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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 

MSNBC

by Rueters

April 18, 2005

IRS security flaws put taxpayers at risk, study finds. The IRS promised to fix any problems and find out if tax returns had been exposed to outsiders.

Computer-security flaws at the U.S. tax-collection agency expose millions of taxpayers to potential identity theft or illegal police snooping, according to a congressional report released Monday.

Circle ID

by Suresh Ramasubramanian

April 17, 2005

Larry Seltzer wrote an interesting article for eWeek, on port 25 blocking, the reasons why it was being advocated, and how it would stop spam.

This quoted an excellent paper by Joe St.Sauver, that raised several technically valid and true corollaries that have to be kept in mind when blocking port 25 -- "cough syrup for lung cancer" would be a key phrase. Yes, port 25 blocking is a good thing, but virus infected PCs can be hijacked by net abusers, and used for anything from hosting childporn sites to participating in DDoS attacks.

Uncle Fed's Tax Board

by National Tax Services, Inc.

April 15, 2005

"Where's My Refund'," the popular Internet-based service used by taxpayers to check on their federal income tax refunds, now offers a safe and easy way to trace refund checks and update a flawed mailing address.

These enhancements allow taxpayers to start a trace for lost or missing refund checks and notify the Internal Revenue Service of an address change when a refund check goes undelivered.

ZD Net

by George Ou

April 11, 2005

Larry Seltzer of eWeek, whom I have great respect for and usually agree with, wrote this article on dealing with spam using the controversial tactic of blocking all outbound port 25 access.

The logic behind this is that the vast majority of spam in the world comes from "zombies" (millions of computers that have been hijacked by professional hackers and spammers and are used as attack or spam platforms) that spew out tons of spam directly over TCP port 25 (a standard communication channel used specifically for e-mail). I think this is a bad idea. Here's why:

Eweek

by Larry Seltzer

April 8, 2005

The time has come for ISPs to block port 25 for consumer accounts. The rewards for this and other ISP management techniques could be large, but ISPs need to be careful about how they do it and tell users why.

Do you run a mail server on your home Internet account' If you do, it's probably without your knowledge, such as in a mail worm or a zombie spambot. Few if any people running these programs intend to do so, and it's time for ISPs to close the door through which they operate. I think there's a consensus developing among anti-spam researchers, many of them responsible for fighting spam on ISP networks, that unrestricted use of TCP port 25 must be shut down to the average Internet consumer. There are those who disagree, but their arguments sound obtuse and defeatist rather than actual justifications to not block port 25.

The Inquirer

by Burt Carver

April 6, 2005

No magic bullet, not yet, no-how

Recently there have been some previews of the Dual Core Intel chips, one at Anandtech and another over at HardOCP. Both reviews focussed on the strengths of the dual core chips, with currently available applications, and there are no real surprises: Heavy multitasking and currently multithreaded programs thrive under that environment.

The Danger of No Privacy

March 30, 2005

These bureaucrats stripped away the privacy that you're entitled to as an American; on the only domain name that says that you are an American.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration ("NTIA") (http://www.ntia.doc.gov/), the telecommunications and Internet arm of the Department of Commerce, has disallowed private registrations for .US domain names. This unfortunate decision was made by the NTIA, without a hearing or an opportunity for a response by those affected -- in fact; there was no due process of any kind. It's ironic that the NTIA has taken away our first amendment rights to privacy for the one domain name (.US) that is specifically intended for Americans.

Security Focus

by Keith J. Jones and Rohyt Belani

March 30, 2005

Introduction Electronic evidence has often shaped the outcome of high-profile civil law suits and criminal investigations ranging from theft of intellectual property and insider trading that violates SEC regulations to proving employee misconduct resultin

Critical electronic evidence is often found in the suspect's web browsing history in the form of received emails, sites visited and attempted Internet searches. This two-part article presents the techniques and tools commonly used by computer forensics experts to uncover such evidence, through a fictitious investigation that closely mimics real-world scenarios. While you read this article, you may follow along with the investigation and actually analyze case data...

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."

      
Carschooling by Diane Flynn Keith
Carschooling

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