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Author Topic: Tech News Weekly: Edition 24-09  (Read 3145 times)


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Tech News Weekly: Edition 24-09
« on: June 14, 2009, 07:17:54 AM »
The Weekly Tech News
TNWeekly01.gifHi all.
As usual, you can find last week's news here.

1. Crypto Attack Puts Digital Sig Hash On Collision Course
SHA-1's time is nearing, with a further improvement on collision generation efficiency to 252 from 263 by a research team.

Cryptographers have found new chinks in a widely-used digital-signature algorithm that have serious consequences for applications that sign email, validate websites, and carry out dozens of other online authentication functions.

The researchers, from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, found a way to break the SHA-1 algorithm in significantly fewer tries than previously required. Although the hash function was previously believed to withstand attempts numbering 263, the researchers have been able to whittle that down to 252, a number that puts practical attacks well within grasp of well-funded organizations.

2. 'Millionth English Word' Declared
Under rather odd circumstances, the term 'Web 2.0' has been declared the millionth "word" in the English language. You'd think the people who officially declare new words in the English language would be aware of the definition of the word "word"...

Global Language Monitor (GLM) searches the internet for newly coined terms, and once a word or phrase has been used 25,000 times, it recognises it.

GLM said Web 2.0 beat out the terms Jai ho, N00b and slumdog to take top spot.

However, traditional dictionary makers are casting doubt on the claim and the methods behind it.

3. French Court Savages "three-strikes" Law, Tosses It Out
A French court has struck down some of the most important aspects of the new elevated response law passed recently.

The French Constitutional Council has ripped into the new Création et Internet law which would disconnect repeat online copyright infringers, calling the basic premise unconstitutional. "Innocent until proven guilty" remains a central principle of French law, and it cannot be bypassed simply by creating a new nonjudicial authority.

Better known as the "three strikes" law, Création et Internet set up a High Authority in France that would oversee a graduated response program designed to curb online piracy. Rightsholders would investigate, submit complaints to the High Authority (called HADOPI, after its French acronym), and the Authority would take action. Warnings would be passed to ISPs, who would forward them to customers; after two such warnings, the subscriber could be disconnected and placed on a nationwide "no Internet" blacklist.

4. No IE Onboard Windows 7 in Europe
Discussion started by Josh: http://www.donationcoder.com/forum/index.php?topic=18736.msg167868;topicseen#new
In a failed (see second link) attempt to force the hand of the EU in relation to the anti-trust case against them, Microsoft have announced the European version of Windows 7 will ship without Internet Explorer.

European buyers of Windows 7 will have to download and install a web browser for themselves.

Bowing to European competition rules, Microsoft Windows 7 will ship without Internet Explorer.

The company said it would make it easy for PC makers and users to get at and install the web browsing program.

In response the European Commission expressed scepticism over the move and whether it would allay accusations of Microsoft abusing its market position.

5. Swedish Pirate Party Headed to European Parliament
The Swedish Pirate Party has secured at least one seat in the European Parliament after the June 7 election.

The final returns are still being counted, but Sweden's Pirate Party (Piratpartiet) has secured at least one seat in today's elections for the European Parliament. According to Sweden's election authority, the Pirate Party has crossed the four percent threshold needed for a seat and currently has 7.1 percent of the vote.

"We have just written political history," said Swedish Pirate Party leader Rick Falkvinge. "Tonight, politicians have learned that doing what the lobby asks will cost them their jobs. We're the largest party in the segment below 30 years of age. That's building the future of liberties."

With more than 700 legislators in the European Parliament (see the complete breakdown), a vote or two won't do much to set the agenda. But for a party formed only a few years ago with a narrow set of concerns, this is an excellent showing.

6. Open Source, Digital Textbooks Coming to California Schools
Strongly underscoring the game of catch-up being played in the education arena the State of California will, from next year, permit the use of Open Source digital textbooks in classrooms in response to cashflow problems.

On Monday, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger promoted his state's recently announced initiative, which would see it adopt free, digital textbooks in time for the next school year. The state's current fiscal crisis is an obvious motivating factor, as Schwarzenegger said that the state's share of textbook spending comes in at $350 million a year. But the crisis may simply be accelerating a process that was already under way. For the past several years, the state has run a program designed to evaluate online educational resources and certify that they can be used in a way that is compliant with state educational standards.

In a speech and editorial in which he pushed the program, Schwarzenegger didn't shy from making financial arguments. He suggested that the shift would help both the state and local school districts, which spend their own money for textbook purchases. Once the program is in full swing, a school district with 10,000 high school students could end up with savings in the area of $2 million a year. For now, however, the certification of digital texts will focus on various areas of math and science: Geometry, Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Earth Sciences.

7. Webhost Hack Wipes Out Data for 100,000 Sites, Boss Found Hanged
Vaserv.com was the victim of an attack last week which wiped out over 100,000 websites. The next day, the boss of the company responsible for the vulnerability was found hanged in his home.

A large internet service provider said data for as many as 100,000 websites was destroyed by attackers who targeted a zero-day vulnerability in a widely-used virtualization application.

Technicians at UK-based Vaserv.com were still scrambling to recover data on Monday evening UK time, more than 24 hours after unknown hackers were able to gain root access to the company's system, Rus Foster, the company's director told The Register. He said the attackers were able to penetrate his servers by exploiting a critical vulnerability in HyperVM, a virtualization application made by a company called LXLabs.

"We were hit by a zero-day exploit" in version 2.0.7992 of the application, he said. "I've heard from other people they've been hit by the same thing."

8. Military Hush-Up: Incoming Space Rocks Now Classified (Thanks 40hz)
The US Military will now deem information gathered by their satellites regarding bolides and fireballs around Earth's atmosphere, classified.

For 15 years, scientists have benefited from data gleaned by U.S. classified satellites of natural fireball events in Earth's atmosphere – but no longer.

A recent U.S. military policy decision now explicitly states that observations by hush-hush government spacecraft of incoming bolides and fireballs are classified secret and are not to be released, SPACE.com has learned.

The satellites' main objectives include detecting nuclear bomb tests, and their characterizations of asteroids and lesser meteoroids as they crash through the atmosphere has been a byproduct data bonanza for scientists.

9. Obama Drastically Scales Back Goals
President Obama has scaled back the goals he intends to achieve during his presidency after a visit to a Denny's restaurant.




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Re: Tech News Weekly: Edition 24-09
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2009, 12:57:38 PM »
jeez, #7 poor geezer  :(

#2 we could promote some 'new' words?

#9 ouch . .


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Re: Tech News Weekly: Edition 24-09
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2009, 01:07:50 PM »
#2 we could promote some 'new' words?

Yeah. I miss the days of Sniglets. Let's bring them back. Care to start a new thread for it Mr. T?

Re: #6 -  It's 2009 guys! I don't know which is more newsworthy: the fact that they're finally going to "allow" it; or the fact that they haven't done so already.

(And this is the state that believes it leads the rest of nation in social and technical innovation? :P)