Saturday, October 08, 2005

Connection restored between feuding Net providers

Andy Sullivan writes for Reuters:

Traffic resumed between two feuding Internet access providers on Friday, mending a rift that had blocked off portions of the Internet for thousands of users over the past two days.

Cogent Communications Group Inc. said rival Level 3 Communications Inc. had begun to accept its Internet traffic again after blocking it on Wednesday during a dispute over payments.

"We are pleased that Level 3 has taken (this step) to restore full Internet to their customers and ours. We welcome this move and hope and expect the peering connections will be maintained," Cogent spokesman Jeff Henriksen said.

Level 3 was not immediately available for comment.

Dilbert: Checking references...

Click on image for enlargement.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Bank of America notifying customers after laptop theft

Robert McMillan writes in NetworkWorld:

Users of the Bank of America's Visa Buxx prepaid debit cards are being warned that they may have had sensitive information compromised following the theft of an unencrypted laptop computer.

In a letters sent to Buxx users and dated Sept. 23, the bank warned that customers may have had their bank account numbers, routing transit numbers, names and credit card numbers compromised by the theft. Visa Buxx is a prepaid credit card for teenagers that the Bank of America (BofA) stopped selling in January.

The laptop, which belonged to an unnamed Bank of America "service provider" was stolen on Aug. 29, said Diane Wagner, a BofA spokeswoman. The bank was notified of the theft on Sept. 9, and began sending out the letters after a two-week investigation, she said.

Though the information on the laptop would not have been easily accessible to thieves, it was not encrypted, Wagner said. The bank has been monitoring the affected accounts and has not yet observed any signs of fraud. "We have no evidence that an unauthorized person has accessed or even reviewed that customer information," she said.

Feud-sparked Net outage ends

Jhn Borland writes in the C|Net Broadband Blog:

After nearly three days of sporadic Net blackouts sparked by a billing dispute between backbone network providers Level 3 Communications and Cogent Communications, data seems once again to be flowing normally between the two networks.

Level 3 had cut off a direct connection between the two companies' networks on Wednesday, preventing each companies' customers from reaching Web sites or sending email to people on the other network. Thousands of people, including subscribers to Time Warner's Road Runner cable modem service, were affected.

The connection was restored late Friday afternoon, after growing calls by consumer groups and some political figures for government oversight.

FBI searches Austin business in anti-piracy probe

Via The Austin Business Journal.

As part of a two-state anti-piracy investigation, the FBI searched the Austin headquarters of CD and DVD maker digiOptix LLC on Thursday.

The San Francisco division of the FBI is leading the investigation, which is targeting people and businesses "involved in a large-scale illegal replication and distribution of pirated CDs and DVDs," FBI spokeswoman LaRae Quy says.

The investigation is being handled by more than 100 FBI agents and police officers in California and Texas. The FBI's San Antonio field office executed the Austin search warrant.

Murderer Fingered by GPS

Jack Kapica writes in The Globe and Mail:

Technology developed by a Calgary company has helped put a U.S. murderer behind bars.

A global positioning system vehicle-tracking product developed by Calgary-based CSI Wireless was used to put Jimmy ("Crush") Davis at the scene of the fatal shooting of Sheryl Spiros, 42, in her apartment in February, 2004.

Prosecutors say it's the first time they know that a GPS system has been used to convict a murderer.

California bars violent video game sales to minors

A Reuters newswire article by Jenny O'Mara, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ignored strong lobbying from software makers and signed legislation on Friday that bans the sale of violent video games to children.

Passed by the California legislature last month, the measure follows heated national debate after game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. pulled its best-selling game "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" from retailers this summer because of hidden sex scenes.

Kevin Mitnick debunks myths

Via CNN.

To many, the name Kevin Mitnick is synonymous with hacking, the cinematic sort where a snot-nosed kid thumbs his nose at authority. But, Mitnick says, the characterization is a bit overdone and the legend untrue, if not libelous.

It is true, he says, that he broke into corporate computer systems and stole source code to satisfy his curiosity, but he denies the stories that he hacked into NORAD -- North American Aerospace Defense Command -- or that he wiretapped the FBI.

After a well-publicized pursuit that made him notorious, the FBI arrested Mitnick in 1995. He served five years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of wire and computer fraud. He was released in 2000 and today runs a computer security firm. In a telephone interview with CNN's Manav Tanneeru, Mitnick talks about his past, the state of online security today, and how he handles what his name has come to mean.

House Commerce Committee Backs U.S. ICANN Stand

Roy Mark writes in

The U.S. House Commerce Committee backed the White House Thursday and emphatically opposed turning over governance of the Internet to the United Nations (U.N.).

In a letter to administration officials, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Commerce Committee, and ranking member John Dingel1 (D-Mich.) wrote that the "United States should maintain its historic role in authorizing changes or modifications to the authoritative root zone file."

The letter comes just days before a United States delegation heads to Geneva for preparatory meetings prior to next month's U.N. World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisa.

Last month, the European Union (EU) proposed a new model of Internet governance that would remove the United States' control over the Internet naming system in favor of public and private organizations with an international multi-stakeholder forum.

Google Debuts RSS Reader

Rob Hof writes in the BusinessWeek Tech Beat Blog:

Jason Shellen of Google Labs is demonstrating the latest of the search giant's gazillion services at the Web 2.0 conference: Google Reader. I'm just trying it out for the first time, but it looks pretty slick. You can import subscriptions from other readers (though not, as far as I can tell, easily import them from Web-based RSS readers, which I use), mail or blog items you're reading with a click, and play podcasts with a built-in player. It's ready to check out now if you already have a Google account.

Maintainers of 100,000+ computer botnet arrested

Via the Kaspersky Lab Blog.

Today the Dutch authorities have made the news of a major bust of cybercriminals public. (Dutch).

The Dutch police have arrested three men who are suspected to have set up a botnet of more than 100 000 computers worldwide.

The botnet was used to steal confidential information such as creditcard and banking data as well as to conduct DDoS attacks.

The malware used by the hackers was based on Backdoor.Win32.Codbot(an IRCBot), which was regularly altered to avoid detection by virusscanners.

It's also likely that they were making malware which can spy on login info for online banking, for which they were paid.

Alledgedly they also blackmailed a company in the US, threatening to take down their website by DDoS.

Next to these things it's also probable that they were breaking into PayPal and eBay accounts.

The prime suspect is 19 years old, the others are 22 and 27. More arrests are likely to follow.

Ex-Adelphia Execs Charged With Tax Evasion

An AP newswire article by Deborah Yao, via, reports that:

The founder of Adelphia Communications Corp. and his son, both already convicted of a massive fraud at the bankrupt cable-television company, have been indicted on charges that they and other family members didn't pay $300 million in taxes.

