10/28/2005

World of Warcraft Expansion Announced

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Blizzard Entertainment revealed the first details of an expansion pack planned for World of Warcraft called The Burning Crusade.

The add-on pack, The Burning Crusade, will expand the game with new races, new lands to explore, new “Battlegrounds? upon which to fight other players, additional professions, new items and more. Gamers who install the expansion pack will be able to increase their characters’ experience cap to Level 70 (Level 60 is the current limit).

Two new playable races will be added with this. Blizzard only revealed initial details about one such race today — the Blood Elves, descendants of the exiled Highborne elves aligned with The Horde.

New high-level dungeons will be added, new monsters, hundreds of new quests and new items and much more. An entire new continent called Outland will also be featured — it is the remains of Draenor, homeworld of the Orcs. Outland is now ruled by the fallen elf Illidan, who lives in fear that he will be discovered by Arthas, the new Lich King, and the remaining Lords of the Burning Legion.

A release date was not announced, but system requirements are expected to be the same as the original.

Source: MacWorld (via Yahoo)

eBay Fraudsters Jailed In Britain

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Three Romanian fraudsters were jailed on Friday in London for their part in a worldwide fraud carried out via Internet auction house eBay, which netted at least 300,000 pounds .

Some 3,000 victims from as far away as the United States and South Korea were snared by the trio in the electronic scam that involved crime bosses in Romania and which police fear continues to this day.

Judge Duncan Matheson sentenced Nicolae Cretanu, 30, to 3-1/2 years, his wife Adriana Cretanu 23, and their accomplice George Titar, 26, to 30 months each.

Unsuspecting eBayers who tried to buy the fictitious goods were contacted and told their bid had been unsuccessful.

The disappointed bidders were then offered a second chance to buy similar goods outside the eBay system which provides some security from fraud.

Through a variety of aliases and using a number of forged Belgian passports the Romanians made hundreds of collections from Western Union money transfer outlets in London.

They kept about 30 percent of the money they stole, the rest they passed onto crime bosses in Romania.

Source: Reuters

AOL Hit By IM Virus

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

AOL’s instant messaging service has been hit by a virus which downloads spyware onto computers via a special website.

The virus spreads via messages on AOL’s AIM software, either saying HILARIOUS!!! Or see thing!!!, with a URL. Clicking on the link takes the user to a web page that attempts to download a Trojan onto the computer using patchable flaws in the browser.

“We have seen several versions of the URL,? said web monitor Websense, which issued an alert about the virus.

Once installed, the Trojan then modifies several registry items, adds a browser helper object, and installs several pieces of spyware. It also connects to more than 10 different websites to download and install other Trojan Horses and pieces of spyware.

Source: vnunet

Anti-Spyware Coalition Finished Spyware Definitions

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The Anti-Spyware Coalition (ASC), group of software and hardware companies, security firms and consumer groups, finalised its definitions of spyware on Thursday.

Spyware has quickly evolved from an online nuisance to one of the most dire threats facing the Internet. As users struggle to maintain control over their computers, many find themselves trapped in a cyclical battle against programs that install themselves without warning, open dangerous security holes and reinstall themselves after they’ve been deleted. The worst of these programs allow online criminals to hijack users’ sensitive personal information at will. Even the most benign variants can slow computers to a crawl by wasting their processing power to provide unwanted “services.” Compounding the problem are the sophisticated ploys spyware developers use to install their programs on unsuspecting users’ computers. Spyware distributors often rely on security holes, clever cons, opaque “bundling” arrangements and other unsavory practices to spread their unwanted payload. As the threat has grown, so has the need to mount a coordinated defense against these unwanted programs and their adverse effects.

The final spyware definition is technologies deployed without appropriate user consent and/or implemented in ways that impair user control over:

  • Material changes that affect their user experience, privacy, or system security;
  • Use of their system resources, including what programs are installed on their computers; and/or
  • Collection, use, and distribution of their personal or other sensitive information.

