COMPUTERS/INTERNET/SECURITY | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


COMPUTERS/INTERNET/SECURITY

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Jan 27 09:27

More Malware Targeting Users of Pirated Software for Mac

Users of pirated software have a new headache to worry about. For the second time in less than two weeks, malware targeting Mac computers has surfaced on the Web.

According to an advisory from Intego, OSX.Trojan.iServices.B is a variant of the iServices Trojan the company found last week targeting pirated copies of iWork '09. This time, the malware has its sights set on versions of Adobe Photoshop CS4 downloaded via BitTorrent trackers and other sites containing links to pirated software.

“The actual Photoshop installer is clean, but the Trojan horse is found in a crack application that serializes the program,” Intego’s advisory reads.

Jan 27 09:22

Man 'finds US troop data' on MP3

A New Zealand man says he found confidential data about US military personnel on an MP3 player he bought from a thrift shop in Oklahoma.

Chris Ogle, 29, said: "The more I look at it, the more I see and the less I think I should be looking."

The files included names and telephone numbers of American soldiers, according to reports by TV New Zealand.

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Jan 26 09:13

Microsoft misses memo, launches DRM-laden mobile music store

Retailers from Amazon to Real have launched their own DRM-free MP3 music stores in recent years. Faced with the competition, Apple finally put the last nail in the coffin of á la carte music DRM earlier this month with the iTunes Store, but don't tell Microsoft. The world's largest software maker just launched a mobile phone-based music store in the UK that charges nearly twice the price for media while offering even fewer rights.

Jan 25 12:09

Worm infects millions of computers worldwide

A new digital plague has hit the Internet, infecting millions of personal and business computers in what seems to be the first step of a multistage attack. The world's leading computer security experts do not yet know who programmed the infection, or what the next stage will be.

In recent weeks a worm, a malicious software program, has swept through corporate, educational and public computer networks around the world. Known as Conficker or Downadup, it is spread by a recently discovered Microsoft Windows vulnerability, by guessing network passwords and by hand-carried consumer gadgets like USB keys.

How to remove the Downadup and Conficker worm

Jan 25 09:38

Most Successful U.S. Startups 2008 - Cuil

I'd hate to see a bad startup.

http://www.quantcast.com/cuil.com

Jan 25 09:26

Monster.com suffers database breach deja vu

For the second time in 18 months, employment search site Monster.com has lost a wealth of personal data belonging to millions of job seekers after its database was illegally accessed.

Jan 24 01:11

Should controversial subjects be banned?

3th June, 2008 | Community Management
Should communities ban the discussion of certain topics?

"It’s a fact that some subjects are more controversial than others."

Jan 23 17:25

Windows 7 put up against Vista and XP in hardcore multicore benchmarks, XP wins

Now that the Windows 7 beta is out, the benchmarks are coming fast and furious, and while 7's been previously found to best XP and Vista during "real-world" tasks, it looks like XP is still the outright speed champ on current hardware.

Jan 23 11:50

SHOULD MEMBER STORIES BE MOVED TO A SEPERATE SECTION?

YES - Promoted stories should have a section of their own.
26% (511 votes)
NO - leave the promoted stories in the main article list.
74% (1478 votes)
Total votes: 1989
Jan 22 17:17

Seagate offers free data recovery for faulty drives, new firmware

Seagate Technology LLC today is offering free data-recovery services for customers who purchased the company's Barracuda 7200.11 desktop hard drive through December 2008. A firmware bug in those drives has produced a high number of failures.

According to users on Seagate's online support forum the drives tend to freeze for about 30 seconds during I/O transfers of streaming video or when reading or writing files at low speeds.

"We're offering free data recovery because the information on the drives is not deleted. It's just rendered inaccessible by this suspect firmware," said Seagate spokesman Michael Hall.

Jan 22 17:10

MAC HACKERS - Pirated iWork '09 installer may contain trojan horse

Intego, makers of VirusBarrier and other security software for the Macintosh, issued a security alert for Mac users on Thursday, advising them about the existence of a new Trojan Horse, which they’ve named OSX.Trojan.iServices.A. This new Trojan Horse can be found in pirated copies of Apple’s iWork ‘09 application suite, which has been downloaded over 20,000 times, according to Intego’s numbers.

When installing an infected pirated copy of iWork ‘09, an extra iWorkServices package is installed; this installation begins as soon as the user launches the iWork ‘09 installer. This package is installed as a system-wide startup item, where it has read-write permissions as root. In other words, this code can do anything to any part of the system, with full authorization.

Jan 21 18:06

Credit Card Processor Says Some Data Was Stolen

Heartland Payment Systems, a major payment processing company, disclosed a data breach on Monday that potentially exposed tens of millions of credit and debit cardholders to the risk of fraud in what could quickly become one of the country’s biggest data compromises.
Your Money Guides
Identity Theft »

Robert H. B. Baldwin Jr., Heartland’s president and chief financial officer, said that his company believed the card numbers, expiration dates, and in some cases cardholder names were exposed after attacks on its computer systems at the one point where data had been unencrypted.

