11/16/2009

U.S. arrests and charges two Madoff programmers

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Two computer programmers designed codes to falsify thousands of fake trade blotters and phantom records for swindler Bernard Madoff and took hush money to help keep the massive fraud going, U.S. authorities said.

The FBI arrested Jerome O’Hara, 46, and George Perez, 43, at their homes on Friday morning on criminal charges of conspiracy for falsifying books and records at both the broker-dealer and investment arms of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS) in New York.

“The computer codes and random algorithms they allegedly designed served to deceive investors and regulators and concealed Madoff’s crimes,” said federal prosecutor Preet Bharara. “They have been charged for their roles in Madoff’s epic fraud, and the investigation remains ongoing.”

O’Hara’s attorney Gordon Mehler said “We intend to enter a plea of not guilty” after Manhattan federal court magistrate judge Ronald Ellis ordered the men released on $1 million bail each with travel restrictions.

Perez’s attorney Larry Krantz declined to comment.

Hackers bypass Windows 7 activation

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Hackers have managed to find a way around one of the key antipiracy protections built into Windows 7.

Ordinarily, the operating system requires users to activate their copy of Windows 7 within 30 days. However, a recently outlined method allows the normal notifications to be turned off.

The software doesn’t actually get confirmed as legitimate, but users are able to keep using the product indefinitely.

Microsoft confirmed on Friday it is aware of the technique, but said that it is working to shore up the activation procedure.

“We’re aware of this workaround and are already working to address it,” a Microsoft representative said in a statement, which also urged customers to only use genuine software, noting the fake stuff can contain malware and other bad things.

Microsoft patching zero-day Windows 7 SMB hole

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft on Friday said it is working on a fix for a vulnerability in the Server Message Block file-sharing protocol in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 Release 2 that could be used to remotely crash a computer.

The software giant had said on Wednesday that it was looking at the bug, discovered by researcher Laurent Gaffi?, who published proof-of-concept code on a blog.

“Microsoft is aware of public, detailed exploit code that would cause a system to stop functioning or become unreliable. If exploited, this [denial-of-service] vulnerability would not allow an attacker to take control of, or install malware on, the customer’s system but could cause the affected system to stop responding until manually restarted,” Dave Forstrom, group manager for public relations at Microsoft Trustworthy Computing, said in a statement. “It is important to note that the default firewall settings on Windows 7 will help block attempts to exploit this issue.”

Windows Mobile loses nearly a third of market share

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Windows Mobile lost 28 percent of its smartphone market share between last year’s third quarter and this year’s third quarter, according to market researcher Gartner.

Figures released Thursday by Gartner show that Microsoft’s mobile OS had 11 percent of the global smartphone market in Q3 2008. A year later, it had 7.9 percent. Meanwhile, the iPhone’s share rose from 12.9 percent to 17.1 percent, and Research In Motion’s share jumped from 16 percent to 20.8 percent.

Symbian’s share fell from 49.7 percent to 44.6 percent over the same period–a 10 percent drop. The open-source Android OS from Google had no market share in Q3 2008 because it had only recently been introduced. In Q3 2009, however, it had 3.9 percent share.

Hackers create tools for disaster relief

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo may be tough competitors when it comes to Internet software and services, but they are putting their differences aside to build a developer community to tackle bigger picture problems like saving lives in emergencies.

The companies have joined with NASA, the World Bank, and PR agency SecondMuse to organize the first-ever Random Hacks of Kindness event, which was held at a warehouse space-cum community center called Hacker Dojo this weekend. For two days, coders worked on ways to use technology to help solve real-world problems, such as how people can get information and find each other during disasters.

Powered by WordPress