Adelphia founder and former CEO John J. Rigas allegedly failed to report income of $143 million and his son Timothy J. Rigas, the company's former chief financial officer, failed to report income of $239 million, according to a federal grand jury indictment unsealed in Williamsport, Pa., on Friday.

Technorati Top Ten Snapshot

Via Technorati.

Top Searches This Hour:

1. “Web 2.0”
2. “Karl Rove”
3. “A Pig In A Jacket”
4. “David Brooks”
5. Flock
6. Lost
7. “Paul Krugman”
8. “Pillars Of Cultural Capitalism”
9. Ning
10. Serenity

IBM Trying to Capture the "Ghost in the Machine"

An AP newswire article by Brian Bergstein, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Since 2003, an IBM group has been developing a way for portable storage devices to transfer literally everything someone might do on one computer to another — including programs that are in action.

IBM calls the project SoulPad, because it's as if the soul of the computer is frozen in the portable device, ready to be reconstituted in another machine's "body" at the user's will.

IBM has had to fiddle with some programs to make this possible, but many computer applications are already built to survive interruptions, such as when a Wi-Fi connection momentarily goes on the fritz.

Dilbert: Web site FAQ

Click on image for enlargement.

Five arrested in U.S. piracy investigation

A UPI newswire article, via, reports that:

Authorities in the United States Friday announced five arrests in the latest crackdown on counterfeit software and recordings.

The U.S. Attorney's office in San Francisco said a dozen locations in California and Texas were searched as part of Operation Remaster, an investigation targeting replication companies that allegedly churned out thousands of illegal copies for distribution nationwide.

Details of the operation and the alleged conspiracy were to be released later in the day; however, prosecutors said the suspects allegedly even had silk-screening machines to make copies of the cover art on the genuine packages.

The long-term investigation by state, local and federal agents was based in the Silicon Valley area.

New Samsung plant appears headed for Austin

Via The Austin Business Journal.

Samsung Electronics Co., the world's largest maker of computer-memory chips, plans to build a 300-millimeter fab plant in Austin, according to Korean news reports.

On Wednesday, Samsung's vice chairman Yun Jong Yong confirmed at a government audit session in South Korea that the company will invest $2.8 billion to build the chip plant in the U.S., according to the Chosun Llbo, South Korea's largest daily newspaper.

The company is expected to officially sign agreements regarding the move in November, and construction would begin in early 2006.

Austin is already the site of Samsung's only U.S. chip production plant.

UK: Hackers jailed over global virus

Via The BBC.

Two hackers have been jailed for helping to create a virus that infected thousands of computers worldwide.

Andrew Harvey, 24, of Sherburn Village, Co Durham, was jailed for three months, and Jordan Bradley, 22, of Darlington, was jailed for six months, on Friday.

The men admitted a conspiracy charge in May this year for their part in creating what was called the T-K Worm.

It used internet chat channels to infect other computers which then gave the hackers control of them.

They were arrested in 2003 after a joint investigation by hi-tech crime officers in Britain and the US.

Roche warns on fake Tamiflu sales on the Internet

Via Red Herring.

Roche warned consumers on Friday to avoid purchasing Tamiflu over the Internet out of concern that counterfeit versions of the drug may be available.

The pharmaceutical giant, based in Basel, Switzerland, said it is looking into Internet sales of the prescription-only pill and cannot vouch for its authenticity.

In many ways it seems only a matter of time before counterfeit versions of Tamiflu hit the market, if they have not already. Tamiflu, along with GlaxoSmithKline’s Relenza, is thought to provide the best treatment of flu symptoms currently available in the event of a bird flu pandemic.

Governments around the world have recently stockpiled enough of the drug to provide treatment for up to a quarter of their respective populations, following advice from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Telkom Kenya unhappy about disappearing cables

Tim Richardson writes in The Register:

Telkom Kenya lost "a colossal" 400m shillings (£3m) last year after vandals nicked a load of copper wire.

Thieves looking to make a few quid have been ripping out the incumbent's copper cables from overhead and undeground lines and it's costing the business a fortune.

The east African telco is so hacked off about its disappearing cable that it's calling on the Government to ban the trading of copper in the hope that this might deter would-be thieves.

"Vandalism will impact negatively on service delivery, and also businesses and individuals are bound to suffer from lack of communication," TK exec Bernard Rubua told the Angola Press.

China to Develop Its Own DVD Format

An AP newswire article by Christopher Bodeen, via The Washington Post, reports that:

For the second time in two years, China has announced plans to develop its own next-generation DVD standard to break the monopoly of foreign companies and avoid paying heavy licensing fees.

If successful, the move could add a new wrinkle to the battle between HD DVD and the competing Blu-ray Disc formats over which will become the dominant new DVD standard.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the new standard will be based on but incompatible with HD DVD, which is being promoted by Toshiba Corp. and Universal Studios, as well as Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp., the leading suppliers of chips and software for most of the world's personal computers.

China to crackdown on "dirty" mobile messages

An AFP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

China has ordered telecom operators to clean up the content of spam short messages spread on their mobile phone networks as part of an ongoing fight against "unhealthy" influences.

Recently, there has been a lot of dirt hidden in the telecommunication networks. The situation is serious," the ministry of information industry said in a notice on its website Friday.

Messages containing text or pictures with pornographic or superstitious content such as fortune telling and sex chat are frequently sent to mobile phone users en masse, the ministry said.

Singapore Jails Bloggers for Racist Speech

An AP newswire article by Gillian Wong, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

A Singapore court Friday sentenced two ethnic Chinese to prison for posting racist remarks about ethnic Malays on the Internet, in what is considered a landmark case underscoring the government's attempts to crack down on racial intolerance and regulate online expression.

Animal shelter worker Benjamin Koh Song Huat, 27, was jailed for one month while Nicholas Lim Yew, an unemployed 25-year-old, was sentenced to a nominal prison term of one day and fined the maximum 5,000 Singapore dollars ($2,969) for racist comments against the minority Malay community.

"Racial and religious hostility feeds on itself," said Senior District Judge Richard Magnus in passing sentence.

"Young Singaporeans ... must realize that callous and reckless remarks on racial or religious subjects have the potential to cause social disorder, in whatever medium or forum they are expressed," he said.

State sex-offender site leads to arrest

A Mercury News article by Chuck Carroll, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

A mother's use of the state's online sex-offender registry has led to the arrest of a Los Gatos man who allegedly touched her child inappropriately at a grocery store.

Using the Web site www. after the Sept. 13 incident, the mother identified the man as 64-year-old Baron Alexander McDonald.

Los Gatos/Monte Sereno police said they arrested McDonald on Tuesday as he was driving away from his residence on Camellia Terrace, which is near the store.

The mother spoke to the suspect when she saw him touch the child, but all the man did was walk away. At first, the mother didn't report the incident to police, said police Sgt. Dave Gravel. ``As she thought about it, she really started feeling weird about it. She wondered if it was just some weird guy, or he could be an actual sex offender?''

