is a federal civil rights action with a geezer called Jeffrey Vernon Merkey seeking punitive damages and costs because he alleges the defendants, whose number is legion, violated his constitutional and statutory rights.
Those seem to include his rights to associate, to practice religiously, his freedom of speech and he alleges all sorts of other really, really scary things in the docket.
Merkey says he is a computer scientist, and served in this function at Novell and other large firms. He says he's been involved in Open Source development relating to the Linux OS for around 10 years. Later in the docket he describes OSS and Linux as "socialist".
U.S. Internet Control Decision Criticized
An AP newswire article, via Advanced IP Pipeline:
A decision by the U.S. to retain oversight of the computers that control Internet traffic drew harsh criticism about the lack of independence it could mean for the free-flowing, anything-goes communication network.
"This seems like an extension of American security in the aftermath of 9-11,'' said John Strand, a Copenhagen-based technology consultant. "People will ask: 'Do the Americans want to control the Internet?'''
The United States announced the move Thursday, publishing a four-paragraph statement online, saying that it would retain -- indefinitely -- oversight of the computers that control traffic on the Internet, instead of gradually releasing control to an international body, as some countries have favored.
Microsft & Google: Illiad's perspective via User Freindly
Since it's Friday afternoon (and a sweltering 100 degrees F here in Austin!), and on the cusp of a 3-day Independence Day holiday weekend, I figured a little more humor is just what the doctor ordered.
I give you: Today's User Friendly.
Daily gapingvoid.com fix....
Via gapingvoid.com. Enjoy!
Tata unit expands its global network
Dinesh C. Sharma writes in C|Net News:
With a subsidiary's acquisition of an undersea cable network, India's Tata Group is taking another step toward becoming a global IT services provider.
Tata unit Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd., better known as VSNL, on Friday announced it has completed its takeover of Tyco Global Network. The network stretches approximately 37,000 miles to connect North America, Europe and Asia, according to VSNL, a leading provider of telecommunications and Internet services in India.
Lucky Cal State students: Test May Measure Web Wisdom
An AP newswire article by Michelle Locke, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
...That's why Cal State and a number of other colleges are working with ETS [Educational Testing Service] to create a test to evaluate Internet intelligence, measuring whether students can locate and verify reliable online information and whether they know how to properly use and credit the material.
"This test measures a skill as important as having mathematics and English skills when you come to the university," says Roth. "If you don't come to the university with it, you need to know that you are lacking some skills that educated people are expected to have."
A preliminary version of the new test, the Information and Communication Technology Literacy Assessment, was given to 3,300 Cal State students this spring to see how well it works, i.e. testing the test. Individual scores aren't being tallied but campuses will be getting aggregate reports.
SEC warns investors on Internet "auto-trading"
U.S. market regulators warned investors on Friday to be wary of a new type of online investment vehicle and filed civil fraud charges against a small Internet investment advisory firm called Terry's Tips Inc.
The Securities and Exchange Commission accused Terry's Tips, based in Vermont, and its founder Terry Allen of promising clients misleadingly large investment returns in marketing the firm's auto-trading programs.
IBM UK mainframe workers train their South African replacements
In a The Register exclusive, Ashlee Vance writes:
If you're one of IBM UK's highly skilled mainframe specialists, then you may well be out of a job. IBM has shuffled a huge chunk of its mainframe support operations off to South Africa in a bid to cut costs. As a result, some of IBM's highest profile customers will find their critical mainframe support calls traveling south to a staff who recently spent just over 30 days in the UK learning the ropes.
On May 5, a number of South African technicians arrived at Heathrow airport and made their way to the Warwick Hilton, a source told El Reg. Over the next few weeks, the staffers went through some basic education exercises and gradually moved up to learn about more complex support functions. Specifically, the South Africans were trained to handle IBM's MVS (Multiple Virtual Systems) - aka mainframe operating system - support. The workers were taught by the very people they would soon replace.
Swedes Undeterred by Online Piracy Ban
An AP newswire article by Mattias Karen, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
Unless Swedes have suddenly changed their habits, about one in 10 became a criminal on Friday when a ban on sharing copyrighted music and movies over the Internet took effect at midnight.
Swedes are among the most prolific file-sharers in the world. Industry groups estimate that about 10 percent of Sweden's 9 million residents freely swap music, games and movies on their computers, making the Scandinavian country one of the world's biggest copyright violators.
The new law, which follows a European Union directive, took effect a day after the U.S. government announced an 11-nation crackdown on Internet piracy organizations responsible for stealing copies of the latest "Star Wars" film and other movies, games and software programs.
Supercomputer slays U.K.'s top chess player
Tom Espiner writes in C|Net News:
U.K. chess grandmaster Michael Adams has been soundly beaten in his titanic struggle against Hydra, a supercomputer.
Adams, the U.K.'s top chess player, lost five out of six games, and only managed a single draw at London's Wembley Centre.
The battle, which ended this week, had been hyped as a clash between human and machine, yet during the games Hydra only used 32 out of the 64 PCs in its cluster. Based in Abu Dhabi, Hydra's PCs are each powered by a 3.06GHz Intel Xeon processor.
Judge bans company's deceptive anti-spyware claims
Lucy Sherriff writes in The Register:
The Federal Trade Commission in the US has won an preliminary injunction against Trustsoft, freezing the company's assets and preventing it from making deceptive claims about its anti-spyware product. A district court judge in Texas issued the order, which the FTC is seeking to have made permanent.
The FTC alleges that Trustsoft used deceptive means to advertise its SpyKiller product, by claiming to have scanned consumers' computers, when in fact no such scan had taken place.
Once the SpyKiller product was downloaded and a real scan begun, a status box appeared identifying "live spyware processes", the FTC says. The programs identified, however, were not spyware, but anti-virus products, word processors and other non-dangerous programs. Once the scan was completed, consumers had to pay $40 to activate SpyKiller's spyware removal program.
Further, the FTC says Trustsoft violated the CAN-CPAM act by sending promotional email that did not identify itself as advertising, had false "from" addresses, provided no valid postal address and no option to opt-out of the mailing list.
The FTC is now seeking redress for consumers from Trustsoft and its principal, Danilo Ladendorf.
UK: BPI sues MCPS in music biz blue-on-blue
Charles Arthur writes in The Register:
Another day, another lawsuit from the record labels. Except this time - what's this? They're suing a different part of the music business. Yes, the BPI on Thursday announced that it is taking the MCPS (the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society) to the Copyright Tribunal, complaining that the MCPS is charging too much for online downloads and subscriptions.
