Senate panel increases H-1B visa limit
Grant Gross writes in InfoWorld:
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has approved an extra 30,000 foreign worker visas for 2006 under a visa program popular with many technology companies, but the increase was halved from an earlier committee proposal.
The committee on Thursday approved legislation that would expand the cap on H-1B skilled-worker visas from 65,000 to 95,000 in the U.S. government's fiscal year 2006. The legislation, supported by several IT vendors, expands the H-1B cap by "recapturing" unused visas from past years going back to the early 1990s.
The extra visas would be available in years when the H-1B cap has been reached, as it has for fiscal year 2006.
A Judiciary Committee draft proposal circulated in the past week would have allowed up to 60,000 more H-1B visas a year, but Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, pushed for a smaller increase. A Feinstein spokesman wasn't immediately available Friday.
H5N1 News: Canada hosts international flu conference
Bob Brewin writes in Government Health IT:
Canada will host a two-day international conference on pandemic influenza Oct. 24 -25 for health ministers or senior health officials from about 30 countries as well as delegations from international health organizations, such as the World Health Organization.
At a Thursday press briefing, Ian Shugart, assistant deputy minister at Health Canada, said the purpose of the meeting is to encourage all nations to "collaborate on a global planning effort to reduce the risk of a possible influenza pandemic.”
Interior Dept. wins computer shutdown reprieve
An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:
The Interior Department won a reprieve Friday from a judge’s order to disconnect from the Internet all computer systems with access to accounts it manages for thousands of American Indians.
In a motion filed in federal courts, officials had said disconnecting the computers would cause “massive injury to the public interest and the operations of government.”
An appellate court on Friday granted a stay allowing the department to appeal the judge’s ruling.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ordered the shutdown on Thursday, saying the department’s computer security was so bad that hackers could easily break into the system and access and manipulate the Indians’ account information.
Justice Dept. creates special website in CIA leak case
Adam Entous writes for Reuters:
Prosecutors investigating the outing of a covert CIA operative opened a Web site on Friday to post possible indictments next week and were said by lawyers in the case to be focusing on whether top White House aides tried to conceal their actions from investigators.
Karl Rove, President George W. Bush's top political adviser, and Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, are at the center of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.
Plame's identity was leaked to the media after her diplomat husband, Joseph Wilson, challenged the Bush administration's prewar intelligence on Iraq.
H5N1 News: Bird flu found Britain, Croatia
A parrot that died in quarantine in Britain and wild swans in Croatia have been diagnosed with bird flu, officials from both countries said Friday.
It was not immediately clear whether the parrot had the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has devastated poultry stocks across Asia and killed 61 people in the last two years.
The bird, imported from South America, died in quarantine, said Debby Reynolds, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs' chief veterinarian.
Man accused of running illicit online pharmacies violates pre-trial release
Brian McWilliams writes in the Spam Kings blog:
Christopher Smith ("Rizler") is back in federal custody after violating the terms of his pre-trial release.
Smith had been under house arrest since late August, while awaiting trial over charges in connection with running illegal online pharmacies. As a condition of Smith's release, U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. Davis had assigned Smith to a halfway house in Minneapolis where he was to wear an electronic monitoring device.
Court papers don't go into the specifics of how Smith violated the release, but on September 21 prosecutors asked the court to issue a warrant for Smith's arrest. The following day, Smith was picked up by the U.S. Marshals Service. Following a hearing a week later, Judge Davis revoked the house arrest and ordered Smith remanded into custody of the U.S. Marshal Service until his trial.
Smith may have a long wait ahead of him. This week, the judge set the date of Smith's trial for October 2006.
Austin's NetBotz helps SBC network surveillance system
Via The Austin Business Journal.
SBC Communications Inc. is getting into the surveillance business.
The San Antonio-based phone giant developed a new Internet Protocol-based system that will allow companies to monitor their critical network systems through remote video from a central location.
SBC worked with NetBotz Inc. in Austin to develop the system. NetBotz created the technology used to monitor IT equipment. More than 2,500 organizations have incorporated NetBotz' into their operations.
SBC's platform also will give companies the ability to detect anomalies, such as extreme temperatures, humidity, power fluctuations or certain chemicals.
Research In Motion ruling risks U.S. Blackberry shutdown
Jeffrey Hodgson writes for Reuters:
A U.S. appeals court on Friday denied a motion to stay a patent case against Research In Motion Ltd., bringing RIM closer to an injunction that could shut down its popular BlackBerry email service in the United States.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied RIM's motion to suspend the case pending RIM's request for a U.S. Supreme Court review.
H5N1 News: Hungarian bird flu vaccine said to be effective
A Reuters newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:
A Hungarian vaccine against the deadly bird flu has definitely proved to be effective, final results from tests on humans showed, Hungary’s health minister Jeno Racz told local news agency MTI on Friday.
“Now it’s definitely proved that the vaccine is effective (on humans)... based on our data, the vaccine is 100 percent effective,” Racz was quoted as saying.
Hungary’s government announced on Wednesday that initial human tests proved promising on the vaccine, which is applicable for the deadly H5N1 form of the virus.
Savvis CEO disputes $241K tab at topless club
An AP newswire article, via CNN, reports that:
American Express is suing the CEO of a communications company for payment of $241,000 worth of disputed credit card charges at a Manhattan topless club.
American Express says in papers filed in state court that Savvis Inc. chief executive officer Robert A. McCormick was in the club Scores in October 2003 with at least three other men.
After McCormick got the $241,000 corporate credit card bill, Savvis called American Express and complained that some of the charges were fraudulent, the lawsuit says. The communications company said its chief disputed all but about $20,000, according to the lawsuit.
"We firmly believe that Mr. McCormick was the victim of fraud," said Deena Williamson, Savvis's deputy general counsel. She declined to comment further.
ESA's Venus Express Mission Delayed
Via The BBC.
The launch of Europe's first mission to Venus, due to have taken place next Wednesday, has been postponed.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has not yet announced a new date for the launch, only that it will be delayed by "several days".
The probe is to blast off aboard a Russian Fregat rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
It will slip into orbit around Venus next year, using science instruments to study the planet from space.
Esa said the delay had been prompted by the discovery that insulation from the rocket had contaminated the satellite itself.
"The satellite is contaminated, so they will have to dismantle and re-mount it again," said a spokesperson for the space agency.
H5N1 News: U.K. sets up bird flu database
Stave Ranger writes in C|Net News:
The U.K. government is setting up a central poultry database to help identify any outbreaks of bird flu.
Commercial poultry keepers will be asked to register their flocks as part of an initiative, as no central register exists.
Combining all the information on one database containing the location and size of poultry businesses could be a major advantage to aid effective communication between keepers and help manage any outbreak.
Work will start on the registrations within the next month.
H5N1 News: African nations take bird flu precautions
A Reuters newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:
Senegal has taken a precautionary measure of halting poultry imports to prevent the spread of bird flu to the West African country, Prime Minister Macky Sall said.
It is the latest African country to take such a step. Congo Republic, Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Comoros have either banned some or all poultry imports or announced other preventive measures.
Lawmakers back U.S. control of Internet
A Reuters newswire article by Andy Sullivan, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
Three lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives called on Friday for the Internet's core infrastructure to remain under U.S. control, echoing similar language introduced in the Senate earlier this week.