Singapore Bans Gay Web Site, Fines Another

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Singapore has banned an overseas-hosted gay Web site after receiving complaints it was recruiting underage boys for sex and nude pornography, and promoting a promiscuous homosexual lifestyle.

The city-state’s media watchdog, the Media Development Authority (MDA), said on Friday that it had also slapped a S$5,000 fine on a local gay Web site, titled “Meet Gay Singapore Friends”, and warned the operators to remove offensive content.

The banned overseas site — which saw its membership jump over five times to 330,000 this year from 60,000 a year ago — contained pornographic pictures and videos, as well as substantial homosexual content focusing on Singapore.

It flashed explicit advertisements recruiting underage boys for sex, facilitated the trading and exchange of nude photos of underage boys, listed places to meet others for casual sex and provided information about organized mass orgies, the MDA said.

The local site had nude pictures and videos of gay men having sex which have since been removed. The MDA said both sites had violated the Internet Code of Practice which prohibits Web sites from depicting “nudity or genitalia in a manner calculated to titillate”, and host materials advocating homosexuality or pedophilia.

Source: Reuters

Microsoft: Windows May Be Pulled in Korea

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp. on Thursday said that an investigation by Korea’s antitrust watchdog could lead to the withdrawal of Windows from the country, or to delays in introducing new versions of the operating system there.

Microsoft’s competitive practices have been under investigation by the Korean Fair Trade Commission, which is looking into the company’s inclusion into Windows of streaming media and instant messenger technology.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant has faced legal and regulatory antitrust actions worldwide because of its decisions to include various services in its operating system.

In its quarterly report filed Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Microsoft said the Korean commission could require the company to remove code or redesign Windows uniquely for the Korean market.

If that happened, “it might be necessary to withdraw Windows from the Korean market or delay offering new versions in Korea,” the company said in the filing.

Source: AP

Canadian Weather Machine Heading For Mars

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The Red Planet is about to be invaded by Canada.

The Canadian Space Agency announced on Thursday the final contribution of $6 million to build a fully integrated weather station, known as MET, for the launch of NASA’s Phoenix Lander mission to the Red Planet in 2007.

NASA says Phoenix will study climate at the northern latitudes of Mars, as well as the geological history of water and the potential of the soil to support life.

The Canadian weather station will be the first ever to have operated from the surface of another planet, and will use Light Detection and Ranging, or Lidar technology.

Source: CTV.ca

Sex.com Thief Arrested

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The con-man who stole the most valuable domain name in the world, Sex.com, has been arrested by Mexican police and handed over to US agents after nearly six years on the run.

Stephen Michael Cohen was arrested on an immigration violation by Mexican authorities and turned over to the US border patrol yesterday, the LA Times has reported. Cohen is being held without bail at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in San Diego, according to deputy marshal Tania Tyler of the US immigration service.

Cohen is wanted in the US for failure to pay $65m in a court judgement reached in April 2001. The judgement was the result of a five-year court battle by the original owner of the domain, Gary Kremen, which nearly bankrupted the entrepreneur and founder of the net’s biggest dating site, Match.com.

Kremen was awarded the sum in compensation after Cohen stole Sex.com in October 1995 through an elaborate scam. Cohen then ran the site at an estimated $100m profit until the domain was finally handed back to Kremen by the court in November 2000.

Source: The Register

Oracle password system comes under fire

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Attackers could easily uncover Oracle database users’ passwords because of a weak protection mechanism, putting corporate data at risk of exposure, experts have warned.

In the latest critique of Oracle’s security practices, experts are calling on the software maker to improve the mechanism used to secure passwords for database users. Researchers say they have found a way to recover the plain text password from even very strong, well-written Oracle database passwords within minutes.

The technique Oracle uses to store and encrypt user passwords doesn’t provide sufficient security, said Joshua Wright of the SANS Institute and Carlos Sid of Royal Holloway College, University of London. Wright gave a presentation on the matter Wednesday at the SANS Network Security conference in Los Angeles.

In the presentation, Wright discussed how passwords are encrypted before being stored in Oracle databases and presented a tool he wrote to uncover passwords, according to a SANS statement.

Source: News.com

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