Saturday, January 21, 2006

Microsoft Commends Bulgarians on Nabbing Organized Crime Group

Via Microsoft.

Microsoft Corp. today commended the Bulgarian law-enforcement National Services to Combat Organized Crime (NSCOC) agency for investigations leading to the prompt arrest of an organized ring of eight individuals who allegedly operated an international “phishing” operation. Microsoft supported the NSCOC by providing investigative and technical support in the case.

NSCOC arrested eight people in raids conducted this week in three Bulgarian cities. The group allegedly is part of an international criminal network that commits financial fraud and steals personal data through the Internet.

More here.

Technology's 'Seamier Side'

Mike Musgrove writes in The Washington Post:

At the adult entertainment industry's equivalent of the Oscars in Las Vegas this month, comedian-host Greg Fitzsimmons zeroed in on the entrenched relationship between the Internet and pornography.

"The Internet was completely funded by porn," he said from the stage of the 23rd annual AVN Awards show. And if it wasn't for the Internet, he added, "you guys would be completely out of business." The audience, packed with porn actors and adult entertainment moguls like Jenna Jameson and Larry Flynt, roared with laughter.

This week, the Justice Department said it subpoenaed four major Internet companies in an effort to crack down on children's access to porn. The government asked Mountain View, Calif.-based Google to turn over every query typed into its popular search engine over the course of one week. Google has said it will resist the demand.

Fast Rate of Infection: Kama Sutra Worm

Image source: Sunbelt Software

Alex Eckelberry writes over on the Sunbelt Software blog:

You may have heard of the so-called Kama Sutra worm (actually, it goes by a number of different names, but it’s being loosely referred to as “Kama Sutra” because one of the email subject lines it uses includes the words “Kama Sutra pics”).

Anyway, like any good web “marketing” effort, this worm actually reports back to a server that is keeping track of the number of infections. We did a quick informal check this morning.

At about 12:00 pm EDT, the counter was at 508,728 [above].

At about 12:15 pm EDT, the counter was at 509,532.

804 infections in 15 minutes.

Dilbert: On Hold With Tech Support

Click for larger image.

UK: AOL Targets BT in £50m Local Loop Rollout

William Eazel writes on

AOL has this week announced plans to go head to head against BT in the UK, by jumping on the local loop unbundling (LLU) bandwagon.

By targeting the local loop in a £50m project, AOL intends to deliver internet, telephony and other broadband related services, such as video on demand, television over broadband and advanced gaming services, directly to consumers.

Hacker Sends Lewd E-Mails To Elite School

Paul Schwartzman writes in The Washington Post:

The Secret Service has confiscated computers from the home of a prominent Washington developer after agents traced obscene and fake e-mails sent to three students at a prestigious private school from that address, according to court records.

The agents executed a search warrant at the Northwest home of Herbert Miller on Jan. 6 after the principal at Georgetown Day School notified police that a hacker had infiltrated the school's computer network and sent the e-mails under a teacher's name.

The three e-mails included one that contained language that was "vile, brutally mean, sexually violent, racist and homophobic," according to a letter that Kevin Barr, the school's principal, sent to parents last month.

More here.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Texas Instruments Unveils Mobile DTV Chip

Evan Blass writes over on Engadget:

Texas Instruments announced that it has begun shipping its single-chip DTV solution, codenamed Hollywood, to cellphone manufacturers for inclusion in products to be released late in the year.

The chip, which comes in either DTV1000 or DTV1001 flavors, supports open industry standards including DVB-H and ISDB-T, which will allow it to achieve worldwide penetration.

CDT to Escalate Spyware Battle on Monday

Joris Evers writes on the C|Net Security Blog:

The Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington-based public advocacy group, is further escalating its fight against spyware and adware. The group on Monday plans to file two complaints with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission against multiple spyware and adware purveyors, a source familiar with the CDT's plan said Friday.

The source described the complaints as "extensive" and said among other things, they allege the targets used a number of deceptive and unfair trade practices.

The CDT has scheduled a telephone news conference for Monday. A representative reached late Friday declined to comment on the matter ahead of that event.

Raze Spyware Installs Fake Keylogger

Image source: Sunbelt Software

Adam Thompson writes over on the Sunbelt Software blog:

For the past week, our Spyware Research team has been observing Raze Spyware being silently installed without user consent through various exploits. Raze Spyware is already a long time member of Eric Howes Rouge Anti-Spyware products list. Dubious installation methods are a common practice for these Rouge Anti-Spyware applications. To make matters worse, we have also found a fake keylogger being installed alongside of Raze Spyware! The program then alerts the user that they are infected with the "keylogger".

More here.

Latest CSC Buyout Talks Falls Apart

Via The Austin Business Journal.

Another possible suitor of Computer Sciences Corp. has bowed out of a possible buyout bid, according to a Reuters report.

The Blackstone Group LP and Hewlett-Packard Co. have abandoned their bid for the El Segundo, Calif.-based IT giant, marking another failed bid to purchase the company.

CSC's financial services group is based in Austin.

AOL: 'We Did Not Comply With All of the DOJ's Search Data Request'

As my father always told me,"In for a penny, in for a pound."

Via Boing Boing.

Yesterday, I asked Justice Department spokesperson Charles Miller which search companies other than Google the administration sought search data from, back in 2005. Mr. Miller said that in addition to Google -- which has refused to provide the requested information -- AOL, Yahoo, and MSN were also asked, and those three companies complied. Andrew Weinstein, Vice President of Corporate Communications at America Online, tells Boing Boing:

I saw in your posting that the DOJ is indicating that AOL complied with their subpoena for user search records last fall. That is not accurate.

We did receive a subpoena from the DOJ last fall, but we did not comply with the requests made in that subpoena. Instead, we gave them a list of aggregate and anonymous search terms that did not include any results nor any personally-identifiable information.

Domain Registrar Charges $1 per Spam

Via eMail Battles.

Acting on a tip from a WebHostingTalk forum, Email Battles decided to troll the Terms of Service agreements (TOS) of six Internet domain name registrars, looking for an atrocious clause similar to the $5.00 Per Spam charge tucked in Qwest's High Speed Internet Subscriber Agreement. Chosen for either their eminence or notoriety in the user and reseller community, the six checkees are ICANN-accredited registrars enom, GKG, Go Daddy, ItsYourDomain, MarkMonitor and Tucows.