The BPI has been joined in the action by the big music download organisations, including Apple's iTunes, AOL, MusicNet, Napster, Real, Sony Connect and Yahoo!. They're annoyed because the charge set by the MCPS for creating a digital, online copy of a song - the so-called "mechanical reproduction" - is between 50 and 100 per cent greater than that for making a physical copy of a song (such as a CD).
What! The music business, overcharging? Yes, you can stop laughing now. But there's an important principle here, which serves - once again - to show that the industry has problems Getting It.
BPI general counsel Geoff Taylor said: "The licence that the Alliance is trying to impose for online music is unreasonable and unsustainable. It is charging a royalty rate on a download that is double the rate it charges for a song on a CD. It applies this excessive rate to a whole range of online music services, without taking into account their different characteristics. The Alliance's tariff threatens to seriously harm the development of the legal online and mobile music markets."
Microsoft settles antitrust claims with IBM
Microsoft Corp. settled antitrust claims made by International Business Machines Corp., agreeing to pay IBM $775 million, the companies said on Friday.
The settlement, which resolves discriminatory pricing and overcharge claims, also includes Microsoft extending $75 million in credit toward deployment of Microsoft software at IBM.
There is still an outstanding claim by IBM that Microsoft's market dominance harmed its server hardware and server software business. IBM agreed that it will not assert claims for server monetary damages for two years and will not seek to recover damages on such claims incurred prior to June 30, 2002.
Joe Wilcox provides some additional details over on the Microsoft Monitor Blog:
Microsoft's $775 million IBM settlement, announced today, is yet another move by Microsoft to put its antitrust problems in the past--and to keep them there. IBM joins a growing list of settlees, including AOL and Sun, resolving claims directly related to Microsoft's U.S. antitrust case. In his ruling against Microsoft, U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson identified companies injured by Microsoft's anticompetitive behavior, including IBM. The settlement resolves issues related to IBM's OS/2 and Smartsuite products, but not server software. Remember that the European antitrust case against Microsoft focuses on server software, while the U.S. case was about the desktop.
How to send a legitimate e-mail indistinguishable from phish
Over on the F-Secure "News from the Lab" blog, Mikko posts a fine example of two messages: one of which is a clear example of phishing, the other is a legitimate e-mail which uses phish-like methods to direct the reader to a legitimate website.
The point that Mikko makes is a good one--"What's the point in trying to educate users about phishing scams and how they work if the same tricks are being used by the good guys?"
Japan to restict access to "illegal and harmful" websites at public offices
An AFP newswire article, via Yahoo! News:
Japan said it will tackle the spread of "illegal and harmful" websites in the wake of a series of Internet-based incidents involving suicide pacts and homemade bombs.
"The government has worked out plans to combat illegal and harmful content on the Internet after discussing the issue and considering freedom of expression and privacy of communications," it said Friday.
The government has decided to restrict access to such websites on the Internet at government offices, public schools and other state-funded organizations.
It said it will commission software manufacturers to design web-based filters that block access to websites that arrange group suicides or show how to counterfeit money or make explosives, among others.
Irony of ironies: FTC head's credit card info stolen in DSW data breach
An AP newswire article, via The Mercury News (subscription required):
The Federal Trade Commission helps millions of consumers each year battle identity theft. Now the woman who runs the agency, Deborah Platt Majoras, finds herself a potential victim.
An FTC spokeswoman says Majoras received a letter last week from shoe retailer DSW Inc. informing her that her credit card information had been stolen. The spokeswoman declined further comment. The theft was reported by Newsweek.
Majoras' credit card number was among 1.4 million that were stolen from a company database.
Netcraft July 2005 Web Server Survey
In the July 2005 survey we received responses from 67,571,581 sites. The gain of 2.76 million hostnames from June is the second-largest monthly increase in the history of our survey, as 2005 continues to shape up as a historic year for Internet growth. The only larger gain was a 3.3 million hostname increase in March 2003, which ended months of stagnation and kicked off 30 consecutive months of positive growth for the Web.
Factors in the dramatic growth include:
- Increasing use of the Internet by small businesses as web sites and online storefronts become more affordable.
- The explosive growth of weblogs, a growing number of which are purchasing domains for branding purposes.
- Speculation in the market for domain names, buoyed by rising resale prices and the ability to generate revenue via pay-per-click advertising on parked domains.
- Strong sales of online advertising, especially keyword-based contextual ads that support business models for both domain parking and commercial weblogs.
The Internet has added 10.7 million hostnames in the first seven months of the year. Barring a dramatic slowdown, 2005 should easily exceed the record growth of 16 million hostnames in 2000.
Germany: Dynamic IP address litigant shot down
Jan Libbenga writes in The Register:
Holger Voss, who last month in court argued that dynamic IP addresses are irrelevant for bookkeeping and shouldn't be stored, has lost his case against German ISP T-Online.
According to the German Tele Services Data Protection and Telecommunications Act, ISPs are only allowed to store communications data for accounting purposes. Although Voss didn't deny that the storage of IP addresses has a purpose, he argued that it is irrelevant in his case: Voss has a flat-fee subscription. The IP address changes every time he establishes an internet connection.
Voss may have had a point here: ISP Lycos recently decided it will longer store dynamic IP addresses of its customers after a specialist on data privacy laws had threatened to sue the company.
However, a court in Darmstadt this week ruled that it is perfectly legal for a provider to store dynamic IP addresses for 80 days. The storage is necessary in case of abuse or when there is a network failure. The court confirmed that it is illegal to use the data for other purposes.
Coming soon: .tel TLD?
CowboyNeal posts a note from GeorgeK over on /. which indicates that ICANN is consider adding a new top-level domain:
Posted by CowboyNeal on Friday July 01, @03:13AM
from the dot-dot-dot dept.
GeorgeK writes "ICANN hasn't posted it on their website yet, but according to one of their board members, the .tel top-level domain was approved." notellmo.tel is going to be one of the first domains sold.
Correction: Comcast outage...again
Marguerite Reardon writes in the C|Net News Broadband Blog:
Comcast customers in the Indianapolis, Indiana area are not able to check email and surf the web. Customers in the area have complained that they've only been experiencing intermittent Internet connectivity since Tuesday night.
A recording on Comcast's service line in the region acknowledges the issue, but didn't provide any additional information. A Comcast spokeswoman is still looking into the outage.
Comcast suffered a nationwide outage back in April when it experienced issues with its domain name servers, which translate and route Web page requests from users. Although Internet applications such as instant messaging continued working, Web site requests either did not respond or were sluggish.
