11/17/2005

AOL Forces “ShoppingBuddy” On AIM Users

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Users of instant messaging services have traditionally been allowed to act as sole gatekeeper of their buddy lists. But that may be changing, as American Online inserted two robotic buddies into AIM lists Thursday.

AOL informed AIM customers that it had added a “ShoppingBuddy” and another bot for Moviefone to buddy lists overnight. The AIM bots are automated software programs that will send preprogrammed responses to questions. Users can send an instant message to their new ShoppingBuddy for gift ideas and ask Moviefone about show times.

That the services may be helpful wasn’t enough to assuage some AIM fans. Blogs and message boards were filled with complaints from users who called the move an “intrusion” and “uncool.”

Source: News.com

Spammer jailed for £1.6m net scam

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

An internet spammer convicted of running a £1.6m e-mail scam from a bedroom in his father’s house has been jailed for six years.

Peter Francis-Macrae, of St Neots, Cambs, was found guilty of threatening to kill and blackmail.

The 23-year-old was also convicted of threatening to destroy or damage property, concealing criminal property and fraudulent trading.

He had offered thousands of e-mail and website names when he had no right.

Source: BBC

Howard Stern BitTorrent Site Closed.

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Redskunk.org, a website dedicated to Howard Stern’s show, which posted BitTorrent files of the Howard Stern show closed down today.

The site which was a ray of light to stern fans that could not get his show after it had been pulled off from several radio stations offered daily shows as mp3 downloads.

Visitors to the site today got a message saying the site is closed and the cease and desist letter from Infinity Broadcasting East, Inc. and One Twelve Inc. (which is owned by Howard Stern) demanding the site to pull down the BitTorrent downloads.

Here is the letter

A matter of serious concern has come to our attention. We have learned that you are offering audio downloads of THE HOWARD STERN SHOW (the “Show”) without the permission of the copyright owners. Enclosed herewith is a copy of the webpage offering such download. Please be advised that the Show and the various elements thereof are owned jointly by Infinity Broadcasting East, Inc. (”Infinity”) and One Twelve Inc. (which is owned by Howard Stern). Neither Infinity nor Howard Stern has authorized you to use, copy, transmit, disseminate or otherwise exploit any material from the Show. These blatant and willful infringements have resulted in significant damages both to Infinity and Mr. Stern. You should know your copyright and other infringements could result in court imposed damages on you. Unless you immediately remove the audio downloads of the Show and other infringing materials and provide us with written assurances that all such infringing use has stopped and will not resume in the future, we will have no alternative but to take appropriate action to protect Infinity’s and Mr. Stern’s rights. We require receipt of such written assurance from you by no later than the close of business on November 15, 2005. CBS and Mr. Stern specifically reserve any and all rights and remedies with respect to your unauthorized use of their material.
Very truly yours,
Sanford I. Kryle
Vice President, Associate General Counsel
CBS Broadcasting Inc.
1515 Broadway, 49th Floor
New York, New York 10036
212 846-3601

Redskunk’s forum is still active, but as of the time writing these lines, there is no other information there

Google Wants To Buy Photo Searching Technology

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Search giant Google Inc. is said to be interested in buying Redwood City, Calif.-based Riya/Ojos Inc., a maker of photo searching technology.

The rumored deal spotlights how search engines are focusing more on the caliber of their services, rather than just building the most extensive possible catalog of Internet locales.

Riya’s products can supposedly identify faces and read the text captured in photos. That level of recognition is a quantum leap for Internet search engines, now organizing photos and videos mainly based on written descriptions.

Google is particularly motivated to deal because its online photo services are being bested by rival Yahoo Inc., according to blogger Om Malik.

Source: News.com

Next Version Of Windows To Protect Against Rootkit

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A Microsoft executive has made public the company’s plans to secure 64-bit versions of Windows from dangerous malware such as rootkits.

According to remarks attributed to Bob Muglia, senior vice president of the Windows server group, Microsoft had put in place a “patch guard? on the Windows kernel, which would make it impossible to append code to the core of the OS while it was running.

Such a design would stop software such as rootkits from hitching into kernel software processes as a means to make themselves appear legitimate.

Current versions of Windows could not benefit from such an approach. “It is incredibly difficult to add that to 32 bit because there are a number of applications that take advantage of it in a valid way.

Source: Techworld.com

Microsoft Enhances Phishing Protection

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp. announced that three new data providers, Cyota Inc., Internet Identity and MarkMonitor Inc., will be regularly providing Microsoft with information on confirmed phishing Web sites as part of efforts to help enhance the protection offered by Microsoft Phishing Filter and Microsoft SmartScreen Technology.

Microsoft Phishing Filter, introduced in July 2005, helps protect customers from phishing scams when they are browsing the Internet and is available via the Phishing Filter Add-in for the MSN Search Toolbar, which launched in final release today, and the upcoming release of Windows Internet Explorer 7 for Windows Vista and Windows XP Service Pack 2, both currently in beta 1 testing.