We found that all six registrars include some variation of this statement in Tucows' Registration Agreement for resellers...

More here.

Alcatel's Eutelsat Communications Satellite Arrive at Launchpad

A UPI newsbrief, via, reports that:

Alcatel says the Hot Bird 7A broadcast satellite it built for Eutelsat Communications has arrived at its launch pad in French Guiana.

The Hot Bird will be shot Feb. 21 into a position at 13 degrees East where it will be in position to beam radio and television broadcasts for cable and satellite customers.

'More Calls to Pizza Hut'

Over on the Reform the Patriot Act blog:

Today, the Justice Department released a 42-page defense of the program, intended to rebut the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service report concluding the program was likely illegal.

Robert Reinstein, dean at Temple Law School, puts it in perspective in the above article:
[T]he eavesdropping program [is] "a pretty straightforward case where the president is acting illegally," and he said there appeared to be a broad consensus among legal scholars and national security experts that the administration's legal arguments were weak.
The foreign intelligence law passed by Congress in 1978 represents the Bush administration's biggest legal hurdle, Reinstein said, adding "When Congress speaks on questions that are domestic in nature, I really can't think of a situation where the president has successfully asserted a constitutional power to supersede that."

More here.

UK: World Tracker Turns Anyone Into a Cellphone Spy

Image source: Engadget

Marc Perton writes over on Engadget:

Forget those piddly wiretaps. The next frontier in warrant-free surveillance is upon us, and it's open to everyone. A UK service called World Tracker apparently uses cell tower data (or GPS, when available) to track the location of just about any GSM cellphone. Just enter the number you want to track into the service's handy Google Maps-based interface, and you'll be able to zoom in on the device's location, with accuracy somewhere between 50 and 500 meters.

The first time you try to track a phone, a text message is sent to the owner, who must reply in order to enable tracking (we'll leave it to you to figure out how to work around this if you need to track a spouse, kid or employee). The service is currently compatible with O2, Vodafone, Orange and T-Mobile in the UK, and has plans to expand to other markets including Germany, Spain, Norway and the US. If, that is, privacy advocates don't shut it down first.

Political Jab of the Day: A Perfect Hell

Click for larger image.

Registered Traveler Plan Raises Privacy Issues

An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

Airline passengers who buy a preapproved security pass could have their credit histories and property records examined as part of the government’s plan to turn over the Registered Traveler program to private companies.

In announcing the new plan Friday, the Transportation Security Administration said the Registered Traveler card would let frequent fliers go through airport security lines more quickly if they pay a fee, pass a government background check and submit 10 fingerprints. The program will begin June 20.

The agency announced that it would require companies to conduct more in-depth security background checks, for example, “by using commercial data specifically authorized by customers, or by other voluntary means.”

Administration Paper Defends Spy Program

Carol D. Leonnig writes in The Washington Post:

The Bush administration argued yesterday that the president has inherent war powers under the Constitution to order warrantless eavesdropping on the international calls and e-mails of U.S. citizens and others in this country, offering the administration's most detailed legal defense to date of its surveillance program.

The Justice Department's lengthy legal analysis also says that if a 1978 law that requires court warrants for domestic eavesdropping is interpreted as blocking the president's powers to protect the country in a time of war, its constitutionality is doubtful and the president's authority supersedes it.

Many experts on intelligence and national security law have concluded that the president overstepped his authority, and that the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act specifically prohibits such domestic surveillance without a warrant.

More here. fix

Via Enjoy!

Gmail Gives Up, Adds Delete Button

Nate Mook writes on BetaNews:

When it first launched in 2004, Google's Gmail was missing a key feature available in competing e-mail services and clients: a prominent delete button. Although Gmail offered deleting through a dropdown, Google felt users should never have to delete messages thanks to expanded storage. But the company has finally given in.

"Now there's an easy-to-find delete button for those messages you really don't want. For everything else, there's Archive," Google wrote on the About Gmail page Archive, which Google previously encouraged instead of delete, simply removes a message from the inbox and leaves it in "All Mail."

Account Hijackings Force LiveJournal Changes

Brian Krebs writes on Security Fix:

LiveJournal, an online community that boasts nearly 2 million active members, on Thursday announced sitewide changes for users logging into their accounts -- changes prompted by a hacker group's successful hijacking of potentially hundreds of thousands of user accounts.

In an alert posted to its user forum, LiveJournal said it was instituting new login procedures for users because "recent changes to a popular browser have enabled malicious users to potentially gain control of your account." Company officials could not be immediately reached for comment. I also put in a query to Six Apart, which owns LiveJournal (and the service we use to produce this blog), but have yet to hear from them either.

An established hacker group known as "Bantown" (I would not recommend visiting their site at work) claimed responsibility for the break-in, which it said was made possible due to a series of Javascript security flaws in the LiveJournal site.

More here.

China Salutes TD-SCDMA as 3G Wireless Standard

Wow -- that didn't take long.

A UPI newsbrief, via, reports that:

China Friday declared that TD-SCDMA technology is an officially backed standard for third-generation (3G) mobile-telephone service.

The salute from telecom regulators in Beijing coincided with the announcement that a stand-alone wireless network for TD-SCDMA would be constructed with the goal of being operational before the 2008 Olympics.

H5N1 News: Roche Defends Tamiflu

Via Red Herring.

Swiss pharmaceutical maker Roche disputed an article published in the British medical journal The Lancet warning against an over-reliance on Tamiflu to treat avian and seasonal flu, and said Friday that animal tests showed Tamiflu could work against the H5N1 virus associated with avian flu.

Roche cited “rigorous clinical studies” showing a 38 percent reduction in the severity of symptoms of people using Tamiflu to treat seasonal flu, 67 percent reduction in secondary complications such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and sinusitis, and a 37 percent reduction in the duration of seasonal flu.

In an article published Thursday in The Lancet, researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia and Cochrane Vaccines Field in Rome said they found no “credible evidence” that Tamiflu could treat bird flu.

User Friendly: Pork -- The Other Green Meat


Click for larger image.

'Wristwatch' Biosensor to Track Alcohol Use


The device looks like a runner’s digital watch. Black, plastic and oversized, it dominates mathematician Gary Rosen’s wrist. But what Rosen has strapped on is no simple timepiece. It’s one of the very few prototypes of a computer designed to record, in minute detail and real time, its wearer’s sobriety. Or drunkenness.

