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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 

Schneier.com

by Bruce Schneier

February 15, 2005

On Tuesday, I blogged about a new cryptanalytic result -- the first attack faster than brute-force against SHA-1. I wrote about SHA, and the need to replace it, last September.

Earlier this week, three Chinese cryptographers showed that SHA-1 is not collision-free. That is, they developed an algorithm for finding collisions faster than brute force.

In 1999, a group of cryptographers built a DES cracker. It was able to perform 256 DES operations in 56 hours. The machine cost $250K to build, although duplicates could be made in the $50K-$75K range.

eweek.com

February 10, 2005

Security researchers say they have found the first malware aimed at Microsoft's new anti-spyware software.

Malicious programmers are already sharpening their claws on Microsoft Corp.'s anti-spyware software, even before the application's official release. On Wednesday anti-virus firms said they uncovered the first malware that switches off Microsoft AntiSpyware, along with its other functions. Troj/BankAsh-A, also known as Trojan-Spy.Win32.Banker.jv and PWS-Banker.j, includes a keylogger and attempts to steal credit card details, turn off other anti-virus applications, delete files, install other malicious code and download code from the Internet, according to anti-virus vendor Sophos plc.

In These Times

by Silja J.A. Talvi

February 5, 2005

Keeping litigation costs down is only one way prison corporations profit from incarceration. In addition, for-profit prisons also increase revenues by contracting with other corporations to provide substandard or overpriced services to prisoners.

In some states, companies like Microsoft pay prisons to employ prisoners at wages far below market rates. Taking advantage of the unprecedented prison boom of the late ’80s and ’90s, prison administrators, politicians, lobbying firms and corporate boards created a prison-industrial complex in which everyone benefits except the prisoners.

Visitor Ville Intelligence

January 17, 2005

Need company-specific market information (instead of generalized statistics)? VisitorVille Intelligence (VI) is an information service reporting how employees from 200,000 of the world's top companies...

We collect detailed referrer data on company-level visitors from thousands of web sites in the VisitorVille network, and from this data create 5,000,000 market intelligence reports that you cannot find anywhere else.

Forbes

by Arik Hesseldahl

January 17, 2005

For most people, getting hit by spyware is a time-consuming irritant. But it was much more for Michael Borque. Rogue software brought down his giant company's network.

Borque is technical services manager for Golden State Foods, an Irvine, Calif.-based food processor that is the biggest supplier to McDonald's (nyse: MCD - news - people ). Last March, an opening created by a piece of spyware allowed a nasty worm to wiggle into the company network computer in Georgia. From there, the worm tried to replicate itself across the entire company network, ultimately overwhelming network resources and knocking out e-mail and the companywide payroll system. It took two weeks for technicians at Golden State, which has annual sales of $2.3 billion, to bring the problem to heel.

CNET News

by Jim Hu

January 16, 2005

Continuing cable's tactic of fighting DSL on speed, not price, Comcast hikes data rates by a third.

Comcast will raise its broadband Internet speeds by at least a third later this year--part of its effort to fend off DSL rivals. With Baby Bell local phone providers making inroads with cheaper but slower DSL service, Comcast and other cable companies hope to fight on speed rather than price. Comcast's faster service, added at no extra cost to customers, will begin rolling out this quarter, the company announced on Sunday.

CNET News

by Alorie Gilbert

January 14, 2005

Oracle appears to be adding insult to injury in its merger with PeopleSoft--taking the unusual step of notifying workers of their termination by sending pinks slips via express mail to their homes.

Those spared pink slips will get packages too--containing new Oracle employment contracts. That makes it a nail-biting weekend for many PeopleSoft employees, who number more than 11,000 worldwide. Oracle may cut as many as 6,000 jobs, according to its own earlier estimates. It plans to announce the official number Friday.

CNET News

by Ingrid Marson

January 7, 2005

A vulnerability in Firefox could expose users of the open-source browser to the risk of phishing scams, security experts have warned.

The flaw in Mozilla Firefox 1.0, details of which were published by security company Secunia on Tuesday, could allow hackers to spoof the URL in the download dialog box that pops up when a Firefox user tries to download an item from a Web site. This flaw is caused by the dialog box incorrectly displaying long sub-domains and paths, which can be exploited to conceal the actual source of the download. Mikko Hypponen, director of antivirus research at software maker F-Secure, said this bug could make Firefox users vulnerable to cybercriminals.

csoonline.com

by Scott Berinato

January 5, 2005

Facing an online extortion threat, Mickey Richardson bet his Web-based business on a networking whiz from Sacramento who first beat back the bad guys, then helped the cops nab them. If you collect revenue online, you'd better read this.

The e-mail began, "Your site is under attack," and it gave Mickey Richardson two choices: "You can send us $40K by Western Union [and] your site will be protected not just this weekend but for the next 12 months," or, "If you choose not to pay...you will be under attack each weekend for the next 20 weeks, or until you close your doors." Richardson runs BetCris.com, an online wagering site, one of hundreds of sites ensconced in Costa Rica that take bets from Americans (and others around the world) without concern for U.S. bookmaking laws. Richardson received the e-mail just as he and his competitors were preparing for the year's busiest wagering season. With pro and college football, pro and college basketball and other sports in full swing, and with Thanksgiving and Christmas about to create plenty of free time, BetCris and the others stood to rake in millions over the holidays. Richardson was even planning an advertising blitz for the season to drive new traffic to his site.

Gov Exec

by Drew Clark

December 24, 2004

The slow-moving effort to roll out a governmentwide "smart card" that can be used to promote physical and cybersecurity could gain speed with the Veterans Affairs Department smart card for employees.

Dubbed OneVA, the photo-identification card doubles as a computer-access card for employees to use when connecting to the department's system.

      
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