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Showing posts from September, 2010

LinkedIn Attack Spreads Zeus Financial Malware

Infection related emails accounted for almost 25% of the world's spam at its peak Monday.

By Mathew J. Schwartz
InformationWeek
September 29, 2010 12:03 PM

On Monday, online attackers unleashed a flood of emails targeting the LinkedIn social network. According to Cisco, at the attack's peak on Monday, the related emails accounted for nearly 25% of all spam globally.

The emails arrive with an innocuous-looking -- but fake -- request to become a LinkedIn contact of the sender. Clicking on the provided link launches a website where a screen asks the viewer to wait for four seconds, before redirecting to Google.

Cisco said that "during those four seconds, the victim's PC is infected with the Zeus data theft malware by a drive-by download."

Zeus -- aka Zbot -- is a sophisticated financial malware toolkit that helps criminals automatically create online attacks, supported by botnets, aimed at stealing people's finance-related credentials, such as bank account login…

House Democrats shelve net neutrality proposal

Sep 29, 9:58 PM (ET)

By JOELLE TESSLER

WASHINGTON (AP) - House Democrats have shelved a last-ditch effort to broker a compromise between phone, cable and Internet companies on rules that would prohibit broadband providers from blocking or degrading online traffic flowing over their networks.

House Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., abandoned the effort late Wednesday in the face of Republican opposition to his proposed "network neutrality" rules. Those rules were intended to prevent broadband providers from becoming online gatekeepers by playing favorites with traffic.

The battle over net neutrality has pitted public interest groups and Internet companies such as Google Inc. and Skype against the nation's big phone and cable companies, including AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc.
and Comcast Corp.

Public interest groups and Internet companies say regulations are needed to prevent phone and cable operators from slowing or blocking Internet phone c…

Wiretapped phones, now Internet?

To better track criminals, U.S. wants to be able to wiretap online communications.

By CHARLIE SAVAGE, New York Times

Last update: September 26, 2010 - 11:08 PM

WASHINGTON - Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations of the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is "going dark" as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.

Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications -- including encrypted e-mail transmitters such as BlackBerry, social networking websites such as Facebook and software that allows direct "peer-to-peer" messaging such as Skype -- to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

The legislation, which the Obama administration plans to submit to Congress next year, raises fresh question…

Global 'internet treaty' proposed

Deal would enshrine in law the founding principles of open standards and net neutrality, and protect the web from political interference.

By Claudine Beaumont, Technology Editor
Published: 11:46AM BST 20 Sep 2010

The proposal was presented at the Internet Governance Forum in Lithuania last week, and outlined 12 "principles of internet governance", including a commitment from countries to sustain the technological foundations that underpin the web's infrastructure.

The draft law has been likened to the Space Treaty, signed in 1967, which stated that space exploration should be carried out for the benefit of all nations, and guaranteed "free access to all areas of celestial bodies".

Under the proposed terms of the law, there would be cross-border co-operation between countries to identify and address security vulnerability and protect the network from possible cyber attacks or cyber terrorism.

It would also uphold rights to freedom of expression and association,…

UK Proposes All Paychecks Go to the State First

Published: Monday, 20 Sep 2010 | 7:57 AM ET
By: Robin Knight CNBC Associate Web Producer

The UK's tax collection agency is putting forth a proposal that all employers send employee paychecks to the government, after which the government would deduct what it deems as the appropriate tax and pay the employees by bank transfer.

The proposal by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) stresses the need for employers to provide real-time information to the government so that it can monitor all payments and make a better assessment of whether the correct tax is being paid.

Currently employers withhold tax and pay the government, providing information at the end of the year, a system know as Pay as You Earn (PAYE).
There is no option for those employees to refuse withholding and individually file a tax return at the end of the year.

If the real-time information plan works, it further proposes that employers hand over employee salaries to the government first.