Rosen, professor and chair of mathematics, leads the USC portion of a federally funded effort to improve the wristwatch-like device, the so-called transdermal alcohol biosensor created by Giner, Inc. of Newton, Mass.

More here.

Skype Affiliate Can Keep, Says WIPO


An amateur photographer, painter and sculptor who uses the domain name to redirect visitors to has won a battle to keep his name. He pointed out that the internet telephony company had accepted him as an affiliate.

Crucially, Benjamin Decraene of Belgium registered the name before Skype had launched and long before eBay paid $2.6 billion for the company. was registered in April 2003 and its net telephony service began four months later; but Decraene registered in May 2002.

Google Video and Privacy

Ed Felten writes on Freedom to Tinker:

Last week Google introduced its video service, which lets users download free or paid-for videos. The service’s design is distinctive in many ways, not all of them desirable. One of the distinctive features is a DRM (anti-infringement) mechanism which is applied if the copyright owner asks for it. Today I want to discuss the design of Google Video’s DRM, and especially its privacy implications.

It’s high time for Google to figure out that it is one or two privacy disasters away from becoming just another Internet company. The time is now for Google to become a privacy leader. Fixing the privacy issues in its video DRM would be a small step toward that goal.

Much more here.

EMI Considers Opening its DRM to Inspection

Tom Espiner writes on C|Net News:

The EMI Group is reviewing a request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to allow reverse engineering of its digital rights management software, EMI said on Friday.

The EFF, a digital rights group, sent an open letter to EMI earlier this month asking the company to publicly declare that it would not take any legal action against independent computer security researchers who investigate copy-restriction technologies used on EMI CDs.

A spokesman for EMI told ZDNet UK that the company had received the letter and was reviewing the matter. The spokesman would not comment about how long the review process would take.

German Court Orders Shutdown of Wikipedia

Jan Libbenga writes on The Register:

The German Wikipedia site was taken down by court order this week because it mentioned the full name of a deceased Chaos Computer Club hacker, known as Tron. A Berlin court ordered the closure of the site on Tuesday after it sided with the parents of the German hacker, who wanted to prevent the online encyclopedia from publishing the real name of their son. A final ruling is expected in two weeks' time.

On Friday, the Wikipedia Foundation settled with the court so that users can still access the site temporarily on a different URL. There, oddly enough, the full name of the German hacker still appears. The English version of Wikipedia also has an entry on Tron.

UK: Pipex Hosting Service Floored by Electrical Fault

Tim Richardson writes on The Register:

Pipex' data centre in London was floored by a power failure yesterday, leaving tens of thousands of customers in the dark.

The electrical fault happened at about 10.00am yesterday morning at Pipex's Harbour Exchange data centre in the Docklands area of London.

IEEE Gives Up on UWB Standard

Iain Thomson writes on

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has given up trying to formulate an ultra wide band (UWB) standard and has left it to the producers to sort things out among themselves.

Yesterday the 802.15.3a Task Group (TG3a) held two votes, one to abandon its search for a standard and another to dissolve itself.

Dilbert: The Original Product Packaging

Click for larger image.

eBay Scraps Transaction Fees in China

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

The US online auction service eBay scrapped all sellers' transaction fees in China, in an effort to compete with local competitors offering free services, including Yahoo-invested

The online auctioneer announced the changes on its China auction website, saying transaction fees would be waived, but small fees would continue to be charged for listing products on the site's webspace and for "feature" products.

UK: 'Pimp Daddy' Banker Caught Out in e-Mail Exchange

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

JP Morgan Cazenove has suspended an employee after a lurid e-mail he sent to friends was forwarded across London's financial district, which is struggling to ditch its sexist image after a string of high-profile court cases.

A source familiar with the matter said Robert Imlah, an analyst in the firm's back office, had been told to go home earlier this week. Imlah was not immediately available for comment.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

$100 Bounty Offerred to UCLA Students Who Wiretap Lefty Profs

Yeah, I heard this on the way home today on NPR's All Things Considered. Whacked.

Via Boing Boing.

A radical right-wing group has compiled a black-list of progressive UCLA professors and it is offering a bounty of $100 to students who record their lectures; the group intends to use these lectures "expose" the professors as "radicals."

The Bruin Alumni Association posted the offer of the bounty to its website; its finances reportedly come primarily from a $22,000 gift from its founder, Andrew Jones. The move has spooked many of the group's advisors, three of whom have resigned in disgust. One of the resigners is hardly a stranger to extremist politics: former Republican congressman James Rogan was one of the ringleaders of the Clinton impeachment circus, but even he doesn't have the stomach for this.

More here.

EFF Applauds Google Resistance to Government Subpoena

Via The EFF.

Yesterday, the Justice Department asked a federal court in San Jose, California to force Google to turn over search records for use as evidence in a case where the government is defending the constitutionality of the Child Online Protection Act (COPA). Google has refused to comply with a subpoena for those records, based in part on its concern for its users' privacy.

COPA is a federal law that requires those who publish non-obscene, constitutionally protected sexual material online to take difficult and expensive steps to prevent access by minors, steps that would chill publishers of sexual material as well as the adults who want to access such material anonymously. EFF is one of the plaintiffs in the First Amendment challenge to COPA.

The subpoena to Google currently asks for a random sampling of one million URLs from Google's database of web sites on the Internet as well as a random sampling of one million search queries submitted on a given day, minus any additional personally identifiable information.

More here.

First a Denial of Service, Now A Lawsuit: The Million Dollar Homepage

Joris Evers writes in the C|Net Security Blog:

After being hit by a denial of service attack that downed the Million Dollar Homepage site, British student Alex Tew now faces a lawsuit from one of the advertisers on the site.

The winner of the last 1,000 pixels, which sold for US$38,100 on eBay, is threatening to sue because the Web site was offline for six days until Wednesday, the Financial Times reported in its online edition on Thursday.

Egads! Patriot Search

Thanks to John Paczkowski over at Good Morning, Silicon Valley (GMSV), for the pointer.


Man Indicted for Theft of Medical Data

Paul F. Roberts writes on eWeek:

The former manager of a San Jose, Calif., medical group was indicted on Thursday for stealing medical records for around 200,000 patients.

Joseph Nathaniel Harris of San Jose is accused of stealing computers and DVDs that included detailed medical histories for patients of the San Jose Medical Group in March.

