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Monthly Archives: July 2009

New Spam Detector in the Works

At the Georgia Institute for Technology, new software has been developed that can identify spam before it hits a mail server. SNARE (Spatio-temporal Network-level Automatic Reputation Engine), rates every incoming e-mail based on a single packet of data cross referenced with new criteria researchers put together. The researchers behind the project believe that the automated system puts a lesser strain on the network and minimizes the need for human intervention while achieving the same accuracy as any traditional spam filter.

The location of the U.S. Secret Service safe house meant to house the First Family in a national emergency has been leaked to users on a LimeWire file-sharing network. Presidential motorcade routes and sensitive (but unclassified) information detailing every nuclear facility in the country were also found floating aound the network when an investigation was conducted. Rep. Edolphus Towns, (D-N.Y.) has now called for a ban on the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) software on any government or contractor computers and networks. Towns commented that "for our sensitive government information, the risk is simply too great to ignore." He plans on introducing a bill to make this a reality. This is now the third time that the House Oversight committee has had to hold a hearing on the topic of data leaks on P2P networks. Courtesy of computerworld.com... --

Microsoft and Yahoo Ink a Deal

Microsoft Corp and Yahoo Inc have finally agreed to a partnership, a move both companies have been working on for months. Last year, Microsoft tried to buy Yahoo, but the smaller conglomerate didn't think their 47.5 billion dollar offer was sufficient and chose to focus on a search advertising deal with Google, which also fell apart. Set to be announced in the next 24 hours, the online search and advertising partnership was agreed upon as an attempt to rival Google Inc, and it will not involve Microsoft paying an upfront fee to Yahoo. The focus of the deal will instead be on sharing revenue between the two companies. Changes will include Microsoft's new Bing search engine powering Yahoo's searches, while Yahoo will handle the advertising sales using Microsoft technology. Courtesy of yahoo.com... --

OMB Finally Changes Cookie Policies

The last time the federal government reviewed their restrictions on HTTP cookies was created amidst privacy fears in 2000 and amounts to a near ban on the use of Web tracking technology. The reasoning behind this is that the use of cookies requires personal approval by agency secretaries, and also requires a detailed written description of the agency's "compelling need" for their use. But now, hoping to take advantage of more modern web capabilities (improved web analytics, personalization), the government has begun drafting changesand is requesting the public's input. The new plan is outlined in federal CIO Vivek Kundra and associate administrator of the Office of Management and Budget's (OBM) information and regulatory affairs Michael Fitzpatrick's blog. Under it, federal agencies would be more able to use cookies as long as their use... --

Karoo Changes Its’ Tune

In the UK, Karoo serves as the only ISP in the area, and they have had a long held a policy of suspending the service of suspected file-sharers. On their first offense, users- some of them innocent- are completely disconnected from the internet. Their only recourse was to sign a document admitting their unequivocal guilt and promising never to do wrong again. However, after a recent BBC report on the unfair practice, the firm has adopted an approach more closely aligned with other ISPs' protocol for suspected file sharers, which mirrors the "three strikes" rule that the music industry itself has long called for. On Friday, Karoo issued a statement spinning their previous rash actions as them simply being thorough and "exceeding the expectations of copyright owners". Courtesy of bbc.co.uk ... --

Windows 7 is One Step Closer

This afternoon, Microsoft announced that Windows 7 has been released to manufacturing. Essentially, this means that the new operating system's development has been completed, and it's now on its way  to PC manufacturers who will ready it for an October launch. Between now and October is a crucial time, and will greatly effect when consumers get their hands on Windows 7.  While the general consumer launch is on October 22, vendors and partners will receive Windows 7 in the coming days. Volume License businesses with Software Assurance licenses can download Windows 7 on August 7, and MSDN and TechNet subscribers will be able to get Windows 7 on August 6. For people currently testing the release cantidate, it'll continue working until August 2010. Courtesy of slashdot.com... --

Adobe Offers up Outdated Software; Endangers Users

Adobe Systems has been called out by Secunia, a firm that exposes software vulnerabilies, for the outdated and unsafe software on its downloads page which contains dozens of security vulnerabilities. Several of these gaps in security are already being exploited in order to install harmful malware on users' machines. Customers who download Adobe Reader from the company's official downloads page will find that it automatically installs version 9.1 of the program on their machines, even though the most recent version is 9.1.2. This irregularity could put users at considerable risk for infection given the number of vulnerabilities patched in the two past versions. Unsurprisingly, Adobe defended their practices, pointing out that the page simply offers the Adobe Reader installer, which once running, will notify users of any important updates. "Adobe Updater will check for updates immediately on first launch," read... --

U of W Develops Self-Destructing Email Technology

Computer scientists at the University of Washington have developed a way to make electronic messages “self destruct” after a certain period of time, completely inaccessible to any nosy parties- non existent, in effect. Researchers said that they think Vanish- which requires encrypting messages, will be needed more and more as personal and business information is stored not just on personal computers, but on centralized machines and servers. The term of the moment for this concept is "cloud computing," and the cloud consists of the data — including e-mail and Web-based documents and calendars — stored on numerous servers. This unique approach relies on “shattering” an encryption key that is held by neither party in an e-mail exchange,  but rather widely scattered across a peer-to-peer file sharing system. A prototype of the Vanish system has been developed... --

Microsoft Streaming Music Service to Launch Soon

Microsoft plans to launch a music streaming service similar to the massively popular British Spotify.  The company aims to have the service ready by the end of July, whuich will offer users the oppurtunity to stream music for free as well as download to own. Spotify users can stream music for free as long as they're willing to listen to somewhere around a minute of advertising every half hour, while a £9.99 a month premium service (sans ads) is also offered. It is believed that Microsoft’s version will be ad-supported as well as offering a paid special service. The streaming site would be operated and owned by Microsoft, while being promoted through MSN and other parts of the Microsoft network. Courtesy of telegraph.co.uk
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Who Wants Windows 7?

In a recent survey run by ScriptLogic, nearly six in 10 companies admitted to having no intention of updating to Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 7. Due for release in October, the new OS is projected to account for almost half of the operating systems shipped by Microsoft come the end of 2010. In light of expectations, these are some disheartening numbers.

Of 1,100 IT administrators who participated in the survey, 59.3 percent said they had no plans to install Windows 7 as their primary operating system.  Time and resources were cited by 81.8 percent of respondents as the biggest barriers to deploying Windows 7, while other lesser concerns were deployment and migration, hardware support and migration of user settings.

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