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Jan 19 13:16

New RFID Technology Allows You to be Tracked WITHOUT Your Knowledge

By invitation, I recently visited a remote facility in northern Virginia to see a demonstration of NOX – a new Intelligent Perimeter Defense system deployed by the FBI that uses covert Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to track people and assets without their knowledge.

That’s right, using RFID to track people without their knowledge. This system is exactly what the privacy advocates have long feared: Big Brother tracking us with spy chips.

Jan 19 12:38

Windows virus infects 9m computers

The number of Windows computers infected with the new "downadup" worm – also known as "Conficker" and "Kido" – has exploded to almost 9 million worldwide, from roughly 2.4m last Thursday, according to the computer security company F-Secure.

The growth in the number of infected machines – which the company's researchers called "just amazing" – makes it one of the worst malware outbreaks of the past five years. The principal targets are corporate Windows servers belonging to small businesses who have not installed security updates released by Microsoft last October. F-Secure estimates that a third of all potentially vulnerable systems have not had the update.

Jan 19 12:37

Banks slip through virus loophole

Is my money safe? A quiet rule change allows British banks to refuse to compensate the victims of online fraud if they do not have "up-to-date" anti-virus protection, says Danny Bradbury

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Jan 18 18:22

Virus ‘sends RAF e-mails to Russia’

THE Ministry of Defence is investigating a major breach in security amid claims that all e-mail traffic from a number of RAF stations has been sent to a Russian internet server.

The e-mails were allegedly diverted to the Russian sender by a worm virus that entered the MoD systems 12 days ago bringing down computers and blocking e-mail communications across the military.

Jan 18 10:33

Are These Pro-Israel Mobbing Technologies RICO violations? Or Even Treason?

It could be argued, and substanitated with much evidence that, since 911, this war we have been fighting for Israel has destroyed America...it's economy, its military, its constitution, its people; and pursuing this agenda, using these techniques and technoliges...to aid a foreign power, is treason.

Jan 14 09:08

Net-Worm.Win32.Kido

Status : moderate risk

Kaspersky Lab has detected that multiple variants of Kido, a polymorphic worm, are currently spreading widely.

Net-Worm.Win32.Kido exploits a critical vulnerability (MS08-067) in Microsoft Windows to spread via local networks and removable storage media.

The worm disables system restore, blocks access to security websites, and downloads additional malware to infected machines.

Users are strongly recommended to ensure their antivirus databases are up to date. A patch for the vulnerability is available from Microsoft.

Jan 13 10:17

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 drives failing

SEAGATE'S FLAGSHIP desktop Barracuda 7200.11 drives, in particular the 1TB (ST31000340AS) units, are failing at an alarming rate and prompting outrage from their faithful customers.

A new self-bricking feature apparently resides in faulty firmware microcode which will rear its ugly head sometime at boot detection. Essentially the drive will be working as normal for a while, then - out of the blue - it'll brick itself to death. The next time you reboot your computer the drive will simply lock itself up as a failsafe and won't be detected by the BIOS. In other words, there's power, spin-up, but no detection to enable booting.

Jan 10 04:00

Did We Just Have Our i-911... And Is An i-Patriot Act On It's Way?

Former Counter Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke told a leading expert on internet free speech, Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig, that there was going to be an "i-9/11", in other words, an electronic terrorist act, and an "i-Patriot Act" to crack down on freedoms on the Internet under the guise of protecting against such threats:

There’s going to be an i-9/11 event. Which doesn’t necessarily mean an Al Qaeda attack, it means an event where the instability or the insecurity of the internet becomes manifest during a malicious event which then inspires the government into a response. You’ve got to remember that after 9/11 the government drew up the Patriot Act within 20 days and it was passed.

Jan 09 07:03

British tax payers struck by phishing scam

British newspapers are warning their readers of a phishing scam that has been spread via spam email, telling recipients that they have been awarded a tax refund from the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs).

The phishing attacks have been seen arriving from faked addresses such as refundtax@hmrc.gov.co.uk or taxrefund@hmrc.gov.uk, and the fact that it is being seen so much now is no surprise. January 31st is the deadline for self-assessment forms to be filed with the HMRC, and some taxpayers will be hoping for a rebate.

Of course, for many people it’s a dream come to true to think that they might actually be getting some money back from the tax man rather than having to give money to the Inland Revenue, so it’s not surprising if people might eagerly click on the link without thinking of the possible consequences.

Jan 09 06:53

Kiwis rally opposition to NZ copyright bill

Borrowing the "Not in My Name" slogan popularized by anti-war and pro-Palestinian activists, New Zealand's newborn Creative Freedom Foundation is leading a petition drive to block implementation of copyright legislation slated to take effect at the end of February. Critics charge that Section 92 of the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act, enacted this past April, requires ISPs to act on a principle of "guilt upon accusation," cutting off the Internet connections of users merely alleged to be violating copyright.

Jan 09 06:50

Taxing ISPs to Prop Up Failing Newspapers?