Harris was indicted by a federal grand jury and could face 10 years in prison, according to a statement from Kevin Ryan, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California.

China: Ucloo Domain Name Revoked


The .CN domain name of Ucloo, which has been accused of violating users' privacy by disclosing their personal data and for failure to register the website with local Chinese authorities, has been revoked by the Chinese domain name registration organization.

Ucloo has decided to sue to regain the use of its domain name. A representative from Ucloo tells local media that because the company's web server was hosted in the United States, they should not have needed to register with any local agency in China.

Philips Targets Chinese Counterfeiters With New CD-R DRM Technology


Philips has introduced a new way of licensing its CD-R disc patents. With this innovative system, called Veeza, Philips says it is helping the industry combat unfair competition from trade in unlicensed CD-R discs.

Discs distributed under a Veeza-license can easily be traced and recognized by three clear marks: a logo that is embedded in the disc, a serial number on each package carton and an authenticity document, called Licensed Status Confirmation Document (LSCD). These three marks provide simple proof that a shipment with CD-R discs is licensed under Philips' patents.

Rating System Urged for Adult Internet Content

The 'War on Terror' is obviously important to the Bush Adminsitration (as it rightly should to us all), but apparently so is the 'War on Porn'.

30 August 2005
Attorney General Gonzales' Internet Priority? Porn, not Terrorists

19 January 2006
Feds After Google Data to Revive Porn Law

19 January 2006
Is Porn a Growing or Shrinking Business?

..and now this (below).

The Bush adminstration, in addition to its preoccupation with spying on law-abiding U.S. citizens, also seems to be obsessively interested in our fetishes and sexual interests online.

This is starting to border on trying to enforcthe administration's religious moralities through legislation -- something that should scare the pants off of each and every one of us (no pun intended).

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

An influential U.S. Senator warned the adult entertainment industry on Thursday that if it does not develop a rating system for its Internet content, Congress will.

My advice to your clients is that you better do it soon or we will mandate it if you don't," Republican Sen. Ted Stevens (news, bio, voting record) of Alaska, chairman of the Commerce Committee, told Paul Cambria, general counsel to the Adult Freedom Foundation.

Cambria told the committee hearing that it was the first time his group had been invited to testify before Congress on the issue and he would take the message back to his clients.

Draft Standard Chosen for Faster Wi-Fi

Stephen Lawson writes on InfoWorld:

The task group working on a new, faster standard for Wi-Fi, called IEEE 802.11n, has settled on a draft proposal that will now be refined into a final specification.

This development ends a long struggle to choose between two main draft proposals for the standard. Both would have used multiple antennas to achieve the real-world throughput of at least 100Mbps that's required in 802.11n. A special group was formed in the middle of last year to come up with a joint proposal, and it submitted the plan that was approved Thursday. The vote took place Thursday morning in Kona, Hawaii, at a general meeting of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' (IEEE) 802.11 Working Group.

Apple Caught Cheating on RSS Standard

Tom Sanders writes on

The Photocasting feature of Apple's updated iPhoto application violates numerous internet standards, several dignitaries from the RSS community have pointed out.

"The 'photocasting' feature centers around a single undocumented extension element in a namespace that doesn't need to be declared. iPhoto 6 doesn't understand the first thing about HTTP, the first thing about XML, or the first thing about RSS. It ignores features of HTTP that Netscape 4 supported in 1996, and mis-implements features of XML that Microsoft got right in 1997. It ignores 95% of RSS and Atom and gets most of the remaining 5% wrong," stated Mark Pilgrim, a software developer who tested the feature in an effort to document it.

Is Porn a Growing or Shrinking Business?

Jonathan Silverstein writes on ABC News:

As representatives of the Internet porn industry come before a Senate committee to talk about porn's accessibility and effect on our nation's youth, it is generally assumed that it's one of the most lucrative and largest businesses in and out of cyberspace. But is that true?

Industry trade magazine Adult Video News estimates that the industry reeled in about $12.6 billion in 2005 and estimates that more than $2.5 billion of that was from the Internet alone.

But are numbers like these accurate and do they mean that the industry has grown or remained a fringe business that caters to the marginal spendthrift?

More here.

NASDAQ Error Results in Incorrect Stock Quotes

An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

Computer problems at the Nasdaq Stock Market led to erroneous stock quotes on a number of major online financial news sites and brokerages Thursday and prevented approximately 81,000 trades from being reported in the last minutes of the previous trading session.

The stocks affected are all listed on the New York Stock Exchange. NYSE-listed stocks can also be traded electronically on Nasdaq’s computer platform, and Nasdaq is responsible for reporting those trades to a consolidated listing service so investors can see the latest price for a given stock, whether it was traded on the floor of the NYSE or via Nasdaq’s computers.

The Nasdaq said a computer glitch occurred at approximately 5:50 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, when 610 transactions involving NYSE-listed stocks that had been made at 9:50 a.m. were re-posted to the consolidated tape. That resulted in erroneous closing prices for a number of NYSE-listed stocks being reported, according to a notice issued by Nasdaq Operations late Wednesday.

'New Horizons' Pluto Mission Finally Lifts Off

The Atlas 5 rocket that will send the New Horizons spacecraft on a
mission to the planet Pluto sits on the launch pad at Cape
Canaveral, Fla., Thursday.

Image source: MSNBC / NASA


After two days of weather-caused delays, NASA launched a $700 million unmanned mission to Pluto.

The launch of the New Horizons probe had been scrubbed twice this week by high winds, first at the launch pad on Tuesday and then when a storm in Maryland knocked out power Wednesday to the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory that will control the mission.

Security Researcher Offers Ad Space in Vulnerability Report

Robert Lemos writes on SecurityFocus:

A security researcher who previously tried to auction off a vulnerability in Microsoft Excel plans to sell ad space in the public report about the flaw, SecurityFocus has learned.

The researcher has teamed up with security firm HexView to release details of the vulnerability on the same day that Microsoft releases the patch for the Excel flaw, the researcher, who uses the monicker "fearwall", stated in an e-mail to SecurityFocus. The company will hold an auction through e-mail with the highest two bidders getting advertising within in the announcement.

The announcement is [just] the latest attempt by the security researcher to make money from finding a flaw in Microsoft flagship spreadsheet application.

