Agencies probing sales of cellphone data

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A U.S. Congressman said on Friday that federal agencies were looking into whether telephone companies were sufficiently protecting consumers’ records amid concerns that Internet sites were selling cellphone call information.

Rep. Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) told him the agency was investigating whether phone companies were adequately protecting consumer records. He said in a statement “the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission were coordinating efforts to combat this rising fraud.”

In November, Markey asked the FTC and the FCC to investigate what he said was a violation of private consumer information and to take steps to protect consumers.

Source: Reuters

600,000 Xbox 360 game units sold in US

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp. has sold 600,000 of its new Xbox 360 video game consoles in the United States since its November launch, an analyst for market researcher NPD Group said on Friday.

The Xbox 360 debuted to much fanfare on November 22 in North America, where the unit has been in short supply. Analysts, video game publishers and retailers have said shipments during the key holiday season fell short of expectations.

Microsoft last week confirmed its target of selling between 4.5 million and 5.5 million Xbox 360 consoles during the current business year, which ends June 30, 2006.

Source: Reuters

CERTs warn about old java bug being exploited

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

US-CERT and AUSCERT warn about a bug in java being exploited. The bug was made public in November 2005.

Aside of the obvious patch and turn off java support, the warnings include text as “avoid clicking on any links in emails or instant messages, unless the email was already expected beforehand” and “by only accessing Java applets from known and trusted sources the chances of exploitation are reduced.”

Secunia rated this vulnerability as Highly critical. It is important to mention that Sun already fixed this flaw, and if you haven’t yet, you should update your java runtime to the latest version.

Anti-spyware group defines detection guidelines

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The Anti-Spyware Coalition (ASC), an alliance of software companies, security firms and consumer organisations, has agreed a set of guidelines on detecting invasive finalised spyware. The final draft of the ASC’s “risk-modeling description” aims to give an objective criteria on whether a program is malign. A draft of this description was thrown open for public comment in October and the final version that’s emerged is essentially an expanded and polished version of what we had back then.

The group defines spyware and other potentially unwanted technologies as 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.

Source: The Register

Microsoft Ends Windows Media Player on the Mac

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft has officially halted development of its Windows Media Player for the Mac and plans no future Apple Computer versions of its music-playing software, CNET News.com has learned.

“We have no plans to provide future updates or product support for Windows Media Player for Mac,” Adam Anderson, Microsoft public relations manager, said in an interview Thursday.

The company will continue to offer the current version for download. It also has announced a deal to offer for free the Flip4Mac plug-in from Telestream that will allow Mac OS X users to play Windows Media video and audio directly from Apple’s QuickTime Player software.

Source: News.com

Microsoft Plans Launch of Search Ad System

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp. plans to launch its system for selling advertising alongside regular search results by June in the United States, giving the company its next piece of ammunition in the battle with rivals including Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc.

Microsoft has been testing its ambitious new platform for selling all kinds of online advertising, called adCenter, since last spring. Right now, the company said about 25 percent of the sponsored links that accompany regular search results on its MSN Search site are from adCenter, but that will grow to 100 percent by the time the company’s fiscal year ends in June.

Redmond-based Microsoft currently outsources the job of providing such sponsored links to a Yahoo Inc. subsidiary, Overture Services, although the contract between the two expires in June.

The move to bring that job in-house is important because competitors such as Google make most of their money selling ads placed next to search results.

Source: AP

Dell: We’re open to using AMD chips

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Dell’s Chief Executive Kevin Rollins said on Thursday that he is open to selling computers that run on microprocessors from Advanced Micro Devices.

Dell, the world’s biggest manufacturer of personal computers, currently uses microprocessors from No. 1 chipmaker Intel as the brains that run its machines. Dell is Intel’s biggest customer.

“We’re always open” to making changes, Rollins said. “We want the very best technology for our customers.”

Rollins made the comment to reporters after speaking at a lunch sponsored by the Boston College Chief Executives’ Club.

Industry analysts have long speculated that Dell might start offering customers the option of buying PCs that run on AMD microprocessors. Some analysts recently said that Dell may adopt AMD in servers, notebooks and desktops this year.

Source: Reuters

Xbox “modders” face 17 years in prison

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Two owners of a Hollywood video game store, as well as a third man, were indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday for modifying Xbox video game consoles to disable copy protection, and preloading copyrighted games onto the machines for sale.

The case stems from an investigation by the Entertainment Software Association, whose investigators reported that they had bought a modified Xbox from the store in May 2005.

If convicted, the store owners could face up to 17 years in federal prison.

Source: News.com

BlackBerry Devices to Offer Mac Support

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Research in Motion Ltd. said Thursday it will offer for the first time a Macintosh-based e-mail and calendar application for its BlackBerry handheld devices.

RIM has signed a licensing deal with Information Appliance Associates to offer free downloads of the PocketMac program for BlackBerries, and to later integrate the software with the handhelds, officials with the companies said.

The move deepens RIM’s rivalry against Palm Inc., which for years has provided synchronization software for users of Apple Computer Inc.’s Mac computers with its line of handhelds and Treo smartphones. The Mac OS X operating system even includes a free program called iSync that lets users synch their address and calendar information from their Macs to Palm handhelds.

Source: AP

QuickTime patch hits trouble

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A security update to Apple Computer’s popular QuickTime media player software is being blamed for causing problems for some Mac OS X and Windows users.

People have reported a variety of glitches on discussion boards on Apple’s Web site. Mac OS X users appear to be having the most trouble, including deleted applications and files, unplayable movie files and the disappearance rights to use the professional version of QuickTime, according to postings on Apple’s support forum.

Apple released the update, QuickTime 7.0.4, on Tuesday to fix a handful of serious security vulnerabilities. The flaws put computers running Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s Mac OS X operating systems at risk of being commandeered by an outsider. An attacker could exploit the flaws by tricking the user into opening a malicious file, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company said.

Source: News.com

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