3/11/2006

Web Searches Can ID CIA Employees

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The identities of 2,600 CIA employees and the locations of two dozen of the agency’s covert workplaces in the United States can be found easily through Internet searches, according to an investigation by the Chicago Tribune.

The newspaper obtained the information from data providers who charge fees for access to public records and reported on its findings in Sunday editions. It did not publish the identities or other details on its searches, citing concern it could endanger the CIA employees.

Not all of the 2,653 people the newspaper said it could identify as CIA employees were supposed to be covert, an issue raised in the Justice Department investigation of whether someone in the Bush administration leaked the identity of CIA operative
Valerie Plame to reporters in 2003.

Some in fact were non-covert analysts or senior executives, such as former CIA Director George Tenet. But the newspaper said it shared some of its findings with the CIA, and that the agency acknowledged the partial list of names included covert employees.

“Cover is an issue we look at all the time, and we are always looking to improve it,” CIA spokesman Tom Crispell told The Associated Press on Saturday.

Source: AP

IBM breaks speed records with new file system

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Yesterday, IBM and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announced the results of “Project Fastball,” a performance test of the latest release (2.3) of their General Parallel File System. GPFS was invented by IBM in 2001 as an experiment in clustered file systems, where data is accessed over multiple computers at once. Most existing file systems are designed for a single server environment, and adding more file servers does not improve performance. GPFS provides higher input/output performance by “striping” blocks of data from individual files over multiple disks, and reading and writing these blocks in parallel.

Project Fastball achieved a new speed record of over 102 gigabytes per second of sustained read/write performance to a single file. That increases the access speed from a hard drive by seven times. The record was achieved using 416 individual storage controllers combined with 104 Power-based eServer p575 nodes (each p575 node has eight dual-core 2.2 GHz POWER5+ processors).

Source: arstechnica

Razr Defect Forces Halting of U.S. Sales

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Cingular Wireless and T-Mobile USA temporarily stopped selling Motorola Inc.’s popular Razr phones this week because of a defect in some of them that causes calls to disconnect.

Motorola said Friday the glitch affects only a limited number of phones and it does not expect any impact on financial results.

“Motorola continues to ship new Razr handsets in volume to customer distribution centers and retail availability is expected to be normal across all markets by next week,” spokeswoman Jennifer Weyrauch said.

Cingular Wireless and T-Mobile suspended Razr sales over the previous two days as a precaution so its customers didn’t get stuck with defective phones.

“It’s virtually impossible to identify at retail which units have the defective component,” said Peter Dobrow, a T-Mobile spokesman.

Analyst Roger Entner of market research firm Ovum said such sales suspensions are uncommon, especially when they involve a hot-selling product like the Razr.

A component in the defective Razrs was discovered to be cutting off calls when the flip phones opened. Motorola was working to fix the problem and said no phones were being recalled.

Source: AP

Immigration bill would add H1-B visas

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Buried in the Senate’s giant immigration bill — hardly noticed amid a fierce debate over a guest-worker program for unskilled laborers — are provisions that would open the country’s doors to highly skilled immigrants for science, math, technology and engineering jobs.

The provisions were sought by Silicon Valley tech companies and enjoy significant bipartisan support amid concern that the United States might lose its lead in technology. They would broaden avenues to legal immigration for foreign tech workers and would put those with advanced degrees on an automatic path to permanent residence should they want it.

The measures include nearly doubling the number of H-1B skilled-worker temporary visas to 115,000 — with an option of raising the cap 20 percent more each year.

Source: sfgate.com

Try on clothes without undressing

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

German Metro Group has made trying out clothes a lot easier. The intelligent dressing room, which is being exhibited at CeBit, was developed so you can try out different outfits without taking your clothes off. It basically scans your measurements and displays how an item looks on you on a projection screen. You’ll also get a list of suggested items that go along with the outfit you chose. I love it, I just hope it comes out before I loose my enthusiasm for shopping

Source: techiediva.com

Seagate, Secude Show Encrypted Laptop

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Seagate Technology and Secude IT Security are displaying a fortified laptop at CeBIT that features both full encryption of the hard drive and software for easier password management and deployment of machines, the companies said.

The laptop has Seagate’s Momentus 5400 FDE (full-disk encryption) hard drive, which encrypts data with minimal effect on performance, Seagate said. The drive automatically encrypts all of the data on its hard disk, adding an additional security layer, the company said.

The drive can also be instantly erased, and the disk initialization process has been streamlined, Seagate said.

In addition to Seagate’s hard drive, the laptop has TiDoCoMi access management software from Secude. With the software, system administrators can manage other add-on security features such as smart cards and biometric ID systems. TiDoCoMi also stores passwords and certificates, Seagate said.

Source: PCWorld

IBM shows Cell blade in action

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The company demonstrated the Cell blade server running visualization software to display real-time, 3D video footage of a beating heart. This allows a researcher to rotate the image of the heart and observe it from any angle, or filter out elements such as blood or certain tissue to give a transparent view into the center of the heart.

The demonstration requires a huge amount of data processing, but a blade server using the nine-core Cell chip is well equipped to handle such a workload, according to Utz Bacher, team leader for IBM’s Linux on Cell development team.

“Conventional computers find it very hard to cope with tasks such as transparency,” Bacher told ZDNet UK. Bacher added that a Cell Blade server running visualization software would also be very useful in the oil industry, where companies want to filter masses of data in search of geological structures indicating oil deposits.

Source: News.com

Blockbuster CEO Antioco sees digital future

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Blockbuster Inc. Chief Executive John Antioco on Thursday said the No. 1 video rental chain has a digital future that may take it to a greater size than it achieved as a primarily store-based business.

Blockbuster emerged leaner and more focused from a battering in 2005 that saw the company wracked with debt and shareholder pressure to boost the stock price while facing intense competition from rival Netflix Inc. and an industry-wide drop in same-store rental revenue.

Even so, Blockbuster’s biggest growth opportunity will be in online rentals and, eventually, digital delivery of content, he said.

Source: Reuters

VM Rootkits: The Next Big Threat?

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Lab rats at Microsoft Research and the University of Michigan have teamed up to create prototypes for virtual machine-based rootkits that significantly push the envelope for hiding malware and that can maintain control of a target operating system.

The proof-of-concept rootkit, called SubVirt, exploits known security flaws and drops a VMM (virtual machine monitor) underneath a Windows or Linux installation.

Once the target operating system is hoisted into a virtual machine, the rootkit becomes impossible to detect because its state cannot be accessed by security software running in the target system, according to documentation seen by eWEEK.

The prototype, which will be presented at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy later in 2006, is the brainchild of Microsoft’s Cybersecurity and Systems Management Research Group, the Redmond, Wash., unit responsible for the Strider GhostBuster anti-rootkit scanner and the Strider HoneyMonkey exploit detection patrol.

Today, anti-rootkit clean-up tools compare registry and file system API discrepancies to check for the presence of user-mode or kernel-mode rootkits, but this tactic is useless if the rootkit stores malware in a place that cannot be scanned.

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