We recently noted how the RIAA has created an entirely new organization tasked with pushing the idea of collective music licensing, applying a $5-$10 "piracy tax" to consumer broadband bills, regardless of whether you pirate or not. The idea has several critical problems, not least of which being that it rewards the music industry for their failure to adapt, but it also opens the door to every single industry impacted by piracy (music, film, porn, gaming, literature) to begin demanding their own tax.

Mike Masnick at Techdirt notes that it didn't take long for other collapsing business models to start putting their hand out. Canadian website Macleans recently published an article suggesting that because it's getting harder to make money in the news business, failing newspapers should be compensated for their losses by applying an ISP tax. Of course the ISPs won't pay it, you will.

Jan 09 06:43

Why police hackers are a threat to your privacy

Imagine if the Home Office decided that the best way to fight terrorism was to ban curtains.

"Hang on!" we'd say. "That means Creepy Dave across the road will be able to see me in my underpants!"

The Home Office would nod sagely. "That's true, but you know who else has curtains? Terrorists! Terrorists and gangsters! So it's curtains for curtains!"

The Home Office hasn't banned curtains just yet, but it's getting closer. Over the weekend we discovered that incoming legislation means that the police will be able to install spyware on anybody's PC without asking the courts for permission. Inevitably it's to fight terrorism, organised crime and Gary Glitter.

Jan 08 20:40

UK e-mail law 'attack on rights'

Rules forcing internet companies to keep details of every e-mail sent in the UK are a waste of money and an attack on civil liberties, critics say.

From March all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will by law have to keep information about every e-mail sent or received in the UK for a year.

The government will pay the ISPs more than £25m to ensure work runs smoothly.

The Home Office insists the data, which does not include e-mails' content, is vital for crime and terror inquiries.

Jan 08 16:52

Hacking Godfather 'Maksik' Sentenced to 30 Years by Turkish Court

A Ukrainian cybercrime lord linked to nearly every major breach of U.S. retail networks in the past four years was sentenced this week to 30 years in prison by a Turkish court.

The Turks got him for hacking into banks. If all hackers got prison time, especially in a Turkish prison, they would quickly become a rare breed.

Jan 06 19:06

Classmates malware attack poses as school reunion invite

Remember the days of the old school yard? You may prefer to forget them, but many people are nostalgic for the days of grazed knees, poor food and double geography.

A new malware campaign seen in the last few days plays on the popularity of websites like Classmates.com and FriendsReunited, by posing as an invitation to an imminent school reunion.

Jan 05 09:38

How the Megaphonies manipulate the internet

IsraeliGirl. Here's her user profile page.
http://digg.com/users/israeligirl

On that page, in the about section, it says:

I've been a marketing consultant to high tech companies for the last 10 years. I am also one of the founders of giyus.org, a pro-Israeli public diplomacy group.

So I went to GIYUS.org to see what kind of a group it is. There homepage is as you might expect.
http://giyus.org/

GIYUS it turns out is an acronym for Give Israel Your United Support. And here is what is displayed on the front page of GIYUS.org.

Today's conflicts are won by public opinion.
Now is the time to be active and voice Israel's side to the world.

Join the effort in 3 easy steps:

1. Download and install Megaphone desktop tool
2. Receive desktop alerts on key articles and surveys
3. Click alerts to easily voice your opinion

Help us by reporting relevant articles and surveys.

Together we can make a difference!

Jan 04 08:23

Phishing Scam Spreading on Twitter

A few minutes ago, I received a direct message from one of my twitter followers:

hey! check out this funny blog about you… jannawalitax . blogspot . com

And there’s another one:

Hey, i found a website with your pic on it… LOL check it out here twitterblog . access-logins . com / login

DO NOT VISIT the URL in question. It will redirect you immediately to a suspicious domain: twitter . access-logins . com - notice the subdomain?

Jan 04 08:19

Police set to step up hacking of home PCs

THE Home Office has quietly adopted a new plan to allow police across Britain routinely to hack into people’s personal computers without a warrant.

The move, which follows a decision by the European Union’s council of ministers in Brussels, has angered civil liberties groups and opposition MPs. They described it as a sinister extension of the surveillance state which drives “a coach and horses” through privacy laws.

The hacking is known as “remote searching”. It allows police or MI5 officers who may be hundreds of miles away to examine covertly the hard drive of someone’s PC at his home, office or hotel room.

Material gathered in this way includes the content of all e-mails, web-browsing habits and instant messaging.

Jan 03 19:55

How MySpace's New 'Pay Per Click' Ads Rob Artists

Any bands or solo artists out there thinking about trying MySpace's new "MySpace Ads" advertising campaign? Think again.

What MySpace is doing, in my opinion, is nothing short of a scam. Because, in the end, for most of us, what they're promoting is nothing close to what you'll get.

Jan 02 06:34

UK: Private firm to guard database of every phone call, e-mail

A contentious proposal to create a massive database of communications metadata in the United Kingdom has just become even more controversial. According to reports in the British press, a "consultation paper" laying out the plan, slated for release in January, contemplates outsourcing the maintenance of the database to private-sector firms. The proposal has already come under fire from civil liberties groups, the European human rights commissioner, and former public officials.