"The next step cou…

19 Gadgets That Changed The World

Jake Widman 09/20/2010

Every so often, a device comes along that changes the way we live our daily lives and things are never the same again. With today's digital technology, such devices may come more frequently than in the past, but our list revolutionary gadgets extends back two centuries.

Read more here: http://www.informationweek.com/news/galleries/hardware/reviews/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=227400522&pgno=1&isPrev=

States working harder to collect online sales taxes

With budgets in crisis, enforcement efforts gather steam

By Alex Johnson

Reporter msnbc.com

updated 9/17/2010 7:39:27 AM ET

It’s too early to know exactly how much the Nebraska chapter of the March of Dimes raised this week at its annual Signature Chefs Auction in Omaha, but odds are that more than 10 percent of the charity’s proceeds are going straight to the tax man.

That’s because the March of Dimes went online when it bought about 4,000 T-shirts from a Florida vendor to give to donors during its March for Babies Walk last April. The charity often buys supplies and other materials online, and it also raises money online by selling items at auction — racking up a big tax bill in each case.

“We didn’t know that,” said Rosemary

Specifically, it is taking away about $26,000, the amount the State of Nebraska says the March of Dimes owes for unpaid taxes on the April purchase and other online transactions over the past five years.

Opbroek acknowledged that “we owe the money,” which sh…

Computers set for quantum leap

By Clive Cookson in Birmingham

Published: September 16 2010 19:18 | Last updated: September 16 2010 19:18

A new photonic chip that works on light rather than electricity has been built by an international research team, paving the way for the production of ultra-fast quantum computers with capabilities far beyond today's devices.

Future quantum computers will, for example, be able to pull important information out of the biggest databases almost instantaneously. As the amount of electronic data stored worldwide grows exponentially, the technology will make it easier for people to search with precision for what they want.

An early application will be to investigate and design complex molecules, such as new drugs and other materials, that cannot be simulated with ordinary computers. More general consumer applications should follow.

Jeremy O'Brien, director of the UK's Centre for Quantum Photonics, who led the project, said many people in the field had believed a functional q…

USB 3.0 Finally Arrives

Adoption is faster than with previous versions -- but we want more, now. Here's why.

Melissa J. Perenson, PC World
Jan 10, 2010 8:57 pm

When you're in front of your PC, waiting for something to transfer to removable media, that's when seconds feel like minutes, and minutes feel like hours. And data storage scenarios such as that one is where the new SuperSpeed USB 3.0's greatest impact will be felt first. As of CES, 17 SuperSpeed USB 3.0-certified products were introduced, including host controllers, adapter cards, motherboards, and hard drives (but no other consumer electronics devices). Still more uncertified USB 3.0 products are on the way, and they can't get here fast enough.

Glance Backward

The beauty of USB 3.0 is its backward compatibility with USB 2.0; you need a new cable and new host adapter (or, one of the Asus or Gigabyte motherboards that supports USB 3.0) to achieve USB 3.0, but you can still use the device on a USB 2.0 port and achieve typical USB 2.0…

Microsoft strolls into white space

Ten days until we can join them

By Bill Ray

Posted in Wireless, 13th September 2010 14:32 GMT

It's ten days until the FCC will tell us the hows and whos of white space spectrum, but Microsoft has already switched on its campus-wide white-space network and is expecting great things.

The Microsoft network was demonstrated a month ago, as part of the company's propaganda war to convince the FCC to allocate the white spaces the way Redmond wants, and is now providing connectivity to shuttle busses and buildings across the 200-hectar campus from only two hot-spots - Wi-Fi on steroids indeed.

Microsoft, along with Google, wants white space radios ("white fi" as Redmond terms it) to be unrestricted. Ideally such devices would use detect-and-avoid technology to establish which TV-broadcast frequencies aren't being used locally, and then make use of them.

