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Backdoor Found In China-Made US Military Chip? 270

Hugh Pickens writes "Information Age reports that the Cambridge University researchers have discovered that a microprocessor used by the US military but made in China contains secret remote access capability, a secret 'backdoor' that means it can be shut off or reprogrammed without the user knowing. The 'bug' is in the actual chip itself, rather than the firmware installed on the devices that use it. This means there is no way to fix it than to replace the chip altogether. 'The discovery of a backdoor in a military grade chip raises some serious questions about hardware assurance in the semiconductor industry,' writes Cambridge University researcher Sergei Skorobogatov. 'It also raises some searching questions about the integrity of manufacturers making claims about [the] security of their products without independent testing.' The unnamed chip, which the researchers claim is widely used in military and industrial applications, is 'wide open to intellectual property theft, fraud and reverse engineering of the design to allow the introduction of a backdoor or Trojan', Does this mean that the Chinese have control of our military information infrastructure asks Rupert Goodwins? 'No: it means that one particular chip has an undocumented feature. An unfortunate feature, to be sure, to find in a secure system — but secret ways in have been built into security systems for as long as such systems have existed.'" Even though this story has been blowing-up on Twitter, there are a few caveats. The backdoor doesn't seem to have been confirmed by anyone else, Skorobogatov is a little short on details, and he is trying to sell the scanning technology used to uncover the vulnerability.

Will Stallman Kill the "Linux Revolution?" 741

frdmfghtr writes "The October 30 issue of Forbes Magazine has an article speculating that Richard Stallman's efforts to rewrite the GPL could threaten to 'tear it apart.' The article describes how the GPLv3 is expected to be incompatible with the GPLv2, causing trouble for Linux vendors such as Novell and Red Hat. The article wraps it up: 'And a big loser, eventually, could be Stallman himself. If he relents now, he likely would be branded a sellout by his hard-core followers, who might abandon him. If he stands his ground, customers and tech firms may suffer for a few years but ultimately could find a way to work around him. Either way, Stallman risks becoming irrelevant, a strange footnote in the history of computing: a radical hacker who went on a kamikaze mission against his own program and went down in flames, albeit after causing great turmoil for the people around him.'"

Adobe Threatens Microsoft With Suit 362

lseltzer writes "Adobe has threatened an antitrust suit against Microsoft, over PDF writing in Office 2007. Adobe wants Microsoft to separate the feature and charge extra for it. Microsoft has agreed to remove PDF writing, but won't charge extra." From the eWeek article: "In February, Adobe Chief Executive Bruce Chizen told Reuters he considered Microsoft to be the company's biggest concern. 'The competitor I worry about most is Microsoft,' Chizen said at the time. Adobe's PDF technology lets producers create and distribute documents digitally that retain designs, pictures and formatting. "

Light so Fast it Travels Backward 415

An anonymous reader writes "Slowing down light used to be considered a neat trick for physics wonks. But researchers in New York now say they've pushed light into reverse. And as if to defy common sense, the backward-moving light travels faster than light." While there's not much use to come of it yet, it will be interesting if Einstein himself is proved wrong.

Cringely Posits Adobe's Purchase by Apple 245

An anonymous reader writes to mention another Robert Cringely piece discussing Apple's future. In his latest article, he lays out some goals for Apple on its quest to desktop dominance. An important link in this chain is Apple's purchase of Adobe Systems. From the article: "Adobe has already made one feint away from Mac development that required personal pressure from Steve Jobs on John Warnock to reverse. If Apple kinda-sorta embraces Windows enough for Adobe to question whether continued development for the native OS X platform is still warranted, well, then Apple WILL just become another Dell, which isn't what Steve Jobs wants. Steve wants Windows applications to run like crazy on his hybrid platform but to look like crap. In his heart of hearts, he'd still like to beat Microsoft on the merits, not just by leveraging some clever loophole. So he needs the top ISVs who are currently writing for OS X to continue writing for OS X, and that especially means Adobe."

Censored Wikipedia Articles Appear On Protest Site 589

Gregory Rider writes "According to a recent article in The Guardian, a group of disenchanted Wikipedia administrators has been going through back channels on Wikipedia and retrieving articles deleted by Jimbo Wales or other higher-ups. Now they're putting them back up on a website for everyone to see. This includes articles on Justin Berry, Paul Barresi, and, most strangely, Brian Peppers, which has been solicited for deletion off of Wikipedia 6 times with mixed success and is now banned from being edited on for a whole year."

"I've finally learned what `upward compatible' means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes." -- Dennie van Tassel