Jan 02 06:28

FBI posts fake Child Porn hyperlinks to snare child porn suspects

A CNET News.com review of legal documents shows that courts have approved of this technique, even though it raises questions about entrapment, the problems of identifying who's using an open wireless connection--and whether anyone who clicks on a FBI link that contains no child pornography should be automatically subject to a dawn raid by federal police.

Dec 30 07:17

Slysoft re-cracks BD+

SLYSOFT HAS DONE IT again with their highly recommended AnyDVD HD product. The new version 6.5.0.2, announced today, breaks the new revision of the unbreakable BD+.

For those of you not following this one-sided fight, Blu-Ray movies do a lot of very unfortunate things, like stripping your fair use rights, preventing backups (no one has kids or pets that maul disks), being incompatible with boatloads of hardware, and transmitting every viewing, every click, and every thing you do back to who-knows-where to be used against you. Really, they do that, why do you think net access is mandatory?

Dec 30 07:13

Microsoft specs out 'pay as you go' PC scheme

Microsoft Corp. last week applied for a patent that spells out a "pay as you go" concept under which users would be charged for both the software they run and the computing horsepower they use.

According to the patent application filed last week with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the "Metered Pay-As-You-Go Computing Experience" scheme would meter software use and access to specific computer hardware. Fees would be charged against a prepaid or billed account.

Dec 27 20:26

U.S. Hosts Most Malware Spreading Sites

The U.S. in 2008 hosted the most websites that spread malware in the world, with China following close behind, according to a new security threat report.

The U.S. hosts 37 percent of all such sites, while China (including Hong Kong) comes in second with 27.7 percent, as Russia with 9.1 percent rounds out the top three.

Dec 24 06:30

Windows XP Extensions Reflect Vista's Woes

Microsoft in the past week announced yet another life extension for its supposedly retired Windows XP operating system, a sign that, despite almost two years on the market, Windows Vista is a no-go for most businesses.

Only 10% of 700 business executives recently surveyed by the Information Technology Industry Council and Sunbelt Software said their companies are using Windows Vista in the enterprise.

The numbers are consistent with other industry data and anecdotal observations.

Dec 23 18:03

Australian 'Net filter testing set, will include P2P

Australia's Minister of Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy (BCDE), Stephen Conroy, appears to have recognized that his country's plan to install mandatory content filters at the ISP level is causing a public backlash. Conroy has set up several FAQs that describe the program in detail, and has even started defending the program on the departmental blog.

Dec 17 22:17

Google AdWords Isn’t Perfect! Serves Up Phishing Sites & Malware

News flash folks, Google AdWords is not perfect and can be exploited. There are times when people can go into the AdWords system and trick Google into serving up ads for phishing sites and malware downloads. Yes, this happens and happens often enough.

Dec 17 22:17

Google AdWords Isn’t Perfect! Serves Up Phishing Sites & Malware

News flash folks, Google AdWords is not perfect and can be exploited. There are times when people can go into the AdWords system and trick Google into serving up ads for phishing sites and malware downloads. Yes, this happens and happens often enough.

Dec 17 21:06

Hackers Sell Facebook Profiles For 89p

With Christmas season at its peak, hackers are stealing details of Facebook profiles and selling them to cybercriminal gangs for just 89p each, according to a new research study.

These gangs would use these crucial details to launch “spam” messages to the computer users, urging them to visit counterfeit video or image links.

These malicious links, when clicked, infect users’ computers with malware and spyware viruses that can track keystrokes entered, along with other significant information, such as usernames and passwords of online bank accounts.

Dec 17 20:43

Microsoft issues emergency IE patch as attacks escalate

Microsoft has issued a rare emergency update for its Internet Explorer browser as miscreants stepped up attacks targeting a vulnerability on hundreds of thousands of webpages.

In many cases, the websites distributing the toxic payload are legitimate destinations that have been commandeered, allowing an attacker to snare victims as they surf to online banks, forums, and other trusted sites. There are at least six distinct versions of attack code circulating in the wild, according to researchers at iDefense, a security lab owned by VeriSign.

Dec 17 20:43

Microsoft issues emergency IE patch as attacks escalate

Microsoft has issued a rare emergency update for its Internet Explorer browser as miscreants stepped up attacks targeting a vulnerability on hundreds of thousands of webpages.

In many cases, the websites distributing the toxic payload are legitimate destinations that have been commandeered, allowing an attacker to snare victims as they surf to online banks, forums, and other trusted sites. There are at least six distinct versions of attack code circulating in the wild, according to researchers at iDefense, a security lab owned by VeriSign.

Dec 15 20:37

Labor plan to censor internet in shreds

The Government's plan to censor the internet is in tatters, with Australia's largest ISP saying it will not take part in live trials of the system and the second largest committing only to a scaled-back trial.

And the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, has written to critics saying that the so-called "live" trials would be "a closed network test and will not involve actual customers". Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said this was a sign the Government was slowly backing away from the heavily criticised policy.

Dec 15 19:00

RIAA Seeking $1 Million in Damages from a Student for Sharing 7 Songs on Kazaa

Today in Rhode Island federal court we are going to see yet another lawsuit with RIAA as one party and a person who seems to be randomly chosen to punish for abusing copyright of record labels. And while I myself usually support content producers everywhere I can, RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) with the ridiculous lawsuits everywhere seems to forget about any common sense at all quite often.