Correction/Update: Again, this from Marguerite Reardon in the C|Net News Broadband Blog:
A Comcast spokeswoman said that service is operating normally in Indianapolis and has been all week. A recording on the local customer service line alerting people to a service outage in the Indianapolis and Pine Valley regions was a mistake, she said. And a big mistake it was. Comcast doesn't even serve the Pine Valley region, according to the spokeswoman.
But there was a fiber cut on June 28th in Fort Wayne, Indiana, she said. Crews were dispatched right away, and service was up and running within a few hours. The outage in Fort Wayne did not affect any other cities in Indiana, she added.
As for the customers in Indianapolis who said they can't surf the web or access email, she recommends contacting Comcast directly to report a service problem. But she said that whatever the issue is, it's not a network wide problem.
FBI set to roll out regional data exchange network
Grant Gross writes in InfoWorld:
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) plans to roll out a regional information-sharing network in the Seattle, Washington, area Aug. 1, the second such regional network the bureau has put in place this year.
The Seattle rollout of the Regional Data Exchange, or R-DEx, follows the launch of a similar network in the St. Louis, Missouri, area in February, said R. Scott Crabtree, section chief of the Field Intelligence Section at the FBI's Directorate of Intelligence. Crabtree detailed the R-DEx project and a sister national project called N-DEx at the fourth annual Government Symposium on Information Sharing and Homeland Security in New Orleans, Louisiana, this week.
R-DEx allows federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to tie their investigative databases together, providing the same information to all law enforcement officers with access to the database, Crabtree said. In the St. Louis area, the FBI, the Illinois State Police, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police, the St. Louis County Police and the St. Clair County ( Illinois) Sheriff’s Department are able to share investigative information with each other, the FBI said.
The R-DEx and N-DEx programs stem from an August 2004 presidential order requiring federal law enforcement and domestic security agencies to better cooperate with state and local police.
Juniper's Heckart joins Microsoft TV effort
Loring Wirbel writes in EE Times:
Microsoft TV, the Microsoft Corp. division working on IPTV and television stream-management software, has hired away Juniper Network Inc.'s Christine Heckart to be its general manager of marketing.
Heckart spent three years heading up Juniper's marketing operation. She is the author of several books and research reports on broadband data services, and worked as a principal analyst and president at TeleChoice Inc., the telecom market researchers before joining Juniper.
Heckart will report to Moshe Lichtman, Microsoft TV's corporate vice president.
US-CERT: Veritas Vulnerability Exploited
Sean Michael Kerner writes in eSecurityPlanet.com:
The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) US-CERT (Computer Emergency Readiness Team) issued an alert stating that Veritas Backup Exec Software is being actively exploited. The Technical Cyber Security Alert comes a week after the first public disclosure of the Veritas vulnerability.
The active exploitation of Veritas' Backup Exec software is the result of a buffer overflow condition that could potentially allow a malicious remote user to execute arbitrary code.
The buffer overflow is triggered by a flaw in how the remote agent software validates incoming packets. Veritas Backup Exec software is a network enabled recovery and backup solution that listens on TCP port 10000 for incoming connections. Veritas software is shipped by a number of vendors, including NEC and Hitachi.
Live8 concert Webcasts to be available in China
A Reuters newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
America Online will license the rights to broadcast Live 8 concerts to a Chinese Internet media company, potentially reaching the world's single largest population, AOL said it would announce on Friday.
A unit of Tencent Holdings Ltd. plans to Webcast the concerts to an estimated 20 million viewers on its Web site, http://www.qq.com, for free a few days after the actual concerts take place around the world on July 2.
The Webcasts will be translated into Chinese, AOL said.
Lawmakers move to help telcos offer video
U.S. House and Senate lawmakers on Thursday unveiled two measures designed to make it easier for telephone companies to launch video service to compete with cable and satellite services.
The measures would eliminate the need for companies like Verizon Communications and SBC Communications Inc. to seek authority from towns and cities to offer their video services, a process they have called cumbersome.
Cable operators and telephone companies have been encroaching on each others' turf, battling to offer consumers a suite of communications and entertainment services. Such packages are often lucrative to the providers' bottom line.
But SBC and Verizon, which are spending billions of dollars to launch their video services, have said their efforts to compete against cable operators are being slowed by having to get approval from every municipality.
U.S. Won't Cede Control of Net Computers
An AP newswire article by Anick Jesdanun, via Yahoo! News:
The U.S. government said Thursday it would indefinitely retain oversight of the Internet's main traffic-controlling computers, ignoring calls by some countries to turn the function over to an international body.
The announcement marked a departure from previously stated U.S. policy.
Michael D. Gallagher, assistant secretary for communications and information at the U.S. Commerce Department, shied away from terming the declaration a reversal, calling it instead "the foundation of U.S. policy going forward."
The signals and words and intentions and policies need to be clear so all of us benefiting in the world from the Internet and in the U.S. economy can have confidence there will be continued stewardship," Gallagher said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Government officials had in the past indicated they would one day hand control of the 13 "root" computer servers used to direct e-mail and Web traffic to a private organization with international board members, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
"It's completely an about-face if you consider the original commitment made when ICANN was created" in 1998, said Milton Mueller, a Syracuse University professor who has written about policies surrounding the Internet's root servers.
ICANN officials had no immediate comment.
Why Specter-Leahy "data security" bill should alarm bloggers, list operators
Declan McCullagh writes over on his PoliTech Blog:
Here's more background on the Specter-Leahy data security bill. The last two messages in this thread are a mini-debate I had with Lauren Weinstein.
I neglected to add that in the event of a Politech email address breach, I'd be required to "offer" to "cover the cost of" monthly access to a credit report for each U.S. subscriber one year and also pick up the tab for "credit-monitoring services" for one year.
That seems to be around $15 a month per person, or $300,000 a month if I had 20,000 subscribers (or a blogger had 20,000 registered users). Extend that to the one year requirement and it would cost me $3.6 million.
Does anyone think that Politech would continue to operate given that kind of liability? I mean, I think the list is reasonably secure from someone snagging the email addresses of subscribers, but I'm not willing to be completely bankrupted if I'm wrong.
EPIC today posted a message on its web site applauding the Specter-Leahy bill -- but I wonder if the person who wrote that notice read the bill carefully enough to realize it applies to non-profit groups.
If we assume EPIC has 50,000 subscribers to its EPIC Alert mailing list, and my $15-a-month figure is correct, an email security breach could cost them $9 million. EPIC is engaged in interstate commerce (its Alert serves in large part to sell books for $20-$40 each) and it "stores" e-mail addresses of its users, so the definitions would seem to fit. (If growing marijuana for your own use is interstate commerce, selling books across state lines would be.)
