Enigma project cracks second code

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Thousands of users around the world have joined the M4 Project, using spare computing power to crack the codes.

The messages were encoded using the German Enigma machine, and outfoxed wartime experts at Bletchley Park.

Project leaders have already failed to crack the last remaining message, but insist it can be broken.

The three messages were unearthed by amateur historian Ralph Erskine, who submitted them to a cryptology journal in 1995 as a challenge for codebreakers.

They were sent in 1942, during a period when the Allies were unable to crack German codes because of the introduction of a new code book and a more complex version of the Enigma machine.

Found nothing on convoy’s course 55°, [I am] moving to the ordered [naval] square. Position naval square AJ 3995. [wind] south-east [force] 4, sea [state] 3, 10/10 cloudy, [barometer] [10]28 mb [and] rising, fog, visibility 1 nautical mile

Stephan Krah, a German enthusiast, wrote the M4 Project software - named after the M4 Enigma machine used to encode the messages - in an effort to unravel the codes’ mystery.

The first code was cracked on 20 February, and was confirmed as a message from the commander of a German U-boat, Kapitanleutenant Hartwig Looks.

The second resolved code was less dramatic than the first, which detailed the aftermath of a clash with an Allied vessel.

The newly-deciphered code is little more than a status report and a confirmation of position

Source: BBC

Canadian military to probe sale of gear on eBay

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The Canadian military has launched an investigation after some of its military clothing and equipment turned up for sale on the Internet, a spokesman for the Department of National Defense said on Wednesday.

Several pieces of the military’s specialized camouflage gear were, until recently, up for sale on eBay, igniting concerns about the security of Canadian troops. The items were removed from the site and were not available on Wednesday.

“They appear to be Canadian forces uniforms or equipment,” said Capt. Mark Giles, a member of the military’s National Investigation Service in Ottawa, noting the military plans to contact eBay about the matter.

Some pieces of the camouflage uniform, currently being worn by Canadian troops in Afghanistan, were being sold for just a few hundred dollars, domestic media reported. It is illegal for anyone but military personnel to own or wear uniforms being used in active duty.

Giles said media reports that each military item has a specific serial number, and can be traced back to its owner, were inaccurate. He said the items likely only have batch numbers.

Source: Reuters

Bit9 Launches Web Site About PC Files

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Is “malfile.exe” a virus? What does “hmtcd.dll” do?

PC users sometimes come upon unfamiliar files on their hard drives, and identifying them is often a challenge. Many were fooled by a hoax e-mail that circulated a few years ago, instructing them to delete the alleged virus file “jdbgmgr.exe.” The file was perfectly innocuous, but it wasn’t easy to know that.

Internet security company Bit9 Inc. this week launched fileadvisor.bit9.com, a Web site that attempts to bridge that knowledge gap. Visitors can search data on 25 million Windows PC files, collected from Microsoft Corp., IBM Corp., the National Institute of Standards and Technology and other sources.

Visitors can search using filenames, but this approach can be fooled by files that appear in several applications under the same name, or viruses masquerading with a legitimate file name.

For more accuracy, users can download a small, free application from FileAdvisor. When the user right-clicks a file, the application gives the option of computing a unique number that identifies the file. That number is then compared to the FileAdvisor database, giving a better chance of identification.

It may be surprising to find that even with 25 million files in its database, FileAdvisor can come up empty. It identified “malfile.exe” correctly as a file that ships with Windows, but was stumped by “htmcd.dll.”

Source: AP

Apple Misses Bugs, Offers Fix

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

pple Computer on Monday released its second security update for Mac OS X in as many weeks, including follow-up fixes to bugs thought to have been patched on March 1.

Security Update 2006-002 corrects three problems that the earlier update missed for the Safari browser and other components, and also patches two new vulnerabilities, one in the Mail client. If not fixed, the Mail bug could give attackers a way to run their code on Macs.

The first day of this month, Apple issued a much larger update that plugged 17 security holes in the Mac OS X and bundled applications, including a zero-day vulnerability that could let attackers hijack machines using “drive-by download” tactics.

2006-002 patches drive-by download vulnerabilities that Apple missed. “This update provides additional checks to identify variations of the malicious file types addressed in Security Update 2006-001 so that they are not automatically opened,” Apple said in the advisory.

Source: InformationWeek

Meet The ‘Wrist PC’

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A European embedded computing specialist has announced a wrist-worn wearable computer that runs embedded Linux or Windows CE. Eurotech’s WWPC (”wrist-worn PC”) offers a wealth of standard PC interfaces, along with several innovative wearable-specific features, the company claims. It targets emergency rescue, security, healthcare, maintenance, logistics, and “many other” applications.

According to Eurotech, the WWPC integrates everything users expect of a PC, in a versatile, ergonomic form factor that supports a variety of wrist sizes. It can be worn over or under work clothes, and has flexible left- or right-handed straps that enclose dual 2-cell Li-polymer rechargeable batteries. Claimed battery life is six hours in “fully operational” mode, or eight hours under normal circumstances.

The WWPC weighs seven ounces (200 grams) without straps/batteries, Eurotech says.

Source: linuxdevices.com

27 charged in online child pornography ring

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

US and international authorities have charged 27 people in connection with an international online child pornography ring, federal officials said.

Federal authorities said the accused included suspects from Australia, Britain and Canada as well as 13 US citizens.

After infiltrating an online chat room named “Kiddypics and Kiddyvids,” federal investigators say they found individuals who traded images of child pornography.

Some suspects “transmitted streaming video of live molestations through online instant messenger services to participants around the world,” the US Attorney’s office in Chicago said in a statement.