Dec 15 09:54

Internet Explorer users under attack

A friendly note to all Internet Explorer users …

If you’re using IE (any version, ranging from 5.01 t0 8.0 beta 2) then you need to be aware of a new vulnerability which is set to become a big problem over the next few days.

I’m not going to rehash the details of this vulnerability other than to say that it’s pretty serious and has the scope to affect a massive number of users.

Dec 15 09:50

MPAA to Obama: censor the Internet, kick people off the Internet, break other countries' Internet

Tim Jones of the Electronic Frontier Foundation has some good commentary on the news that the MPAA has asked Obama to spy on the entire Internet, and to establish a system where being accused of copyright infringement would result in loss of your Internet connection (and your VoIP line, your access to your university, your lifeline to your parents in the old country, your means of participating in civic life, your means of fighting your parking ticket, etc etc etc). The MPAA also wants Obama to lean on other countries (notably Canada!) and force them to adopt US copyright laws.

Dec 15 09:47

Google cranks up the Consensus Engine

Google this week admitted that its staff will pick and choose what appears in its search results. It's a historic statement - and nobody has yet grasped its significance.

Dec 15 09:44

Windows XP: The OS That Won't Quit

Phasing out an old operating system is nothing new for Microsoft, but Windows XP is unique in that it may be too good to die.

This week, Dell announced it will offer systems with the aging Windows XP for a surcharge of US$150 over the newer Windows Vista--this only five months after it stopped offering XP on its Inspiron consumer desktop and laptop PCs.

The deadline for Windows XP downgrades has been pushed back twice now, remaining in effect until July 31, 2009-a strong indication that enough users want to stay with the aging XP rather than give Vista a chance.

Dec 15 09:41

Sony's PS3 A Sinking Ship: Sales Plummet

So why is the PS3 flopping so badly?

It's the most expensive console on the market, $150 - $200 more than its rivals. Even if you believe the video game industry is "recession-proof" (it isn't), a tanking economy makes consumers more price-conscious.

The PS3's big bonus is its ability to double as a Blu-Ray player. Too bad no one seems to care about hi-def DVDs. The differences between Blu-Ray and DVD are hard to see on a TV less than 50".

Dec 15 09:41

Sony's PS3 A Sinking Ship: Sales Plummet

So why is the PS3 flopping so badly?

It's the most expensive console on the market, $150 - $200 more than its rivals. Even if you believe the video game industry is "recession-proof" (it isn't), a tanking economy makes consumers more price-conscious.

The PS3's big bonus is its ability to double as a Blu-Ray player. Too bad no one seems to care about hi-def DVDs. The differences between Blu-Ray and DVD are hard to see on a TV less than 50".

Dec 12 06:35

US shuts down 'scareware' sellers

The US government has moved to shut down sellers of fake security software.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has won a restraining order that stops several sellers of "scareware" from continuing to trade.

Millions of people are thought to have been caught out by the software which, once installed, issues false alerts about viruses and illegal porn.

The FTC is pursuing further legal action to win a permanent ban on those peddling the scareware.

Dec 08 09:21

FBI: Criminals auto-dialing with hacked VoIP systems

Criminals are taking advantage of a bug in the Asterisk Internet telephony system that lets them pump out thousands of scam phone calls in an hour, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation warned Friday.

The FBI didn't say which versions of Asterisk were vulnerable to the bug, but it advised users to upgrade to the latest version of the software. Asterisk is an open-source product that lets users turn a Linux computer into a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephone exchange.

Dec 08 09:09

Teen Transplant Candidate Sued Over Music Downloads

A young Pittsburgh woman who needs a transplant has another fight on her hands. She's being sued by the music industry for illegally downloading music from the Internet.

But 19-year-old Ciara Sauro strongly denies the charge and says she and her mother are overwhelmed with medical debts.

"Look and see where it (the downloads) came from, and look and see that it's not me. It's not fair to do to me," said Sauro.

Sauro, who lives in Ross Township, is disabled with pancreatitis. She needs an islet cell transplant and is hospitalized weekly.

Dec 06 11:19

Why Are PCs and Gadgets So Slow? (Who's Breaking Moore's Law?)

If Moore's Law holds, which it will, the speed of processors will double over the next two years. Which would you rather have: Bloated new features that gobble up all those clock cycles before they get to you? Or would you rather have all your stuff run twice as fast?

Industry: It's time to put the feature bloat and spaghetti code on hold for two years, and get to work optimizing, minimizing and streamlining everything. We want speed. And we want it yesterday.

Dec 06 10:58

Thieves Winning Online War, Maybe in Your PC

Internet security is broken, and nobody seems to know quite how to fix it.

Despite the efforts of the computer security industry and a half-decade struggle by Microsoft to protect its Windows operating system, malicious software is spreading faster than ever. The so-called malware surreptitiously takes over a PC and then uses that computer to spread more malware to other machines exponentially. Computer scientists and security researchers acknowledge they cannot get ahead of the onslaught.