I'd like to invite my friends from EPIC to reply. As fans of the bill, it seems that they have two obvious choices:
1. Argue that there's no way any state prosecutor could ever apply the bill to them under any circumstances.
2. Say that even though it does, such Draconian provisions still are necessary: Privacy must be protected at all costs! Even if it means censoring discussion groups and blogs devoted to privacy, that is.
Daily gapingvoid.com fix....
Via gapingvoid.com. Enjoy!
Woman tattoos Web address on forehead
An AP newswire article on CNN reveals:
For $10,000, Kari Smith has gone ahead and had her forehead tattooed with the Web address of a gambling site.
Smith, 30, who sold her unusual advertising space on eBay, said the money will give her 11-year-old son a private education, which she believes he needs after falling behind in school.
"For the all the sacrifices everyone makes, this is a very small one," she said. "It's a small sacrifice to build a better future for my son," she said.
"To everyone else, it seems like a stupid thing to do. To me, $10,000 is like $1 million. I only live once, and I'm doing it for my son," she said.
Rumors of potential C|Net sale spur market speculation
An AP newswire article in The Mercury News (subscription required) reports that:
CNET Networks' stock surged more than 10 percent Thursday based on a published report that the company is looking for a buyer.
The New York Post reported the technology information portal may be "shopping itself'' to investors, including Viacom and InterActiveCorp, setting off intense speculation among analysts and shareholders.
CNET, which provides online news, product reviews and software downloads, would not comment on the rumors.
"The company does have some motivating factors to sell,'' said Scott Kessler, an analyst at Standard & Poor's. "I think it's likely they could pursue an exit strategy.''
Analysts cautioned that CNET's price tag of at least $1.75 billion could make finding a buyer difficult in the short term.
While another major portal, Ask Jeeves Inc., sold for a similar price last month, Kessler said CNET's debt is heavy and its stock is overvalued, generating less interest.
Update: Microsoft Said to Be in Talks to Buy Adware Developer
Steve Lohr and Gary Rivlin write in The New York Times:
For the last two weeks, Microsoft has been in talks to buy a private Silicon Valley company, a move that underscores just how eager Microsoft is to catch up with Google, the search and advertising giant.Update:
The company that Microsoft has pursued is controversial: Claria, an adware marketer formerly called Gator, and best known for its pop-up ads and software that tracks people visiting Web sites. The Gator adware has frequently been denounced by privacy advocates for its intrusiveness.
The offer price on the table as recently as yesterday was $500 million, according to people who have been briefed on the talks. But a person close to Microsoft said last night that the negotiations were on the verge of breaking off.
One person briefed on the deal said there was opposition within Microsoft to the acquisition.
The anti-deal group, the person said, fears the move could bring an outcry as critics portray Microsoft as a corporate Big Brother, trying to track every mouse click on the Web and profit from it.
I sure am glad to see Ben Edelman active on his blog again--he was inactive there for a couple of weeks, but now with this whole Microsoft-Claria rumor, and the news from the past couple of days about WhenU.com
, he has lept back into action!
He always has some provoking thoughts on all issues adware & spyware. Read why Ben thinks the whole Microsoft-Claria thing is a bad idea
Major Internet Disruption In Pakistan Continues
An AP newswire article, via InformationWeek:
A major disruption in Pakistan's Internet services went into its fourth day on Thursday, and an official said it would take at least two more days to fix the problem.
A fault was detected Monday in the undersea communications cable linking Pakistan's Internet users with the rest of the world. The damage was more than 50 kilometers (30 miles) out in the Arabian Sea southwest off Karachi, Pakistan's main port.
About 10 million Internet subscribers were reportedly affected.
Officials from state-run Pakistan Telecommunication Co. Ltd., or PCTL, have said they are using a satellite backup to ease the Internet disruption, as well as some related international telephone and cell phone problems.
Domestic telephone lines were working normally, said PCTL spokesman Ali Qadir Gilani.
Repair work on the cable has started, a PCTL spokesman said Thursday.
A repair ship has arrived from Dubai and "will pull up the cable (to the surface), then workers will remove the fault and it will be lowered into the sea again," Gilani said. "This will take the next two, three days."
Airlines, banks and the country's main stock exchange in the southern city of Karachi--some of the worst-hit sectors relying heavily on the Internet--have been put on the satellite backup, said Mushkoor Hussain, another PTCL official.
Update: OMB: IPv6 by June 2008
In an update to the story from yesterday on "Congress To Study Slow Pace Of Migration To IPv6", we now have this revelation from FCW.com (written by David Perera):
The federal government will transition to IP Version 6 (IPv6) by June 2008, said Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget’s administrator of e-government and information technology.
“Once the network backbones are ready, the applications and other elements will follow,” she said today while testifying before the House Government Reform Committee.
So it's official -- U.S. Government agencies will be inflicting severe pain and suffering on themselves, insofar as migrating to their new IPv6 networking infrastructure is concerned.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.Update:
In addition the two articles mentioned above, here's an update. However, bear in mind that "newer" doesn't mean "better". The Internet is about end-to-end connectivity, not if one version of a particluar set of protocols is newer than another. It's all about the connectivity, man. Bear in mind--and as Congressman Tom Davis mentions in the article below--the primary reason that Asia (and to a lesser extent Europe) is primarily interested in IPv6 is that it has a larger pool of available IP host addresses. Virtually all of the "newer" functionality that IPv6 offers has been retro-fitted into IPv4.
In an article entitled "Hearings Spotlight Asia's Push To Adopt IPv6", W. David Gardner writes in TechWeb News that:
In Congressional hearings on the Internet upgrade to IPv6, much attention was focused Thursday on the presumed lead over the U.S. by Asian countries, which are boldly moving to the new Web technology.
"Asian countries have been aggressive in adopting IPv6 technology, because Asia controls only about 9 percent of the allocated IPv4 addresses and yet has more than half of the world's population," Congressman Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), chairman of the Committee on Government Reform, said at the hearings.
Davis noted that Asian governments have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in IPv6 technology, which vastly opens up the number of Internet addresses over the current IPv4 technology. Among the additional advantages of IPv6 are improved security measures and additional links for wireless devices.
Ebbers to Forfeit Assets in Settlement
Carrie Johnson writes in The Washington Post:
Convicted former WorldCom Inc. chief executive Bernard J. Ebbers today agreed to hand over as much as $40 million in cash, property and business interests to settle a class action lawsuit filed by investors in the telecommunications company.
