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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 


by Kieren McCarthy

July 29, 2005

The controversial presentation by researcher Michael Lynn regarding exploitation of known holes in Cisco's router software has leaked onto the Internet.

This week, Cisco first pressured Lynn's former company Internet Security Systems (ISS) into removing the presentation from the line-up at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. Then, when Lynn resigned from ISS in protest and threatened to go ahead with the presentation, Cisco took out an injunction against him. Lynn nevertheless did the presentation stating that he "had to do what was right for the country and the national infrastructure". Cisco, ISS, Black Hat and Lynn have since signed a legal agreement in which Black Hat and Lynn promised not to make the material available to anyone else. Lynn was also put under a series of controls including "unlawfully disassembling or reverse engineering Cisco code in the future ... [and] using Cisco decompiled code currently in his possession or control for any purpose."

Internet News

by Sean Michael Kerner

July 25, 2005

IE vulnerabilities still abound, but Apple, Mozilla and Real Player users have little to gloat about.

There were 422 newly reported Internet security vulnerabilities in the second quarter of 2005, according to the SANS Institute. The number represents a 20 percent year-over-year and an 11 percent quarterly increase in reported vulnerabilities. SANS' quarterly update of the top 20 list of Internet vulnerabilities, released Monday, identifies the most critical of the 422 that resulted in widespread damage to both enterprise and home users. Six different vendors made the list, including Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple, Real Networks, Computer Associates and Veritas.


by Josh Meier

July 25, 2005

I remember the days when hackers kept security exploits to themselves in order to gain hacker points among their fellow hackers. These days they just sell them to companies like TippingPoint. .. or do they?

TippingPoint, part of 3Com, produces intrusion prevention systems for computer systems and, in order to get a leg up on the competition, they have started offering money in exchange for the disclosure of new security vulnerabilities. The idea is that they will be able to get a leg up on competing security products if they are able to patch a vulnerability before their competitors even know it exists. TippingPoint can then use the vulnerability information to update their own security software, while notifying the original software developer of the problem.

The Guardian

by Alan Travis and Richard Norton-Taylor

July 22, 2005

Police last night told Tony Blair that they need sweeping new powers to counter the terrorist threat, including the right to detain a suspect for up to three months without charge instead of the current 14 days.

Senior officers also want powers to attack and close down websites, and a new criminal offence of using the internet to prepare acts of terrorism, to "suppress inappropriate internet usage". They also want to make it a criminal offence for suspects to refuse to cooperate in giving the police full access to computer files by refusing to disclose their encryption keys.


by Ryan Paul

July 15, 2005

Registered users at the promotional Mozilla community site SpreadFirefox were greeted this morning by an e-mail informing them that a July 10 security breach could potentially have enabled attackers to acquire a massive amount of private user data.

SpreadFirefox has become the nexus of a concerted effort to market and promote the open source web browser that many of us have come to know and love. Since its inception in December of 2004, SpreadFirefox has grown in scope and support to become one of the most influential factors in Firefox proliferation... ...It is likely that exploit was facilitated by a recently discovered vulnerability in Drupal, the open source CMS utilized by SpreadFirefox and other community sites.


by Joris Evers

July 15, 2005, the community marketing Web site for the open-source Firefox Web browser, was hacked earlier this week, potentially exposing user data.

Attackers broke into the Web site by exploiting an unpatched security vulnerability in the software that runs, the Mozilla Foundation said in an e-mail alert to registered users of the site late Thursday. Mozilla coordinates Firefox development and marketing. The authenticity of the e-mail was confirmed Friday by a Mozilla representative. The attack actually occurred on Sunday but was not discovered until Tuesday, according to the e-mail alert. The was subsequently taken down for a few days to investigate the attack, according to a notice posted on the site .

Amercian School Board Journal

by Liz Pape

July 8, 2005

The millennial generation has always had access to technology. Surrounded by computers and portable video games, students born between 1982 and 2000 spend more time surfing the Web, than they do watching television.

As school board members and administrators, the challenge is how to reach this generation. How can we provide them with the 21st century learning skills they need -- not just in school, but throughout their lifetime'

In an age in which the amount of published information on the Internet doubles every 54 days, we cannot continue to focus on an educational system that primarily delivers information to students. Teachers no longer can be positioned as the resident gurus and sources for all learning.

The Boston Globe

July 7, 2005

Walt Disney Co. said yesterday it will launch a mobile phone service next year aimed at families based upon its own line of phones, games, and other family-oriented entertainment.

Disney is not alone in going after preteen phone customers. In February, Lincolnshire, Ill.-based Firefly Mobile launched a wireless service through SunCom, a carrier in the Southeast. The phone, tailored specifically for kids, does not have a numerical keypad. Instead, up to 20 numbers can be programmed into the phone by parents and cannot be changed without a password. Parents can program the phone so that it only accepts calls from certain numbers.


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.


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.

Carschooling by Diane Flynn Keith

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