News Briefs


China Installs Internet-Spying Equipment in Hotels, Suspected of Spying on Olympics Hotel Guests

U.S. Senator Sam Brownback today has condemned the Chinese government's plans to spy on hotel guests during the Olympic Games. "The Chinese government has put in place a system to spy on and gather information about every guest at hotels where Olympic visitors are staying," said U.S. Senator Sam Brownback. The conservative Republican from Kansas, citing hotel documents he received, added that journalists, athletes' families and others attending the Olympics next month "will be subjected to invasive intelligence-gathering" by China's Public Security Bureau. He said the agency will be monitoring Internet communications at the hotels. more»

HP, Intel and Yahoo Team Up In Cloud Computing Research

HP, Intel Corporation and Yahoo have announced today the creation of a global, multi-data center, open source test bed for the advancement of cloud computing research and education. The goal of the initiative is to promote open collaboration among industry, academia and governments by removing the financial and logistical barriers to research in data-intensive, Internet-scale computing. The HP, Intel and Yahoo Cloud Computing Test Bed aims to provide a globally distributed, Internet-scale testing environment designed to encourage research on the software, data center management and hardware issues associated with cloud computing at a larger scale than ever before. The initiative will also support research of cloud applications and services. more»

Study Finds 75% of Malicious Websites from Legitimate, Trusted Sources

New report released today finds 75 percent of malicious websites are from legitimate, trusted sources with "Good" reputation scores. According to the report, 60 percent of the top 100 most popular websites either hosted malicious content or contained a masked redirect to lure unsuspecting victims from legitimate sites to malicious sites. more»

Cyber Threats Accelerate: 94% of Web Browser Exploits Occur Within 24 Hours of Disclosure

Today X-Force, IBM's security research and development arm, released its 2008 Midyear Trend Statistics report that indicates cyber-criminals are adopting new automation techniques and strategies that allow them to exploit vulnerabilities much faster than ever before. The new tools are being implemented on the Internet by organized criminal elements, and at the same time public exploit code published by researchers are putting more systems, databases and ultimately, people at risk of compromise. more»

Apple Criticized by Security Experts for Not Patching DNS Bug

Analysts and security researchers are criticizing Apple Inc. for not yet patching a critical Domain Name System (DNS) bug in its Mac OS X operating system. Gregg Keizer of Computerworld reports: Apple, which integrates considerable open-source code into its operating systems, relies on BIND, created by the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC), for its DNS components. ISC patched BIND July 8, but as of today, Apple had not released an update for Mac OS X. 'It's not sending a real good message,' said Rich Mogull, an independent security consultant and former Gartner Inc. analyst. 'If they don't patch this in a reasonable time, they're putting their customers at risk.' more»

Manufacturers Urged to Upgrade Routers, Network Management Software Before End of Year

Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) have warned that routers and network management software should be upgraded ahead of the increased distribution of four-byte (also known as 32-bit) Autonomous System (AS) numbers. Geoff Huston, Chief Scientist at Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC - Asia and the Pacific region RIR), expressed severe concerns over failure to prepare for four-byte AS numbers... more»

Possible First Attacks on DNS Flaw Have Been Reported

The existence of the DNS flaw was revealed earlier this month by security researcher Dan Kaminsky and the code that could act as a blueprint for an attack via the flaw was published last week by Metasploit. On Friday, a user named James Kosin posted an excerpt from a server log to a Fedora Linux mailing list, claiming it proved attacks based on the DNS flaw had begun. Kosin post reads... more»

Chinese Government Accused of Being Behind 'Titan Rain' Cyber Attacks

China has been accused of sponsoring cyber attacks at the International Crime Science Conference held in London, UK recently. Security expert, John Walker, CTO of forensics consultancy Secure-Bastion, said that the Chinese government was behind the 'Titan Rain' attacks on the US and the UK. Titan Rain is codename given by the U.S. government to a series of coordinated attacks on American computer systems where hackers gained access to many U.S. computer networks, including NASA. The attacks were identified as being Chinese in origin, however the Chinese government has not been officially accused of being behind the assault. more»