The phishing information provided by the phishing data providers will also be used to help Microsoft SmartScreen Technology detect phishing scams in e-mail sent to MSN Hotmail and Windows Live Mail beta customers. This cooperation underscores Microsoft’s goal of continuing to work with a number of organizations to employ an effective mix of data sources and other resources to help protect customers.

Kazaa File-Sharing Boss to Face Court

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

An Australian federal judge on Thursday ordered the chief executive of the company that owns file-swapping giant Kazaa to face cross-examination from recording industry lawyers about her assets pending a damages hearing in the landmark music piracy case.

In September, a federal court found Kazaa’s owners and distributors, led by Sydney-based Sharman Networks Ltd., guilty of copyright infringement for failing to rein in illegal file sharing on their popular peer-to-peer network.

A hearing to set damages is expected sometime next year.

After months of legal wrangling, federal judge Michael Moore on Thursday ordered Sharman’s chief executive, Nikki Hemming, to face cross-examination by record industry lawyers over her personal assets. It will be her first court appearance since the multimillion dollar trial began last November.

A date for Hemming’s cross-examination was not immediately set, but is expected sometime next year.

Source: AP

First Look at Exchange 12

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

More than half of all business email boxes are run by Exchange, according to Gartner. Channel 9 published a 40 minutes video talking about 12.
Especially impressive is Outlook Web Access which lets you get to your Exchange box from a Web browser.

Why Antivirus Companies Fail To Stop Sony’s Rootkit

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Wired magazine has published a very interesting article about the “Real Story of the Rogue Rootkit?, this article covers the history of the rootkit, but more than that it raises some very important questions. Why security and antivirus companies failed to detect this malicious application behavior that infected over 500,000 computers around the world ?

From the article:

I truly believed that even in the biggest and most-corporate security company there are people with hackerish instincts, people who will do the right thing and blow the whistle. That all the big security companies, with over a year’s lead time, would fail to notice or do anything about this Sony rootkit demonstrates incompetence at best, and lousy ethics at worst.
Microsoft I can understand. The company is a fan of invasive copy protection — it’s being built into the next version of Windows. Microsoft is trying to work with media companies like Sony, hoping Windows becomes the media-distribution channel of choice. And Microsoft is known for watching out for its business interests at the expense of those of its customers.

What happens when the creators of malware collude with the very companies we hire to protect us from that malware?
We users lose, that’s what happens. A dangerous and damaging rootkit gets introduced into the wild, and half a million computers get infected before anyone does anything.

Who are the security companies really working for? It’s unlikely that this Sony rootkit is the only example of a media company using this technology. Which security company has engineers looking for the others who might be doing it? And what will they do if they find one? What will they do the next time some multinational company decides that owning your computers is a good idea?

These questions are the real story, and we all deserve answers.

My $0.02, antivirus software need to seriously consider an overhaul of their engine technology. All antivirus applications are based on signature files to identify viruses, but for unknown viruses the detection engine lacks. In today’s world an antivirus should monitor application malicious behavior for both the local machine and monitor web traffic, which means that AV should be integrated into the firewall. You can no longer separate the two. And while they are doing that it will be wise to also merge the anti spyware engine.

Nintendo To Issue New Of Console With Parental Control

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Nintendo Co. has become the latest console maker to promise parents the means to help restrict their children’s access to violent video games.

The new version of Nintendo’s videogame console, called Revolution and due out in 2006, will allow users to require passwords for video games that carry certain ratings, such as “T” for “teen” or “M” for “mature.”

Many people associate Nintendo’s game consoles with younger users, and few games designed for its systems have a lot of violence or sexuality.

Although the company didn’t receive many customer requests for parental controls, “it is something that I just think is right to do,” said Perrin Kaplan, vice president for marketing at Nintendo’s U.S. headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

Source: AP

Sony Unveils Internet-Based Phone Service

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Sony Corp. on Wednesday announced a free Internet-based phone service similar to the popular computer-to-computer calling provided by Skype, but with an emphasis on video conferencing.

Called IVE for “Instant Video Everywhere,” the service relies on Windows-based software that can be downloaded from the Internet. It will also ship with Sony’s new line of Vaio BX laptops, which feature built-in video cameras.

Like Skype, IVE also will feature a premium service that lets users dial traditional wireline phones and cell phones from their computers. The monthly fee of $9.95 for the premium service includes a 10-digit phone number so IVE users can receive calls from regular and mobile phones.

Source: AP

Microsoft Rolls Out First Office 12 Beta

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft late Wednesday released the first test version of Office 12, the next incarnation of its ubiquitous desktop suite.

The company said it is offering up the Beta 1 code to about 10,000 pre-approved testers, with a broader test release slated for the spring. Microsoft is promising a final version of Office 12 for the second half of next year, around the same time as the company releases the Vista upgrade to its Windows operating system.

“The next version of Office is the most significant release in more than 10 years,” Chris Capossela, a Microsoft vice president, said in a statement. “Now, after many years of research and development, we’re eager to put the software to the test and solicit technical feedback from select customers and partners.”

Source: News.com

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