The resolution, introduced by two Republicans and one Democrat, aims to line up Congress firmly behind the Bush administration as it heads for a showdown with much of the rest of the world over control of the global computer network.
"Turning the Internet over to countries with problematic human-rights records, muted free-speech laws, and questionable taxation practices will prevent the Internet from remaining the thriving medium it has become today," said California Republican Rep. John Doolittle in a statement.
Doolittle introduced the resolution with Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte and Virginia Democratic Rep. Rick Boucher.
Man Accused of Stealing Corning Secrets
An AP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
A former employee of a Corning Inc. glassmaking plant is charged with stealing trade secrets and selling them to a Taiwanese company.
The FBI arrested Jonathan Sanders, 37, on Wednesday and charged him with selling information about the process Corning uses to make liquid crystal display, or LCD, glass for flat-panel TVs, computers, cell phones and digital personal assistants.
UK: Home Office wants to limit use of the Internet
SA Mathieson writes in The Guardian UK:
Eight years ago, when Paul Goggins was first elected to parliament, the dotcom boom was in full swing, and the internet was widely seen as a source of opportunity. These days, Goggins looks at the web differently. Now the Home Office minister responsible for internet crime, he is among those in charge of the government's plans to further limit use of the net.
Over tea in Brighton's Grand Hotel, he explains that the threat of terrorism is a crucial justification for the proposals. It is an apt venue: in a bomb attack on this hotel 21 years ago, the IRA killed five people.
The source of the threat has changed, but after July's bomb attacks in London, the terrorist threat seems stronger than ever. Following the London bombings, the UK proposed that European telecoms and internet service providers should be forced to keep logs of customer activity for up to three years - much longer than is currently the case. "Charles [Clarke] wants to get a more uniform, coherent approach across Europe," says Goggins. "Terrorist activity doesn't just happen overnight, or in a space of weeks. It's often planned over a long, long period of time, and that's why we are laying emphasis on the need to extend the period."
H5N1 News: Hong Kong threatens to close border over bird flu
In this bustling commercial capital that calls itself "Asia's World City,” the public health chief has gotten the attention of business leaders with his tough talk about potential measures to curb the spread of bird flu.
Dr. York Chow, Hong Kong's Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food, has threatened to close the border with the Chinese mainland if the H5NI strain of avian influenza moves into the human population.
"If it is proven to be human-to-human transmission," Dr. Chow said at a meeting in Beijing, "then we have to be very careful and we might have to close the border."
H5N1 News: Canada plays down Australian bird flu scare
The federal Government [of Australia] may impose a blanket ban on all live bird imports after the discovery of Canadian pigeons with bird flu antibodies in Melbourne.
Officials in Toronto say Canada met all international requirements for the pigeons that were exported to Australia.
Three of the pigeons were found to have antibodies for avian flu but quarantine officials say there is no health threat to the public or the local bird population.
Another four of the birds had strains of newcastle disease and the affected birds have been destroyed.
Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran says Canada's testing regime is to blame.
China: Online encyclopedia Wikipedia censored
Via Reporters sans Frontières.
Reporters Without Borders today called on the Chinese authorities to stop blocking accessing to the website of the independent online encyclopedia Wikipedia, whose popularity has been growing steadily in China. The site has been unavailable in several provinces including Shanghai since 18 October.
This latest online censorship paradoxically comes at a moment when China is openly raising the issue of democracy by publishing its first white paper entitled “The construction of political democracy in China” on 19 October.
The subjects tackled in the paper include human rights and grass-roots democracy in urban and rural areas, yet blocking the site of a free encyclopedia to which anyone can contribute is a clear violation of the right of Chinese citizens to information and it comes amid a series of new regulations adopted in recent months aimed at tightening controls on online free expression even more.
Now Showing: MS05-047 Exploit In-The-Wild
That's right. You should've been patched, like, yesterday.
Personally, I expect to see a worm which uses this exploit to begin circulating within the next few days.
Microsoft Windows Plug and Play "Umpnpmgr.dll" Remote Exploit (MS05-047)
Exploits this advisory:
Advisory ID : FrSIRT/ADV-2005-2044
CVE ID : CVE-2005-2120
Rated as : High Risk
Remotely Exploitable : Yes
Locally Exploitable : Yes
Release Date : 2005-10-11
* Technical Description *
A vulnerability has been identified in Microsoft Windows, which may be exploited by attackers to execute abitrary commands or by malicious users to obtain elevated privileges. This issue is due to a buffer overflow error in the Plug and Play (PnP) service that does not properly validate user supplied data to the functions "PNP_GetDeviceList" and "PNP_GetDeviceListSize", which could be exploited by attackers to execute arbitrary commands.
Note : On Windows 2000 and Windows XP SP1, an authenticated user could remotely exploit this vulnerability, however, in certain Windows XP configurations, anonymous users could authenticate and exploit this vulnerability as the Guest account. On Windows XP SP2, only an administrator can remotely access the affected component. Therefore, on Windows XP SP2, this issue is strictly a local privilege elevation vulnerability.
* Affected Products *
Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4
Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 1
Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2
* Solution *
Apply patches :
Answers.com and Wikipedia to partner on new query tool
Dinesh C. Sharma writes in C|Net News:
Answers.com and the Wikimedia Foundation on Friday said they will jointly develop a service that gives people quick access to answers from online encyclopedia Wikipedia. The new product, dubbed "1-Click Answers, Wikipedia Edition," will be promoted through a tools page on Wikipedia's English-language site. The two will share advertising revenue generated. The agreement is likely to be implemented by the start of 2006, the companies said.
Database issues hurt National Guard and Reserve
Florence Olsen writes in FCW.com:
Incompatible database systems and a lack of agency coordination are eroding the job protections that lawmakers intended for millions of National Guard and Reserve members when Congress passed the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) of 1994.
Between Sept. 11, 2001, and June 30, 2005, more than 9,500 Individual Ready Reserve members were recalled to active duty, the report states. Despite those activations, only 10 percent from the Army Reserve and 16 percent from the Marine Corps Reserve entered their employer information in the DOD database.
H5N1 News: Bird flu in Tula region localized - official
Via RIA Novosti.
The bird flu outbreak in the Tula region has been localized, and the Moscow region is not in danger, a department head for the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Oversight said Friday.
The potential human threat of the virus has not been proven, "although it [the virus] has been discovered in people's bodies," Ivan Rozhdestvensky said.
He said sanitary restrictions would remain in force throughout the region for a month. He advised people to wash their hands and exclude contacts between wildfowl and domestic fowl.
Glitch reveals private data for thousands of California students
Nanette Asimov writes on SFGate.com:
The personal information of tens of thousands of California children -- including their names, state achievement test scores, identification numbers and status in gifted or special-needs programs -- is open to public view through a security loophole in dozens of school districts statewide that use a popular education software system.
Teacher names and employee identification numbers are also visible to anyone logging onto the system, which is used locally by school districts including San Francisco, San Jose and Hayward.
The problem occurs when the districts issue a generic password to teachers using the system. Until the teacher changes to a unique password, anyone can type in a teacher's user name and generic password and gain access to information about students that is supposed to be guarded as closely as the gold in Fort Knox.