Dec 06 04:49

YouTube is Dead

2/05/08 As of yesterday YouTube has replaced its list of 'Most Viewed' videos on the site's 'Videos' section with a varied selection of sponsor-friendly videos that the site calls 'Most Popular'. Where users normally see videos with high view-counts that have become popular due to viral spreading and community activity, we now see videos like the new MacBook commercial that gets showcased on the 'Most Popular' #1 spot while having very low view-counts and even lower ratings.

Dec 05 19:21

17 judges, one ruling - and 857,000 records must be now wiped clear

The fingerprints and DNA samples of more than 857,000 innocent citizens who have been arrested or charged but never convicted of a criminal offence now face deletion from the national DNA database after a landmark ruling by the European court of human rights in Strasbourg.

Dec 05 19:09

Nuclear Power Plant Data Leaked Via Virus-Infected PC, Posted on Net

Data on safety inspections of four Japanese nuclear power plants have been posted on the Internet, having apparently been leaked from a virus-infected personal computer of an employee of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, the agency said Friday.

The leaked data include reports on inspections between 2000 and 2002 and data on the operational status of nuclear plants in Fukui, Niigata, Shizuoka and Kagoshima prefectures, according to the agency, a unit under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Dec 04 09:45

Firefox users targeted by rare piece of malware

Researchers at BitDefender have discovered a new type of malicious software that collects passwords for banking sites but targets only Firefox users.

The malware, which BitDefender dubbed "Trojan.PWS.ChromeInject.A" sits in Firefox's add-ons folder, said Viorel Canja, the head of BitDefender's lab. The malware runs when Firefox is started.

Dec 04 07:51

Worm uses familiar brands to lure people

On Tuesday security vendor WebSense issued an alert warning that holiday coupon e-mails from familiar companies may be malicious code in disguise, in this case a mass-mailing e-mail worm.

Dec 04 07:48

Berlusconi plans to use G8 presidency to 'regulate the internet'

Italian president and media baron Silvio Berlusconi said today that he would use his country's imminent presidency of the G8 group to push for an international agreement to "regulate the internet".

Speaking to Italian postal workers, Reuters reports Berlusconi said: "The G8 has as its task the regulation of financial markets... I think the next G8 can bring to the table a proposal for a regulation of the internet."

Dec 01 18:52

Porn bill for couple who can't download

A Hertfordshire couple in their 60s were horrified to receive a letter last week from a London firm of lawyers accusing them of dowloading a hardcore gay porn movie. It demanded they pay £503 for "copyright infringement" or face a high court action. The 20-page "pre-settlement letter" from lawyers Davenport Lyons, acting on behalf of German pornogaphers, insisted they pay £503 to their clients for the 115 minute film Army Fuckers which features "Gestapo" officers and "Czech" farmers.

Dec 01 08:21

Touchscreen Computing Has Already Failed

HP’s got an advertising blitz going on for their new touchscreen interface PC. It looks pretty damn cool on the commercials, and I mean come on, is the mouse really the best input device we can come up with?

But the thing is, despite HP’s Hudsuckeresque “Touch the Future Now” slogan, this has actually been tried before. Back in the 80’s. I was a computer geek long before it was cool, and I remember the first time touch screens and light pens were all the rage. So if this awesome futuristic technology is actually over 30 years old, how come we’re still using the shitty old mouse?

Nov 28 08:41

Lycos Europe To Shut Down After Failing To Find Buyer

It’s the end of the road. After putting itself on the auction block in April, Lycos Europe has finally conceded what had become increasingly clear - no-one wants to buy the ailing portal. So it confirmed Wednesday morning it will wind up its portal and its web hosting activities.

Nov 26 09:02

New report predicts massive increase in malware and phishing in 2009

Reports from security provider MessageLabs suggest that virus writers are highly likely to release increasingly sophisticated strains of malware over the course of next year in an effort to get back in to the game after some high-profile botnet shutdown operations in 2008.

The organisation predicts that hackers will set off a series of attacks in which malware will exists as a virtualization layer running directly on the hardware and hidden by the operating system.

Nov 26 08:59

Microsoft ranked fifth worst spam service ISP

Microsoft is listed fifth in the Top 10 list of the worst spam service ISPs compiled by Spamhaus.org.

Spammers are advertising links to sites that "peddle fake pharmacy products, porn, and Nigerian 419 scams" on Microsoft's Live.com and Livefilestore.com sites because they know that the Microsoft sites won't get blocked by antispam groups, writes Brian Krebs on his Security Fix Blog at the Washington Post.

Nov 25 11:49

Battered, but not broken: understanding the WPA crack

Academic researchers have found an exploitable hole in a popular form of wireless networking encryption. The hole is in a part of 802.11i that forms the basis of WiFi Protected Access (WPA), so it could affect routers worldwide. German graduate student Erik Tews will present a paper at next week's PacSec in Tokyo coauthored with fellow student and aircrack-ng team member Martin Beck that reveals how remnants of WPA's predecessor allow them to slip a knife into a crack in the encryption scheme and send bogus data to an unsuspecting WiFi client.