“Today’s charges involve the most disturbing of allegations,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, US attorney for the northern district of Illinois.

“The victimization of children in the depraved manner described can never be tolerated.”

One of the accused, Brian Annoreno, 29, from a Chicago suburb, is charged with using “an infant to produce child pornography, which he transmitted live, via the Internet” to a chat room member involved in producing videos of four minors being molested, the statement said.

Annoreno was arrested on January 8 and has been charged with conspiracy, two counts of manufacturing child pornography and one count of distribution.

Source: AFP

Adobe offers beta of XMP Toolkit

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Adobe Systems has announced the public beta of its file-labeling technology based on open source technology. Adobe XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform) Toolkit Version 4.0 makes design and publishing workflow more efficient through the use of metadata technology across diverse apps and systems.

It contains Adobe XMP libraries to help in developing more efficient job processing, workflow automation, and data rights management processes. This beta provides the new ability to consistently add metadata to popular image, document, and video file formats so assets become “more intelligent” by carrying critical information. With this beta version, developers also gain a centralized view of XMP data through Adobe Bridge. The XMP Toolkit Version 4.0 beta is available for Windows (Visual Studio 2005) and Macintosh (Xcode 2.2) platforms from the Adobe Labs Web site.

Source: InfoWorld

Vista Will Ship In November

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

For a little while Tuesday, Microsoft said it would ship Windows Vista in November, but within hours the entry on the “Official Microsoft Connections” event blog had been changed to the standard company line “second half of this year.”

Although Microsoft watchers have occasionally been compared to Kremlinologists, guessing the release date of Vista, the Redmond, Wash.-based developer’s next desktop operating system, has been a game to more than just outsiders: last month, Microsoft itself launched a contest that let developers guess the day.

Monday, the game of guess-the-date seemed to be over as Microsoft employee Greg Randall, identified on the site as Team Lead, Small Business Webcasts, revealed “This is the year…the year that Microsoft releases the newest version of Windows. Yes, Vista will be released in November of this year.”

Source: InformationWeek

HD DVD to launch without any movies

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Despite the recent good news that Disney is considering the format, HD DVD backers have had little encouraging news recently. That trend continues with today’s announcement that Warner Home Video will not be releasing HD DVD movies on March 28, after all. This means that early adopters will have to wait until sometime in April to get their hands on U2’s Rattle and Hum documentary, the first title to be released in the new format.

This is not encouraging news for Toshiba, one of the primary backers of the HD DVD specification. Two Toshiba players are set to launch later this month, but with Warner’s ship date slipping, the players will initially launch without any available titles. Movies should appear within several weeks of the launch, but it’s not yet clear how much they will cost. While we already have indications that Blu-ray disc pricing will be in the US$23-39 range, no HD DVD backer has yet set a firm number. Wal-Mart was initially taking orders for HD DVD films at US$25.48 a pop (based on a US$29.99 list price), but a Warner representative said that the studio has not yet decided if this is accurate.

Source: arstechnica

Airport security codes leaked from ANA captain’s computer

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

TOKYO — Another case of data leaking onto the Internet via the Winny file-sharing software came to light Wednesday when All Nippon Airways said access codes for restricted areas at 29 airports, including major gateways such as Narita, were leaked onto Internet from a captain’s computer in November.

Meanwhile, Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe called on people to stay away from the Japanese-made software originally intended for sharing music and video files as it has been found to be prone to viruses that cause leakages. ANA said it was notified Nov 8 by the transport ministry that data, including passwords to access areas restricted to employees, at a total 29 airports in Japan had been released on the Internet but it refrained from making it public.

Source: crisscross

Microsoft Files Lawsuits Against Online Sellers

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) today announced it has filed eight lawsuits against sellers who Microsoft alleges sold counterfeit Microsoft(R) software using eBay auctions.

Online auction sites are an excellent way for people from around the world to buy and sell goods,” said Matt Lundy, attorney at Microsoft. “We strongly believe in the convenience and global reach of the virtual marketplace. Unfortunately, a number of online sellers are undermining trust in the system by using the Internet to hawk illegal products to unsuspecting consumers. Microsoft is committed to protecting our customers and technology partners from unscrupulous sellers through customer education and enforcement in appropriate cases. By filing these lawsuits, we hope that auction purchasers will understand that software offers are not always what they appear to be.”

The eight defendants are located in Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York and Washington.

Microsoft identified seven of the defendants through customer submissions to the company’s Windows(R) Genuine Advantage (WGA) program. WGA is an online validation tool for customers to determine whether their software is genuine and gives them the option of submitting counterfeit reports on their suppliers if they did not receive genuine software.

Microsoft routinely monitors auction sites to identify counterfeit software offerings to protect consumers from buying illegal software. Microsoft asks auction sites such as eBay to shut down offerings of counterfeit software. In 2005, the company requested takedowns of almost 50,000 auctions sites offering pirated software.

Motorola CEO says Razr technical glitch solved

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Motorola Inc. the world’s second-largest mobile phone maker, said on Wednesday it had solved a technical glitch in its hot-selling Razr cell phone that had stopped shipments for three to four days.

“We caught it and fixed it,” Chief Executive Edward Zander told reporters. “There were three or four days where we stopped shipments and went in and fixed it.”

The problem came from a second-source firm that had only recently started to supply Motorola with components for the ultra slim Razr, he said.

Zander said the problem was in phones shipped to just two carriers in the United States — Cingular Wireless and T-Mobile USA — and most of the problem phones had been caught in the inventory of those two firms.

“There will be no material impact. We will meet our demand from customers,” he said.

Source: Reuters

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