Qwest Solution For $5 Per Spam Charge: 'Trust Us'

Via eMail Battles.

Facing a public relations disaster for its $5 Per Spam charge, Qwest has apparently decided to fight PR with PR. Their response? "It is not Qwest policy to terminate..." Unfortunately for Qwest subscribers, that's not what the contract says.

And unfortunately for Qwest, competitors with smarter legal departments now have a huge advantage.

More here.

EPIC Sues DoJ for Domestic Surveillance Documents


Today EPIC filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit [.pdf] against the Department of Justice, asking a federal court to order the disclosure of information about the Administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program within 20 days. The Justice Department has played a key role in authorizing, implementing and overseeing the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance activities. EPIC argues in its court papers [.pdf] that the debate surrounding the program "cannot be based solely upon information that the Administration voluntarily chooses to disseminate."

Verizon Debuts Fiber Net Plan

Via Red Herring.

No. 1 U.S. phone company Verizon Communications and search engine Yahoo rolled out a co-branded fiber optic Internet service Thursday as they seek to better compete with the broadband offerings of cable companies by promising faster downloads of music and video.

The network uses fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology to provide speedier broadband connections to subscribers. Called “Verizon Yahoo for FiOS,” the service is available in 15 states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Virginia.

Political Jab of the Day: Bush Takes on The Press

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NTT, Telefónica Connect International Data Networks

Via InfoWorld.

NTT Communications and Telefonica International Wholesale Services have connected their networks in order to offer a more global service to customers. Both companies sell data network access to other operators, corporations, and governments.

Telefonica Wholesale has a presence in Europe, North America, and South America but the relationship with NTT Communications adds the Asia-Pacific region to its portfolio. NTT Communications has a strong position in Asia-Pacific but the agreement with Telefonica adds Latin America to its coverage area. The companies compete with other global wholesalers such as France Télécom and Global Crossing. Global deregulation and competition in telecommunications are driving wholesalers to look for revenues outside of their regions, according to research firm Atlantic-ACM.

Japan: Executive Linked to Livedoor Deals Found Dead

An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:

The investigation into Internet startup Livedoor Co. that rattled Japan’s stock market this week took a morbid turn when the dead body of an executive linked to the company was found in a suspected suicide.

A body believed to be that of Hideaki Noguchi, 38, vice president of H.S. Securities Co., was found in a hotel in the southern state of Okinawa on Wednesday evening in a suspected suicide, according to local police spokesman Tatsuki Yara.

Noguchi is a former employee of On the Edge, the predecessor of Livedoor, which is at the center of a widening investigation that triggered the so-called “Livedoor shock” — the 6 percent plunge on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Tuesday and Wednesday.

'Crazy Frog' Scapegoat Finds Solace in Porn

Mark Ballard writes on The Register:

Every mobile content firm admits that all the money is in porn. But most pin-stripe firms tend to steer clear of the genre. They don't want to upset their respectable customers.

mBlox was one of those untarnished outfits until it got dragged through the mud over the hapless part it played in the Crazy Frog ringtone money grab.

However, now mBlox appears to have nothing to lose, it has decided to go into the porn business. Sold for $14M

Lester Haines writes on The Register: has been sold for $14m to Boston-based Escom LLC, a report on XBiz reveals.

The former owner, Gary Kremen, did not comment on the sale but a spokesman from his company, Grant Media, said "sales for the famous domain name will still be handled through Grant Media's San Francisco offices".

File-Sharing 'Not Cut By Courts'

Via The BBC.

Global court action against music file-sharers has not reduced illegal downloading, an industry report says.

The level of file-sharing has remained the same for two years despite 20,000 legal cases in 17 countries.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industries (IFPI) said it was "containing" the problem while more people were connecting to broadband.

User Friendly: Shiny Bacon


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FBI Publishes 2005 Computer Crime Survey

Kelly Martin writes on SecurityFocus:

The FBI has published their 2005 computer crime survey, with responses from over 2,000 public and private organizations located across four U.S. states.

The survey, published today and freely available as a PDF, provides some startling statistics on the state of computer security attacks and defense technologies used by all sizes of organizations.

Among the findings, nearly nine out of ten organizations experienced security incidents in the past year. Over 64% of respondents incurred a financial loss as a result of computer crime - yet only 9% reported these incidents to law enforcement. The United States and China top of the list as by far the worst offenders, together accounting as the source of more than half of all external intrusion attempts. However, not surprisingly the survey also reports that 44% of all reported intrusions were sourced as internal to the organization affected.

Inside the WMF 'Backdoor'

Mark Russinovich writes on the SysInternals blog:

Steve Gibson (of SpinRite fame) proposed a theory in his weekly Thursday-night podcast last week that if true, would be the biggest scandal to ever hit Microsoft - that the Windows Metafile (WMF) vulnerability that drew so much media attention last month is actually a backdoor programmed intentionally by Microsoft for unknown reasons. Slashdot picked up the story the next day and I received a flood of emails asking me to look into it. I finished my analysis, which Steve aided by sending me the source code to his WMF-vulnerability tester program (KnockKnock), over the weekend.

In my opinion the backdoor is one caused by a security flaw and not one made for subterfuge. I sent my findings to both Steve and to Microsoft Monday morning, but because the issue continues to draw media attention I’ve decided to publicly document my investigation.

Much more here.

Feds After Google Data to Revive Porn Law

Howard Mintz writes in The Mercury News:

The Bush administration on Wednesday asked a federal judge to order Google to turn over a broad range of material from its closely guarded databases.

The move is part of a government effort to revive an Internet child protection law struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was meant to punish online pornography sites that make their content accessible to minors. The government contends it needs the Google data to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches.

In court papers filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Justice Department lawyers revealed that Google has refused to comply with a subpoena issued last year for the records, which include a request for 1 million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period.

The Mountain View-based search and advertising giant opposes releasing the information on a variety of grounds, saying it would violate the privacy rights of its users and reveal company trade secrets, according to court documents.

Nicole Wong, an associate general counsel for Google, said the company will fight the government's effort ``vigorously.''

The Backhoe: A Real Cyberthreat

Kevin Poulsen writes on Wired News:

At half-past noon on Jan. 9, cable TV contractors sinking a half-mile of cable near Interstate 10 in rural Arizona pulled up something unexpected in the bucket of their backhoe: an unmarked fiber-optic cable. "It started pulling the fiber out of the pipe," says Scott Johansson, project manager for JK Communications and Construction. "Obviously, we said, 'Oop, we've hit something.'"

