Hello Kitty writes: What brought that on? On March 31, Lenovo representatives announced in a discussion forum that they'd be pulling the plug on support for ThinkVantage System Upgrade, the auto-update service behind the "big blue button" on ThinkPads and IdeaPads. Less than a day later, they did — no transition to a new service, no notification to sales and marketing departments, and (for several weeks) with no further communication to customers beyond "check back in May." It's May, there's still no service, and IT guys who sold their companies on Lenovo laptops based on ease of upkeep are starting to feel the heat. A Betanews article has more information.
Hello Kitty writes: "The hack on MiFare Classic RFID chips turns out to be more extensive than previously reported (not only are the two-billion-odd MiFare Classic chips affected, but the allegedly more secure Plus version is susceptible too) — and instead of taking hours to execute the hack, times are down to mere seconds, announced researchers Karsten Nohl and Henryk Plotz at Tuesday's EuroCrypt conference in Istanbul. In an interview after the demonstration, Nohl said it takes as little as 12 seconds to break the encryption on an ordinary chip with an ordinary laptop, and questioned whether those pushing the "fancy and new" tap-and-go RFID-chipped cards had a clear understanding of threat models — surely something most Slashdot folk understood the first moment they saw one of these cards in action. Good times!"
Hello Kitty writes: "Computerworld's reporting that Hart InterCivic, the fourth-largest electronic voting firm in America, is pursuing a hostile takeover of Sequoia Voting Systems, the third-largest firm and the one recently in the news for bullying e-voting researcher Ed Felten (not to mention the State of New Jersey). Hart's got its legal problems too — it's currently under investigation for fraud and misrepresentation — and there's plenty of big contract money in the offing for whoever survives the knife fight. And as usual with e-voting, you can't have a circus without clowns; a Delaware judge reviewing Sequoia's legal maneuvering to avoid the takeover is describing the company's efforts with terms like "baseless," "frivolous" and "outlandish." Maybe their lawyers trained beside their programmers?"
Hello Kitty writes: According to Computerworld, a signature update to Symantec's anti-virus software has knocked out thousands of Chinese PCs. Apparently the latest update for the AV component of the various Norton packages mistook two system files in the Chinese edition of Windows XP SP2 for the "Backdoor.Haxdoor" trojan. Piracy issues may complicate recovery, since once the "updates" are installed Symantec says the only hope for reviving an affected system is to re-copy the affected DLLs from the Windows restore disks. You... do have your official restore disks, don't you?
Hello Kitty writes: Computerworld.com has an interview with Dino Dai Zovi, the researcher who executed the QuickTime-based 0wn of the MacBook Pro at CanSecWest earlier this month. He says he found and exploited the vuln in just "nine or ten hours" — no head start — and told the reporter which OS he thinks is more secure, Vista or OS X 10.4.
Hello Kitty writes: Computerworld is covering issues with various XP games crashing or crawling under Vista. The problems lie with DirectX 10 — and according to a number of interviews with the usual suspects, it's not looking too good for decent first-person shooter support for a while, maybe even next year. Of course, one of the quotes in the artcle sums it up for a lot of us: "You installed Vista. You deserve your problems. Heh."