AOL-MSN talks said to resume

A Reuters newswire article, via CNN/Money, reports that:

Time Warner Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have restarted discussions about forming an alliance of their Internet units, America Online and MSN, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing people familiar with the situation.

The two companies are focused on combining AOL's Web content with Microsoft's search-engine technology, although other aspects of the talks are sketchy. It isn't clear whether they are considering merging their Internet dial-up businesses, which generate lots of cash, the paper said.

The two companies originally began discussions about some sort of Internet deal earlier this year. But the talks stalled in the late summer over a range of issues including technical obstacles and questions about control.

Many obstacles remain to a deal, the paper said, citing people with knowledge of the discussions. Still, the latest talks have restarted in hopes of reaching an agreement by the end of the year.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Symantec complaint to EU about Microsoft antitrust issues

Robert McMillan writes in NetworkWorld:

Security software vendor Symantec has complained to European Commission anti-trust regulators about Microsoft 's entrance into the security business, setting the stage for a possible anti-trust case against the Redmond, Wash., software company, the Dow Jones Newswire reported Thursday.

The "informal" complaint allows the Commission to consider whether or not an anti-trust case against Microsoft is merited, said the report, citing unnamed sources. The Commission is the executive branch of the European Union (EU). European Commission officials could not be reached for comment late Thursday.

The news comes on the day Microsoft announced plans to begin offering business users an integrated anti-virus and anti-spyware product called Microsoft Client Protection. A beta version of this product is expected to be released by year's end. The company is already offering some customers a beta version of its Windows OneCare consumer security software.

Fake dog testicles win acclaim at Ig Nobels

An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

Gregg Miller mortgaged his home and maxed out his credit cards to mass produce his invention — prosthetic testicles for neutered dogs.

What started 10 years ago with an experiment on an unwitting Rottweiler named Max has turned into a thriving mail-order business. And on Thursday night Miller’s efforts earned him a dubious yet strangely coveted honor: the Ig Nobel Prize for medicine.

“Considering my parents thought I was an idiot when I was a kid, this is a great honor,” he said. “I wish they were alive to see it.”

The Ig Nobels, given at Harvard University by Annals of Improbable Research magazine, celebrate the humorous, creative and odd side of science.

Microsoft to release 9 patches for October

Via the MSRC Blog:

....[we] wanted to take a quick second to make sure everyone saw the Advance Notification for the Security Bulletin release for this October. This coming Tuesday, we’re planning to release nine security bulletins, and they are being released in Windows with one affecting Exchange Server as well. The maximum total severity rating for this month is Critical, so please update systems as soon as possible when they are available on Tuesday. The updates can be deployed and detected with MBSA, Microsoft Update, and WSUS and the Enterprise Scanning Tool. Also, we’re going to release an updated version of the Malicious Software Removal Tool.

EU Internet governance proposal raises US objections

Grant Gross writes in InfoWorld:

A European Union proposal to create a new governing body for the Internet has prompted objections from a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers.

Four senior members of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter Thursday to the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration urging the U.S. government to maintain support for current Internet governance.

Assignment of domain names should remain under U.S. authority, with the nonprofit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) continuing to have responsibility for allocating IP (Internet Protocol) addresses, the four said.

"Given the Internet's importance to the world's economy, it is essential that the underlying domain name system of the Internet remains stable and secure," the letter said. "As such, the United States should take no action that would have the potential to adversely impact the effective and efficient operation of the domain name system. Therefore, the United States should maintain its historic role in authorizing changes or modifications to the authoritative root zone file.

SiliconBeat: Confirmed: Verisign buys

Michael Bazeley writes in SiliconBeat:

We're getting confirmation that the rumors about Verisign buying Dave Winer's are true. The price is $2 million. What Verisign wants with Weblogs is another matter. Weblogs was one of the first, if not the first, centralized ping servers that blogs could use to alert the world to new content.

Congress Skeptical of FCC School Aid Plan

An AP newswire article by Jennifer C. Kerr, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Lawmakers expressed concern Thursday that a federal plan to help Katrina-devastated schools and libraries may shortchange poor kids at schools elsewhere.

The proposal by the Federal Communications Commission seeks to provide money to eligible schools and libraries in the Gulf Coast so they can reconnect to the Internet.

The estimated $132 million would come from the commission's E-Rate program. It provides discounted Internet access and connection equipment to help expand Internet availability, especially in rural and poor areas.

Democrats said schools in other states could lose out on much-needed federal aid.

Google goes to Washington

Anne Broache writes in the C|Net Google Blog:

Google has announced formal plans to set up shop in the nation's capital.

Its mission: to keep the Internet "a free and open platform for information, communication and innovation," said Senior Policy Counsel Andrew McLaughlin.

"It seems that policymaking and regulatory activity in Washington, D.C. affect Google and our users more every day," McLaughlin wrote Thursday morning on the company's blog. "It's important to be involved--to participate in the policy process and contribute to the debates that inform it."

The new office's first recruit is Alan Davidson, formerly an associate director at the non-profit Center for Democracy and Technology.

Yahoo! continues to defend actions in Chinese journalist case

This was an inexcusable act, and no amount of whining about the local Chinese laws makes it any less despicable.

Juan Carlos Perez writes in InfoWorld:

Yahoo Inc.'s chairman and chief executive officer Terry Semel strongly defended the company's decision to turn over evidence to Chinese authorities that helped the government convict a local journalist and send him to jail for 10 years.

Companies that do business internationally have to respect and abide by the laws of the countries in which they operate, whether that be China or any other country, he said Thursday at the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco.

Acknowledging that "it's both a moral and legal issue" and that sometimes "on a personal level, I wince," Semel said that companies such as Yahoo have to either respect local laws or exit the country in question. If American companies opt to not do business in a country with whose laws they don't agree with may, that may hold back progress towards greater freedom in that country, he said.

New domestic spying powers for the Pentagon?

Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball write in Newsweek online:

The Pentagon would be granted new powers to conduct undercover intelligence gathering inside the United States—and then withhold any information about it from the public—under a series of little noticed provisions now winding their way through Congress.

Citing in part the need for “greater latitude” in the war on terror, the Senate Intelligence Committee recently approved broad-ranging legislation that gives the Defense Department a long sought and potentially crucial waiver: it would permit its intelligence agents, such as those working for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), to covertly approach and cultivate “U.S. persons” and even recruit them as informants—without disclosing they are doing so on behalf of the U.S. government. The Senate committee’s action comes as President George W. Bush has talked of expanding military involvement in civil affairs, such as efforts to control pandemic disease outbreaks.

Former White House staffer investigated on espionage allegations

Via CNN.

A former Marine who worked at the White House is under investigation for allegedly misusing his top-secret clearance to steal classified information from computers, multiple U.S. government sources told CNN late Wednesday.