As the fiber came spooling out of the desert soil like a fishing line, long-distance service for millions of Sprint PCS and Nextel wireless customers west of the Rockies blinked off. Transcontinental internet traffic routed over Sprint slowed to a crawl, and some corporations that relied on the carrier to link office networks found themselves electronically isolated.

In the end, a hole dug out of a dirt road outside a town called Buckeye triggered a three-and-a-half hour outage with national impact. It wasn't even a very deep hole. "We ran into their line right away," says Johansson.

More here.

Connecticut Probing Sale of Cell Phone Records

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

Connecticut is investigating companies that may have illegally sold consumers' cell phone records, state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said on Wednesday.

"My office has an aggressive, ongoing investigation and will take any action appropriate to pursue any company illegally obtaining and profiting from personal cell phone records," Blumenthal said.

The investigation began in recent months after his office received a handful of complaints.

Konica Minolta Pulls Plug on Camera, Film Business

This announcement comes on the heels of Nikon ceasing to make traditional film cameras..

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

Japan's Konica Minolta Holdings Inc. said on Thursday it would withdraw from the camera and color film businesses, marking the end to one of the best known brands in the photography world.

As part of the surprise move, Konica Minolta said it would sell a portion of its digital single lens reflex (SLR) camera assets to Sony Corp. for an undisclosed sum and cease production of compact cameras by March.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

MSN Blockades phpBB Searchers

Via eMail Battles.

The ISP thought he had wiped out the PayPal phisher. But the devil popped back up at another URL using the same exploit to control the victim's phpBB bulletin board system. That triggered a nasty battle between the ISP and his domain name registrar that shut him down for at least 18 hours.

While researching the exploit on Monday, we discovered that Google blocked searches when "phpbb" was combined with "crack(s)", "hack(s)", "vulnerability" or "exploit(s)", returning only its 403 Forbidden page...

More here.

Students Want i2hub Operator to Settle RIAA Claims

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

Students sued by the recording industry for using the now-defunct i2hub online file-sharing network are demanding that its operator pay to settle music copyright-infringement claims.

Attorneys with the Student Legal Services Office, a student-funded legal group, claimed i2hub placed ads on the University of Massachusetts-Amherst's campus to deceive students into believing the software was approved by the university.

Carriers Submit Bids to Wire NYC Subways

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

Several major wireless carriers submitted bids Wednesday to wire 277 New York subway stations for cell phone use, including one proposal that involves four of the nation's biggest carriers forming an alliance.

The bids mark a significant step in a long-running effort to make cell phone service available to the millions of New Yorkers who lose mobile phone communications when using the subways.

Vatican Paper Slams 'Intelligent Design'

An AP newswire article by Nicole Winfield, via ABC News, reports that:

The Vatican newspaper has published an article saying "intelligent design" is not science and that teaching it alongside evolutionary theory in school classrooms only creates confusion.

The article in Tuesday's editions of L'Osservatore Romano was the latest in a series of interventions by Vatican officials including the pope on the issue that has dominated headlines in the United States.

High-Tech Prison to Open in Netherlands

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

A high-tech prison opening this week where inmates wear electronic wristbands that track their every movement and guards monitor cells using emotion-recognition software.

Authorities are convinced the jail in Lelystad — quickly dubbed "the Big Brother Prison" by the local press — represents the future of correctional facilities: cheap and efficient, without coddling criminals or violating their fundamental rights.

Creditcard Providers Choke on Safer Payments

Tom Sanders writes on

Analyst firm Gartner has panned Visa's and MasterCard's efforts to make for more secure internet payments.

While both credit card providers are making inroads into bolstering the security of online payments, their programmes are far too complicated for most merchants, charged Avivah Litan, a research vice president with the analyst firm.

Makeshift Studio, Piracy Software Found at W. Va. Capitol

Thanks to a post over on Slashdot which alerted me to this article.

An AP newswire article, via the Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette:

State investigators have stumbled onto a basement office in the West Virginia Capitol outfitted with computers, video and audio gear, and software used to pirate movies and music recordings, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press.

“Specifically, one hard drive contained approximately 40 full-length motion videos,” state Chief Technology Officer Kyle Schafer said in the Jan. 5 memo to Administration Secretary Robert Ferguson. “Two other hard drives contained over 3,500 MP3 music files consuming more than 14 [gigabytes] of hard drive space.”

Hundreds of blank DVDs, CDs and jacket covers were also found, as was software “commonly used to crack header codes on copyrighted materials such as movies and music to allow duplication,” Schafer’s memo said.

Consumer Groups Push for Net Neutrality Rules

Grant Gross writes on InfoWorld:

Three consumer groups repeated their calls for a U.S. law to prevent broadband providers from blocking or slowing customer access to some Internet content by saying the public wants government protection.

In a survey released Wednesday, more than two-thirds of respondents said the large telecommunications and cable companies offering broadband services should adhere to so-called network neutrality principles, which would guarantee that broadband users can go to any legal Web sites they want and run any Internet applications they want.

Without strong consumer protections, the openly accessible Internet is in danger with few broadband provider options available to most people, the consumer groups said.

Windows Wi-Fi Patch Could Be A Long Time Coming

Tom Espiner writes on C|Net news:

Microsoft has confirmed that there is a Wi-Fi security vulnerability in Windows XP, but it may not be fixed for as long as 18 months.

The flaw, within a Windows feature that automatically searches for a Wi-Fi network to connect to, was made public last Saturday by security researcher Mark Loveless at hacker conference ShmooCon. It can be used by a hacker to gain access to files on a victim's laptop, Loveless said.

Microsoft said Wednesday that it had finished investigating this claim, and had found that there is scope for vulnerable Windows systems to be compromised. However, it said it does not plan to rush out a fix.

Men Get a Bigger Kick From Revenge

From the "No Duh" Department, we have this newbite from Reuters (via MSNBC):

Germans have a word for it — schadenfreude — and when it comes to getting pleasure from someone else’s misfortune, men seem to enjoy it more than women. Such is the conclusion reached by scientists at University College London, in what they say is the first neuroscientific evidence of schadenfreude.

Using brain-imaging techniques, they compared how men and women reacted when watching other people suffer pain.