Under the terms of the deal, Ebbers will pay $5 million in cash and turn over his interest in a lumber company, a trucking firm and a marina. Ebbers and his wife also must move out of their Clinton, Miss., mansion by Oct. 31 so that plaintiffs' lawyers can sell it. He will keep an unspecified amount of money to pay legal fees and to provide for his wife, attorneys for the plaintiffs said.
Senators want to nix 1898 telecom tax
Declan McCullagh writes in C|Net News:
The Spanish-American War may have ended over a century ago, but anyone in the U.S. with a telephone line is paying a 3 percent "luxury" tax created to fund the conflict in 1898.
That's a situation that a number of Republican senators would like to change. This week, they introduced a bill to repeal the Spanish-American War levy.
Feds Target Unauthorized Online Exchange
An AP newswire article by Mark Sherman, via Yahoo! News:
The Justice Department is waging a new attack on Internet pirates, targeting illegal trading in first-run movies, video games and other copyrighted materials.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales planned later Thursday to announce arrests and other measures that law enforcement officials are taking as part of Operation Site Down. The Justice Department said the operation is aimed at large-scale illegal trafficking of copyrighted materials.
Among those arrested was Chirayu Patel of Fremont, Calif., on charges of violating federal copyright protection laws, the official said.
Patel is alleged to be a member of a "warez" group, a kind of underground Internet co-op that is set up to trade in copyrighted materials. Warez (pronounced "wares") groups are extraordinarily difficult to infiltrate because users talk only in encrypted chat rooms, their computer servers require passwords and many are located overseas, the FBI has said.
Men twice as likely as women to propagate spyware, viruses
John Leyden writes in The Register:
Male workers are twice as likely as their female colleagues to swap music files at work on a daily basis, according to a new survey by censorware firm Surfcontrol. The firm argues that because illicit music and video files are increasingly used to spread spyware and computer viruses that blokes are more often the cause of workplace spyware infestations than women.
"In some instances differences between men and women's PC usage patterns seem very small but in other cases there is a significant distinction," said Steve Purdham, chief exec at Surfcontrol. "They are three times more likely to download free software everyday in the office and this could well be exposing their employers to malicious threats unless measures are taken to better manage user abuse more effectively."
'Timeshare Spammer' Set to Plead Guilty
An AP newswire article by Greg Bluestein, via Yahoo! News:
A man known as "The Timeshare Spammer" said Thursday he will plead guilty to one count of violating anti-spam laws, marking one of the first prosecutions using the federal statute on e-mail.
Peter Moshou, 37, of Auburndale, Fla., could face up to three years in prison for violating the federal CAN-SPAM Act. Prosecutors say Moshou sent millions of unsolicited commercial e-mails using Atlanta-based EarthLink's network.
The messages, sent throughout 2004 and 2005, were about brokerage services for people interested in selling their timeshares.
Suspected file-swappers arrested in global raid
Police in more than a dozen countries have seized computers and made arrests in a crackdown on illegal file-swapping instigated by U.S. investigators, the Dutch government said on Thursday.
Authorities raided several locations in The Netherlands on Wednesday as part of an operation initiated by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and arrested three people on suspicion of computer file-sharing, the Finance Ministry said.
More computers were seized on Wednesday in Australia, Israel, Germany, South-Korea, Norway, France, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Poland, Canada and Hungary, said a spokeswoman for the ministry, which is responsible for preventing economic crime.
The people arrested in The Netherlands are suspected of infringing the copyright of films, software and video games. Some of the titles had yet to be published, she said.
Telehouse London suffers power failure
Tim Richardson writes in The Register:
A number of companies including telcos and ISPs suffered were hit Wednesday after a power failure at colocation outfit Telehouse Europe.
The problem which hit the company's Docklands site in London has now been resolved although an investigation into the cause has been launched.
In a statement the company said: "At 08:05 on 29th June 2005 Telehouse Europe experienced a hardware failure on UPS system 'D'. This failure affected the forth floor of Telehouse Europe's East building.
"The power was restored at 08:50 via the emergency power generators and local equipment then reset.
"Telehouse Europe are currently investigating the cause of the hardware failure. Telehouse will provide an update following the investigation."
In March colocation rival Redbus apologised after a power failure at its Harbour Exchange facility in London caused loss of service to some of its customers.
Cox Communications Accuses Verizon of Damaging Cables
Elissa Silverman writes in The Washington Post:
Black electrical tape is a reliable fix for many things: hole-ridden shoes, detached car bumpers, even skin abrasions. Telecom giant Verizon opts to slap on the magical adhesive for other kinds of cuts, too, according to local rival Cox Communications, which competes with Verizon in the Northern Virginia market as a provider of telephone and high-speed Internet service.
In a complaint filed earlier this month with Virginia's State Corporation Commission, which regulates the state's utilities, Cox alleges that while upgrading its network, Verizon has caused significant damage to Cox's underground fiber-optic cables and covered up the cuts with black electrical tape before burying the lines.
"Cox personnel have uncovered and, in one instance actually observed, 'repairs' done by Verizon that consisted of wrapping tape around a Cox line damaged by the [sic] Verizon and then re-burying the line," reads one section of the document.
The complaint includes "CSI"-style incriminating photos, including shots of exposed fiber-optic cables in various locations in Fairfax City and Herndon doctored with tape. Cox spokesman Alex Horwitz said that the company has documented approximately 500 incidents, which have caused about $254,000 worth of damage to the Cox underground network. Horwitz added that possible loss of telephone service caused by the cuts puts crucial communications, such as emergency 911 service, in jeopardy for customers as well.
IRS Hires ChoicePoint To Leak Your Info
I can think of no other way to sum it as nicely as Mike, over at techdirt.com, already has:
Contributed by Mike on Thursday, June 30th, 2005 @ 01:08AM
from the bad-timing dept.
ChoicePoint is the personal data company that kicked off this sudden focus on data leaks by cheerfully handing over thousands of records to a bunch of crooks who had no business with the data. So, now that our government is planning to put in place stricter laws punishing such activity, how do they reward ChoicePoint? Politech notes that the IRS has handed over a huge contract to ChoicePoint. That'll show them. Of course, perhaps even more worrisome is the fact that the IRS will now be using this info to checkup on tax payers, when reviews of ChoicePoint's data has shown repeatedly that its data is often wrong -- with many people seeing criminal records when they've never been in trouble. Also, it's worth pointing out that ChoicePoint is a spinoff from Equifax, the company whose CEO tap danced around whether or not they've leaked any data and claimed that letting you see what data they had on you was unconstitutional and un-American. Doesn't that make you feel safer?
Mich., Utah to Launch E-Mail Registries
An AP newswire article by David Eggert, via Yahoo! News:
Two states are on the verge of trying to block porn and other inappropriate messages sent to children through e-mail, but critics question how the laws will be enforced and predict they could have unintended consequences.