Leandro Aragoncillo, 46, worked in the vice president's office from 1999 to 2001, during both the Clinton-Gore and Bush-Cheney administrations.

Aragoncillo, who worked as an FBI intelligence analyst after working at the White House, was arrested along with a Filipino citizen in September in a separate case on charges that he used an FBI database to download and pass along classified information.

The latest investigation, first reported by ABC News and confirmed to CNN by multiple U.S. government sources, involves Aragoncillo's time in the White House.

Update: Saudi agency blocks access to


Reporters sans Frontières reports that access to has been restored in Saudia Arabia:

Reporters Without Borders welcomes the decision by the Internet Services Unit (ISU) to again allow access to the blog tool The ISU, the agency in charge of censoring the Internet in Saudi Arabia, declined to explain its decision to Reporters Without Borders, which contacted it by phone and then by e-mail. ended up being censored for only two days, on 4 and 5 October.


Via Reporters sans Frontières.

Reporters Without Borders today called on the Internet Services Unit (ISU), the agency that manages Web filtering in Saudi Arabia, to explain why the weblog creation and hosting service has been made inaccessible since 3 October, preventing Saudi bloggers from updating their blogs.

“Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that censors the Internet the most, but blog services had not until now been affected by the ISU’s filters,” the press freedom organisation said. “The complete blocking of, which is one of the biggest blog tools on the market, is extremely worrying. Only China had so far used such an extreme measure to censor the Internet.”

Reached by Reporters Without Borders, the ISU recognised that it had blocked access to but did not give any reason. is the point of entry to the management interface for all the weblogs hosted on this tool. In other words, this is the webpage bloggers need to access to update their blogs. According to our tests, names under the domain (for example, are not however being filtered. This means that Saudi Internet users can still access the blogs hosted on this service.

The Saudi authorities acknowledge blacklisting more than 400,000 websites. A very wide range of sites are affected, including political organisations, non-recognised Islamist movements and publications containing any kind of reference to sexuality.

H5N1 Wear

Too good to pass up. Blatantly snipped from Boing Boing.

Because I know nothing puts me in the mood like a pair of "ASK ME ABOUT BIRD FLU" boxer shorts. Hoodies, baby-doll-tees, and trucker hats sold separately.

Update: UK: Tsunami relief hacker convicted


John Oates writes in The Register that Cuthbert was convicted today:

Daniel James Cuthbert was convicted today of breaking Section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act of 1990 by hacking into a tsunami appeal website last New Year's Eve.

District Judge Mr Quentin Purdy said: "For whatever reason Mr Cuthbert intended to secure access, in an unauthorised way, to that is with some considerable regret...I find the case proved against Mr Cuthbert." He was fined £400 for the offence and must pay a further £600 in costs.


John Oates writes in The Register:

Horseferry Road Magistrates Court has heard the first day of evidence against the East London man accused of hacking into a donations site for the tsunami appeal last December.

Daniel James Cuthbert, 28, of Whitechapel, London, is accused of breaches of Section One of the Computer Misuse Act, 1990, on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, 2004. He had earlier pleaded not guilty.

Cuthbert is accused of attempting a directory traversal attack on the site which handles credit card payments on behalf of the Disasters Emergency Committee.

Giving evidence on his own behalf, Cuthbert, at times near tears, said he had made a £30 donation to the site, after clicking on a banner advert. Because he received no final thank you or confirmation page he became concerned it may have been a phishing site, so he carried out two tests to check the security of the site.

The case continues tomorrow.

Investors Win $2.41M in WorldCom Case

An AP newswire article, via, reports that:

In a rare win for investors seeking redress for biased analyst research, a Boston couple has been awarded $2.41 million in arbitration against Citigroup Inc. and analyst Jack Grubman for his recommendations on WorldCom Inc. stock.

The couple, Joseph M. Salerno and Beverly T. Salerno, claimed they invested nearly $1.12 million in WorldCom stock from 1998 to 2000 based on Grubman's enthusiastic recommendations of the telecommunications company, and then held on to it as the stock declined because his research notes continued to urge optimism about the company's future. WorldCom filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy-court protection in July 2002, emerging last year under the name MCI Inc.

"They were relying on Grubman's research reports. Even when the stock was heading down, it was portrayed as an opportunity to buy more," said Stephen Murakami, an attorney for Hooper & Weiss in Jericho, N.Y., which represented the Salernos in the National Association of Securities Dealers' arbitration forum.

Eagle Broadband sues individuals for defamation

Tim Richardson writes in The Register:

US-based Eagle Broadband Inc has filed a defamation lawsuit against 25 unnamed net users for allegedly posting misleading information about the company.

In a lawsuit filed with the Superior Court of California the company alleged that the postings on bulletins boards and website were done to "drive down the value of its stock in order to reap profits for themselves".

The postings were made on financial message boards including Yahoo! Finance and Raging Bull and included "fraudulent statements about the financial condition and business activities of the company, erroneous information about the company's products... and personal attacks."

Breaking America's grip on the net

Kieren McCarthy writes in The Guardian UK:

The issue of who should control the net had proved an extremely divisive issue, and for 11 days the world's governments traded blows. For the vast majority of people who use the internet, the only real concern is getting on it. But with the internet now essential to countries' basic infrastructure - Brazil relies on it for 90% of its tax collection - the question of who has control has become critical.

And the unwelcome answer for many is that it is the US government. In the early days, an enlightened Department of Commerce (DoC) pushed and funded expansion of the internet. And when it became global, it created a private company, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to run it.

Correction: Common Malware Enumeration (CME) gets mixed reception


They are, indeed, listed in numerical order. There are, however, gaps large enough in the listing to drive a truck through. - ferg


Sure -- it would be nice to have a cross-reference enumeration database to make sense of the various naming conventions used by various anti-virus and anti-malware vendors, but when the CME database is not really a database, is not updated in real-time, and is not searchable, I see very little utility is this effort.

For example, F-Secure mentioned that one of the newest Sober variants this morning had been assigned CME-151. However, if you go to the CME webpage, there is no listing for it, or any number of others. They're not even listed in numerical order!

End of rant. - ferg

John Leyden writes in The Register:

A group dedicated to curing virus-naming confusion enjoyed its official launch on Wednesday. The Common Malware Enumeration (CME) aims to mitigate confusion in responding to viral outbreaks by providing a common name for high profile threats that can then be used in vendor products or their websites.

Users have been asking for consistency in naming from vendors for years and CME (which has been in gestation for two years) can only hope to mitigate - rather than cure - this confusion. Identifiers will be in the format of CME-N, where N is a unique number for each high profile malware strain.

In the rush to write virus definition signatures - and monikers likely to capture public attention - anti-virus firms often come up with a variety of different names for the same piece of malware. CME won't end this practice but it will add an index so that end users can more easily correlate data on the same big-hitting worm or virus.