Web site coordinates Pakistan aid efforts
A Web site dedicated to Pakistani relief aid was launched Thursday.
RISEPAK, which stands for Relief Information Systems for Earthquakes-Pakistan, is a searchable database that can be used by aid agencies, relief workers and victims as well as government officials to see where help is most needed.
A Harvard University professor, Asim Ijaz Khwaja, was one of the founders of the site, who said in a news release that "looking at the tsunami and Katrina, the question seemed to be 'in sudden tragedy, how do you coordinate relief?'"
Others involved in setting up the site include the World Bank, Lahore University and Pakistan's national database and registration authority.
New Singapore rules to prevent misuse of mobiles
Singapore announced new rules on Friday to prevent militants and other criminals from using pre-paid Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards in mobile phones.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Wong Kan Seng said three bombs in Thailand's Songkhla province in April were detonated using mobile phones, possibly with pre-paid SIM cards. "Criminals exploit the anonymity of pre-paid SIM cards to avoid detection. Singapore must address this problem urgently as there are over 1.4 million local pre-paid SIM cards, comprising 35 percent of the mobile market, in circulation today," he said in a statement.
From November 1, all sellers of pre-paid SIM cards will be required to ask for and electronically verify personal details of purchasers, said the Ministry of Home Affairs and the city-state's telecoms regulator, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore.
User Friendly: More MI6 and GMail
Click on image for enlargement.
Level 3 Network Problems Affect Web Traffic
Internet backbone provider Level 3 Communications reported "wide spread network instability" overnight, causing connectivity problems for many ISPs and hosting companies that rely on Level 3 for high-speed Internet access. The outage lasted several hours before service was restored. A discussion on the North American Network Operators Group mailing list offers additional details on the outage.
Level 3 is one of the largest providers of wholesale dial-up service to ISPs in North America and also connects millions of broadband subscribers to the Internet through its cable and DSL partners.
Bank of America hits delay in move to stronger authentication
Robert McMillan writes in InfoWorld:
The Bank of America's (BofA) roll-out of a stronger user authentication technology has hit a snag and is now expected to be completed in the early part of 2006, several months later than originally planned.
The Charlotte, North Carolina, bank had expected to make a new authentication service, called SiteKey mandatory for all of the bank's 14.3 million online banking customers sometime this month, but that date has now been pushed back to early 2006, according to Betty Riess, a spokeswoman for BofA. "We've made some adjustments in terms of the rollout schedule," Riess said.
She declined to comment on what exactly had caused the delay, saying only that "sometimes when you get to actually doing the implementation, you make adjustments."
Alcatel Wins Canadian NEPTUNE Deal
Via Light Reading.
Alcatel today announced that it has signed a contract valued at approximately US 33 million dollars with the University of Victoria, Canada, to deploy an advanced submarine cable and data network for educational and oceanic research activities.
The contract is part of the NEPTUNE (North-east Pacific Time-series Undersea Network Experiments) project that will serve as a platform for real-time oceanic monitoring and scientific experiments. The contract was awarded together with Nautronix MariPro - the world leader in cabled undersea sensor systems, and Satlantic, a world leader in precision sensors and observing system technologies.
NEPTUNE is a joint U.S.-Canadian venture led by the University of Washington in the U.S. and the University of Victoria in Canada for installing a series of interactive seafloor observing sites to study activity within the ocean environment. The overall project will expand the boundaries of ocean exploration and introduce a new way of studying and understanding the planet.
Hurricane Wilma's outer eye slams Mexican shoreline
Image source: National Hurricane Center / NOAAVia MSNBC
The outer eyewall of Hurricane Wilma slammed into Cozumel on Friday, as forecasters warned that a slower and slightly weaker Wilma could sit over Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula for two days and that landfall in Florida is now not likely until Monday — assuming Wilma even heads that way.
Wilma was on a long, grinding march across Mexico’s resort-studded coastline, where thousands of stranded tourists hunkered down in shelters and hotel ballrooms.
High winds from the Category 4 hurricane — once the most intense on record in the Americas — were hitting Cozumel, a popular Mexican island for divers and cruise ship passengers, where hundreds of residents and 1,000 tourists were riding out the hurricane.
H5N1 News: "Bird flu breaking out all over"
Debora MacKenzie writes in NewScientist:
Amid mounting international concern over a potential human flu pandemic, a flurry of outbreaks of the deadly H5N1 bird flu were reported this week from Taiwan to Europe. There is some confusion over whether the virus has reached the European Union. But more worrying is evidence that it is still spreading in China, and the possibility that it could also reach Africa.
Fears that an apparent outbreak of bird flu on the Greek island of Oinousa was H5N1 have not been borne out by initial tests at the UK’s Veterinary Laboratories Agency, the EU reference lab for flu, in Surrey. “Initial tests are negative,” VLA spokesman Matt Conway told New Scientist, although he cautions this will take several days to confirm.
Worries that the virus had reached Macedonia were eased when a die-off of poultry turned out to be due to another virus, called Newcastle disease. But in Romania the virus has spread to wild ducks and swans near the Ukrainian border, it has been confirmed.
Meanwhile Russian scientists confirmed H5N1 in chickens in the Tula region, 200 kilometres south of Moscow – the first known outbreak in European Russia west of the Urals. Outbreaks continue east of the Urals, with H5N1 confirmed this week in two villages in Kurgan province, and suspected H5N1 in Novosibirsk and Altai.
Swedish couple names first-born "Google"
A couple in Sweden who uses computers a lot have chosen to name their firstborn son Google, after the world-dominant search engine.
Elias Kai, who is Lebanese, told The Local newspaper he's a "great fan" of the search engine, but the name means more to him than that.
"The word 'googol' means 1 followed by 100 zeros, and I want my son to have lots of friends -- I want him to be social, so the name also symbolizes this."
The Swedish tax authority, known for being iffy about allowing unusual baby names, did not stand in their way after the birth on Sept. 12.
"They just thought it was funny," Elias told the newspaper.
Flaw comes to light in Cingular voice mail
Ryan Kim writes on SFGate.com:
A glitch has surfaced in an upgrade to Cingular's voice-mail system that could allow an intruder to take over a subscriber's account.
In effect, an outside party could access messages in the voice-mail account, change an existing password and record new outgoing messages.
During the past two weeks, Cingular, the country's largest cellular operator, has been moving its old Northern California Cingular customers to a voice-mail service provided by AT&T Wireless, which it acquired last year.
The process, which began earlier this year on the East Coast, has revealed a flaw that allows someone to gain control over a subscriber's voice-mail account if the outside party initializes it before the subscriber sets up his new account.
Daily gapingvoid.com fix...
Via gapingvoid.com. Enjoy!
Syrians run up $11M phone bill in Lebanon
An AP newswire article, via The Globe and Mail, reports that:
Lebanon's state-run telephone system has billed the government for more than $11-million (U.S.) in unpaid telephone charges run up by Syrian troops before they left the country earlier this year after a nearly three-decade occupation.
Information Minister Ghazi Aridi said the government would pay the bill, noting that Syrian troops had "paid in blood for our sake." An unknown number of Syrian soldiers were killed in trying to quell Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war.