Nov 23 19:09

Kernel vulnerability found in Vista

A flaw in Vista's networking has been found that can crash the system, but no fix is expected until the next service pack

A flaw has been found in Windows Vista that could allow rootkits to be hidden or denial-of-service attacks to be executed on computers using the operating system.

The vulnerability was found by Thomas Unterleitner of Austrian security company Phion and was announced Friday. Unterleitner told ZDNet UK on Friday that Phion told Microsoft about the flaw in October but that he understood a fix would only be issued in the next Vista service pack.

Nov 23 16:14

Government loses 53 computers in a year

The government has lost 53 laptop or desktop computers in the year since HMRC mislaid two discs containing the details of 25 million people.

Government departments also lost 30 mobile phones, 36 Blackberries, four disc drives and four memory sticks.

"But ID card are perfectly safe - really!"

Nov 21 20:55

Uninstalling Windows Live Messenger Beta (updated)

I installed Windows Live Messenger Beta and I hate it - mostly because although it displays my personal emoticons on my chat partner's screen, it refuses to show them to me! However, when I tried to remove it using Add/Remove Programs, it runs its installer, which gives me the option of adding other things, but no option to uninstall it.

Nov 20 11:07

Court slams door on sale of spyware

The Federal Trade Commission today had a US District Court issue a temporary restraining order halting the sale of RemoteSpy keylogger spyware.

According to the FTC's complaint, RemoteSpy spyware was sold to clients who would then secretly monitor unsuspecting consumers' computers. According to the FTC, the defendants provided RemoteSpy clients with detailed instructions explaining how to disguise the spyware as an innocuous file, such as a photo, attached to an email.

Nov 20 10:05

Apple To Boost Movie Piracy, iTunes Competition With Anti-Piracy Feature (AAPL)

If this is true, it's one of the least consumer-friendly things we've ever heard Apple (AAPL) get behind.

According to Wired, Apple has quietly added anti-piracy technology to its new MacBook laptops. If you hook your laptop up to your digital TV, projector, external monitor, etc. -- which we do on a near-daily basis -- to watch movies, it will block you from playing movies you've paid for from iTunes unless you have a "High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection" compatible display.

Nov 19 22:36

Academics warn of EU 'three strikes' back door plan

The content industry has lobbied to force internet service providers (ISPs) to disconnect users they suspect of engaging in copyright-infringing file-sharing after two warnings.

Digital rights activists have questioned the accuracy of the evidence gathered by industry against individuals and have said that the effects on a whole household of one user's actions are disproportionate.

Nov 18 09:40

Google's browser labelled a 'digital Trojan horse'

Perhaps the biggest threat to Google's increasing dominance of internet search and advertising is the rising fear, justified or not, that Google's broadening reach is giving it unchecked power.

This scrutiny goes deeper than the skeptical eye that lawmakers and the US Justice Department have given to Google's proposed ad partnership with Yahoo. Many objections to that deal are financial, and surround whether Google and Yahoo could unfairly drive up online ad prices.

Nov 18 09:31

Top 10 reasons to be paranoid

The truth is out there ... and so is your data. And just because there are no virtual black helicopters following you doesn't mean somebody somewhere doesn't have a bead on who you are and what you are doing.

Nov 17 07:20

Data retention laws: what they mean for ISPs

If you think you're making a private call, or sending a discreet message, think again. Under an anti-terrorism law passed in late 2001 in the wake of the atrocities of September 11, details of every website visited and the transmission of every email sent and every phone call made in the UK can be retained and made available to authorities. This may give individuals privacy concerns but for telcos and internet service providers faced with the consequent storage and retrieval requirements, it is cause for financial concern.

Nov 17 07:07

Woman Loses $400,000 To Nigerian Email Scam

Why did this woman, a reverend and a nurse, give over $400,000 to Nigerian email scammers? It started with just $100. The emails told her a long-lost relative with the same last name had $20.5 million caught up in the banks of Nigeria. Janella Spears just had to help with a few processing fees...

As she sent the money, more and more obstacles would arise, each needing more money to solve. Driven by blind greed, she sent over $400,000 to the scammers, draining her and her husband's savings, retirement fund, mortgaged the house and put a lien on the car.

Nov 14 21:39

Speculation over back door in Skype

According to reports, there may be a back door built into Skype, which allows connections to be bugged. The company has declined to expressly deny the allegations. At a meeting with representatives of ISPs and the Austrian regulator on lawful interception of IP based services held on 25th June, high-ranking officials at the Austrian interior ministry revealed that it is not a problem for them to listen in on Skype conversations.

Nov 14 11:00

Google Offers Text Ads Linked to Malware Site

Search giant Google is known for its "do no evil" approach. It goes to great lengths to protect the environment and it blocks sites on lists of known malware sites from being searched.

However, security researchers made an alarming discovery of a major slip-up for Google. The site had allowed a known malware site to buy text ads and was placing these ads on its partner pages through its Google AdWords service. The link was listed as “Antivirus XP 2008,” which led to the URL “antivirus-world-2009.com.” (Don't go there)

Nov 14 10:58

Google Offers Text Ads Linked to Malware Site

Search giant Google is known for its "do no evil" approach. It goes to great lengths to protect the environment and it blocks sites on lists of known malware sites from being searched.