Japan newspaper wins damages for online use of headlines


An AFP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper was awarded compensation from a small Internet firm that used its news headlines without permission, in a first-of-a-kind ruling in the country.

The Intellectual Property High Court, a special branch court of the Tokyo High Court, ordered Digital Alliance Corp. to pay about 237,700 yen (2,000 dollars) to the Yomiuri.

The court said the use of news headlines by Digital Alliance was illegal. It is the first ruling in Japan giving protection to news headlines.

But presiding Judge Tomokatsu Tsukahara said that headlines were still in a legal gray area as they are not mentioned under Japan's Copyright Law. He did not order Digital Alliance to pull the Yomiuri headlines off its website.

Stupid criminal alert: Alleged thief leaves cellphone at scene

There is at least one area where Jay Leno and I are alike -- we both love stupid criminal stories. :-)

An AP newswire article, via The Globe and Mail, reports that:

A teenager accused of taking part in a string of automobile burglaries in Fort Smith (Arkansas) made it easy for police to find him. He left his cellphone behind.

At least eight vehicles were broken into over the weekend in a Fort Smith neighbourhood, and several mo-peds also were stolen.

As police combed through one of the burglarized vehicles, officers found a cellphone that did not belong to the vehicle owner. The phone traced back to Brian Lee Scott Elliot, 18, of Fort Smith, Detective Ron Lockhart said.

The Insecurity in Microsoft's Newsest Security Announcements

Joe Wilcox writes in the Micorosft Monitor blog:

Last month's JupiterResearch report, "Microsoft's 2006 Product Strategy: What It Means for Partners and Competitors," explains how the company is competing more with partners and offers dire predictions for suppliers of security software. Microsoft's overnight security announcements accentuate the partner threat identified in the report.

Recap of the announcements: Microsoft unveiled a new corporate security product, Client Protection; Microsoft Antigen, based on technologies from its Sybari acquisition, will ship in first half of 2006; a new Microsoft-established industry consortium, Secure!T Alliance, will seek to create opportunities for existing to (quoting the press release) "to more effectively and efficiently build and integrate their products for the Microsoft platform."

My problems with Microsoft's security announcements are numerous, so I'll take them one by one. Each is my observation; Microsoft didn't discuss the announcements with me beforehand.

Check Point to acquire Sourcefire

Dawn Kawamoto writes in C|Net News:

Check Point Software Technologies plans to acquire intrusion-prevention company Sourcefire in a $225 million deal, as it seeks to expand beyond its core firewall and virtual private network businesses.

The acquisition marks a rare decision by Check Point to buy, rather than build, its security technology. But in acquiring Sourcefire, Check Point may be reacting to pressure as networking giants such as Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks and software giant Microsoft focus more and more on security.

Under the deal, Check Point will pay $225 million in cash and assume Sourcefire's stock option plan. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year, pending shareholder and regulatory approval.

FDA may approve cloned food

A Washington Post article by Justin Gillis, via MSNBC News, reports that:

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to rule soon that milk from cloned animals and meat from their offspring are safe to eat, raising the question of whether Americans are ready to welcome one of modern biology's most controversial achievements to the dinner table.

Hundreds of cloned pigs, cows and other animals are already living on farms around the country, as companies and livestock producers experiment and await a decision from the FDA.

The agricultural industry has observed a voluntary FDA moratorium on using the products of clones, but it has recently become clear that a few offspring of cloned pigs and cows are already trickling into the food supply. Many in agriculture believe such genetic copies are the next logical step in improving the nation's livestock.

Consumer groups counter that many Americans are likely to be revolted by the idea of serving clone milk to their children or tossing meat from the progeny of clones onto the backyard grill. This "yuck factor," as it's often called, has come to light repeatedly in public-opinion surveys. Asked earlier this year in a poll by the International Food Information Council whether they'd willingly buy meat, milk and eggs that come from clones if the FDA declared them to be safe, 63 percent of consumers said no.

Technorati Top Ten Snapshot

Via Technorati.

Top Searches This Hour:

1. Ning
2. “Web 2.0”
3. Flock
4. “Sinbad Vs. The Mermaids”
5. “Bob Herbert”
6. Lost
7. “David Brooks”
8. “Jessica Simpson”
9. “Karl Rove”
10. “George Will”

RIAA Sues 14 year-old girl


Having already failed once to nail Brittany Chan through her mother, Candy, the Big Music cartel is now going after Britanny again, this time by herself.

She was 13 when this all started, but she's now 14 and in their latest move, the Big Four are using Matthew E. Krichbaum of Ann Arbour to demand that the US District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan appoint a Guardian ad Litem, in other words, an official legal guardian ---- which she'll definitely need with the venal and unscrupulous labels trying to get her.

“Plaintiffs [read EMI, Warner, Universal and Sony BMG, the members of the Big Music record label cartel] initial investigation revealed that a computer in the Chan home was used to download (reproduce) and offer 829 digital music files for distribution. Plaintiffs initially filed an action against Brittany Chan’s mother, Candy Chan," says the complaint.

“Candy Chan ultimately testified that she had a conversation with Brittany Chan in which Britanny Chan admitted to using the ‘Spicybrnweyedgirl’ name associated with the copyright infringement.

Nematodes: The Making of 'Beneficial' Network Worms

For the record, I think this is a really bad idea.

Ryan Naraine writes in eWeek:

Convinced that businesses will use nonmalicious worms to cut down on network security costs, a high-profile security researcher is pushing ahead with a new framework for creating a "controlled worm" that can be used for beneficial purposes.

Dave Aitel, vulnerability researcher at New York-based Immunity Inc., unveiled a research-level demo of the "Nematode" framework at the Hack In The Box confab in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, insisting that good worms will become an important part of an organization's security strategy.

"We're trying to change the way people think," Aitel said in an interview with Ziff Davis Internet News. "We don't want people to think this is impossible. It's entirely possible to create and use beneficial worms and it's something businesses will be deploying in the future."

For years, security experts have debated the concept of using good worms to seek and destroy malicious worms. Some believe that it's time to use the worms' tactics against them and build good worms that fix problems but the chaos and confusion associated with self-propelled replicating programs have left others unconvinced.

Aitel is among those who believe it is "inevitable" that worm technology can significantly reduce the cost of disinfecting and maintaining a corporate network.

Daily fix...

Via Enjoy.

Al Qaeda puts job ads on Internet - Arab paper

A Reuters newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Al Qaeda has put job advertisements on the Internet asking for supporters to help put together its Web statements and video montages, an Arabic newspaper reported.

The London-based Asharq al-Awsat said on its Web site this week that al Qaeda had "vacant positions" for video production and editing statements, footage and international media coverage about militants in Iraq, the Palestinian territories, Chechnya and other conflict zones where militants are active.

The paper said the Global Islamic Media Front, an al Qaeda-linked Web-based organization, would "follow up with members interested in joining and contact them via email."