The unpaid charges were for calls dating back to 1976 and were placed within Lebanon or between Lebanon and Syria, said Marwan Hamadeh, minister of Post, Telephone and Telegram. The bill, he said, amounted to $11.3-million.
China: Two get death sentence for cybercafe fire
Tim Richardson writes in The Register:
Two men have been sentenced to death while a third man faces life behind bars for burning down an internet cafe in China. The three men, all farmers, were hired to burn down the cybercafe by Xie Wenyi, the owner of a rival cybercafe.
Four people died in the fire in Longchuan County, Guangdong Province, last November, reports Shanghai Daily News. One of those to perish in fire was Xie, who hired the arsonists following a business dispute.
How ATM fraud nearly brought down British banking
Charles Arthur writes in The Register:
This is the story of how the UK banking system could have collapsed in the early 1990s, but for the forbearance of a junior barrister who also happened to be an expert in computer law - and who discovered that at that time the computing department of one of the banks issuing ATM cards had "gone rogue", cracking PINs and taking money from customers' accounts with abandon.
The reason you're hearing it now is that, with Chip and PIN cards finally in widespread use in the UK, the risk of the ATM network being abused as it was has fallen away. And now that junior barrister, Alistair Kelman, wanted to get paid for thousands of pounds of work that he did under legal aid, when he was running a class action on behalf of more than 2,000 people who had suffered "phantom withdrawals" from their bank accounts. What you're about to read comes from the documents he submitted last week to the High Court, pursuing his claim to payment.
Cisco plans $50M facility in India
An AFP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
US computer networking firm Cisco will spend 50 million dollars to build a new business campus in the southern Indian technology hub of Bangalore.
"When completed the new facility will have the capacity to accommodate approximately 3,000 staff," Cisco President John Chambers told reporters Friday.
The campus is expected to be completed by June 2007.
UK: BskyB agrees to acquire Easynet
In a move to expand into terrestrial broadband services, British Sky Broadcasting Group (BskyB) has agreed to acquire broadband Internet provider Easynet Group.
Under the deal announced on Friday, the British satellite TV broadcaster will pay £211 million ($374 million) for Easynet, one of the larger ISPs in the U.K. The deal will allow BskyB to offer customers new "triple-play" services that bundle telephony, high-speed Internet access, and TV, the company said. BskyB will enter the triple-play ring with other ISPs, incumbent BT Group, and the newly merged cable operators NTL and Telewest Global. The number of U.K. broadband connections increased 86 percent to 8.1 million from 4.4 million in the 12-month period ending June 30, according to BskyB. To support local customer access, Easynet has its own equipment currently installed in 232 local exchanges.
Wilma: 'Round'n'round she goes - "Low confidence forecast"
Image source: National Hurricane Center / NOAA
Well, this about sums it up.The National Hurricane Center
gives you the straight dope
-- at this point, it's just about anyone's guess where this mother will end up. "C'mon! Papa needs a new pair of shoes!"
Toss the dice... More tomorrow.
WTNT44 KNHC 210254
HURRICANE WILMA DISCUSSION NUMBER 23
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
11 PM EDT THU OCT 20 2005
REPORTS FROM A NOAA HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT BEFORE 00Z INDICATED
THAT THE CENTRAL PRESSURE OF WILMA HAD RISEN TO 923 MB...AND THE
MAXIMUM 700 MB FLIGHT-LEVEL WINDS HAD DECREASED TO 130-140 KT.
SINCE THEN...SATELLITE IMAGERY SHOWS AN IMPROVED EYE PRESENTATION
AND COOLING CLOUD TOPS AROUND THE CENTER..ALTHOUGH NOT ENOUGH TO
JUSTIFY AN INCREASE IN INTENSITY. BASED ON THIS...THE INITIAL
INTENSITY REMAINS 130 KT. THE NEXT AIRCRAFT WILL INVESTIGATE WILMA
WILMA HAS TURNED MORE TO THE RIGHT DURING THE PAST FEW HR...WITH THE
INITIAL MOTION NOW 325/5. THE HURRICANE IS MOVING INTO A COL AREA
BETWEEN MID-LEVEL RIDGES TO THE EAST AND WEST...WHILE THE STRONGER
WESTERLIES REMAIN NORTH OF 26N ACCORDING TO DATA FROM THE NOAA G4
JET. THIS IS A GOOD FORMULA FOR SLOW MOTION...AND ALL MODELS AGREE
ON THIS FOR THE NEXT 24-48 HR. HOWEVER...THE DYNAMICAL MODELS
STEER WILMA NORTHWESTWARD INTO THE YUCATAN PENINSULA DURING THE
NEXT 12-24 HR...A MOTION THAT IS NOT SUPPORTED BY THE CURRENT RIGHT
TURN OR THE JET DATA. THEREFORE...THE FORECAST TRACK WILL BE WELL
TO THE RIGHT OF THE MODEL GUIDANCE...WITH THE CENTER FORECAST TO
PASS OVER THE EXTREME NORTHEASTERN TIP OF THE YUCATAN PENINSULA.
THIS TRACK ALSO REQUIRES AN EARLIER RECURVATURE INTO THE WESTERLIES
THAN ANY OF THE GUIDANCE AND A FASTER PROGRESS TOWARD THE NORTHEAST
AND THE FLORIDA PENINSULA. THE NEW FORECAST TRACK IS SIMILAR TO
THE PREVIOUS FORECAST...EXCEPT SOMEWHAT SLOWER THROUGH 96 HR.
GIVEN THE RADICAL DEPARTURE FROM THE MODEL GUIDANCE...THIS IS A LOW
THE INTENSITY FORECAST IS VERY PROBLEMATIC. FIRST...THE INTENSITY
FORECAST CALLS FOR WEAKENING DUE TO PASSAGE OVER THE YUCATAN
PENINSULA. IF WILMA MOVES AS FAR INLAND AS THE MODELS FORECAST...
IT WILL WEAKEN CONSIDERABLY AND LIKELY BE MUCH WEAKER THAN FORECAST
ALONG THE REST OF THE TRACK. ON THE OTHER HAND...IF THE EYE MOVES
EAST OF THE TRACK THE HURRICANE WILL LIKELY STAY STRONGER THAN
FORECAST...AT LEAST FOR THE FIRST 36-48 HR. SECOND...ALL AVAILABLE
DATA SHOWS THAT THE OUTFLOW HAS DECREASED TO THE WEST AS WEAK
WESTERLY FLOW IMPINGES ON WILMA. THIS WILL LIKELY NOT PREVENT THE
INTENSIFICATION FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24 HR...ALTHOUGH IT MAY BE
A PRECURSOR TO THE SHEAR FORECAST TO AFFECT THE HURRICANE OVER THE
GULF OF MEXICO. THIS SHEAR SHOULD CAUSE WILMA TO WEAKEN REGARDLESS
OF HOW STRONG IT IS AFTER PASSING YUCATAN. THIRD...WATER VAPOR
IMAGERY CONTINUES TO SHOW VERY DRY MID/UPPER-LEVEL AIR COVERING THE
GULF OF MEXICO. AS WILMA INTERACTS WITH THE WESTERLIES...THIS AIR
SHOULD BEGIN TO ENTRAIN INTO THE HURRICANE...AND INDEED THERE HAS
BEEN SOME EROSION OF THE WESTERN SIDE OF THE CLOUD PATTERN DURING
THE PAST 6 HR. FINALLY...WILMA SHOULD PASS OVER THE WARM LOOP
CURRENT FOLLOWED BY COOLER WATERS NEAR THE FLORIDA PENINSULA. THE
LATTER SHOULD AID THE SHEAR-INDUCED WEAKENING. GIVEN THE
UNCERTAINTIES...THE INTENSITY FORECAST WILL CHANGE LITTLE FROM THE
PREVIOUS ADVISORY. IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT IF WILMA MISSES YUCATAN
THERE IS A CHANCE THAT IN SPITE OF ALL THE NEGATIVE FACTORS IT
COULD BE A MAJOR HURRICANE AT LANDFALL IN FLORIDA.