Unfortunately such detect-and-avoid technology dosen't actually work, for both technical and architectural reason…

Small businesses feel squeezed by Obama policies

By V. Dion Haynes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 6, 2010; 12

Last year, even as he struggled through the worst of the recession, Chris Upham said revenue at his District-based real estate and construction businesses doubled -- allowing him to hire two agents.

But Upham said he hasn't increased his staff thus far in 2010 and he doesn't expect to for the remainder of the year.

That's because his taxes rose sevenfold. And he said he anticipates they'll increase again if the Bush tax cuts for people earning $250,000 and above expire at the end of the year.

As small businesses try to plot their recovery, attention is turning to what many owners consider burdensome policies -- higher taxes, new accounting procedures and health-care mandates. Even as the government tries to help with an array of small-business initiatives, many owners say the intervention is as much a hindrance to hiring as the faltering economy.

Their perceptions are important because the Oba…

More than 400 US Banks Will Fail: Roubini

Published: Friday, 3 Sep 2010 | 3:00 AM ET
By: Patrick Allen
CNBC Senior News Editor

Even if the US and European economies manage to avoid a double dip, it will still feel like a recession, while more than half of the 800-plus US banks on the "critical list" are likely to go bust, according to renowned economist Nouriel Roubini of Roubini Global Economics.

The second half of the year will remain weak as tailwinds become headwinds, Roubini told CNBC on the shores of Lake Como, Italy at the Ambrosetti Forum economics conference.

"In the second half, fiscal policy becomes a headwind, no more cash for clunkers," Roubini said. "The positive scenario is that growth will be below par."

Roubini recently said the chance of a double-dip recession in the US was now more than 40 percent.

"The big risk is that there will be a downturn in markets that could impact the bond, the equity and the credit markets," he said.

"Job losses have been higher, the US…

Google Feature to Speed Web Searches

* SEPTEMBER 8, 2010, 5:13 P.M. ET

Google Feature to Speed Web Searches

By AMIR EFRATI

SAN FRANCISCO-Google Inc. on Wednesday introduced a change to its widely used Web search engine that speeds up the time it takes to find and deliver results.

The new feature, called "Google Instant," shows search results that change as each letter in a word is typed into the search box. At present, a search begins when the word is typed and the "enter" key struck. The feature is being rolled out in the U.S. and six European countries this week and will be introduced more broadly later, the company said.

Google Inc. on Wednesday introduced a change to its widely used Web search engine that speeds up the time it takes to find and deliver results. WSJ's Julia Angwin discusses with Simon Constable on Digits.

At a demonstration at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Mountain View, Calif., company showed how the search engine now tries to predict what customers are searching…

Anti-Google campaign on privacy

Maggie Shiels | 09:40 UK time, Friday, 3 September 2010

The public advocacy group Consumer Watchdog is no lover of Google.

It has in fact been a constant thorn in the search giant's side and has set up a special Google website to log and monitor what it sees as its misdeeds as the firm tracks and collects data on us through our search history and browsing habits.

Now Consumer Watchdog has taken it to a whole new level with giant adverts playing on the JumboTron in New York's Times Square.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt is portrayed as a "perverter of privacy" in the guise of an ice cream man. The animated video shows a caricature of Schmidt giving out free treats to children while at the same time spying on them and collecting information on them.

Consumer Watchdog's president Jaimie Court said the aim of the adverts was to "make the public aware of how out of touch Schmidt and Google are when it comes to our privacy rights. Google knows more about us than most go…

German court rules against YouTube over copyright AP

- Fri Sep 3, 1:54 pm ET

BERLIN - A German court ruled Friday that Google Inc.'s subsidiary YouTube LLC must pay compensation after users uploaded several videos of performances by singer Sarah Brightman in violation of copyright laws.

The Hamburg state court said the standardized question to users about whether they have the necessary rights to publish material is not enough to relieve YouTube of the legal responsibility for the content, especially because the platform can be used anonymously.

Google is evaluating the 60-page ruling but will appeal the decision, company spokesman Henning Dorstewitz told The Associated Press.