The paper did not say how applicants should contact the Global Islamic Media Front.

New Sober Worm, new CME

Mikko writes over on the F-Secure "News from the Lab" Blog:

This German worm has been spammed during last hours. We have several sightings of the seeding but no real infection reports.

This variant sends itself either in a generic English message or a longer German message from "Kerstin", "Rita", "Hannelore" etc. The message tells a story about a school reunion, and asks if you are the person in the attached picture...which of course is not a picture.

This is also a good opportunity to showcase the new Common Malware Enumeration (CME) initiative, which has been introduced today at the Virus Bulletin 2005 conference in Dublin.

This new Sober variant goes by a variety of names, including Sober.R, Email-Worm.Win32.VB.b, W32.Sober.Q@mm, W32/Sober-O etc.

However, the CME identifier for this threat is: CME-151. And all the important vendors use the same identifier for it.

Schneier: A Real Remedy for Phishers

Bruce Schneier writes in Wired News:

Last week California became the first state to enact a law specifically addressing phishing. Phishing, for those of you who have been away from the internet for the past few years, is when an attacker sends you an e-mail falsely claiming to be a legitimate business in order to trick you into giving away your account info -- passwords, mostly. When this is done by hacking DNS, it's called pharming.

Financial companies have until now avoided taking on phishers in a serious way, because it's cheaper and simpler to pay the costs of fraud. That's unacceptable, however, because consumers who fall prey to these scams pay a price that goes beyond financial losses, in inconvenience, stress and, in some cases, blots on their credit reports that are hard to eradicate. As a result, lawmakers need to do more than create new punishments for wrongdoers -- they need to create tough new incentives that will effectively force financial companies to change the status quo and improve the way they protect their customers' assets. Unfortunately, the California law does nothing to address this.

The new legislation was enacted because phishing is a new crime. But the law won't help, because phishing is just a tactic. Criminals phish in order to get your passwords, so they can make fraudulent transactions in your name. The real crime is an ancient one: financial fraud.

Canada: Panel wants most court files kept off Web

Richard Blackwell writes in The Globe and Mail:

A key judicial advisory committee has recommended that individual Canadians should not be able to use their home computers to read most court documents, even though Internet technology is making this increasingly feasible.

The new guidelines say that judges' decisions and some case information should be available to everyone by remote access, but detailed filings such as affidavits, motion records and pleadings should not get this kind of exposure, even though they are public documents.

The guidelines also say personal information should be deleted from court documents made available to the public to ensure the safety and security of those whose lives are exposed in legal proceedings.

Network feud leads to Net blackout

I mentioned this article in TelephonyOnline yesterday about this, and a discussion on this has been raging over on the NANOG mailing list.

Yesterday afteroon, John Borland wrote this in C|Net News:

Two major Internet backbone companies are feuding, potentially cutting off significant swaths of the Internet for some of each other's customers.

On Wednesday, network company Level 3 Communications cut off its direct "peering" connections to another big network company called Cogent Communications. That technical action means that some customers on each company's network now will find it impossible, or slower, to get to Web sites on the other company's network.

William Steele, a senior network engineer for Syncro Services, said his company noticed the problem Wednesday morning.

"There are some people I can't send an e-mail to," Steele said. "At home, I have Road Runner as an ISP, and wasn't even able to remotely connect in order to manage our servers."

Microsoft Builds Own Antivirus Engine

Nate Mook writes in BetaNews:

While customers may have to wait until next year for the Client Protection tool, Microsoft on Thursday also announced the availability of Antigen, an antivirus program for messaging and collaboration servers that it acquired with the purchase of Sybari Software earlier this year.

Antigen will soon be bolstered by Microsoft's own antivirus scan engine, the company said, which all customers will receive as a free upgrade. In addition, a beta of Antigen specifically designed for Microsoft Exchange will ship early next year. According to Microsoft, the program "has been shown to achieve measurably improved levels of security."

Nokia Taps Symantec for Phone Security

Nate Mook writes in BetaNews:

Leading mobile phone manufacturer Nokia has chosen Symantec to protect its Series 60 based smartphones, the two companies announced Wednesday. Symantec Mobile Security will be preloaded onto the handsets and other Symbian OS based devices from Nokia to stem the emerging threat of mobile malware.

Symantec says it has worked with Nokia for two years on building technology to protect smartphones. Although mobile devices have yet to widely become victims of the same security threats plaguing PCs, new viruses such as Cabir and CommWarrior have specifically targeted Symbian and other phone platforms.

Book thrown at proponents of Intelligent Design

Celeste Biever writes in NewScientist:

"Devastating" early drafts of a controversial book recommended as reading at a US high school reveal how the word “creationism” had been later swapped for “intelligent design”, a landmark US trial scrutinising the teaching of ID heard on Wednesday.

The early drafts of the book Of Pandas and People, was used as evidence to link the book to creationism, which it is illegal to teach in US schools.

“ID proponents have said for years that they are not creationists,” says Nick Matzke of the National Center for Science Education in Oakland, California, which is advising 11 parents who are suing the school board of Dover High School in Pennsylvania for incorporating ID into the science curriculum. “This proves beyond a doubt that this is simply a new name for creationism.”

ID proposes that life is so complex that it cannot have emerged without the guidance of an intelligent designer. The school’s board voted in November 2004 to encourage students to consider ID as an alternative to evolution and recommended Of Pandas and People.

The parents claim this is a veiled attempt to bring creationism into the school. They are suing on the grounds that it has been ruled unconstitutional to teach anything in US schools that does not have a primarily secular motive and effect on pupils.

Delaware Supreme Court Declines to Unmask a Blogger

Rita K. Farrell writes in The New York Times:

The Delaware Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that if an elected official claims he has been defamed by an anonymous blogger, he cannot use a lawsuit to unmask the writer unless he has substantial evidence to prove his claim.

That standard, the court said, "will more appropriately protect against the chilling effect on anonymous First Amendment Internet speech that can arise when plaintiffs bring trivial defamation lawsuits primarily to harass or unmask their critics."

At issue was a defamation lawsuit filed last year by Patrick Cahill, a councilman in Smyrna, Del. Mr. Cahill said he needed the identity of a blogger who in a September 2004 posting praised the mayor but said Mr. Cahill was divisive and had "an obvious mental deterioration."

In a second posting, the blogger, named John Doe in the suit, wrote that Mr. Cahill "is as paranoid as everyone in the town thinks he is," according to court records.

SETI Thursday: Cranking Up the Allen Telescope Array

Seth Shostak writes in

In the patchwork of dry, cow-fouled ranch lands 250 miles northeast of San Francisco, an unusual crop is poking above the dusty shrubbery. Three dozen metal mushrooms have sprouted near the modest village of Hat Creek, and are turning their aluminum eyes skyward. These antennas, 20 feet in diameter and the height of a football goal post, are the vanguard of an eventual herd of 350 dishes, sprinkled over more than a half-mile of dirt and lava. They are the first installment of the Allen Telescope Array.