NOAA BUOY 42003 IN THE EASTERN GULF OF MEXICO REPORTS THAT LARGE
SWELLS GENERATED BY WILMA ARE PROPAGATING TOWARD PORTIONS OF THE
NORTHERN GULF COAST...AND COULD REACH THE COAST ON FRIDAY.
FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS
INITIAL 21/0300Z 19.3N 86.0W 130 KT
12HR VT 21/1200Z 19.9N 86.4W 140 KT
24HR VT 22/0000Z 20.8N 87.0W 145 KT...INLAND
36HR VT 22/1200Z 21.5N 87.1W 120 KT...INLAND
48HR VT 23/0000Z 22.1N 86.7W 105 KT...OVER WATER
72HR VT 24/0000Z 23.5N 84.5W 95 KT
96HR VT 25/0000Z 27.5N 79.5W 65 KT
120HR VT 26/0000Z 38.5N 69.5W 60 KT...EXTRATROPICAL
Magnitude-5.9 earthquake rattles Turkey
An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:
A moderate earthquake shook western Turkey early on Friday, causing slight damage to several buildings and resulting in 15 casualties from the ensuing panic, the local governor said.
The Kandilli earthquake observation center said the tremor at 12:40 a.m. measured 5.9 on the Richter scale and its epicenter was in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Seferihisar in Izmir province.
Izmir Gov. Oguz Kagan Köksal told the CNN Turk television channel that 15 people had been taken to hospital as a result of heart attacks or jumping from buildings during the quake.
Various Wilma Models Confound Forecasters
Image source: National Hurricane Center / NOAA
An AP newswire article
by Ron Word, via ABC News
, reports that:
In the time Max Mayfield has been at the National Hurricane Center, the forecasting of killer storms has gone from flying kites to satellites and computer models to help pinpoint the ferocity and landfall of storms. But Wilma has confounded the experts.
Simply put, models take information from satellites, aircraft flights, ships, buoys, water temperatures, winds at different levels and other sources to try to determine where a hurricane will go and how strong it will get.
Using those models, forecasters predicted Wilma would meander a few days in the Gulf of Mexico and then race across southwest Florida or the Keys. Its slow speed has somewhat confounded them. While forecasters believe Wilma will be picked up by the jet stream and zoom across Florida, it hasn't happened as quickly as the models have predicted.
"It's going to take a little patience," Mayfield said.
Bush administration opposes U.N. Net control
Anne Broache and Declan McCullagh write in C|Net News:
In a sign that traditionally obscure discussions about Internet control have taken on new prominence, President Bush broached the topic in a meeting this week with European Commission President José Barroso.
The high-level meeting, which took place at the White House on Tuesday, comes as the United States is facing a revolt among third-world nations that are demanding reduced American influence over key aspects of the Internet. The European Commission recently threw its support behind one of the reform proposals that's scheduled to be discussed at a United Nations summit in November.
"Obviously we want to find common ground, we want a successful summit, but we're not giving away our principles in order to get there," U.S. Ambassador David Gross, the State Department's coordinator for information policy, said Thursday. Bush discussed the European Commission's stand with Barroso, Gross said without elaborating. The White House did not provide details.
At the heart of this international political spat is the unique influence that the U.S. federal government enjoys over Internet addresses and the master database of top-level domain names--a legacy of the network's governmental origins years ago. The Bush administration recently raised objections to the proposed addition of .xxx as a red-light district for pornographers, for instance, a veto power that no other government is able to wield.
Warner Bros. Backs Blu-Ray DVD Format
An AP newswire article by Gary Gentile, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
Warner Bros. has become the second studio to support both high definition DVD formats, a move that could shift the advantage to the Blu-ray format backed by a group led by Sony Corp.
Warner Bros. Entertainment said Thursday it would join the board of the Blu-ray Disc Association and will release its films on both the Blu-ray and the rival HD DVD format, which is backed by a group led by Toshiba Corp.
Earlier this month, Paramount Pictures, another supporter of HD DVD, said it would release films in both formats.
The move comes the day after Hewlett-Packard Co., a major backer of Blu-ray, urged that it be more consumer-friendly in a bid to forestall a lengthy and costly war with a competing standard.
Spitzer Finds Failed Stars May Succeed As Planets
Via the NASA Spitzer Telescope website.
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted the very beginnings of what might become planets around the puniest of celestial orbs -- brown dwarfs, or "failed stars."
The telescope's infrared eyes have for the first time detected clumps of microscopic dust grains and tiny crystals orbiting five brown dwarfs. These clumps and crystals are thought to collide and further lump together to eventually make planets. Similar materials are seen in planet-forming regions around stars and in comets, the remnants of our own solar system's construction.
The findings provide evidence that brown dwarfs, despite being colder and dimmer than stars, undergo the same initial steps of the planet-building process.
Nano Owners Sue Apple
Via Red Herring.
Consumers angry about what they say is the iPod nano screen’s tendency to scratch easily have filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple Computer, saying they want their money back plus a share of the company’s profits on the music player’s sales.
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California in San Jose on Wednesday, essentially brings complaints about the ultra-slim device that have been festering on blogs and message boards into the courts.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of nano owner Jason Tomczak and others who have purchased the device. The lawsuit alleges Mr. Tomczak rubbed a paper towel on his nano’s face and “that alone left significant scratches.”
The lawsuit charges screens on the tiny flash-based digital audio players “scratch excessively during normal usage, rendering the screen on the Nanos [sic] unreadable, and violating state consumer protection statutes… and causing Plaintiff class members to incur loss of use and monetary damages.”
Intelligent Design Saga: School chief testifies on evolution policy
An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:
The superintendent of a school district that is defending its decision to include "intelligent design" in its biology curriculum testified Thursday that the school board sought legal advice beforehand and never discussed creationism when it adopted the policy.
Before the Dover Area School Board approved the curriculum change a year ago, its attorney researched whether the change was legal and said in a report to the board that he "found no case law either way," Superintendent Richard Nilsen said.
"I have reason to believe that the board did not think they were involved in illegal activity," Nilsen said.
Nilsen testified as a witness for the defense during the fourth week of a landmark federal trial that could determine whether intelligent design can be discussed in a public-school biology class.
