2/29/2008

Hackers Use SaaS To Auction FTP Passwords, Inject Code

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

More than 8,700 FTP log-in names and passwords are being peddled at an online auction site for stolen data, according to security firm Finjan. The site includes software that lets criminals hack Web servers and automatically inject crimeware that infects visitors to the Web site.

Some of the information opens a back door into Fortune 500 companies in manufacturing, telecom, media, online retail and IT, as well as government agencies. The stolen FTP accounts include some of the world’s top 100 domains as ranked by Alexa.com.

Google unveils personal medical record service

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google Inc has unveiled a plan to help U.S. patients gain control of their medical records and is working with doctors’ groups, pharmacies and labs to help them securely share sensitive health data.

The company’s long-rumored entry into the highly sensitive field came when Chief Executive Eric Schmidt introduced Google Health at a health-care conference in Florida on Thursday.

Google said it has signed deals with hospitals and companies including medical tester Quest Diagnostics Inc, health insurer Aetna Inc, Walgreens and Walmart Stores Inc pharmacies.

The password-protected Web service stores health records on Google computers, with a medical services directory that lets users import doctors’ records, drug history and test results.

Google aims to foster sharing of information between these services, but keep control in patients’ hands, allowing them to schedule appointments or refill prescriptions, for example.

Microsoft cuts price for boxed Vista

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp. will cut the price of some versions of Windows Vista, the software maker said late Thursday.

The move came a day after court filings revealed internal dissent over which Windows XP computers would be considered capable of running the new operating system - and a feeling on at least one executive’s part that the company had “botched” the marketing of computers as “Vista Capable.”

Only copies of the year-old operating system that are sold in boxes directly to consumers are affected by the price cuts - not the versions pre-loaded on personal computers. The cuts will range from 20 percent to 48 percent.

The reductions are to coincide with the late March release of Vista Service Pack 1, a collection of security fixes and other improvements.

Microsoft said the new prices will apply to the Home Premium and Ultimate versions of Vista, in both their full editions and the editions that upgrade an older or more basic operating system.

2/28/2008

Google Gets Into Web Site Building Biz

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google, already the world’s most popular spot for finding Web sites, is aiming to become the go-to place for creating Web sites too.

The Mountain View-based company is taking its first step toward that goal Thursday with the debut of a free service designed for high-tech neophytes looking for a simple way to share information with other people working in the same company or attending the same class in school.

With only a few clicks, just about anyone will be able to quickly set up and update a Web site featuring a wide array of material, including pictures, calendars and video from Google Inc.’s YouTube subsidiary, said Dave Girouard, general manager of the division overseeing the new application.

“We are literally adding an edit button to the Web,” Girouard said.

All sites created on the service will run on one of Google’s computers.

2/27/2008

Apple releases new iPhone firmware

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Apple released OS X firmware update 1.1.4 Tuesday for the iPhone, saying little about the new features. The last update, 1.1.3, introduced a few new capabilities such as the ability to customize the home page, but the only thing noted as new in 1.1.4 are “bug fixes,” which are probably welcome.

A new firmware update for the iPhone is out with bug fixes, according to Apple.

It’s not clear at this early juncture whether the new update does anything to the legions of jailbroken and unlocked iPhones out in the world, but if you’re one of those users living outside Apple’s user agreement, you might want to hold off installing the update until more details are uncovered.

2/26/2008

Spammers crack Gmail Captcha

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Spammers, fresh from the success of cracking the Windows Live captcha used by Hotmail, have broken the equivalent system at Gmail.

Internet security firm Websense reports that miscreants have created bots which are capable of signing up and creating random Gmail accounts for spamming purposes, defeating Captcha-based defences in the process. It reckons the same group of spammers are behind both attacks.

Captcha (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) challenge-response systems, which are used to prevent accounts being created until a user correctly identifies letters in an image, are designed to ensure requests are made by a human rather than an automated program. The technique has been used to defeat automatic sign-ups to email accounts by services including Yahoo! Mail and Gmail for years, and hackers are increasingly successful in defeating the approach. For example, the HotLan Trojan has created more than 500,000 spam email accounts with Hotmail, Yahoo! and Gmail since its arrival back in July 2007.

Websense reckons the latest Gmail Captcha hack is the most sophisticated it has seen to date. Unlike Live Mail Captcha breaking, which involved just one zombie host doing the entire job, the Gmail breaking process involves two compromised hosts. Each of the two compromised hosts applies a slightly different technique to analysing Captcha, as explained in a posting by Websense.

Yahoo users to create Buzz with favorite content

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Yahoo Inc said Tuesday it will launch a service called Yahoo Buzz which will use consumers’ voting to uncover the most popular content from sites across the Internet and bring them to Yahoo’s homepage, one of the Web’s most trafficked destinations.

