11/23/2009

Patent Issued For Podcasting

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The EFF is reaching out for help after a company called Volomedia got the Patent Office to grant them exclusive rights to ‘a method for providing episodic media’ that could threaten the community of podcasters and millions of podcast listeners.

‘It’s a ridiculously broad patent, covering something that many folks have been doing for many years,’ writes Rebecca Jeschke. ‘Worse, it could create a whole new layer of ongoing costs for podcasters and their listeners.’ To bust this patent, EFF is looking for additional ‘prior art’ — evidence that the podcasting methods described in the patent were already in use (PDF) before November 19, 2003. ‘In particular, we’re looking for written descriptions of methods that allow a user to download pre-programmed episodic media like audio files or video files from a remote publisher, with the download occurring after the user subscribes to the episodes, and with the user continuing to automatically receive new episodes

First Malicious iPhone Worm In the Wild

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

After the ikee worm that displayed a picture of Rick Astley on jailbroken iPhones, the first malicious iPhone worm has now been discovered in the wild.

Internet provider XS4ALL in the Netherlands encountered several of such devices on the wireless networks of their customers and put out a warning. After obtaining a copy of the malware it was discovered that the jailbroken phones, which are exploited through openSSH with a default password, scan IP ranges of mobile internet providers for other vulnerable iPhones, phone home to a C&C botnet server, are able to update themselves with additional malware and have the ability to dump the SMS database as well.

Owners of a jailbroken iPhone with a default root password are advised to flash to the latest Apple firmware in order to ensure no malware is present.”

YouTube Will Soon Block Access From Set-Top Devices

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

It won’t affect your PS3, Wii, TiVo, or other licensed YouTube partners, but Google’s streaming video service will start blocking API access to TV-connected devices as of Dec. 2. The COO of set-top box maker Popcorn Hour writes that the firm tried to negotiate with YouTube to retain the service, but YouTube/Google seems to be standing firm—just as the site starts to transition to 1080p video.

AOL offers buyouts to over a third of work force

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The struggling Internet company AOL plans to shed up to 2,500 jobs - more than a third of its work force - as it prepares to separate from Time Warner and finally sever their ill-fated marriage.

Major job cuts had been expected and seemed certain after Time Warner said last week that AOL would take $200 million in charges for severance and other restructuring-related costs. But the magnitude was not known until Thursday.

AOL, which has already pared thousands of workers in recent years and now employs about 6,900, is asking for volunteers to accept buyouts. If it falls short of the 2,500 target, it plans layoffs to reach a payroll cut of up to 2,300 positions, a third of its current total.

200 Web sites spread al-Qaida’s message in English

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Increasing numbers of English-language Web sites are spreading al-Qaida’s message to Muslims in the West. They translate writings and sermons once largely out of reach of English readers and often feature charismatic clerics like Anwar al-Awlaki, who exchanged dozens of e-mails with the Army psychiatrist accused of the Fort Hood shootings.

The U.S.-born al-Awlaki has been an inspiration to several militants arrested in the United States and Canada in recent years, with his Web-based sermons often turning up on their computers.

“The point is you don’t have to be an official part of al-Qaida to spread hatred and sectarian views,” said Evan Kohlmann, a senior investigator for the New York-based NEFA Foundation, which researches Islamic militants.

“If you look at the most influential documents in terms of homegrown terrorism cases, it’s not training manuals on building bombs,” Kohlmann said. “The most influential documents are the ones that are written by theological advisers, some of whom are not even official al-Qaida members.”

Most of the radical Islamic sites are not run or directed by al-Qaida, but they provide a powerful tool for recruiting sympathizers to its cause of jihad, or holy war, against the United States, experts who track the activity said.

The number of English-language sites sympathetic to al-Qaida has risen from about 30 seven years ago to more than 200 recently, said Abdulmanam Almushawah, head of a Saudi government program called Assakeena, which works to combat militant Islamic Web sites.

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