H5N1 Update (sort of): U.K. ahead of U.S. in pandemic planning
Bob Brewin writes in Government Health IT:
The United Kingdom released its second influenza pandemic contingency plan since March, while the United States still works to develop and release its plan to deal with the consequences of a massive outbreak of influenza.
The United States also lags behind the European Union in the use of surveillance systems to provide early warning of outbreaks that could lead to a pandemic. About 13,000 sentinel physicians in 25 countries, covering a population of 464 million, provide weekly reports to the EU’s European Influenza Surveillance Scheme (EISS). In contrast, in the United States, which has a population of 295 million, only 1,000 doctors provide weekly reports on flu-like symptoms, such as fevers, coughs and sore throats, to the U.S. Influenza Sentinel Providers Surveillance Network.
According to the updated U.K. pandemic contingency plan released Oct. 19, the country will improve its surveillance systems by increasing coverage and frequency of reporting from general practitioners. To do so, it will establish a case-based field information management system that links epidemiological and laboratory data and use a central Web portal to improve information collation. The United Kingdom will also use a real-time system to monitor vaccine efficiency.
U.K. agency: Iris recognition needs work
Karen Gomm writes in C|Net News:
The U.K. Passport Service claims that iris recognition is still not an accurate enough method of biometric identification for mainstream deployment, following extensive trials of the technology.
Speaking at the Biometrics 2005 conference in London on Thursday, Rob Bowley, director of ID Projects with the UKPS, said the current technology must be improved to carry out more efficient biometric scanning. "We've got a lot of work to do--the technology has got to work in all environments. We will be looking at various types of iris cameras," he said.
The UKPS carried out the first large-scale U.K. trial of the three main biometric techniques between April 14 and Dec. 24, 2004.
Researcher: Oracle Patch Set Flawed Again
Lisa Vaas writes in eWeek:
A security researcher has reported that Oracle's most recent quarterly cumulative patch update, released on Tuesday, leaves some flaws exploitable.
David Litchfield, a security research with Next Generation Security Software Ltd., was in the process of auditing the CPU when this story was posted.
Litchfield on Wednesday evening posted to BugTraq a message saying that the patch is still lacking.
"Having downloaded and given the Oracle October patch a cursory examination, some of the flaws Oracle told me were being fixed, remain exploitable," he wrote. "Once again the patch is not sufficient. I will conduct a full investigation of the patch over the coming few days and post some recommendations once complete."
France Télécom buys all of Slovak unit
Via The International Herald Tribune.
France Télécom agreed on Thursday to buy the 36 percent of its Slovakian mobile-phone unit it did not already own for $628 million.
Orange Slovakia, which has more than 2.3 million customers and a market share of 57 percent, had 420 million, or $502 million, in revenue last year, up 20 percent from 2003.
Europe's former national phone monopolies are looking outside their national borders for chances to gain customers in markets where revenue is growing faster. France Télécom's chief executive, Didier Lombard, has said he is looking for takeover targets worldwide. The company is considering bids for stakes in Tunisie Telecom as well as the Turkish company Telsim Mobil Telekomunikasyon Hizmetleri.
Net pirates will face stiffer punishment
Declan McCullagh writes in C|Net News:
Internet pirates with prerelease movies in their shared folders will face stiffer federal penalties starting Monday.
The U.S. Sentencing Commission on Wednesday approved an emergency set of rules that would boost prison sentences by roughly 40 percent for people convicted of peer-to-peer infringement of copyright works "being prepared for commercial distribution."
The changes also say judges may "estimate" the number of files shared for purposes of determining the appropriate fine and sentence. Larger numbers typically yield longer sentences.
This week's sentencing adjustments arose from a law that President Bush signed in April called the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act. It gave the commission 180 days to revisit its rules to make them "sufficiently stringent to deter, and adequately reflect the nature of, intellectual property rights crimes."
Africa's MTN buys stake in Iran cell firm
A Bloomberg newswire article, via The International Herald Tribune, reports that:
MTN Group, in its first expansion outside Africa, said Wednesday that it had bought a 49 percent stake in the No. 2 Iranian mobile phone company, replacing Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri.
The Iranian government last year chose Turkcell over MTN in bidding for 70 percent of the cellphone company, IranCell. Iran ruled in February that a foreign company could hold no more than 49 percent of the new company. Then, in June, Iran broke off talks with Turkcell in favor of MTN. No reasons were given.
IranCell last year won a tender to become the country's second mobile operator as the state monopoly of the telecommunications industry ended. MTN did not specify how much it paid for the stake in IranCell.
Patch Deployment Problems Haunt Microsoft Again
Ryan Naraine writes in eWeek:
For the second time in as many weeks, the MSRC has revised one of its "critical" security bulletins after some users complained of problems figuring out which patch to apply.
It appears that Windows 2000 users running Microsoft DirectX 8.0 or DirectX 9.0 had problems sorting through the bulletin to find the appropriate patches.
In the ensuing confusion, the incorrect patch was applied, leaving the PC vulnerable to code execution attacks.
A spokesperson for the Microsoft Security Response Center acknowledged the information mix-up but stressed that only a small subset of Windows 2000 users were affected.
Hurrican Wilma has turned Northwestward....
Image source: National Hurricane Center / NOAA
The National Hurricane Center's 17:00 EDT Hurricane Wilma "Discussion"
WTNT44 KNHC 202031
HURRICANE WILMA DISCUSSION NUMBER 22
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
5 PM EDT THU OCT 20 2005
WILMA HAS TURNED NORTHWESTWARD...310/5...BUT THIS IS NOT NECESSARILY
THE BEGINNINGS OF RECURVATURE. A SHORT-WAVE TROUGH IN THE
WESTERLIES...THE OLD LOW FROM BAJA CALIFORNIA...WILL MOVE PAST THE
LONGITUDE OF THE HURRICANE BY TOMORROW MORNING...AND THE TRACK
MODELS SHOW A SLIGHT BEND BACK TO THE LEFT AS A LITTLE RIDGING
BUILDS IN BEHIND IT. IN FACT...THE GLOBAL MODELS ARE NOW
SUGGESTING THAT IT MAY TAKE THREE SHORT WAVES TO LIFT WILMA OUT OF
THE YUCATAN. THE GFDL DID ANOTHER BIG SHIFT WITH ITS 5-DAY
FORECAST...FROM CANADA AT 6Z TO CUBA AT 12Z. THERE IS LESS SPREAD
IN THE GFS ENSEMBLE MEMBERS THIS TIME...HOWEVER...LENDING A LITTLE
MORE CREDENCE TO A SLOWER TRACK. THE 12Z MODELS ALSO HAD THE
BENEFIT OF DROPWINDSONDE DATA FROM THE NOAA GULFSTREAM JET. THE
NEW OFFICIAL FORECAST IS SLOWER THAN THE PREVIOUS ONE...BUT IS
STILL VERY MUCH FASTER THAN ALL OF THE AVAILABLE GUIDANCE. THIS
IMPLIES THAT THE IMPACT TO FLORIDA COULD WELL BE LATER THAN
THERE IS VERY LITTLE LEFT OF THE INNER EYEWALL...AND REPORTS FROM A
NOAA HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT INDICATE THAT WILMA IS BEGINNING TO
RESTRENGTHEN. PEAK FLIGHT LEVEL WINDS WERE 145 KT...AND THE SFMR
INSTRUMENT ONBOARD MEASURED A SURFACE WIND OF 125 KT IN THE NORTH
EYEWALL. BASED ON THESE OBSERVATIONS...THE INITIAL INTENSITY IS
SET AT 130 KT. THE UPPER-LEVEL OUTFLOW PATTERN REMAINS STRONG AND
WILMA WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO REGAIN CATEGORY FIVE STATUS
BEFORE IT REACHES THE YUCATAN...AND THE IMPACTS THERE COULD BE
CATASTROPHIC. WITH THE LIKELIHOOD OF A MORE EXTENDED INTERACTION
WITH THE YUCATAN INCREASING...SIGNIFICANT WEAKENING IS POSSIBLE
BEFORE WILMA TURNS TOWARD FLORIDA. IN ADDITION...THE LONGER WILMA
LINGERS BEFORE TURNING NORTHEASTWARD...THE MORE HOSTILE THE
ATMOSPHERIC ENVIRONMENT WILL BECOME FOR STRENGTHENING OVER THE GULF
FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS
INITIAL 20/2100Z 18.9N 85.7W 130 KT
12HR VT 21/0600Z 19.5N 86.4W 140 KT
24HR VT 21/1800Z 20.4N 87.0W 145 KT...INLAND
36HR VT 22/0600Z 21.1N 87.2W 120 KT...INLAND
48HR VT 22/1800Z 22.0N 87.0W 100 KT
72HR VT 23/1800Z 23.5N 84.5W 95 KT
96HR VT 24/1800Z 27.5N 79.5W 65 KT
120HR VT 25/1800Z 38.0N 70.0W 60 KT...EXTRATROPICAL
All Eyes On... The Analysis Corp.: Defense agency awards contract for terrorist watch list
Patience Wait writes in GCN.com:
The Defense Intelligence Agency’s Joint Intelligence Task Force for Combating Terrorism has awarded a one-year contract worth $2.3 million to a Fairfax, Va., company for intelligence analysis.
