2/17/2006

Apple hackers encounter a poetic warning

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Apple Computer Inc. has resorted to a poetic broadside in the inevitable cat-and-mouse game between hackers and high-tech companies.

The maker of Macintosh computers had anticipated that hackers would try to crack its new OS X operating system built to work on Intel Corp.’s chips and run pirated versions on non-Apple computers. So, Apple developers deeply embedded a warning in the software - in the form of a poem.

Indeed, a hacker encountered the poem recently, and a copy of it has been circulating on Mac-user Web sites this week.

Apple confirmed Thursday it has included such a warning in its Intel-based computers since it started selling them in January.

The embedded poem reads: “Your karma check for today: There once was a user that whined/his existing OS was so blind/he’d do better to pirate/an OS that ran great/but found his hardware declined./Please don’t steal Mac OS!/Really, that’s way uncool./(C) Apple Computer, Inc.”

Apple also put in a separate hidden message, “Don’t Steal Mac OS X.kext,” in another spot for would-be hackers.

Source: AP

UK government seeks backdoor access to Windows Vista

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The UK government has asked Microsoft to provide ‘backdoor access’ to Windows so that the police can read suspects’ encrypted files.

The Home Office said that it is ‘working closely’ with the software company, following concerns that security features to be introduced in Windows Vista will increase the number of files that are routinely encrypted.

Its acknowledgement was prompted by comments made by Ross Anderson, professor of

security engineering at Cambridge University, in evidence to the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee.

He said that by default data will be encrypted using a trusted platform module chip on a PC’s motherboard.

‘An unfortunate side effect for law enforcement is it would be technically fairly seriously difficult to dig encrypted material out of the system if it has been set up competently,’ Professor Anderson explained.

Source: pcpro

Apple after handwriting recognition coder for Mac OS X

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Apple is still keen to recruit a full-time software engineer who’s up for “advancing gesture and handwriting recognition on Mac OS X” and who believes “using a stylus and a tablet is the way to interact with computers”, Reg Hardware has learned. The job posting is sure to further kindle claims the company is developing a tablet Mac.

The post of Handwriting Recognition Engineer is based in Apple’s Cupertino HQ. The Mac maker is looking for someone “expert in the area of pattern recognition [and] with an excellent understanding of handwriting recognition issues”.

Source: Reg Hardware

Get Radio Anywhere With the Sirius S50

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The $330 Sirius S50 is a handy device for discovering new music. It blends an in-car satellite radio dock with a removable iPod-like player that can store up to 50 hours of audio in its 1GB of flash memory.

The S50 inability to receive a signal away from the dock may deter some potential buyers.

The S50’s built-in FM transmitter let me listen through my car stereo, and the remote control made locating my favorite station easy.

Because the tuner is built into the cradle, you can’t receive live radio when detached, but with the included earbuds I could listen to several hours of music that the S50 had recorded.

At home, you can use Sirius Studio software to upload your own MP3 and WMA files to the player via USB cable. The software doesn’t let you download recordings of Sirius programs to a PC, but it does deliver Sirius music stations over the Internet.

Read the full review @ source.

Source: pcworld

Polycom Recalls Conference Phone Batteries for Fire Hazard

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Lithium Ion batteries in SoundStation2W wireless conference phone

Units: About 21,000 units in the U.S. (About 27,700 units worldwide)

Manufacturer/Distributor: Polycom Inc., of Pleasanton, Calif.

Hazard: These batteries can overheat, which could pose a fire or burn hazard.

Polycom has received two reports of batteries overheating and causing minor damage to the tables on which the units sat. No injuries have been reported.

The recalled batteries were sold with the SoundStation2W wireless conference phones, and separately as replacement batteries. The SoundStation2W Part Number is printed on the underside of the telephone. The SoundStation2W Part Numbers and SKU numbers are: 2201-07800-001 or 2201-07880-001. SoundStation2W recalled battery SKU numbers codes are: 2200-07803-001 or 2200-07804-001

For additional information, please go to www.polycom.com/2WBattery or call Polycom Inc. at (800) 917-5738 between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. Consumers also can contact their local Polycom office or write to: Polycom Inc, 1565 Barber Lane, Milpitas, CA 95035 ATTN: SoundStation2W Battery Return Program.

Source: cpsc

Toshiba to boost HD-DVD

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Toshiba American Consumer Products on Thursday announced an ambitious marketing push in support of HD-DVD but conceded that some of the high-definition optical disc format’s interactive features won’t be available in the two first-generation players slated to hit stores next month without a “firmware upgrade.”

Meanwhile, sources close to the rival Blu-ray Disc camp say an agreement has been reached on an interim license for the AACS copy-protection system both formats will use, removing one of the final obstacles that had been standing in the way of a launch.

Toshiba has said its first two HD-DVD players will enter the market in March, and the three studios supporting the format — Warner Home Video, Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment and Universal Studios Home Entertainment — are planning to roll out software beginning March 28.

Source: washingtonpost

Apple Serves DMCA Violation Notice to OSx86 Project

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

As was to be expected, Apple’s legal team got busy concerning the OSx86 Project. Just days after OSX 10.4.4 for Intel got cracked, the project closed down its forum with the following notice: “We’re sorry to report that despite our best efforts, the OSx86 Project has been served with a DMCA violation notice. The forum will be unavailable while we evaluate its contents to remove any violations present. We thank you for your patience in this matter.”

