China cracks down on sex-drug Web sites

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

China is shutting down about 200 Web sites for carrying illegal sex-drug advertisements, state media said on Wednesday, the latest in a string of measures to clean up the Internet.

About 6,000 Web sites have been found carrying illegal, sexually suggestive adverts involving sex-related drugs or health supplements, said the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s newspaper.

Some 199 would be closed and 130 “rectified”, the newspaper said. It did not say what would happen to the rest.

New rootkit uses old trick to hide itself

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Over the past month, a new type of malicious software has emerged, using a decades-old technique to hide itself from antivirus software.

The malware, called Trojan.Mebroot by Symantec, installs itself on the first part of the computer’s hard drive to be read on startup, then makes changes to the Windows kernel, making it hard for security software to detect it.

Criminals have been installing Trojan.Mebroot, known as a master boot record rootkit, since mid-December, and were able to infect nearly 5,000 users in two separate attacks, staged on Dec. 12 and Dec. 19, according to Verisign’s iDefense Intelligence Team. In order to install the software on a victim’s computer, attackers first lure them to a compromised Web site, which then launches a variety of attacks against the victim’s computer in hopes of finding a way to run the rootkit code on the PC.

Once installed, the malware gives attackers control over the victim’s machine.

The group behind this latest rootkit is the same one responsible for the Torpig Trojan, and it is believed to have already installed more than 250,000 Trojan programs, iDefense said in a report on the rootkit published Monday.

Microsoft Patches Flaw That Could Trigger Worm Attack

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft has fixed a critical flaw in the Windows operating system that could be used by criminals to create a self-copying computer worm attack.

The software vendor released its first set of patches for 2008 on Tuesday, fixing a pair of networking flaws in the Windows kernel. Microsoft also released a second update for a less-serious Windows flaw that would allow attackers to steal passwords or run Windows software with elevated privileges.

Google reads Flash text, so optimize it

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

With the recent admission by Matt Cutts to Stephan Spencer that Google is using Adobe Systems’ Search Engine SDK technology, a new set of optimization opportunities opened up.

That fairly definite confirmation of how Google reads text within Flash files makes it possible to create Flash .swf files with some level of search engine optimization.

“It used to be the case that we had our own, home-brew code to pull the text out of Flash, but I think that we have moved to the Search Engine SDK tool that Adobe Macromedia offers,” Cutts said. “So my hunch is that most of the search engines will standardize on using that Search Engine SDK tool to pull out the text.”

This has long been the suspicion of Flash developers and SEO professionals concerned with .swf files, but to my knowledge, this is the most direct and clear confirmation to date. The implication is simple but important: if Web developers–and specifically Flash developers–have the ability to test .swf files during development for textual SEO parameters, then Flash files can be designed to offer specific text to search engines.

Microsoft’s Xbox could consider Blu-ray support

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp’s Xbox video gaming unit still fully backs Toshiba Corp’s HD-DVD high-definition DVD format but could consider supporting Sony Corp’s rival Blu-ray technology should consumers want it, an executive said on Tuesday.

“It should be consumer choice; and if that’s the way they vote, that’s something we’ll have to consider,” Albert Penello, group marketing manager for Xbox hardware said when asked whether Microsoft would support a Blu-ray DVD accessory in the event that HD-DVD failed.

First iPhone Trojan horse reported

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Seen more as a prank than an actual threat, a Trojan horse for the Apple iPhone, first reported on Saturday, has already come and gone. Still, users should be on the look out for a package called “iPhone firmware 1.1.3 prep,” described as something you need to install before updating to the new 1.1.3 firmware. Billed as an “important system update,” the code does little more than cause annoyance. According to various sources, once the Trojan is installed it simply displays the word “shoes.”

However, the Trojan also overwrites several legitimate applications, including Erica’s Utilities, Launcher, Doom, and OpenSSH, meaning that if you uninstall the Trojan, you will need to reinstall these applications later. This appears to be a consequence of poor programming.

The risk to iPhone users is now considered negligible since the host sites have all been taken down.

U.S. man gets record sentence for computer sabotage

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A computer systems administrator was sentenced to 30 months in prison on Tuesday for trying to sabotage his company’s servers out of fear he was about to lose his job, prosecutors said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark, New Jersey, said Yung-Hsun Lin received the longest ever federal prison term for a criminal attempt to damage a computer system.

He was also ordered to pay $81,200 in restitution to his former employer, pharmacy benefit manager Medco Health Solutions Inc.

Lin, 51, admitted he modified computer codes and added code to create a “logic bomb” designed to wipe out servers on Medco’s network in October 2003, around the time Medco was being spun off by Merck & Co, authorities said.

Lin feared he might be affected by resulting layoffs. Part of the code included script to launch the attack on his birthday, but it failed, they said.

Microsoft Agrees to Buy Fast Search for $1.23 Billion

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp. agreed to buy Norway’s Fast Search & Transfer ASA for 6.6 billion kroner ($1.23 billion) to add software products that help companies mine, store and manage data.

Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, will pay 19 kroner for each Fast Search share, the companies said today. The offer is 42 percent more than the closing price on Jan. 4.

The purchase of Oslo-based Fast Search will give Microsoft tailored search programs for customers such as Deutsche Telekom AG and United Parcel Service Inc. The features add to what the Redmond, Washington-based company offers in its Office SharePoint Server, which garnered more than $800 million in sales in the year ended June 30.

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