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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 

Flying Snail

by Dahbud Mensch

March 28, 2005

As the Federal Election Commission takes its first steps to shape campaign rules for the blog era, FEC Commissioner Bradley Smith warned that proposed rules present unanswered questions for bloggers:

The draft rules provide some protections for "individual" political commentators. But what if a group of people jointly publish a blog' "If one of the bloggers received payment for an activity, would it turn the group into a political committee" subject to campaign finance regulation, Smith asked. He pointed to the academic-leaning Volokh Conspiracy blog, which has multiple contributors.

Uncle Fed's Tax Board

by National Tax Services, Inc.

March 23, 2005

The Internal Revenue Service announced today that more people have used Free File this year than for all of last year.

As of March 16, 3.55 million tax returns have gone through Free File, up 44 percent compared to the same time last year and exceeding last year's total of 3.51 million. "This is another record-setting year for Free File," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "The success of Free File reflects a broader increase in the overall e-file program. People like the ease and convenience of filing electronically."

IDefense

by Tyler Hawes

March 21, 2005

Local exploitation of a buffer overflow vulnerability within the Core Foundation Library included by default in Apple Computer Inc.'s Mac OS X could allow an attacker to gain root privileges.

The vulnerability specifically exists due to improper handling of the CF_CHARSET_PATH environment variable. When a string greater than 1,024 characters is passed via this variable, a stack-based overflow occurs, allowing the attacker to control program flow by overwriting the function's return address on the stack. Any application linked against the Core Foundation Library can be used as an exploit vector for this vulnerability. Some of the setuid root binaries that are vulnerable include su, pppd and login.

Slyck News

by Thomas Mennecke

March 20, 2005

United States Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has been appointed chairman of the new Intellectual Property Subcommittee.

"The subcommittee will have jurisdiction over all intellectual property laws and oversight on patent, copyright, trademark, and international intellectual property policies. Hatch named Bruce Artim, former staff director and chief counsel for the Judiciary Committee, the subcommittee's staff director and chief counsel." Why is this important to the P2P and file-sharing community' Let us take a look at Senator Hatch’s past record.

BBC News

March 17, 2005

Police in London say they have foiled one of the biggest attempted bank thefts in Britain.

The plan was to steal $423m from the London offices of the Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui. Computer experts are believed to have tried to transfer the money electronically after hacking into the bank's systems.

Netcraft

by richm

March 17, 2005

In its findings on the panix.com hijacking, ICANN said it is "very concerned" that Australian registrar Melbourne IT relied upon a reseller to confirm the transfer request, and will "review the appropriateness of these arrangements." Panix was never conta

Domain registrar Melbourne IT today acknowledged that it failed to properly confirm a transfer request for Panix.com , allowing the domain for the New York ISP to be hijacked for most of the weekend. The Panix incident has focused attention on recent ICANN rule changes that allow domains to be transferred more easily, which some registrars warned would also make it easier to hjack domains . The hijacking disabled all email and Internet access for thousands of Panix customers, and persisted despite active efforts by the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) to assist Panix in recovering the domain. The delays were blamed on unresponsiveness by several providers within the domain management system, but especially Melbourne IT, which appears to have no readily-accessible support on weekends. The Panix.com hijacking was not reversed until Melbourne IT's offices opened in Australia Monday morning (late Sunday in New York). "There was an error in the checking process prior to initiating the transfer, and thus the transfer should never have been initiated," Bruce Tonkin, the chief technology officer of Melbourne IT wrote in a message to the NANOG mailing list. "The loophole that led to this error has been closed." Tonkin did not describe the "loophole" but said the transfer of the domain from Dotster to Melbourne IT was initiated through an account at a Melbourne IT reseller, which was set up using stolen credit cards. "That reseller is analysing its logs and cooperating with law enforcement," he wrote.