Under the terms of the contract, The Analysis Corp. will provide experienced analysts to review and analyze Defense Department information for inclusion in the government’s terrorist watch list. The company already has begun work under the contract.
You've Got... Away Messages
Ed Oswald writes in BetaNews:
Call it procrastination on steroids. AOL this week unveiled a new way to waste time on the Web that builds upon the obsession to view AIM profiles and away messages. The beta service, called AIM Buddy Info, allows users to leave comments on each other's away messages and IM profiles.
Comments can be viewed on the Buddy Info Web page, or by people on the user's buddy list through the AIM profile. According to an upcoming IM trends survey, more than half of all teens change their away message once a day, and a fifth change it every time they step away from the computer. AOL did not specify when it plans to take the service live.
Ethereal releases security update
Dawn Kawamoto writes in C|Net News:
Ethereal has issued a patch to fix a security vulnerability in its versions 0.7.7 to 0.10.12. Ethereal develops technology to sniff packets traveling through a network, which could be subject to a remote denial of service attack, buffer overflow and other vulnerabilities, according to security researchers.
A malicious attacker can probe the network and once the Ethereal software is activated, the attacker could then gain access to the client and system. An exploit to take advantage of the flaws is currently available, according to Symantec. The vendor, however, recommends users upgrade to its 0.10.13 version.
U.S. Army establishes LandWarNet University
Frank Tiboni writes in FCW.com:
The Army has pumped millions of dollars into the Army Signal Center this year to revamp the center’s communications curriculum so that soldiers get more education and training in operating more mobile IP networks, service officials said.
Lt. Gen. Steve Boutelle, the Army’s chief information officer, said the service earmarked $30 million during the past six months to update the training and structure at the Army Signal Center at Fort Gordon, Ga. The funding includes the establishment of the LandWarNet University to give soldiers education and training in operating more mobile IP networks. The 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq was the first to use the networks, which the Army is fielding servicewide.
Boutelle announced the creation of the university earlier this month at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. He and other service officials spoke more about it this week at the Milcom 2005 conference. LandWarNet is the Army’s name for its networks.
The university will teach and train soldiers to operate, manage and defend the Joint Network Node (JNN), the more mobile, IP-based communications system that provides voice, video and data on the battlefield, said Brig. Gen. Carroll Pollett, the new commanding general of the Army’s Network Enterprise Technology Command and 9th Army Signal Command located at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. He added that soldiers in Iraq are using JNN now.
School traps infected PCs in its web
Now here's an interesting story.
I'd be interested to hear more about it, if anyone would care to leave a pointer or comment. I Google'd for "Shelob" and came up with nothing more than hundreds of hits for the Lord of the Rings character, checked the EUDCAUSE 2005 program schedule, and also briefly looked around on the University of Indianapolis' website to no avail.
John Cox writes in NetworkWorld:
A team of IT staffers at the University of Indianapolis last week showed off a bundle of open-source tools and scripts it uses to trap and isolate PCs infected by viruses or spyware.
Dubbed Shelob, after the sinister giant spider in J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings," the software identifies suspect traffic patterns, identifies the computers involved and then shunts them to a closed virtual LAN. Users get an appropriate Web screen, explaining what's happened and how to fix their PC or whom to call for help.
Shelob's inner workings were shown off last week in Orlando, Fla., at Educause, the annual user conference for IT professionals in higher education.
Hurricane Wilma batters Cancun
Image source: National Hurricane Center / NOAA
An AP newswire article
, via MSNBC
, reports that:
Hurricane Wilma’s outer edge battered Cancun’s white-sand beaches Thursday as officials ordered guests out of hotels, tourists jockeyed for spots on the last flights out, and tens of thousands of people from Honduras to the Florida Keys were evacuated ahead of the “extremely dangerous” storm.
Wilma weakened slightly as it roared toward Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula and south Florida after killing 13 people in Haiti and Jamaica. It was expected to reach Cancun early Friday, the second hurricane to hit the resort this year, following Hurricane Emily in July, before turning northeast toward Florida.
It was forecast to hit Florida’s southwest coast sometime Sunday.
Canada: CRTC sets VoIP-911 deadline
Jack Kapica writes in The Globe and Mail:
Canadian providers of Internet telephone services have been given 90 days to notify customers about the availability and limitations of their emergency services.
The notification, issued Thursday by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, says the information about calling 911 must be offered to both current and prospective subscribers. The CRTC includes Enhanced 911 (E-911) services as well.
The CRTC issued the order to avoid possible misinterpretations.
Judge orders Dept. of Interior IT system shutdown
Aliya Sternstein writes in FCW.com:
A judge has ordered the Interior Department to disconnect all information technology systems that access Indian trust fund data because the systems are vulnerable to hacker attacks.
Today, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth granted American Indian plaintiffs a motion for a preliminary injunction to shut down all computers, networks, handheld computers and voice-over-IP equipment that access trust fund data. The injunction prohibits Interior employees, contractors, tribes and other third parties from using those systems.
Interior’s IT security has been the focus of a nine-year class-action lawsuit that criticizes the department’s oversight of Indian trust funds. Plaintiffs have accused Interior officials of failing to properly protect data.