Michigan and Utah have until Friday to create and operate registries of e-mail addresses similar to "do-not-call" lists. Businesses will have to buy copies of the registries and face prison time and fines if they send e-mail to any addresses that parents submit. The registries also can include instant-message addresses, cell phones and pager numbers.
Parry Aftab, an Internet safety expert with WiredSafety.org, said the laws were well-intentioned but flawed.
"Anytime anyone starts collecting lists of children, it's subject to hacking and misuse," Aftab said. "The last thing I want is anyone to have a large database of children."
Sanofi-Aventis Sued Over Web Site Threat
An AP newswire article by Greg Sandoval, via Yahoo! News:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has sued Sanofi-Aventis Group because the French pharmaceutical giant threatened a medical news Web site that reports on one of its drugs.
Medical Week News Inc. uses the name of the drug, Acomplia, as part of the site's name, AcompliaReport.com. Sanofi, the world's third largest drug company, demanded that Medical Week stop using the name, prompting the EFF to intervene on its behalf.
Court: Adware Companies Not Breaking Law
An AP newswire article by Anick Jesdanun, via Yahoo! News:
Adware companies do not break trademark laws when they use a retailer's Web address to trigger coupons and other ads for rivals' products, a federal appeals court has found.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals becomes the nation's highest court to rule on a fundamental practice of adware companies that serve up pop-up and other ads based on sites users visit. Lower courts around the country had issued conflicting opinions.
In 1-800 Contacts Inc.'s lawsuit against adware provider WhenU.com Inc., the appeals court likened WhenU's ads to retail stores that place generic competitors next to brand-name products.
Though the case did not directly address consumer frustration over adware, which often gets onto computers without their owners' full knowledge, the court said it viewed WhenU's ads as authorized.
Google sued over 'click fraud' in Web ads
A seller of online marketing tools said on Wednesday it sued Google Inc., charging that the Web search giant has failed to protect users of its advertising program from "click fraud," costing them at least $5 million.
Click Defense Inc. filed its lawsuit, which also seeks class action status, on June 24 in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California.
Click fraud is not "fraud" as defined under the law. Rather, it is an industry term used to describe the deliberate clicking on Web search ads by users with no plans to do business with the advertiser. Rival companies might employ people or machines to do this because the advertiser has to pay the Web search provider for each click.
Canadian police investigate allegations of improper searches
A Canadian Press newswire article, via The Globe and Mail, reveals that:
The Edmonton Police Service has launched an investigation into a defence lawyer's complaint that police have done illegal computer searches on him.
Tom Engel revealed recently that 10 police service employees, including civilian staff, have run his name through a confidential database at least 16 times over five year years.
Engel says he learned of the breach through a Freedom of Information and Privacy request. The searches were made through the Canadian Police Intelligence Centre (C-PIC), a national database maintained by the RCMP.
Survey Finds Up To 44 Million In U.S. May Be Victims Of ID Crime
Steven Martin writes in InformationWeek:
A class-action lawsuit has been filed against CardSystems Solutions, where a security breach disclosed earlier this month compromised 40 million card accounts.
The number of Americans who've been victims of identity-related crimes could be as high as 44 million, according to a survey released Wednesday by Deloitte & Touche LLP and the Center for Social and Legal Research. A similar survey conducted two years ago found that 35 million Americans may have been victims.
The survey of 2,322 adults was taken in early May. Twenty percent of those surveyed said they've been victims of ID theft. When extrapolated across the entire U.S. population, the results suggest that 44 million may have been victims.
Congress To Study Slow Pace Of Migration To IPv6
Via TechWeb News.
Whither IPv6? Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6), an Internet upgrade, promises a virtually limitless number Web addresses and tighter security. Other countries have embraced it. But why not the U.S? Congress aims to find out.
To get to the bottom of the matter, government and private sector specialists are testifying at Congressional hearings in Washington Wednesday.
The subject of the hearings says it all: "Is the Federal Government Doing Enough? Will Other Nations Surpass the U.S?" Congressman Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), chairman of the Committee on Government Reform, is presiding.
Although speakers from the industry, including Microsoft, are scheduled to speak, Robert White, a spokesman for the committee, said the emphasis will be on determining what can be done to assist governmental agencies in moving from IPv4 to the new version. A recent GAO report provides a roadmap to the upgrade, he added.
RIAA sues new group of 784 swappers
John Borland writes in C|Net News:
The Recording Industry Association of America said Wednesday that it filed a new round of lawsuits against 784 alleged file-swappers.
The suits come just a few days after the group won a landmark Supreme Court victory, which will allow it to restart copyright infringement suits against peer-to-peer software companies, as well as individual computer users.
Three Sentenced in eBay Fencing Scam
Paul F. Roberts writes in eWeek:
Two men and one woman were sentenced to prison terms Tuesday after pleading guilty to defrauding home improvement giants The Home Depot Inc. and Lowe's Companies Inc. of more than $200,000 by selling improperly obtained store cards and merchandise on eBay.
David Oliver, 36, was sentenced to three years, 10 months in prison. Accomplices Mindy Oliver and Marcus Abercrombie were both sentenced to one year, eight months in prison, according to a statement from David E. Nahmias, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.
eBay did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Use of IP telephony surged in Sweden in 2004
The number of people making phone calls via the Internet more than doubled in Sweden in 2004, the country's telecoms regulator said on Wednesday.
Its report on the telecommunications market for last year said 80,800 people had Internet Protocol phone call subscriptions, compared with 38,400 in 2003.
Tech firms call for approval of cybercrime treaty
Declan McCullagh writes in C|Net News:
Computer security and software companies are urging the U.S. Senate to approve the world's first treaty targeting cybercrime.
A letter from the groups, including the Business Software Alliance, VeriSign, InfraGard and the Cyber Security Industry Alliance, called on senators to ratify the controversial document, which was the subject of a brief flurry of attention last year before it expired without a floor vote.
"The cybercrime convention will serve as an important tool in the global fight against those who seek to disrupt computer networks, misuse private or sensitive information, or commit traditional crimes utilizing Internet-enabled technologies," said the letter, which was sent Tuesday. "It requires countries to adopt similar criminal laws against hacking, infringements of copyrights, computer-facilitated fraud, child pornography and other illicit cyberactivities."
Those far-reaching prohibitions have caused alarm among civil liberties groups.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center sent a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last year saying the treaty should not be ratified because it "would create invasive investigative techniques while failing to provide meaningful privacy and civil liberties safeguards."