InfoWorld

by Paul Roberts

March 16, 2005

The software developer behind a leading rootkit program says he is motivated by necessity, curiosity and a desire to expose weaknesses in the Windows operating system and security technology. He also isn't too worried about how others might use his softwa

While he declined to provide his real name or speak by phone, "Holy Father," author of the Hacker Defender rootkit, claims to live in the Czech Republic, where the hacker defender Web site is registered to a "Jaromir Lnenicka" in Prague. His online name stemmed from a desire to do "big thingz" in the computer hacking underground. On that score, he has succeeded. Written in conjunction with a member of the 29a malicious code writing group, Hacker Defender has been downloaded more than 100,000 times, by his count, and grabbed the attention of security researchers at Microsoft and other leading companies.

CNET News

by Declan McCullagh

March 3, 2005

The coming crackdown on blogging | Federal Election Commissioner Bradley Smith says the freewheeling days of political expression on the Internet may be about to end.

In just a few months, he warns, bloggers and news organizations could risk the wrath of the federal government if they improperly link to a campaign's Web site. Even forwarding a political candidate's press release to a mailing list, depending on the details, could be punished by fines. Smith should know. He's one of the six commissioners at the Federal Election Commission, which is beginning the perilous process of extending a controversial 2002 campaign finance law to the Internet.

CFIF

by Copyright: Unless provided otherwise, all materials and contents of this website are copyrighted and certain logos, slogans and other marks are protected under trademark laws. All rights are reserved under Title 17 of the U.S. Code and transmission or rep

March 3, 2005

Taxes to be Assessed Based on Miles Driven. A new, smarter than you gas pump will get all intimate with your odometer and tax you, standing right there with the pump still in your hand, for the miles driven.

Taxing by the Green Mile So. You bought some tin-can hybrid econotoy powered by a burble motor, greased with biodegradable, recycled chicken fat. Saving that gas. Doing your thing for the environment. Wearing your greenie baseball cap. Feeling all good about yourself. Traitor! In your typically short-sighted zeal, you may not have realized you were just bollixing everything for your state tax collectivists. Less gas, less tax. Less tax, less spend.

BBC News

by Mark Ward

February 26, 2005

Hackers are relying on Microsoft to help them exploit loopholes in Windows, say [Microsoft] security experts.

In a keynote speech to the E-Crime Congress organised by Britain's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, Mr Aucsmith said the tools that hackers were producing were getting better and shrinking the time between patches being issued and exploits being widely known. "We have never had vulnerabilities exploited before the patch was known," he said. Tools of choice A good example of this phenomenon, he said, was the recent ASN1 "critical vulnerability" that Microsoft produced a patch for in early February. The vulnerability was discovered by Eeye Digital Security in July 2003 but no exploits were produced until three days after Microsoft's patch became available. "Many people reverse engineer the patch and then build the exploit code," said Mr Aucsmith. Malicious hackers were greatly aided by improvements in tools that did a better job of working out what patches did. Firms have less time to react to vulnerabilities He said tools were available that compared patched and unpatched versions of Windows to help vandals and criminals work out what was different. "The guys who write the tools would not consider themselves to be criminals by any measure," he said, "but the tools are also being picked up by people with criminal intent." Mr Aucsmith said he could only think of one instance when a vulnerability was exploited before a patch was available. "It's a myth that hackers find the holes," said Nigel Beighton, who runs a research project for security firm Symantec that attempts to predict which vulnerabilities will be exploited next. He said in many cases the appearance of a patch was the spur that kicked off activity around a particular vulnerability. Many different malicious hackers and hacking groups competed to see who could be the first to produce a virus or other program that could work with the known hole, he said. Mr Aucsmith urged companies to keep up with patches because the time they had to react before hackers released exploits was shrinking. Newer operating systems were also more secure than older programs such as Windows 95 which, when it was first released, had no security features in it at all. "Almost all attacks against our software are against the legacy systems," he said. "If you want more secure software, upgrade."

      
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