By spring, 42 of these antennas will be working, and while this is scarcely more than 10% of the ATA’s final tally, even this partial sub-array can do interesting science. Beginning a few months from now, it will.

The young ATA’s first foray into SETI will be known by the straightforward (if not overly galvanic) name of Inner Galactic Plane Survey. The word "survey" may surprise many who are familiar with this telescope’s design. After all, it’s being finely tuned to speedily examine large numbers of star systems in a so-called "targeted search". The completed array will be exceptionally nimble at such individual scrutiny, and will leave previous targeted searches in the data dust.

But the promise of future speed, and future sensitivity, makes a targeted search now—using only the sub-array—a less-than-exciting idea. It’s akin to riding a burro to California a year before they finished the transcontinental railroad. You might as well wait and get a better ride.

AOL to buy Weblogs Inc.

A Reuters newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

America Online Inc. has agreed to buy Weblogs Inc., a network of Internet sites focused on niche topics ranging from food to gadgets, for around $25 million, a source familiar with the deal said on Wednesday.

AOL, a unit of Time Warner Inc., could announce the acquisition of New York-based Weblogs Inc. as early as Thursday, the source said.

A spokesman for America Online declined to comment. Executives for Weblogs were unavailable to comment. The personal blog of Weblogs founder and Chief Executive Jason Calacanis said he was flying from New York to a San Francisco Web conference on Wednesday evening.

Weblogs Inc. includes roughly 80 advertising-supported sites published by a group of more than 100 bloggers.

Examples include Autoblog, BloggingBaby and Engadget, Weblog Inc.'s most trafficked site, which is aimed at "rabid gadget freaks."

Venezuela Orders Shutdown of IBM, Others

An AP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Venezuela's tax agency said Wednesday that it had imposed fines and ordered the temporary closure of several foreign companies, including International Business Machines, due to tax irregularities.

The Seniat agency ordered the 48-hour shutdown of U.S. computer company IBM Corp.'s office in Caracas, as well as auto parts company Bosch Rexroth Corp., for bookkeeping irregularities related to the value added tax, the agency said in a statement.

Others such as Microsoft Corp., Honda Motor Co., Nokia, Ericsson, Siemens and Colombina SA will face closures ranging from 24 to 48 hours, as well as fines, it said.

The reasons for punitive actions against the latter were unclear.

Company officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Australian court rules modified PlayStation legal

A Reuters newswire article by Michael Perry, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

The High Court of Australia ruled on Thursday that modifying Sony PlayStation consoles so they can play overseas versions or copies of games did not breach Australian copyright laws.

The ruling was a victory for Sydney retailer Eddy Stevens who has been involved in a four-year battle with consumer electronics giant Sony Corp. after he modified Australian-made PlayStation consoles for customers so they could play cheaper overseas versions of games.

Sony had sued Stevens because he had sold PlayStations with modified chips, overcoming regional coding blocks that stopped the machine playing imported or copied games.

Sony claimed Stevens violated its copyright by bypassing encrypted access codes aimed at protecting copyright.

Microsoft to Offer New Security Service

An AP newswire article by Elizabeth M. Gillespie, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Microsoft Corp. is gearing up to release a subscription service that will make it easier for network technicians at big businesses to make sure computers don't fall prey to spyware or virus attacks.

The world's largest software maker said Thursday it will release a test version of the service by the end of the year.

Scott Stanzel, senior product manager in Microsoft's security technology unit, said Client Protection, as the company is calling it, will be similar to Windows OneCare, an all-in-one service the company is working on to bolster security for personal computers.

The Redmond, Wash., company has not said how much the service will cost or when it will be available in final form.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

AOL Dials In to Net Telephony

Ben Charny writes in eWeek:

AOL this week began selling TotalTalk, which is part of a recent wave of renewed interest in Internet telephony from AOL and its major competitors, Microsoft and Yahoo.

TotalTalk is a revamped version of a VOIP (voice over IP) service America Online Inc. first introduced five years ago.

It features three calling plans for a monthly fee ranging from $19 to $35, and about $50 in initial fees.

Peers or not? Cogent, Level 3 disagree...

Via TelephonyOnline.

A war of words has broken out between Cogent Communications and Level 3 Communications, after the latter terminated a peering agreement between their two networks.

As a result of the termination, Cogent and Level 3 customers who don’t also have connections to other Internet backbones, such as those provided by MCI, AT&T or Sprint, will not be able to communicate.

The squabble is the first public debate in some time over peering arrangements, which normally are negotiated behind closed doors.

“Level 3 is thinking that Cogent’s customers will scream more because they cannot connect to Level 3 customers than Level 3 customers will scream because they cannot connect to Cogent,” said Andrew M. Odlyzko, a professor in the University of Minnesota’s Digital Technology Center.

Internet crime shifts to Russia

Apparently the mainstream press, and the U.S. Secret Service, has discovered something some of us have known for a while... or perhaps more likely, they are just now iterating the fact to the credit card companies.

A Reuters newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:

Trafficking in stolen credit cards has largely shifted to Russian-language Web sites after an international crackdown sparked disarray among English-speaking scam artists, a U.S. Secret Service official said on Wednesday.

The October 2004 raid, dubbed Operation Firewall, led to 28 arrests in seven countries and shut down several Web sites that served as online bazaars where scam artists could buy and sell credit-card numbers, drivers' licenses and other documents.

Now much of the activity has shifted to Russian-language Web sites that are wary of outsiders, posing additional challenges to online investigators who must cope with language and legal barriers, said Brian Nagel, the Secret Service's director of investigations.

"The English-speaking side of this criminal activity seems to be in complete disarray," Nagel said at a credit-card security conference.

Indian telecom to require local equipment manufacture

John Ribeiro writes in InfoWorld:

India's two large telecommunications services companies, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL), have decided to require their suppliers to manufacture equipment directly in India or through contract manufacturers in the country, the country's minister for information technology and communications, Dayanidhi Maran, announced Wednesday.

The two companies made the decision to ensure quality, timely delivery, and good after-sales service, Maran said at the annual conference of the Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association of India. The government also plans to request that private sector operators in the country adopt a similar purchase policy, Maran said.

BSNL, based in Delhi, is fully government owned, while MTNL, also in Delhi, is majority-owned by the Indian government.

Visa CEO calls for data protection laws, incentives

Grant Gross writes in InfoWorld:

Visa USA Inc., the giant credit card company, is exploring ways to reward businesses that enhance their security practices to protect against credit card fraud and online scams, the company's chief executive officer (CEO) said Wednesday.

