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Author Topic: Tech News Weekly: Edition 16-09  (Read 3709 times)


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Tech News Weekly: Edition 16-09
« on: April 18, 2009, 06:49 PM »
The Weekly Tech News
TNWeekly01.gifHi all.
Nothing to mention this week, enjoy :)
As usual, you can find last week's news here.

1. EBay Plans Skype Public Listing
Just four years after purchasing Skype for US$2.6bn, Ebay is planning an IPO for next year, which could see the original owners regain control of Skype for less than half the price they were originally paid for it.

EBay said Skype was a "great stand-alone" firm but had "limited synergies" with the online auction firm.

When eBay bought Skype for $2.6bn (£1.7bn) in October 2005, many analysts thought the price was too high.

Skype's software lets PC users talk to each other for free and make cut-price calls to mobiles and landlines.

2. PIN Crackers Nab Holy Grail of Bank Card Security
It has come to light that it's now possible hackers to obtain encrypted PIN numbers as they travel between ATMs and banking mainframes and decrypt them, allowing the attackers to make cash withdrawals from ATMs without the use of skimming hardware or cameras.

Hackers have crossed into new frontiers by devising sophisticated ways to steal large amounts of personal identification numbers, or PINs, protecting credit and debit cards, says an investigator.  The attacks involve both unencrypted PINs and encrypted PINs that attackers have found a way to crack, according to an investigator behind a new report looking at the data breaches.

The attacks, says Bryan Sartin, director of investigative response for Verizon Business, are behind some of the millions of dollars in fraudulent ATM withdrawals that have occurred around the United States.

3. Evidence Suggests First Zombie Mac Botnet is Active
The trojan distributed with pirated copies of iWork and Photoshop over bittorrent last year appears to be developing into botnet.

If you let yourself get tempted into installing the pirated versions of iWork or Photoshop CS4 that circulated on Bit Torrent earlier this year, you may have unwittingly turned your Mac into a zombie. Security researchers for Symantec have turned up evidence that these zombie machines are being used to create a Mac-based botnet.

Botnets are used to perform DDoS attacks on systems, gather sensitive personal information, and send out a majority of the spam that clogs up the 'Net. While commonly made out of infected Windows computers, this is the first known attempt to create one from Macs.

4. They're Gone! After Outcry, Time Warner Uncaps the Tubes
US ISP Time Warner has succumbed to public pressure and stopped their trial of monthly download caps on high speed Internet connections.

Time Warner Cable said repeatedly that it wanted to hear from the public as it expanded its Internet data caps, and the public has roared back its response: metered billing should exist in some non-obscene ratio to cost and to competitors' pricing. In response, TWC will shelve the trials "while the customer education process continues."

The plan to expand the test into North Carolina and New York survived in public for two weeks, and not even TWC's decision to dramatically boost the caps a week into the fracas could stop the anger. Not that the company believes anything about the plan was fundamentally misguided; as CEO Glenn Britt put it today, "There is a great deal of misunderstanding about our plans to roll out additional tests on consumption based billing."

5. The Pirate Bay Verdict: Guilty, With Jail Time
The owners of The Pirate Bay bittorrent website have been found guilty of assisting copyright infringement. The Swedish district court handed down a US$3.5 million fine and a year's jail time. It's reported they will appeal the decision.

The Pirate Bay "spectrial" has ended in a guilty verdict, prison sentences for the defendants, and a shared 30 million kronor ($3.5 million) fine. According to the Swedish district court, the operators of the site were guilty of assisting copyright infringement, even though The Pirate Bay hosted none of the files in question and even though other search engines like Google also provide direct access to illegal .torrent files.

These two points formed the basis of The Pirate Bay's defense, but the court found them ultimately unpersuasive in its 107 page verdict. "By providing a site with, as the district court found, sophisticated search functions, easy upload and storage, and a website linked to the tracker," the defendants were guilty of assisting copyright infringement, the court said.

6. Attack Sneaks Rootkits Into Linux Kernel
It appears Linux is vulnerable to kernel memory manipulation via the /dev/mem device. This is not a new attack vector, but code soon to be released will allow attackers to leverage the vulnerability more easily.

Kernel rootkits are tough enough to detect, but a researcher this week has demonstrated an even sneakier method of hacking Linux.

The attack attack exploits an oft-forgotten function in Linux versions 2.4 and above in order to quietly insert a rootkit into the operating system kernel as a way to hide malware processes, hijack system calls, and open remote backdoors into the machine, for instance. At Black Hat Europe this week in Amsterdam, Anthony Lineberry, senior software engineer for Flexilis, will demonstrate how to hack the Linux kernel by exploiting the driver interface to physically addressable memory in Linux, called /dev/mem.

7. Wikipedians to Vote On Creative Commons License Adoption
Wikipedia participants will soon be able to vote for the adoption of a different license for Wikipedia. The shift from the GNU Free Documentation License to the Creative Commons Atribution Share-Alike License will make reusing content from Wikipedia more permissable.

The Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind the popular Wikipedia website, has called for the project's contributors to vote on a proposal which calls for the adoption of the Creative Commons Atribution Share-Alike (CC-By-SA) license. This change would lower the barriers for repurposing content from the Internet encyclopedia.

Wikipedia content is currently made available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), which was devised by the Free Software Foundation to govern the distribution of technical documentation that was produced by the GNU project. The license was adopted for Wikipedia early in the project's existence. When Wikipedia participants submit content, the editing page currently includes a notice which informs them that they must irrevocably agree to release their contributions under the terms of the GFDL.

8. Microsoft Owns Up to "E74" 360 Errors, Expands Warranty
Microsoft has expended its three-year "red rings of death" warranty to include the well known "E74" error which arose more recently than the red rings, but indicates simply a "general hardware failure".

While Xbox 360 systems may be known more for the dreaded "red ring of death" than any other hardware failure, one gaming blog has been tracking the rise of the "E74" error, an issue that causes the console to crash and show a multi-language kill screen. You'll also get a single red section on your system's power button. Microsoft is aware of the problem, and has since amended it's three-year warranty to cover the error.

The story began when Joystiq started to receive complaints concerning the error. The site decided to gather some data, and found that complaints of the error increased after the release of the New Xbox Experience, or NXE. "One oddity is that there is no correlation between the dates on which the systems in question were purchased and when they went belly up," Joystiq writer Justin McElroy reported. "The error usually occurred after anywhere from 12 to 36 months of use, with many of you claiming that trouble arose on consoles that have already been repaired for Red Ring of Death. Whatever modifications Microsoft has made to the console to improve its reliability in the past years seems to have no bearing on the likelihood of E74."

9. How To Make A Baby
College Humour shows us where babies come from.




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Re: Tech News Weekly: Edition 16-09
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2009, 07:55 PM »
4. The American ISPs are grabbing some ideas from Australian ISPs......COOL!!!  :P

You better prepare yourself for $80/month Unlimited* ADSL2+/Cable/Fibre Optic Broadband folks.

* Subject to terms of the Fair Usage Policy, customers deemed "heavy users" will have their connection shaped to 64k/64k.  <- Reproduced actual size.


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Re: Tech News Weekly: Edition 16-09
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2009, 01:19 PM »
#4 is very entertaining:
> TWC will shelve the trials "while the customer education process continues."
dont you just love to get some "free" education for a change ;D

#2 - they'll just have to go back to old-fashioned banking :-\

#9  LOL  ;D