However, security researchers made an alarming discovery of a major slip-up for Google. The site had allowed a known malware site to buy text ads and was placing these ads on its partner pages through its Google AdWords service. The link was listed as “Antivirus XP 2008,” which led to the URL “antivirus-world-2009.com.” (Don't go there)

Nov 14 10:52

Microsoft Says over 11% of Vista Printer Driver Installs Fail

Anyone who used Windows Vista in the early days of its launch will likely have not so fond recollections of driver issues that often led to frequent crashes and lockups. Video cards from NVIDIA were especially difficult to get working on Vista early on thanks to drivers that didn’t work well.

Nov 14 08:28

After banning YouTube, military launches TroopTube

The U.S. military, with help from Seattle startup Delve Networks, has launched a video-sharing Web site for troops, their families and supporters, a year and a half after restricting access to YouTube and other video sites.

TroopTube, as the new site is called, lets people register as members of one of the branches of the armed forces, family, civilian Defense Department employees or supporters. Members can upload personal videos from anywhere with an Internet connection, but a Pentagon employee screens each for taste, copyright violations and national security issues.

Nov 14 08:20

Australia planning to block 10,000 websites

The websites will be blocked as part of a government-sponsored trial of its filter technology that will start before Christmas and last six weeks.

The government has already identified 1300 websites that it wants to black list as part of the clean feeds scheme.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the sites mostly contained child pornography and other unwatned content, including images and videos.

Nov 13 18:23

Under the Hood, Windows 7 Is Vista's Twin

If any pre-beta software ever called for a close look and benchmark testing, Windows 7 was it. I rolled up my sleeves and dove in. I started by examining Windows 7's innards--the kernel and other low-level structures--then slowly worked my way out to subsystem behavior and application runtime characteristics. Because one of the focal points of Microsoft's keynote presentation was improved performance, I looked for signs that Windows 7 would be faster, more responsive, and less resource-intensive than the bloated Windows Vista.

Nov 13 18:21

Government plans for 'black box' web surveillance take shape

BRITISH GOVERNMENT plans to install black boxes at ISPs around the country, in order to log every email and web site visit its citizens make, are taking shape.

Shady Home Office officials have had talks with representatives from British based ISPs including BT, AOL Europe, O2 and BSkyB and told them of possible plans to implement the "black box" technology for storing all raw data being transmitted over the Web. It would all be funnelled into a giant central database controlled by the Government.

Nov 13 17:57

CORRUPT PICTURES USING VISTA HOME PREMIUM

Transferring jpegs between jump drive or Nikon d40 or backup drive and Dell Inspiron 531s, via UBS, corruption in up to 50% of files. This is the worst!

Nov 13 09:39

AVG Antivirus Accidentally Kills Windows

Dutch, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish users of the popular anti-virus software AVG have discovered a nasty surprise. AVG has mistakenly identified a core Windows system file, user32.dll, as a Trojan, and summarily deletes it, b0rking Windows. AVG has announced they're working on a fix.

Nov 10 21:13

Spam gets 1 response per 12,500,000 emails

A new study details how spammers – the bane of our email inboxes – still make pots of money, despite only receiving a response to one in every 12,500,000 emails they spam out.

The study, by a team of seven computer scientists from University of California, Berkeley and UC, San Diego (UCSD) infiltrated the Storm network, which uses hijacked home PCs to relay much of the junk email you spend your days wading through while wondering 'who the hell responds to this stuff?'

Well. Now you know. One gullible idiot in 12,500,000 recipients. Or thereabouts.

Nov 06 09:04

Can’t Access Your Google Account? Tough Luck

A web programmer is the latest victim in a string of recent Google account shut-downs the company has been slow to remedy.

Axod, creator of the Ajax-powered chat webapp Mibbit, which we’ve written about previously, was apparently the victim of a malicious hacker last Thursday. While that sort of random attack could happen to anyone, it’s Google’s response that has Axod steamed.

“A company really shows its true colors when things go wrong, or when users need help,” he writes. “Google has shown that it simply doesn’t care.”

Some details from the Mibbit blog:

Nov 06 09:04

Can’t Access Your Google Account? Tough Luck

A web programmer is the latest victim in a string of recent Google account shut-downs the company has been slow to remedy.

Axod, creator of the Ajax-powered chat webapp Mibbit, which we’ve written about previously, was apparently the victim of a malicious hacker last Thursday. While that sort of random attack could happen to anyone, it’s Google’s response that has Axod steamed.

“A company really shows its true colors when things go wrong, or when users need help,” he writes. “Google has shown that it simply doesn’t care.”

Some details from the Mibbit blog:

Nov 03 06:37

Thanks for the memory

We read, all too often, of various government and other (dis)organizations losing huge files with personal information in them. Would it not be nice if the people involved did not have to carry these files around with them?

Thanks for the memory

A mathematical trick may allow people to scatter their computer files across the world's hard disks ...

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