The service, currently in trial, measures consumer votes and search patterns to identify interesting and timely stories and videos from large news sources as well as niche blogs. It said the top stories will be given primary editorial consideration for feature placement on Yahoo.com.

Yahoo said it was an example of the Internet company’s move to open up the site to more third-party publishers and make it more social and relevant to its users.

Adobe AIR puts companies on desktops

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

EBay Inc.’s customers don’t need to open a Web browser to search the site or auction an item anymore.

After a quick download, the online auctioneer’s users can click the company’s logo on their desktop and launch an application that will allow them to do their business directly - no browser required.

EBay is one of several companies, including Nasdaq Stock Market Inc., Time Warner Inc.’s AOL, Nickelodeon and Salesforce.com Inc., that have created downloadable, desktop versions of their Web sites using software developed by Adobe Systems Inc.

Adobe is launching the application, called AIR, on Monday. Adobe says AIR will allow any company with a Web site to inhabit a permanent spot on people’s desktops.

It also reduces the wait time for downloading images and data, because the desktop is constantly updated while the computer is online.

Adobe says AIR runs on any operating system. It’s a more powerful version of widgets, the customizable little Web pullouts often provided by third parties like Google Inc.

Pakistan Causes Worldwide YouTube Outage

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Most of the world’s Internet users lost access to YouTube for several hours Sunday after an attempt by Pakistan’s government to block access domestically affected other countries.

The outage highlighted yet another of the Internet’s vulnerabilities, coming less than a month after broken fiber-optic cables in the Mediterranean took Egypt off line and caused communications problems from the Middle East to India.

An Internet expert said Sunday’s problems came after a Pakistani telecommunications company complied with the block by directing requests for YouTube videos to a “black hole.” So instead of serving up videos of skateboarding dogs, it sent the traffic into oblivion.

The problem was that the company also accidentally identified itself to Internet computers as the world’s fastest route to YouTube, leading requests from across the Internet to the black hole.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority had ordered 70 Internet service providers on Friday to block access to YouTube.com because of anti-Islamic movies on the video-sharing site, which is owned by Google Inc.

The authority did not specify what the offensive material was, but a PTA official said the ban concerned a trailer for an upcoming film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, who has said he plans to release a movie portraying Islam as fascist and prone to inciting violence against women and homosexuals.

The block was intended to cover only Pakistan, but it extended to about two-thirds of the global Internet population, starting at 1:47 p.m. EST Sunday, according to Renesys Corp., a Manchester, N.H., company that keeps track of the pathways of the Internet for telecommunications companies and other clients.

2/24/2008

EU wants RFID tags turned off

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

RFID tags used in retail products will have to be deactivated at the point of sale to protect consumers’ privacy under draft guidelines drawn up by the European Commission (EC).

A public consultation has been launched that will run until 25 April 2008. The EC hopes its recommendations will be adopted by all 27 member states by the summer.

The RFID (radio frequency identification) devices are used for a variety of functions like inventory management. The guidelines address growing privacy concerns among consumers that their movements can be tracked and monitored after a purchase has been made.

EU Commissioner for Information Society Viviane Reding, who yesterday announced the proposals, handed regulation of smart chip technology over to the industry in March last year.

She recommends that retailers automatically deactivate the RFID tags at point of sale unless the consumer chooses to leave it active.

Apache daddy walks out on OpenSolaris

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

AMD and Microsoft should take note that open source strategies bring painful problems. Sun Microsystems knows this all too well.

Just as Microsoft said it’s opening its APIs and AMD made its latest contribution to open source, controversy again bubbled up for Sun’s much-vaunted OpenSolaris project.

Apache Server co-founder Ray Fielding has resigned from Sun’s OpenSolaris Community saying he’s unhappy about the way Sun’s behaving. The issue centers over who controls the OpenSolaris trademark - Sun or the governing community - with Fielding saying Sun wanted to have it’s cake and eat it too.

The break follows criticism of Sun’s handling of open source projects in December 2007.

2/23/2008

Japan launches experimental Internet satellite

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Japan launched an experimental communications satellite on Saturday as part of an ambitious space program that could help ensure super high-speed Internet access in remote parts of Japan and elsewhere in Asia.

The H-2A rocket carrying the 2.7 tonne “KIZUNA” (WINDS) communications satellite took off into over the tiny island of Tanegashima, about 1,000 km (620 miles) south of Tokyo, at 5.55 p.m. (0855 GMT).

The launch had been briefly delayed after a ship strayed into restricted waters.

The KIZUNA, equipped with three antennas targeting Japan, Southeast Asia and the Pacific regions, is referred to as the Wideband InterNetworking engineering test and Demonstration Satellite or WINDS.

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