Source: OSNews

EBay sales of military rations scrutinized

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Anyone who has served in the U.S. military since the early 1980s knows all about the widely reviled food rations called MREs, for “Meals, Ready to Eat.”

But now those long-lasting plastic pouches, which include options such as chicken tetrazzini and cheese tortellini, have been turning up on eBay in possible violation of federal law.

A number of eBay sellers–among them, a pair of unemployed Hurricane Katrina victims–have been peddling MREs intended for disaster or military uses, government auditors reported this week.

In a nine-page letter to Congress this week, the Government Accountability Office revealed the results of a “snapshot” investigation it launched after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita “as a result of widespread congressional and public interest in the federal response” to the disasters.

After a one-day survey, the agency turned up eight eBay sellers pushing MREs for a profit. MREs, designed for using during “strenuous activity” or when normal food sources aren’t available, typically consist of a full meal packed in a bag. A Pentagon supply center is responsible for buying cases of a dozen meals, which cost on average about $52.

There aren’t any laws that “specifically” prohibit anyone from reselling the goods, the GAO report notes. But according to internal supply center regulations, they can be sold only to “a limited number of organizations, including, among others, U.S. military organizations and federally-funded activities.”

Source: News.com

IBM to unveil new security software

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

IBM on Friday plans to unveil its Tivoli Identity Manager Express, security software designed for small and midsize businesses. The software aims to block companies’ employees from using former workers’ user names and accounts that they may have forgotten to cancel.

Tivoli Identity Manager Express is also designed to simplify compliance reports by automatically collecting and formatting information used in preparing audit reports.

Source: News.com

Tip: Fix Windows XP Search Problem

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Users of Windows XP probably have encountered the problem with Windows XP search. When you do a search for a text contained in files, Windows XP does not always find the files containing the requested text.

The problem is that Windows XP only searches “known” file types. If you search for instance for a text included in a .php file or a .java file Windows will not always find it, but it will find text inside a .txt file.

To fix this problem, we need to let Windows XP know about the file’s handler. In order to do that we need to define the PersistentHandler value in the Registry for this type of file.

For each file type that Windows XP does not search, follow these steps:

  • Go to Start->Run and type Regedit.exe
  • Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT and find the file extension of the “problematic” file
  • Check to see if there is a sub key named PersistentHandler
  • If the key PersistentHandler does not exist create it under file extension. (If the key PersistentHandler exists, do not do anything, there might be another problem)
  • Now click on the new PersistentHandler key and on the right pane double click the Default value
  • In the new dialog box enter the following value data {5e941d80-bf96-11cd-b579-08002b30bfeb} . Do not enter the Value name
  • Repeat for other file types you want to search in.
  • Close Regedit and restart Windows

Now you should be able to search inside this file type.

Homeland Security official suggests outlawing rootkits

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Perhaps the best way to deal with rootkits is to outlaw them.

At least when it comes to such mishaps as the Sony BMG Music Entertainment fiasco, that’s what an official from the Department of Homeland Security suggested Thursday.

“The recent Sony experience shows us that we need to be thinking about how we ensure that consumers are not surprised by what their software programs do,” Jonathan Frenkel, director of law enforcement policy at the U.S Department of Homeland Security said in a speech here at the RSA Conference 2006.

A lesson has been learned from the Sony debacle, which left unwitting consumers with software on their PCs that could be used by cyberattackers to hide their malicious code. “Companies now know that they should not surreptitiously install a rootkit on computers,” Frenkel said.

But perhaps more importantly, how could the mishap have been avoided in the first place? “Legislation or regulation may not be a solution in all cases, but it may be warranted in appropriate circumstances,” Frenkel said.

Source: ZDNet

Windows Media Player Worm Set To Strike

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

An exploit against the Windows Media Player vulnerability disclosed by Microsoft two days ago is nearly finished, a security company said Thursday, and may be only hours away from hitting unpatched users.

The bug, which was made public Tuesday in security bulletin MS06-005, allows attackers armed with malicious .bmp image files to hijack Windows PCs.

“There are two exploits circulating,” said Mike Puterbaugh, the vice president of marketing at eEye Digital Security, the Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based company which first uncovered the Media Player vulnerability.

“One is somewhat minor, and can cause a denial-of-service, but the second we’re taking far more seriously,” said Puterbaugh. “It’s 95 percent there as a propagated mass attack.

“All the guy needs to do is add shell code to it to remotely exploit machines.”

The exploit’s author — identified only as “ATmaCA” — claimed that the attack would work against Windows 98, Millennium, 2000, NT, XP, and 2003 Server systems. He also acknowledged that he was having trouble wrapping up the exploit.

“In this vulnerability, payload is loaded to different places in memory each time,” a comment in the proof-of-concept code read. “But some time is very easy to call our shell code…but some times not.”

While experts believed that the Windows Media Player flaw would be used by spyware and adware purveyors to silently install malicious software, as they had used the Windows Metafile bug that surfaced in December 2005, Puterbaugh said eEye’s researchers believed ATmaCA would package the exploit into a mass-mailed, and self-propagating, worm.

Source: informationweek

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