YouTube must not publish those videos any more and provide information to settle the amount of compensation in at least three cases in which Brightman videos were uploaded, it said.

The plaintiff was not identified and a court spokesman could not be reached for comment. The court statement only said the plaintiff has claimed to be the copyright holder for seve…

Cheap nano crystals promise huge storage boost 3D memory chips built from silicon

By Lucas Mearian | Computerworld US
Published: 10:10 GMT, 01 September 10

Rice University announced today that scientists there have created the first two-terminal memory chips that use only silicon, extending the limits of miniaturisation subject to Moore's Law. The new technology places multiple layers of memory capacity on the same chip, creating what is referred to as a 3D memory architecture.

According to a Rice University spokesman, the new memory technology will improve scalability by an order of magnitude compared to NAND flash technology available today. "The fact that they can do this in 3D makes makes it highly scalable," he said. "We've got memory that's made out of dirt-cheap material and it works."

In 2008, researchers at the university showed how electrical currents could repeatedly break and reconnect 10-nanometer strips of graphite, which could potentially boost flash memory capacity by many times. The Rice researchers said then that th…

Microsoft to VMware: Windows is still relevant in the virtualization era Microsoft execs rubbish VMware CEO comments

By Jon Brodkin | Network World US
Published: 10:00 GMT, 02 September 10

Virtualization has not stripped Windows of its relevance, a Microsoft official said in response to VMware CEO Paul Maritz's argument that operating systems are no longer the centre of innovation in the IT world.

Maritz didn't actually predict that operating systems are doomed, but he did argue in his VMworld keynote that the role of operating systems in managing hardware and providing services to applications is being usurped by virtualisation software and new development frameworks like Spring and Ruby on Rails.

But the vast majority of VMware customers are still Windows customers, and VMware's technology would be useless without an operating system, Microsoft executive Mike Neil said. "If you buy a copy of [VMware's] ESX and install it on a machine, you get a blinking cursor," says Neil, the general manager of Microsoft's server virtualisation and Windows Server division. "It d…

Dell walks away: HP wins 3Par for $2.4 billion

By Larry Dignan | September 2, 2010, 7:36am PDT

Hewlett-Packard on Thursday officially won storage vendor 3Par after Dell declined to match a $33 a share, or $2.4 billion, bid.

Dell’s statement on the matter ended a wild bidding war that started at $18 a share for 3Par. Dell said in a statement that it will get a $72 million breakup fee. The company added that its final offer was for $32 a share.

The 3Par bidding war reflected the animosity between two fierce rivals, Dell and HP, and the fact that there aren’t many enterprise storage players to buy.

Earlier on Thursday, 3Par said Hewlett-Packard has raised its offer to $33 a share for the storage company, or $2.4 billion, after Dell countered with a $32 a share offer. 3Par deemed HP’s bid as superior. HP had bid $30 for 3Par and Dell countered with $32 a share. Dell also revised a termination fee to $92 million.

3Par outlined what happened in a statement (my emphasis added):

Although 3PAR previously notified Dell of its intention to t…

VMware's Maritz virtually pronounces death of Windows

By Paula Rooney | August 31, 2010, 11:08am PDT

It could not have been easy for former Microsoft exec Paul Maritz to pronounce the death of the operating system today.

Maritz, who is CEO of VMware, said during his keynote today that virtualization and new application frameworks combined represent the de facto operating system for the IT-as-a-Service era since the two layers of the new stack handle all of the hardware and application services once provided by operating systems.

Okay, Maritz did not pronounce the death of Windows verbatim but referred to the "changing role" of the OS as a legacy software layer that needs to get a new life. He did say the era of client/server is over.

"Hardware is going to virtualization and the role of abstracted services to applications is going to new frameworks," he said. "The traditional operating system won't disappear .. but is one component that need to fit into this world."

The tide is going to change with or wi…