3/3/2008

Underground tools foil generic virus detection

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The effectiveness of malicious code is largely determined by whether or not it’s detected by anti-virus scanners. By replicating the scans of leading security products using test tools located on underground forums and web pages, miscreants gain the chance to fine-tune their creations to make sure they aren’t picked up by anti-virus heuristic (generic) detection.

The Underground tools foil generic virus detection | The Register
http://theregister.co.uk”>underground tools are technically similar to Hispasec’s legitimate Virus Total tool, according to Spanish anti-virus firm Panda Software. It notes that the increased interest in underground testing tools coincides with the removal of the “do not distribute the sample” option in Virus Total. The now compulsory feature means that samples of files scanned by Virus Total are sent to security firms.

Back in the day malware authors wanted to make a name for themselves by causing trouble; these days they’re more interested in making sure of extending the half-life of money-making malware by making sure it attracts the minimum of attention and, as far as possible, creeps in under the radar of anti-virus tools. Non-disclosure testing of malware toolkits prior to this release aids this process, as well as creating income for unscrupulous coders happy to work for VXers.

Coming soon: Movies on flash memory cards

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

PortoMedia is probably the only start-up in the world inspired by the movie Carlito’s Way.

Company founder Chris Armstrong explains: Four years ago, he set out to his local DVD store to rent a movie. First, he stopped at the ATM to get cash. The store didn’t have Twelve Angry Men, the movie Armstrong wanted. He settled for Carlito’s Way instead. He then waited in line, paid for his rental, and returned to his car.

Then he remembered another movie, Gone in Sixty Seconds, the title of which got him wondering why the process of renting movies, from start to finish, can take so long.

While other companies see the Internet as the answer to that question, Armstrong has another idea. PortoMedia is setting up kiosks that will let consumers download movies to a flash memory key or portable hard drive.

The kiosks will be packed with hard drives that can hold 350 to 5,000 titles. Users then plug in a memory device from the company, enter a PIN code, and buy or rent a movie. When consumers get home, they simply slide the memory device into a dock connected to a TV.

The key to the service is a proprietary USB interface that transfers data at a faster average rate than standard USB devices. A standard-definition movie can be loaded onto a memory device in 8 to 60 seconds, depending on the length and chip speed. High-definition movies, which won’t be available initially on the service, can be downloaded in 18 to 45 seconds. The USB interface works just fine with the USB slots on PCs and notebooks.

Facebook lets its users translate site into German

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Facebook, the social network site that has enjoyed spectacular international growth in the past year, despite being published only in English until recently, said on Monday it was offering a German version.

More than 2,000 German speaking Facebook members volunteered to translate the site from English to German in under two weeks, the company said in a statement.

The German version of the site represents Facebook’s third language, as volunteers translated a version of the site into Spanish early in February. Facebook has also said it plans to release a French language site.

Roughly 60 percent of Facebook’s 66 million users live outside the United States.

Microsoft’s supersized data center plans

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Nick Carr has received hints that Microsoft intends to build out two dozen data centers of about 500,000 square feet or more in size. He said that it was unclear as to when the data centers would be built.

Rich Miller at Data Center Knowledge gives the rumored 12 million square feet of data center space some context:

That’s equivalent to filling 65 Wal-Mart Supercenters with servers. It would be a computing footprint more than twice the size of the Vatican; an expansion more than half-again as large as IBM’s entire 8 million square feet of data center space. And Nick uses the term “first phase.”

Related: Microsoft’s Google-killer strategy

Intel picks Atom as name for new chip family

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Intel Corp has picked “Atom” as the new brand name for its latest microprocessor, the world’s largest semiconductor company said.

The Intel Atom processor is the name for the new family of low-power processors, the brains of digital devices, that will power mobile Internet devices and ultra low-cost and small notebook and desktop personal computers.

Intel (INTC.O: Quote, Profile, Research) sees a big market for the Internet-connected devices that can fit in one’s pocket and for what it is calling the netbook, a low-cost PC costing around $250.

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