Visa supports legislation introduced in the U.S. Congress that would require businesses to notify affected customers after certain data breaches, as well as legislation that would require businesses that store personal information to comply with security standards, said John Coghlan, appointed president and CEO of Visa USA in July.

Businesses should be required to notify customers of data breaches based on an "analysis of the real danger" of customers being harmed, Coghlan said during a cardholder security summit in Washington, D.C., sponsored by Visa USA. Some members of Congress have pushed for customers be notified after all data breaches, not only when there's a large danger of identity theft or credit card fraud.

Coghlan also called for new laws that would increase penalties for credit card and data fraud. Visa supports a bill under consideration in Congress that would add two years in jail to existing penalties for criminals convicted of identity theft or computer fraud, he said.

Motorola Cutting 1,900 Jobs Globally

An AP newswire article, via The Washington Post, reports that:

Motorola Inc. is cutting 1,900 jobs at 29 different U.S. and international locations in an effort to improve operating efficiency, the company said Wednesday.

The cell-phone maker said the layoffs will be distributed over its facilities in more than 20 countries and began in July, when it announced a planned consolidation of its supply chain facilities over the next several years.

Motorola's work force will remain at about 68,000 since it is simultaneously adding staff in such areas as engineering and marketing, spokeswoman Jennifer Weyrauch said.

"This is about operating more efficiently and delighting our customers, it's not about a significant change in head count," she said.

Microsoft: No Office on Linux "at this time"

Andrew Donoghue writes in C|Net News:

Microsoft has no plans to tweak its Office productivity suite for Linux anytime soon, despite the growing popularity of open source on the desktop, according to a company executive.

Speaking at the LinuxWorld conference in London on Wednesday, Nick McGrath, Microsoft's head of platform strategy, said that the software maker had no intention of porting Office to any of the Linux desktop distributions.

Telecom’s Private VoIP Internet

Via Red Herring.

XO Communications has connected its telecommunications facilities to Stealth Communications’ VoIP peering fabric, allowing the carrier to bypass the public telephone network and its termination fees.

Stealth operates a Voice Peering Fabric (VPF), essentially a wide-area Ethernet network that is a kind of private Internet, allowing member carriers to route calls to each other’s subscribers without the calls going through the public telephone network.

For instance, a call from an XO subscriber to an RCN subscriber will never leave the network and will be free to the subscriber making the call.

XO, the largest of the member companies on Stealth’s VPF, will become the main outlet for calls to subscribers of traditional telephone companies, the companies said on Tuesday. Calls from a VPF member carrier to a public network subscriber will be routed through XO, which is one of the largest non-Bell carriers in the United States.

Netcraft October 2005 Web Server Survey

Via Netcraft.

In the October 2005 survey we received responses from 74,409,971 sites, an increase of 2.68 million sites from the September survey. The large gain makes 2005 the strongest year ever for Internet growth, as the web has added 17.5 million sites, easily surpassing the previous annual mark of 16 million during the height of the dot-com boom in 2000.

This month also saw movement in web server market share for the first time in many months, with Windows servers gaining 0.75 percent market share in active sites, while Apache's share fell by 0.67 percent. Apache continues to maintain a large lead in both active sites and hostnames, and in fact improved its share by 0.74 percent in hostnames. With this month's growth, Apache now powers more than 50 million sites.

Another data security bill in the works

Anne Broache writes in C|Net News:

Yet another new piece of federal legislation aimed at cracking down on breaches of sensitive personal information could appear by week's end.

Rep. Mike Castle, a Delaware Republican, said at a Visa cardholder security conference here that he plans to introduce "in the next couple of days" a revised version of the bill that he has been working on since February with the U.S. House of Representatives financial-services subcommittee.

Castle said he expected to hold a hearing on the bill by the end of the month. "After that, it's anybody's guess," he said.

U.S. scientists resurrect deadly 1918 flu

Debora MacKenzie writes in NewScientist:

In a surprise announcement, scientists in the US say they have recreated the influenza virus that killed at least 50 million people in 1918, and they have infected mice with it.

They say the need to understand how flu viruses cause lethal pandemics outweighs any safety risks. But the risks may not be negligible.

By painstakingly piecing together viral fragments from hospital specimens and a victim buried in Alaskan permafrost, Jeff Taubenberger and colleagues at the US Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Rockville, Maryland, have now sequenced all eight coding regions of the 1918 flu virus’s genome. They published the last three - coding for the polymerase complex that allows the virus to replicate - on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Terrence Tumpey at the US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and colleagues used the sequences to rebuild the virus itself, and infect mice with it. They report this week that unlike other flu viruses, 1918 does not need a protein-splitting enzyme from its surroundings to replicate, instead using some hitherto-unknown mechanism. And as in 1918, it rapidly destroys lungs.

Single-Play DVD Hoax Fools Windows Sites

Nate Mook writes in BetaNews:

On Monday, news surfaced that Microsoft had invented a single-play DVD that would no longer function after being watched once in order to combat piracy. The story was quickly repeated, often without source, on a number of Windows enthusiast sites and blogs. There was only one problem: the news was not true.

The report was initially made by British Web site "The Business Online," claiming, "Showing a video of himself dressed in a sailor suit pretending to audition for the blockbuster Titanic, Gates pitched Hollywood with the proposition that only Microsoft could solve its piracy problem by making its DRM software a standard across every home entertainment playback and recording device."

Anti-phishing 'posses' hunt criminals


California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last Friday signed into law the first state legislation that penalizes fraudsters who steal online identities through "phishing" scams, but Internet companies and banks are not waiting for the law to stop the cyber-criminals and are actively taking covert measures to protect their customers, experts tell UPI's The Web.

We generally find that law enforcement is so involved with other issues that phishing is low on their priority list," said Hugh Hyndman, chief operating officer of Toronto-based Brand Dimensions, an online brand consulting company, in an interview with The Web.

So private-sector companies are setting up private posses to chase down the cyber thieves. They are working with Internet service providers, Web-hosting services and even regional Internet authorities to alert them when a phishing phenomenon is discerned online -- when thousands of suspicious e-mails are sent from a site purporting to be a U.S. credit union but that originate in the Far East. They track down the very server that the fraudulent e-mail is coming from -- by its IP, or Internet Protocol address, and then work with established contacts to shut down the site and take it offline as soon as possible.

FTC sues company over spyware

Declan McCullagh writes in C|Net News:

The Federal Trade Commission announced on Wednesday that it has sued a company it says secretly installed spyware and adware purporting to be peer-to-peer file sharing software. The company offered claims such as "Download music without fear," and "Don't let the record companies win," but in reality did things like rewriting search engine results and generating pop-up ads, the agency said.

Wednesday's announcement seems to be an effort to stave off possible enforcement-related criticism from Congress, which is holding a hearing on the topic later in the day. The defendant in the case is Odysseus Marketing of New Hampshire, whose ClientMan program is listed in Computer Associates' spyware encyclopedia.