ChoicePoint overhaul completed, company says
Joris Evers writes in in C|Net News:
ChoicePoint, the data broker that leaked information on about 145,000 Americans, says it has completed changes to its business to prevent such a breach from happening again.
"In fact, we've gone beyond our announced commitments to make substantial changes in the past 90 days," ChoicePoint spokesman Dan McGinn said in an e-mail late Tuesday.
The Alpharetta, Ga.-based data broker is clarifying its position after a spokeswoman told News.com on Friday that the transition process was ongoing and that it would be some time before the company could announce its completion.
Antispam proposals advance
Paul Festa writes on C|Net News:
An Internet standards group approved two "experimental" antispam proposals, sidestepping a controversy dividing Microsoft and its e-mail competitors.
The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG), a division of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), said it would publish two competing and overlapping sets of documents that define ways of confirming that e-mail senders are who they say they are.
The experimental Requests for Comment (RFCs)--Sender Policy Framework (SPF) for Authorizing Use of Domains in E-Mail and Sender ID: Authenticating E-Mail--have been the subject of intense jockeying by Microsoft, America Online and others.
Critics have accused Microsoft of trying to strong-arm the industry into accepting Sender ID. Concerns over Microsoft's Sender ID-related patents have alarmed some involved in setting standards, and last year the IETF let a Sender ID working group expire.
"While many proposals for domain-based authorization have been under consideration, no consensus has yet been reached concerning a single technical approach," the IESG said in a statement. "The IESG does not endorse either of the two mechanisms documented in the experimental RFCs--their publication is intended to encourage further discussion and experimentation in order to gain experience that can be used to write future standards in this space."
Microsoft said that despite the expiration of the Sender ID working group in September, the approval of the experimental RFCs showed that its technology is alive and well in the standards-setting process.
Japan moves to restrict information on Internet
The Mercury News (sorry, free registration required) is running a KRT newswire story by Yomiuri Shimbun that reports:
Japan announced measures Wednesday aimed at preventing Web sites from carrying illegal or harmful information such as on group suicides and homemade bombs.
One of the proposed measures includes creation of a procedure for police to demand providers reveal information on webmasters of sites encouraging suicide, and promotion of filtering software to prevent children from seeing sites with harmful content.
An information-technology safety committee set up by the related governmental bodies is expected to decide on the measures officially as early as this week to reflect them on fiscal 2006 budget requests.
The measures also include enhancement of the so-called cyber patrol, or monitoring of information on the Internet by police in an attempt to identify those planning group suicides.
Bush orders FBI change after spy review
An AP newswire article posted on MSNBC reveals that:
President Bush, embracing 70 of the 74 recommendations of a blue-ribbon intelligence commission, said Wednesday he was creating a national security service within the FBI to specialize in intelligence as part of a shake-up of the nation’s disparate spy agencies.
A fact sheet describing the White House’s broad acceptance of the panel’s suggestions said that three more of the recommendations would be studied and that one recommendation — which was classified — was being rejected. The decisions come after a 90-day review led by the National Security Council’s homeland security adviser, Frances Fragos Townsend.
The changes being adopted include directing the Justice Department to consolidate its counterterrorism, espionage and intelligence units. Bush also will ask Congress to create a new assistant attorney general position to help centralize those operations.
How will the Grokster ruling affect Google?
Thanks to the fine folks over on Good Morning, Silicon Valley, who make us aware of a couple of good points brought up by Siva Vaidhyanathan in a Salon.com article:
Food for thought...
"Consider this," Vaidhyanathan writes. "Google, like Grokster, is primarily a search engine. Its business model relies on advertisements. And the more we use Google, the more money it makes. Like Grokster, Google resolves communication queries. It generates a link from an information provider to an information seeker. And almost all of what it delivers is copyrighted. The fact that no major copyright industry player has brought Google to court so far is merely a function of the fact that most copyright holders want Google to index and offer links to their materials. There is no explicit contract. You have to opt out of the Google world. But there is one major difference between Grokster and Google. Grokster does no copying itself. It merely induces and enables. If anyone infringes, it's Google: The company caches millions of Web pages without permission (again, giving copyright holders the option of protesting). And soon it will offer millions of copyrighted books in electronic form without payment or permission. How would Google fare in a post-Grokster world? The publishing industry no doubt wonders. And it just might sue to find out."
AMD Ads Kick Off Intel Antitrust Fight
Ed Oswald writes in BetaNews:
Just one day after filing suit against Intel for anti-competitive practices, AMD went on a full-court advertising press to urge consumers to take action as well. The full-page ad ran Wednesday in several papers including the New York Times and the Capitol Hill Roll Call.
In the ad, AMD explained its reasons for filing the suit and how Intel's alleged monopolistic practices harm consumers. AMD also claims in the ad that Intel is using its market power to force computer makers to use only Intel processorsand threatening retaliation to prevent companies from using AMD.
"For most competitive situations, this is just business. But from a monopolist, this is illegal," the ad argues.
The company asks consumers in the ad to read its complaint to find out more about Intel's practices. "Intel's illegal actions hurt consumers - everyday."
Daily gapingvoid.com fix....
Via gapingvoid.com. Enjoy!
RSF: Appeal to Arab League for online journalist jailed two years in inhuman conditions
Via Reporters sans Frontières.
Reporters Without Borders, appalled at the harsh prison conditions of Massud Hamed, who was jailed in July 2003, has appealed to the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amre Moussa, to intervene on his behalf with the Syrian authorities.
Hamed, a 29-year-old journalism student, has been regularly tortured in prison and is now in a very poor state of health.
"Massud Hamed has been subjected to the barbarity of his Syrian jailers for almost two years. His only crime was to have taken photos of a peaceful demonstration and posted them online," the worldwide press freedom organisation said.
Cisco Security Advisory: RADIUS Authentication Bypass
Via the Cisco website.
Remote Authentication Dial In User Service (RADIUS) authentication on a device that is running certain versions of Cisco Internetworking Operating System (IOS) and configured with a fallback method to none can be bypassed.
Systems that are configured for other authentication methods or that are not configured with a fallback method to none are not affected.
Only the systems that are running certain versions of Cisco IOS® are affected. Not all configurations using RADIUS and none are vulnerable to this issue. Some configurations using RADIUS, none and an additional method are not affected.
Cisco has made free software available to address this vulnerability.
There are workarounds available to mitigate the effects of the vulnerability.
The vulnerabilities are documented as the following Cisco Bug IDs:
- CSCee45312 -- Radius authentication bypass when configured with a none fallback method
FBI Probes Phishing of EBay in Norway
An AP newswire article on Yahoo! News reports that:
A Norwegian Internet radio site has been shut down pending an FBI investigation of a possible attempt to swindle customers of the eBay Web auction house, the company hosting the site said Wednesday.