UT Engineers Advance Optical Networking Science


An electrical engineer at the University of Texas at Austin has made a laser light blink while passing through a miniaturized silicon chip, a major step toward developing commercially viable optical interconnects for high performance computers and other devices.

Ray Chen, a professor of electrical engineering, and graduate students Wei Jiang, YongQiang Jiang and Lanlan Gu created a chip made of silicon "photonic crystals" whose complex internal structure slowed light traveling through the chip. The laser light slowed down enough that a small electric current could alter, or modulate, the pattern of light transmission.

More here.

Apple Kills 'SpyTunes' Meme Dead in its Tracks

John Paczkowski writes over on Good Morning, Silicon Valley (GMSV):

Responding to privacy concerns over its iTunes 'MiniStore', the company has deactivated the feature and now offers a dialogue explaining it:

"The iTunes MiniStore allows you to discover new music and videos right from your iTunes Library," the notice reads. "As you select items in your Library, information about that item is sent to Apple and the MiniStore will show you related songs or videos. Apple does not keep any information related to the contents of your music Library. Would you like to turn on the MiniStore now?”

A much better approach to the feature, and one that should have been used from the beginning.

Intuit Agrees to Pull TurboTax Ads

An AP newswire article by David Twiddy, via, reports that:

Intuit Inc. agreed Wednesday to pull a $25 million advertising campaign for its popular tax-preparation software TurboTax that competitor H&R Block Inc. said was misleading.

H&R Block, the nation's largest tax preparer, sued Mountain View, Calif.-based Intuit last week in federal court in Kansas City, seeking to put an end to radio and television ads airing since Jan. 9.

Bubble 2.0: Tech Sector Worries Wall Street


Wall Street followed global markets lower Wednesday, dragged down by the technology sector, after a chaotic trading session in Japan compounded gloom in the United States over earnings reports from high-tech bellwethers Intel and Yahoo.

A stampede of sell orders forced the shut-down of the Tokyo Stock Exchange Wednesday, the world’s second biggest, as investors fled the Tokyo market, spooked by fall-out from an ongoing investigation into Internet company Livedoor.

When is a Rootkit Not a Rootkit?

Ryan Naraine writes on eWeek:

A vendor-neutral push to find an unambiguous way to describe rootkits has received backing from anti-virus specialist Symantec Corp., but security experts are suspicious of the plan, warning that strict definitions only serve to legitimize the use of a dangerous piece of technology.

The issue has taken center stage after Symantec admitted to using a rootkit-type feature in Norton SystemWorks to help customers avoid the accidental deletion of files. Symantec acknowledged the feature provided a hiding place for malicious hackers and shipped an update to eliminate the risk, but because the word "rootkit" was used to describe what was intended as a useful feature, the company felt it was unfairly criticized by a confused public.

NTP Suggests BlackBerry 30-Day 'Grace Period'

A Reuters newswire article, via CNN, reports that:

NTP Inc., the U.S. patent holding company seeking a shutdown of most U.S. BlackBerry sales and service proposed Tuesday that customers of the portable e-mail device get a 30-day "grace period" before any cut-off.

Lawyers for NTP, which is suing BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. on charges of patent infringement, reiterated their request that the judge impose an injunction unless the two sides reach a settlement.

H5N1 News: STMicro to Market Chip to Detect Bird Flu in Humans

Caroline Jacobs and Astrid Wendlandt write for Reuters:

STMicroelectronics is planning to market a disposable laboratory microchip that can confirm within about an hour a human case of bird flu at a limited cost, the European chip maker said on Wednesday.

The Franco-Italian group is developing a test that could be available to healthcare providers this autumn with Singapore-based medical diagnostics company Veredus Laboratories Pte Ltd.

Cisco Issues 3 Critical Vulnerability Advisories

Cisco Call Manager Denial of Service

Cisco CallManager (CCM) is the software-based call-processing component of the Cisco IP telephony solution which extends enterprise telephony features and functions to packet telephony network devices such as IP phones, media processing devices, voice-over-IP (VoIP) gateways, and multimedia applications. All Cisco CallManager versions are vulnerable to these Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, which may result in services being interrupted or servers rebooting.

Cisco Call Manager Privilege Escalation

Cisco CallManager (CCM) is the software-based call-processing component of the Cisco IP telephony solution which extends enterprise telephony features and functions to packet telephony network devices such as IP phones, media processing devices, voice-over-IP (VoIP) gateways, and multimedia applications. Cisco CallManager versions with Multi Level Administration (MLA) enabled may be vulnerable to privilege escalations, which may result in read-only users gaining administrative access.

IOS Stack Group Bidding Protocol Crafted Packet DoS

The Cisco IOS Stack Group Bidding Protocol (SGBP) feature in certain versions of Cisco IOS software is vulnerable to a remotely-exploitable denial of service condition. Devices that do not support or have not enabled the SGBP protocol are not affected by this vulnerability.

American Commits Suicide in Bulgarian Internet Forum

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

A 21-year-old American online gaming fan broadcast his suicide on a Bulgarian Internet forum.

Named as Mitchell S., the gamer switched on his web cam and swallowed a large amount of motor antifreeze and pills after complaining about family problems and a lack of money, forum administrator Boyan Georgiev told Bulgaria's BGNES news agency on Wednesday.

Huawei on Verge of First 'Major' U.S. Win?

Jim Duffy writes on NetworkWorld:

Chinese manufacturer Huawei may be about to land its first major U.S. contract, according to investment firm UBS Warburg.

In a research note issued this week, UBS states that Huawei has made the short list at T-Mobile USA for the carrier's 3G HSDPA rollout in the second half of this year. Other vendors on the short list include incumbent GSM suppliers Ericsson, Nokia and Nortel, UBS states.

Number of Chinese Internet Users Tops 110 Million

Sumner Lemon writes on InfoWorld:

The number of Chinese Internet users reached 111 million as of Dec. 31, 2005, up from 94 million Internet users one year ago, according to a survey conducted by the Chinese Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), which oversees the .cn top-level domain.

More than half of Chinese Internet users -- 64.3 million -- use broadband connections, such as DSL (digital subscriber line), to get online, CNNIC said. By comparison, CNNIC estimated that China had 42.8 million broadband users one year ago.

