12/20/2007

Apple Forced ThinkSecret.com To Shut Down

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Apple Inc and a popular Web site that published company secrets about the maker of the Mac computer, the iPhone and the iPod have reached a settlement that calls for the site to shut down.

Apple and the site, ThinkSecret.com, settled the suit, which Apple filed in January 2005, and no sources were revealed, Apple and ThinkSecret said in statements.

College student Nick Ciarelli, ThinkSecret’s publisher, said he plans to move on. He started the site at 13.

“I’m pleased to have reached this amicable settlement, and will now be able to move forward with my college studies and broader journalistic pursuits,” he said in his statement.

Cupertino, California-based Apple filed its suit after ThinkSecret published details of a stripped-down Macintosh computer called the Mac mini two weeks before the product was launched formally.

“We are pleased to have reached this amicable settlement and happy to have this behind us,” an Apple spokesman said.

US Regulators OK Google-DoubleClick Deal

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

With U.S. antitrust clearance for its DoubleClick purchase, Google’s focus now turns to European regulators, who are expected to be more critical of the top search engine linking up with a market leader in online advertising.

The proposed $3.1 billion transaction, which is strongly opposed by privacy advocates, cannot be completed without approval from the European Commission, whose review deadline is April 2.

The Federal Trade Commission said that the deal won’t significantly lessen competition in the online advertising market, rebuffing complaints from Microsoft Corp. and AT&T Inc. that it would give Google a dominant position.

Dell spills its Guts over Ubuntu gear

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Dell has caught up to the Ubuntu release machine, adding the latest version of the operating system as a standard option with Linux-friendly laptop and desktop.

Customers in the US can now purchase select Dell kit with Ubuntu 7.10 - aka Gutsy Gibbon for the Teletubbies fans out there. The OS will make its way to Dell’s Inspiron 530 desktop in England, France and Germany later this week. Canonical shoved out Ubuntu 7.10 in October, touting a much more user-friendly version of Linux.

Firefox 3 beta 2 is out and about

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Mozilla fans can now download Firefox 3 beta 2 for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

The new version sports a wide range of improvements over the first test version of the browser upgrade, most notably plugs for memory leaks, security fixes, and a download manager that includes improvements previously available only through plug-ins.

The security enhancements get fairly technical, but the Firefox developer’s Web page states that the new version offers “protection from cross-site JSON data leaks, tighter restrictions on site-specific content using effective TLD service, better presentation of Web site identity and security, malware protection, stricter SSL error pages, antivirus integration in the download manager, (and) version checking for insecure plug-ins.”

The updates to the download manager are pretty good, and they’re far easier to parse. The new manager lets you resume stopped downloads, and it has the aforementioned built-in virus checker.

You can also zoom in on parts of a Web page, and the integration between bookmarks, the location bar, and bookmark folders has become tighter. There’s now one-click bookmarking, smart folders for bookmarks, and the location bar checks against your bookmarks and history for page titles and URLs.

IE8 to be standards compliant

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Standards, standards, standards.

That’s the general theme of a video about the next version of Internet Explorer, which will unsurprisingly be called IE8. Details thus far have been scarce, but in a half hour video with IE’s GM Dean Hachamovitch and Architect Chris Wilson produced by Microsoft’s Channel 9, the two discuss the importance of standards, compatibility and interoperability with the upcoming browser. We also get a (far-away) sneak peak at a development build of the new hush-hush browser. The key takeaway? IE will finally be able to render the Acid 2 test correctly, which has historically been one of the toughest Web standards and compliance tests around.

Microsoft originally intended to add additional compliance support into IE7 (including the Acid 2 test), but it didn’t make it into the shipping build. It was then put in a lower priority on the bottom of a large “wish list” of improvements for future updates, but to no avail as Microsoft focused its resources on building IE8. No version of IE has been able to pass the test, while mainstream competing browsers like Opera, and Apple’s Safari have managed to be compliant for the last few years. Mozilla’s upcoming version 3 of Firefox is also set to pass the Acid 2 test, although the current shipping version of Firefox (version 2) won’t cut the mustard.

Adobe Ships ‘Highly Critical’ Flash Player Patch

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Adobe Systems has shipped an extremely critical patch to correct at least nine cross-platform vulnerabilities in its ubiquitous Flash Player software.

The APSB07-20 update, available for Adobe Flash Player 9.0.48.0 and earlier, 8.0.35.0 and earlier, and 7.0.70.0 and earlier, could allow complete system takeover attacks on Windows, Mac and Linux machines.

“A malicious SWF must be loaded in Flash Player by the user for an attacker to exploit these potential vulnerabilities,” Adobe warned Dec. 19.

The company is strongly recommending that all users upgrade to Adobe Flash Player 9.0.115.0 (Win, Mac, Linux) via the software’s auto-update mechanism. A patch for Solaris will be issued later.

Adobe described two of the nine bugs as “input validation errors” that could lead to the potential execution of arbitrary code.

Antivirus firm says detects Google text ad trojan

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Advertisements placed by Google in Web pages are being hijacked by so-called trojan software that replaces the intended text with ads from a different provider, Romanian antivirus company BitDefender says.

The trojan redirects queries meant to be sent to Google servers to a rogue server, which displays ads from a third party instead of ads from Google, BitDefender said in a statement.

Google said on Wednesday: “We have cancelled customer accounts that display ads redirecting users to malicious sites or that advertise a product violating our software principles.”

“We actively work to detect and remove sites that serve malware in both our ad network and in our search results. We have manual and automated processes in place to detect and enforce these policies.”

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