"EBay had found a possible swindle attempt, and contacted the FBI. Then they contacted us, and we shut down the account immediately," Trond Didrichsen, of the site host lettnett.no, said by telephone.
Neither the operators of the NordicRadio Internet site, which was closed Tuesday, nor the Web host company were suspected of direct involvement in attempted fraud. However, Didrichsen said one member of the NordicRadio staff was being investigated by the FBI.
The fraud attempt involved copying eBay's Internet pages and posting them via the NordicRadio site, in the hope that customers of the auctioneers would unwittingly reveal personal information, such as credit card numbers, to swindlers.
Pakistan Internet link repairs to take three days
Pakistan's data and Internet links with the outside world will be hampered until at least the weekend while a faulty undersea fibre-optic cable is repaired, telecommunications officials said on Wednesday.
The cable developed a fault late on Monday, cutting the country's international data links, including the Internet, and causing chaos for businesses across the country. Satellite back-up systems were brought on stream on Wednesday, restoring some Internet access.
FCC to probe DSL regulations
Via Red Herring.
Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the cable operators’ right to bar competitors from their lines, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is taking up the obvious question of whether the same rules should apply to telephone companies that sell DSL service.
Telephone companies are required by law to open up their Internet connection lines, or DSL lines, to competitors, but they've complained about the unfairness of being saddled with the sharing requirement while the courts absolve the cable operators of the same burden.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that cable operators don't have to open their lines to competitors. The court upheld an FCC finding that broadband Internet service is an information service and, therefore, isn't subject to the sharing requirements within the Telecommunications Act.
After Monday's ruling, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin promised to examine the agency’s legal options in leveling the playing field. But it is unclear what the FCC, a quasi-judicial agency, can do to correct the obvious imbalance.
Packet filtering trojan
Jarkko writes on the F-Secure "News from the Lab" blog:
Malware writers seem to have picked up a new trick for blocking anti-virus updates. Usually this is done with hosts-file by redirecting hostnames to localhost. Today we were looking at a new trojan called Fantibag that uses packet filtering to achieve the same goal.
This trojan installs a packet filtering policy that blocks access to several anti-virus companies and other mostly security-related sites. More info in the description.
VoIP-in-a-can: Sysco IP Phone Model TC-04 by BubbaTel
This was just too good to pass up, so I shamelessly clipped this from Boing Boing. :-)
'DVD Jon' Breaks Google Video Lock
An article by Ryan Naraine (PC Magazine), via Yahoo! News, reports that:
Norwegian hacker Jon Lech Johansen has cracked the lock on Google's new in-browser video player.
Johansen, also known as 'DVD Jon' for his work on decrypting DVD security codes, has created a patch for the Google Video Viewer—less than 24 hours after the search giant shipped the video playback plug-in, a tool based on the open-source VideoLAN media player.
The patch, released on Johansen's 'So Sue Me' blog, effectively disables a modification Google made to the VideoLAN code to prevent users from playing videos that are not hosted on Google's servers.
Johansen said the patch, which requires the .Net run-time framework, will remove Google's restriction and allow the playback of video files that aren't on the video.google.com server.
Windows 2000 Update Rollup Released
David Worthington writes in BetaNews:
Two days before it ends mainstream support of the OS, Microsoft has provided its Windows 2000 customers with a parting gift: the long-awaited post Service Pack 4 Update Rollup. The Update Rollup contains every security related fix issued since SP4, along with several non-security related sustained support updates.
The rollup was announced last November and underwent beta testing starting January 2005 until its recent release to manufacturing. A public release was originally projected to arrive in April.
Most of the patches found within the Update Rollup have already been released as standalone updates and hot fixes. This will be the last upgrade to Windows 2000 through mainstream support channels barring any unexpected action; there will be no Service Pack 5 for Windows 2000.
More information about the Update Rollup is available on the Microsoft Support Web site.
Teen Girls Help FBI Nab Cyber Stalkers
Via ABC News.
At any given moment, authorities say, there are an estimated 20,000 sexual predators online, trading child pornography and using chat rooms to lure unsuspecting young teenagers.
FBI agents are online too, posing as teens to snare the pedophiles. But many predators know that FBI agents are patrolling the Web, trying to dupe them.
So three years ago, in an effort to teach FBI agents how to convincingly pass and communicate as a young teen, the agency turned to a new group of experts — teenage girls.
"You really have a rude awakening in the sense that you have no idea what it's like to be a teenager right now," said Stacey Marie Bradley, a supervising special agent for the FBI's Innocent Images National Initiative, which in the past decade has put more than 4,000 online child pornographers and pedophiles in jail.
An FBI agent involved in tracking pedophiles realized the program was falling short after he took at peak at his teenager daughter's online chats and was confused by the basic chat lingo.
Credit-card firm urged to detail possible fraud
An AP newswire story on MSNBC reveals that:
The attorneys general of 44 states demanded Tuesday that the credit card processor responsible for a breach that exposed 40 million cardholders to possible fraud inform affected consumers about the risk.
In a terse letter sent to CardSystems Solutions Inc., the law enforcement officials said the company needs to tell exactly what happened when a computer hacker may have gained access to millions of credit card numbers.
UK: Spyware blizzard shows no sign of let up
John Leyden writes in The Register:
Hackers are continuing to target British workers with a series of specially crafted Trojan horse attacks two weeks after a UK government agency issued an unprecedented security warning. The latest batch of malware again targets a small network of specifically targeted domains in assaults designed to slip under the corporate radar and allow hackers to steal privileged information or launch further attacks from compromised systems.
In the latest attack, email security firm MessageLabs intercepted a small number of emails containing malicious software sent to would-be victims at just four domains. The majority of these 17 emails were bound for addresses at an unnamed international security organisation that was also targeted in a similar attack earlier this month, MessageLabs reports.
Put Ebbers Away for Life, Government Asks Judge
Terence O'Hara writes in The Washington Post:
Federal prosecutors in New York have asked a judge to sentence former WorldCom Inc. chief executive Bernard J. Ebbers to spend the rest of his life in prison for leading the largest accounting fraud in U.S. history.
In a court filing unsealed yesterday, the government urged U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones to reject any plea for leniency, arguing that Ebbers's sentence should match the extent of the fraud at the telecommunications company. Ebbers was found guilty March 15 on nine counts of conspiracy, securities fraud and false regulatory filings for his role in orchestrating $11 billion in improper accounting entries.