E*Trade Offers to Reimburse Any Victims of Online Fraud

Eric Dash writes in The New York Times:

E*Trade Financial said yesterday that it would fully reimburse any customer who is the victim of fraudulent activity - the first online brokerage company to offer the kind of protection that users of credit and debit cards receive.

While the announcement may be more of a sales pitch than a security protection given the token amounts of money lost to fraud, it may encourage E*Trade's competitors like Ameritrade and Charles Schwab to follow suit. The new policy is a major shift for the online brokerage industry, which typically puts the onus of security on the investor.

User Friendly: Glowing Green Pigs


Click for larger image.

Spain Arrests 33 On Internet Child Porn Charges

Via The BBC.

Spanish police say they have arrested bankers, businessmen and a priest among 33 people held on charges of using the internet to exchange child pornography.

Officers say they are suspected of using credit cards to purchase sexual images of children from websites operating out of Belarus and the US.

Police began the investigation last year after receiving information from the authorities in the United States.

Ten were arrested in Barcelona and the rest from cities around the country.

Japan's Growing Internet Scandal Shuts Down Asia's Largest Stock Exchange

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

A scandal rocking Japanese Internet pioneer Livedoor erupted, sparking a stampede out of the stock market that forced Asia's largest bourse to close early for the first time ever.

Investors took fright at fresh allegations that Livedoor cooked the books to hide losses -- leading the market to question the very foundations of the boom in Japan's Internet trailblazers. fix

Via Enjoy!

Mass Spying Means Gross Errors

Jennifer Granick writes on Wired News:

The United States government either currently has, or soon will have, new technology that makes mass surveillance possible. The next question for citizens and other policy makers is whether and when to use this capability.

Often, people say that we must do anything and everything to stop terrorism. This answer is easy in a world where we know that technologies of mass surveillance, or TMS, are effective against terrorism, where we have unlimited resources for national security, and where there's no cost when the technology malfunctions, is intentionally abused or innocently misused. We don't live in that fictional world, so as citizens and policy makers, we have more-difficult choices to make.

Cingular to Sell Phone With Microsoft Software

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

Cingular Wireless, the No. 1 U.S. cellphone service provider, said on Wednesday it would begin selling a mobile phone running the latest Microsoft Corp. software for mobile phones.

The Cingular-branded 2125 Smartphone, made by High Tech Computer Corp. will go on sale for $199 on Wednesday. Cingular, a venture of AT&T Inc and BellSouth Corp., is aiming the phone at both business and consumer customers, spokesman John Kampfe said.

Suspect in Federal Spam Case Pleads Guilty

An AP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, report sthat:

The main defendant in the nation's first prosecution under a 2004 federal anti-spam law pleaded guilty Tuesday to three felony charges, federal prosecutors said.

Daniel J. Lin, 30, of West Bloomfield Township faces nearly five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit said.

Two of the counts are fraud charges involving millions of unsolicited spam e-mails sent to computer users. The other is possession of a firearm by a felon, for guns discovered when authorities raided Lin's suburban Detroit home.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Oracle Fixes Pile of Bugs

Joris Evers writes on C|Net News:

As part of its quarterly patch cycle, Oracle on Tuesday released fixes for a long list of security vulnerabilities in many of its products.

The "Critical Patch Update" delivers remedies for 37 flaws related to Oracle's Database products, 17 related to Application Server, 20 to the Collaboration Suite, 27 to E-Business Suite and Applications, one to PeopleSoft's Enterprise Portal and one in JD Edwards software.

Some of the flaws carry Oracle's most serious rating, which means they are easy to exploit and an attack can have a wide impact, according to the alert. "Several of these vulnerabilities are significant, and should be patched as soon as possible," security provider Symantec said in an alert to users of its DeepSight intelligence service.

William Shatner Sells Kidney Stone for Charity

An AP newswire
article, via MSNBC, reports athat:

An online casino has a piece of Capt. Kirk.

Actor William Shatner has sold his kidney stone for $25,000, with the money going to a housing charity, it was announced Tuesday.

Shatner reached agreement Monday to sell the stone to

Oracle to Acquire Austin's 360Commerce

Via The Austin Business Journal.

Business software giant Oracle Corp. is buying Austin software company 360Commerce Inc. for an undisclosed amount, according to research firm AMR Research Inc.

Privately held 360Commerce develops and sells retail management software.

Microsoft: XP SP3 Won't Arrive Until '07

Ina Fried writes on C|Net News:

Aiming to keep its focus on Windows Vista, Microsoft is now targeting 2007 for its next Windows XP service pack update.

In a posting to its life cycle Web site, Microsoft set a preliminary date of second half of next year for the release of Windows XP Service Pack 3 for both home and professional editions. That puts its debut well past the arrival of Vista, which is slated for the second half of this year and later than both outsiders and some insiders had originally predicted.

Motorola Makes Swedish IPTV Buy

Ed Sutherland writes on

Motorola today announced plans to buy Kreatel Communications AB, a Swedish company that develops set-top boxes for Internet television (IPTV).

Although IPTV is not expected to challenge U.S. cable offerings for several years, broadcasting television via the Internet is a growing market, according to analysts.

MPAA Rips Off Software for "Anti-Piracy" Site

Via Boing Boing.

The MPAA's site uses free software code, but fails to comply with the license. The studios talk a good line about the need to respect copyright, but it's their copyright they care about -- I'd love to see a No Electronic Theft Act suit against the MPAA for this.

ACS: Buyout Talks Are Over

Via The Austin Business Journal.

Affiliated Computer Services Inc. said Tuesday that buyout talks with a group of private investors have ended.

ACS employs more than 700 people in the Austin area. The company runs the Medicaid program for the state of Texas.

Intermix Media Loses Preliminary Round in Court

Stefanie Olsen writes on the C|Net Media Blog:

A class action suit against adware company Intermix Media will be allowed proceed, a California judge ruled last week.

Intermix, which among other things, distributes downloadable advertising software via the Internet, lost part of a motion to dismiss a complaint brought by plaintiff Thomas Kerrins. Kerrins charged that Intermix, which is now owned by media giant Newscorp., allegedly placed pop-up advertising software, or adware, on his computer without permission, causing his PC to lose functionality.

On Jan. 10, a California judge dismissed Kerrins' claim of "unjust enrichment" on the part of Intermix. But the judge declined Intermix's motion to dismiss claims of computer crime and another that boils down to trespassing.