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Category Archives: Technology

Behind Bars Hacker Causes Confusion

An imprisoned hacker managed to shut down a prison's entire computer system - after wardens gave him the task of programming it. 27 year old Douglas Havard is serving six years for stealing £6.5million with forged credit cards over the internet. Reports state that he was approached after governors decided to create an internal TV station, but realized they needed a special computer program to be written. Havard was left unguarded, and surprisingly, hacked into the prison system's hard drive at Ranby Prison, outside of Retford, Notts. He then set up a series of passwords so that no one else would be able to get into the system. This blunder was reported only a week after the Sunday Mirror revealed that an inmate at the same prison managed to somehow get a key cut that opened every single... --

Apple Loves Copyright Law

Woolworth's insists that its new logo is simply a stylised 'W', meant to resemble a piece of fresh produce, but Apple thinks it is an apple, and the California-based tech company plans to stop Australia's largest retailer from using it at all. A legal challenge to prevent Woolworths from using the logo has been mounted by Apple, even though the logo already marks its trucks, stores and products. Apple will have to convince IP Australia, the country's federal government agency governing trademarks, to reject Woolworths's trademark application, first filed in August of last year. The application includes a wide berth for all electrical goods and technology, putting it in direct competition with Apple if the retailer ever decides to brand computers or music players. Woolworths has already branched out to credit cards and mobile phones, so... --

Court Orders Served via Twitter

The High Court in the UK has granted permission for an injunction to be served via the social-networking site Twitter. The order to be served is against an anonymous Twitter user who posts to the site using the same name as a right-wing political blogger named Donal Blaney. The order demands that the anonymous Twitter user reveal their identity as well as no longer posing as Donal Blaney, who blogs at a site called Blaney's Blarney.This is all on the grounds that posting as someone else breaches copyright laws. Mr Blaney turned to Twitter to serve the injunction after realizing how lengthy the process of contacting Twitter headquarters in California and asking them to remedy the matter would be. Luckily for Blaney, UK law states that an injunction can be served in person... --

Apple Pushes More Unneeded Software

While using any Apple programs on Windows recently, an odd Apple Software Update dialog box has been popping up, informing users that they need the iPhone Configuration Utility 2.1. But the iPhone Configuration Utility is actually a tool for system administrators to set up and configure corporate iPhones. It's been discovered that the completely unnecessary for most software installs more than just a configuration program. If this program is downloaded, the Apache web browser will appear right along with it. It's well known that having a Web server on your PC is a gross and inadvisable security risk. Keeping Windows secure is enough of a task, but adding a totally unregulated Web server into the equation is just a cruel joke. Always sticking with strictly needed programs on any system is the safest bet for any user.... --

Hacker Expected to Pay For His Crime

Apparently the US, having not taken reasonable steps to protect its security, is now McKinnon, a hacker, to pick up the bill. A professor of security at the London School of Economics, Richard Sommer, said that damage assessments of computer security breaches should always consider "whether the victims have taken reasonable steps to limit the damage". McKinnon used Remotely Anywhere to hack US military computers in search of UFO secrets. The 42-year-old is facing extradition after being accused of hacking into 97 US computers and thus causing $700,000 in damages. Sommer said hackers should not be held accountable for the "consequential loss" resulting from their intrusion into systems unprotected by "preventative measures for reasonably foreseeable hazards". But security experts in the US say McKinnon should defnitely be liable for the full $700,000 of security... --

Mozilla Moves the Open Source Movement

Numerous export controls from the Commerce and Treasury departments have recently cast a shadow over the software industry,  proving that while the internet may know no borders, the U.S. government does. Luckily for them, Mozilla has managed to secure a critical exemption that could have a broad impact on the open source movement. Mozilla General Counsel Harvey Anderson explained that there are export and sanction rules prohibiting the export and sharing of certain technologies. Vendors working with normal software containing encryption are required by law to file for a license exception, but that regulation offers an exemption to open source vendors like Mozilla. But that exemption will be nullified if source code is distributed to any of the countries on the U.S embargo list, such as Cuba, Iran or North Korea. Mozilla recently discovered it supports a... --

Google Backs Espresso Machine Publishing

On Thursday, Google announced that it is opening up part of its index to the maker of a high-speed publishing machine that manufactures 300 page paperbacks in under five minutes. The new service implies a tacit acknowledgment that the internet leader understands that not everyone wants their books served up on a computer or an electronic reader. The "Espresso Book Machine" has been around for several years, but it's rapidly becoming a much hotter commodity now that it will have access to so many books scanned from some of the world's largest libraries. On Demand Books, the Espresso's maker, might get access to even more hard-to-find books, but that's only if Google can win court approval of a class-action settlement giving it the right to sell out-of-print books. The paperbacks will have a recommended sales price of $8, but the ultimate price will be left... --

Windows 7 Update Can Take 2 Days

As is always the case with a new operating system, many different performance tests were run by Microsoft to make sure Windows 7 was actually something better than anything else on the market. One of these tests had a focus on upgrade performance. Microsoft technicians used the metric of total upgrade time across different user and hardware profiles. And according to the test results that a Microsoft Software Engineer posted on his blog, Microsoft met their goal of bringing Windows 7's upgrade time to a place faster or equal within the five percent threshold to the Vista SP1 upgrade time. The broad range of upgrade times in the test is the most interesting characteristic of the data. From 30 minutes on a system with high end hardware and a lower amount of programs installed to 1,220... --

IBM Suddenly Switches to Symphony

The Handelsblatt, a German economic newspaper, reported with an insider quote that the staff at IBM have been given ten days to change to Symphony, IBM's in-house Lotus software. In the future, any use of Microsoft Office will require approval from a manager. Effective immediately, the Open Document Format will rule at IBM, while the .doc file will soon belong to the past. Lotus Symphony is an office software package that incorporates huge majorities of customized Open Office without a databank module, and the free software download provided by IBM is a definitive attempt to lure customers away from Microsoft software. IBM's recent cooperation with Linux distributors like Red Hat, Novell and Canonical was designed from the start to strengthen the software's chances in the market. In a surprising move, IBM's management seem to have settled on... --

Possible Terrorists Had Email Intercepted

In the United Kingdom on Monday, three men were convicted for organizing a plot to bomb several transcontinental flights. According to Britain's Channel 4, the men were prosecuted in part using crucial e-mail correspondences intercepted by the U.S. National Security Agency. Several of the emails have been reprinted by the BBC and other publications, and contain coded messages, according to prosecutors. The interception by the NSA occured n 2006 but were not included in evidence used in the first trial against the three last year in 2008. The trial resulted in the men being convicted of conspiracy to commit murder; but a jury could not be  convinced that they had planned to use soft drink bottles filled with liquid explosives to blow up seven trans-Atlantic planes — the charge for which they were convicted this week, in a second trial. It is still unclear... --

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