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Technology in the News

Technology is constantly changing and providing the casual user with challenges never dreamed of. Technology in the News is provided in an effort to assist you in getting the most out of your computer, while avoiding some of the pitfalls. Your computer really isn't out to get you. Why not learn to be friends?

      
 Title   Date   Author   Host 

vnunet

by Iain Thomson

June 23, 2005

Adobe has issued a security advisory warning users to patch a flaw in its popular Acrobat and Reader software.

The bug lies within the Adobe Reader control and potentially allows a hacker to find files held locally on a PC. An XML script would need to be designed and inserted into a Javascript file which could then be used to open access to local files.

EWeek

by Ryan Naraine

June 17, 2005

Convinced that the recent upswing in virus and Trojan attacks is directly linked to the creation of botnets for nefarious purposes, a group of high-profile security researchers is fighting back, vigilante-style.

The objective of the group, which operates on closed, invite-only mailing lists, is to pinpoint and ultimately disable the C&C (command-and-control) infrastructure that sends instructions to millions of zombie drone machines hijacked by malicious hackers. "The idea is to share information and figure out where the botnets are getting their instructions from. Once we can identify the command-and-control server, we can act quickly to get it disabled. Once the head goes, that botnet is largely useless," said Roger Thompson, director of malicious content research at Computer Associates International Inc.

Buzzle

by Darren Yates

June 11, 2005

Google have recently filed a US patent which reveals a great deal of how they rank your web site. Some of it you could never of guessed at...

How many years did you register your domain name for' If it's only one then that's a point against you in Googles eyes. Why' Because the majority of Spam websites only register a domain name for one year. A domain registered for a longer period implies that the owner is more likely to be legitimate and serious about their web site.

EWeek

by Ryan Naraine

June 10, 2005

Tech Ed conference attendees get a behind-the-scenes look at how Redmond handles the creation of software patches—and an explanation for long delays in fixing known vulnerabilities.

Anxious to shed the company's image as having a lax attitude about software security, officials at the Microsoft Security Response Center are using the Tech Ed conference here to provide a rare glimpse at the step-by-step process used to create, test and roll out security patches. The software maker trained the spotlight on the operations of the MSRC during breakout sessions and one-on-one discussions with customers, stressing that all publicly and privately reported vulnerabilities are thoroughly investigated to determine whether customers are at risk. "We're on all the [security mailing] lists, just like you are, and we investigate everything, even if it's a post about a simple weird behavior in a product," said MSRC program manager Stephen Toulouse. By monitoring the public lists and underground hacker sites, Toulouse said the company is able to keep track of discussions about vulnerabilities that may not have been reported to Microsoft.

C|Net

by Joris Evers

June 7, 2005

Microsoft takes part of its MSN site offline after learning of a flaw that could be used to gain access to the free e-mail service.

Microsoft took part of its MSN Web site offline over the weekend, after it learned of a flaw that could let an attacker gain access to Hotmail accounts, the company said. The MSN Web site contained a so-called cross-site scripting flaw. In its initial review of the issue, the company found that an attacker could use the vulnerability to obtain "cookies" from Hotmail users by getting them to click on a malicious URL. That could then grant access to those e-mail accounts, the representative said.

ZD Net (UK)

by Joris Evers

June 7, 2005

A cross-scripting security hole could potentially have been used by malicious hackers to steal cookies from Hotmail users and get access to their accounts

Microsoft took part of its MSN Web site offline over the weekend, after it learned of a flaw that could let an attacker gain access to Hotmail accounts. The MSN Web site, http://ilovemessenger.msn.com/, contained a so-called cross-site scripting flaw.. In its initial review of the issue, the company found that an attacker could use the vulnerability to obtain "cookies" from Hotmail users by getting them to click on a malicious URL. That could then grant access to those email accounts.

EWeek

by Ryan Naraine

June 4, 2005

Anti-virus experts have detected signs of a massive, well-coordinated Trojan attack capable of creating botnets-for-hire. Is it the work of organized crime?

Anti-virus researchers are sounding the alert for a massive, well-coordinated hacker attack using three different Trojans to hijack PCs and create botnets-for-hire. According to Thompson, the wave of attacks start with Win32.Glieder.AK, dubbed Glieder, a Trojan that downloads and executes arbitrary files from a long, hardcoded list of URLs. Glieder's job is to sneak past anti-virus protection before definition signatures could be created and "seed" the infected machine for future use. At least eight variants of Glieder were unleashed on one day, wreaking havoc across the Internet.

New Scientist

by Will Knight

May 31, 2005

An experimental supercomputer made from hardware that can reconfigure itself to tackle different software problems is being built by researchers in Scotland.

The system under construction at the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre - part of Edinburgh University, UK - will use Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) chips instead of conventional microprocessors. FPGAs can be reconfigured using software to mimic computer processing equipment that is physically designed to take on specialised tasks. In contrast, conventional microprocessors are designed to act as fixed, general purpose processing devices. Each FPGA chip consists of a block of programmable logic gates that can be electronically organised into different types of circuit.

World Privacy Forum

May 26, 2005

Consumer tips for retrieving your federally mandated free credit report. Before you call, click, or mail for your federally mandated free credit report, read these tips to help you avoid potential problems and pitfalls.

Online tip: Do not use a library or public computer to access your free credit report. Shared computers may inadvertently help share your credit report information with others. Only access your report online via your own computer, or a trusted computer.

Online tip: Giving An Email Address is Voluntary - Know that you are not required to give out your email address in order to obtain a federally mandated free credit report.

CNET News

by Joris Evers

May 23, 2005

A tool provided by Microsoft could let people get around a check meant to prevent those with pirated copies of Windows from downloading additional software from the company, according to a security researcher.

Researcher Debasis Mohanty outlined what he said was a technique to trick Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage validation check in a posting to the Full Disclosure security mailing list on Monday. WGA is a software tool that verifies whether a particular copy of the operating system is properly licensed. Using a secondary Microsoft validation tool called "GenuineCheck.exe," it may be possible for people to trick the checking mechanism, Mohanty said in the posting. They could then download and run supposedly restricted software from Microsoft's Download Center on a PC running a pirated version of Windows, Mohanty wrote.

      
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