Department officials took the Bureau of Land Management’s Web sites off-line for two months this spring after Interior’s inspector general issued a report warning that its IT systems are vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Denial-of-Service attack targeted F-Secure
Dawn Kawamoto writes in the C|Net News Security Blog:
Malicious attackers, a.k.a Black Hats, have thrown a punch at F-Secure, slightly glazing the Finland-based software security vendor but failing to knock it out.
F-Secure on Wednesday posted a notice on its site that it had been a victim of a denial service attack. The DoS attackers managed to slow down the company's external Web site for several hours, but failed to shut it down.
H5N1 News: Bird flu flares in Asia, kills another person
A Reuters newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:
Bird flu has taken another human life, officials said on Thursday -- a 48-year-old Thai man who was the 67th person known to have been killed by a virus steadily creeping into Europe and towards Africa.
All the human deaths from avian flu have so far been in Asia but the deadly H5N1 strain was detected this month in birds in Russia, Turkey and Romania, sparking growing concern in Europe over a disease that could kill millions if it mutates.
Also, The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued it's 35th Update on Avian Infuenza
Telstra might scrap CDMA in the The Outback
Australia's Telstra is considering a plan to scrap a mobile-phone network used by more than 1 million residents of the remote outback.
Advocates for Australia's farmers say they are wary of plans to replace Telstra's CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) network with 3G service, which requires a higher level of infrastructure and might result in some sparsely populated areas losing their mobile service.
Quake may bolster India-Pakistan telecom ties
India and Pakistan continue discussions that could lead to closer telecommunications ties between the two longtime rivals.
Officials from the two governments have been exploring new landline and mobile-phone links along the Line of Control in the disputed border region that was recently devastated by a killer earthquake.
The Oct. 8 quake destroyed nearly half of the telecom infrastructure in the area, prompting offers of cooperation in repairs and establishing mobile services to allow families to communicate across the militarized border.
The Hindu said India Wednesday responded positively to Pakistani proposals that fiber-optic cables be linked to further improve cross-border communications. An External Affairs Ministry statement proposed linking up "at Attari-Wagah where the optical fibers of both countries are nearest."
Operator of File-Sharing Hub Sentenced
An AP newswire article by Alex Veiga, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
A man who ran an Internet file-sharing hub where computer users could swap movie, music and software files was sentenced Thursday to three years probation and ordered to use the computer only for personal use.
Jed Frederick Kobles, 34, pleaded guilty in August to a single felony count of conspiracy to commit grand theft. He is the first person in California to be convicted on state charges for illegal file sharing, prosecutors said.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Horowitz knocked down Kobles' crime from a felony to a misdemeanor and suspended a 180-day jail sentence. Kobles also will appear in an anti-piracy ad for the film industry to be shown in theaters, Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey McGrath said.
Accused Spyware Purveyor Settles Lawsuit
An AP newswire article by Mark Johnson, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
The former chief executive of a company accused of secretly installing adware and spyware on millions of home computers agreed to pay $750,000 in penalties after an investigation, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said Thursday.
In April, Spitzer sued Los Angeles-based Intermix Media Inc., saying the company was responsible for sending software tens of millions of times on computers across the country and three million times in New York.
The company subsequently agreed to pay $7.5 million in penaties to settle the case.
Breaking News: The End Is Near....
Just kidding. But who knows? Well, as this MSNBC story by Kari Huus, entitled "Apocalypse, now?" suggests, the handwriting is all but on the wall for religious zealots.
It’s been 10 months of epic disaster. First there was the tsunami that killed some 250,000 people in Southeast Asia. Then came Hurricane Katrina with its devastating toll on the Gulf Coast, followed by an earthquake that took tens of thousands of lives in South Asia. Now, Hurricane Wilma, one of the most powerful storms ever measured in the Atlantic Basin, is stalking the Florida coast, and experts are warning of a deadly avian flu pandemic.
It’s enough to make just about anyone pause to look for meaning in the madness.
For many who await Judgment Day, the writing is on the wall.
So close is the correlation between recent events and the biblical prophecy of the Second Coming, by the reckoning of RaptureReady.com, its "Rapture Index" has been hovering around 160 — the highest levels since just after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. According to the Web site, "the higher the number, the faster we're moving towards the ... rapture." When the number is above 145, it advises: "Fasten your seatbelts!"
Personally, I prefer The Landover Baptist Church
, where their motto is "Where the Worthwhile Worship. Unsaved Welcome."
H5N1 News: Roche Increasing Tamiflu Production
An AP newswire article by Kevin Freking, via SFGate.com, reports that:
The manufacturer of a drug used to inhibit the effects of the bird flu virus will negotiate with generic drug companies to increase production, two U.S. senators announced Thursday.
Swiss-based Roche Holding AG will meet with four companies and maybe more in coming weeks, all in an effort to work out a licensing agreement that would allow other companies to produce Tamiflu, which is in great demand throughout the world.
"The bottleneck on Tamiflu has basically been broken," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who announced the agreement along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
The two senators met with George Abercrombie, head of Roche Pharmaceuticals in North America.
Nothing new here: North Korea shackles Internet
An AFP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
Now aged 12, Chun is at the tip of the spear in the Stalinist state's charge down the information superhighway.
"I don't play computer games because I must study hard," said Chun, one of the lucky 100 students recruited to the school each year from more than 5,000 applicants.
Chun is one of a small number of North Koreans who have a computer at home.
But there is one hitch for Chun and his fellow geeks -- no Internet.
North Korea is the world's most isolated country and works hard to remain so -- keeping so-called spiritual pollution from subverting its socialist system.
Cingular prepares for Hurricane Wilma
Via C|Net News.
Cingular Wireless has put in place emergency measures to ensure its wireless service in Florida does not break down in the event Hurricane Wilma hits the southern part of the state, the company said Thursday.
As part of its emergency preparations, the wireless carrier has housed recovery equipment in four areas--Sunrise, Margate, Riviera Beach and Lakeland--in case there are any disruptions in service in the wake of the storm. In addition, it has set up eight portable cellular sites in Lakeland, and it has stocked up on extra fuel. Cingular is also keeping ready hundreds of portable power generators in addition to those stationed at nearly 400 of its cellular sites in the state.
New Zealand cuts back on payphones
New Zealand Telecom said Thursday it will remove about 400 payphones this year to modernize its payphone network.
The nation's telecommunications group said it currently has about 5,000 payphones across New Zealand, but it pointed out that call volumes from payphones have dropped about 24 percent over the past three years, with some phones not being used more than a few times a year.
Dutch Say Botnet Suspects Hacked 1.5M Computers
An AP newswire article by Toby Sterling, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
Three suspects in a Dutch crime ring hacked 1.5 million computers worldwide, setting up a "zombie network" that secretly stole credit card and other personal data, prosecutors said Thursday.
The three, who were arrested Oct. 6 and originally were estimated to have hacked 100,000 computers, have yet to enter a plea.
A court in the town of Breda extended the custody of the 19-year-old main suspect and a 22-year-old accomplice for a month Thursday, and ordered the release of the third, aged 27, pending trial, prosecution spokesman Wim de Bruin said. The suspects' names have not been released.
Prosecutors said, however, more arrests were likely as the investigation continues.