1/11/2006

Homeland Security helps secure open-source code

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is extending the scope of its protection to open-source software.

Through its Science and Technology Directorate, the department has given $1.24 million in funding to Stanford University, Coverity and Symantec to hunt for security bugs in open-source software and to improve Coverity’s commercial tool for source code analysis, representatives for the three grant recipients told CNET News.com.

The Homeland Security Department grant will be paid over a three-year period, with $841,276 going to Stanford, $297,000 to Coverity and $100,000 to Symantec, according to San Francisco-based technology provider Coverity, which plans to announce the award publicly on Wednesday.

In the effort, which the government agency calls the “Vulnerability Discovery and Remediation, Open Source Hardening Project,” Stanford and Coverity will build and maintain a system that does daily scans of code contributed to popular open-source projects. The automated system should be running by March, and the resulting database of bugs will be accessible to developers, they said.

Source: News.com

QuickTime bugs open door to attack

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

While fans checked out the latest and greatest at Macworld on Tuesday, Apple Computer sent out a warning about serious security flaws in QuickTime.

The vulnerabilities in the media player put computers running Windows and Mac OS X at risk of being commandeered by an outsider, Apple said on its Web site. An attacker could exploit the flaws by tricking the user into opening a malicious file, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company said.

Apple released QuickTime 7.0.4 to address the vulnerabilities. The French Security Incident Response Team, a commercial security monitoring and research outfit, described the problems as “critical,” its highest risk rating.

Source: News.com

Study Claims Link Between Gaming and Violence

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A new study has claimed that there might be a link between violence depicted in video games and increased aggressive real-life behavior in gamers.

In recent findings published on the New Scientist Web site, researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia noted that study subjects who played violent video games showed diminished brain responses to images of real-life violence.

The reduction in response correlates to aggressive behavior, according to the study’s authors.

For the study, the university recruited 39 experienced gamers. They then were shown images of both nonviolent and violent scenes, while their brain waves were recorded.

Subjects with the most experience in playing violent games displayed lower response rates to the violent images. These players also were discovered to be more enthusiastic about “punishing” an opponent in subsequent gameplay.

Although there has been much discussion regarding violence in games, the new study actually is one of the few academic undertakings on the subject.

A study done by the University of Illinois last year claimed that there is no evidence of a strong link between video-game violence and real-life aggression in players.

Source: newsfactor

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