British Hacker Faces 60 Years in US Prison for Accessing Top-Secret Documents

Gary McKinnon, 42, from Enfield in north London, is accused by American prosecutors for illegally accessing top-secret US military and NASA computer systems -- called "the biggest military computer hack of all time" by prosecutors. Although the Crown Prosecution Service had decided not to prosecute, two years later, after crime unit officials visited Washington, apparently taking McKinnon's hard drive, the US government began extradition proceedings. "Now I'm facing 60 years in prison," McKinnon said. "I believe my case is being treated so seriously because they're scared of what I've seen. I'm living in a surreal, nutter's film." Updated 7/31/2008 more»

Microsoft Funds Its Rival Apache Open-Source Web Server Software

Microsoft, one of the biggest rivals to open-source programming, has begun funding the Apache Software Foundation, one of open-source software's biggest supporters. "Microsoft is becoming a sponsor of the Apache Software Foundation. This sponsorship will enable the ASF to pay administrators and other support staff so that ASF developers can focus on writing great software," said Sam Ramji, a senior director of platform strategy at Microsoft. He announced the move Friday in a speech at the Open Source Convention, and noted Microsoft's support of Apache on the software company's Port 25 blog as well. more»

Google Says Its Counting Over 1 Trillion Unique Pages on the Web?

Google has recently indexed more than a trillion unique URLs on the Web -- a milestone that has awed Google search engineers who are seeing the Web grow by several billion individual pages every day, company officials wrote in a blog post: "We've known it for a long time: the web is big. The first Google index in 1998 already had 26 million pages, and by 2000 the Google index reached the one billion mark. Over the last eight years, we've seen a lot of big numbers about how much content is really out there. Recently, even our search engineers stopped in awe about just how big the web is these days -- when our systems that process links on the web to find new content hit a milestone: 1 trillion (as in 1,000,000,000,000) unique URLs on the web at once!" However there is a caveat... more»

FCC Majority Vote Set to Punish Comcast on P2P Blocking

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is on the verge of finding Comcast violated federal policy by hampering the ability of customers to share large files online, a decision that would set a precedent over how much control phone and cable companies have over how consumers use the Internet. (see FCC Calls for Sanctions Against Comcast for Blocking Internet Traffic from earlier this month) Three out of five FCC commissioners have voted in favor of punishing Comcast for blocking subscribers' Internet traffic. A move that most likely guarantees approval of the item, even if two other FCC commissioners voted against it. Final FCC approval is expected Aug. 1 at a previously scheduled commission meeting. more»

Small Businesses in Denial about Threat Posed by Cyberattacks

Small- and medium-sized businesses are in denial about the threat posed by cyberattacks, security software firm McAfee concluded in a study published this week. While most small- and medium-sized companies believe that they operate under cybercriminals' radar, the study found that one-in-five firms have been attacked. The survey -- which polled 500 companies with 1,000 employees or less -- found that for every eight firms, only ten employees were dedicated to managing the businesses' information-technology systems. more»

China Internet Users Pass 250 Million, Surpassing U.S. as Largest Internet Population

China reports that the number of its Internet users has reached close to 253 million, surpassing United States as the world's leading Internet market, despite heavy government controls. The estimate, based on a national survey, shows that the number of Internet users jumped more than 50 percent, or by about 90 million, during the past year, suggesting that China could soon have more than 300 million people using the Internet for everything from news to online shopping. China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) says that the share of the Chinese public using the Internet is still just 19.1 percent, leaving more space for rapid growth. more»

Pump-n-dump Spammer Eddie Davidson and Family Found Dead

Edward Davidson, notorious spammer who had escaped from a minimum-security facility on Sunday has been found dead in Colorado, along with his wife and three-year-old child, in what is suspected to be a murder-suicide. Edward "Eddie" Davidson, 35, was serving 21 months in the minimum security facility in Florence, Colorado, for sending hundreds of thousands of spam emails. He had pleaded guilty to tax evasion and falsifying email headers. It was estimated that Davidson made at least $3.5 million from spamming activities through his company Power Promoters between 2003 and 2006. more»

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