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Submission + - Hackers Penetrated Systems Of Key Defense Contractors

An anonymous reader writes: Hackers associated with the Chinese government successfully penetrated the computer systems of U.S. Transportation Command contractors at least 20 times in a single year, intrusions that show vulnerabilities in the military’s system to deploy troops and equipment in a crisis, a Senate Armed Services Committee investigation has found. The year-long investigation found that TRANSCOM, which is responsible for global movement of U.S. troops and equipment, was only aware of two of those intrusions. It also found gaps in reporting requirements and a lack of information sharing among government entities that left the command largely unaware of computer compromises by China of contractors that are key to the mobilization and deployment of military forces.

Submission + - Enforcing the GPL

lrosen writes: I am responding to the article in by Aaron Williamson, "Lawsuit threatens to break new ground on the GPL and software licensing issues."

I want to acknowledge Aaron's main points: This lawsuit challenges certain assumptions about GPLv2 licensing, and it also emphasizes the effects of patents on the FOSS (and commercial) software ecosystem. I also want to acknowledge that I have been consulted as an expert by the plaintiff in this litigation (Ximpleware vs. Versata, et al.) and so some of what I say below they may also say in court.

Let's be open about the facts here. Ximpleware worked diligently over many years to create certain valuable software. The author posted his source code on SourceForge. He offered the software under GPLv2. He also offered that software under commercial licenses. And he sought and received and provided notice of United States patent claims related to that software.

Unbeknownst to Ximpleware, Versata took that GPLv2 software and incorporated it into Versata products – without disclosing that GPLv2 software or in any other way honoring the terms of the GPLv2 license. The reason Ximpleware became aware of that GPLv2 breach is because some months ago Versata and one of its customers, Ameriprise, became embroiled in their own litigation. The breach of GPLv2 came out during discovery.

Ximpleware has terminated that license as to Versata. This is exactly what the Software Freedom Conservancy and others do when confronted by GPL breaches.

That earlier litigation is between two (or more) commercial companies; it is not a FOSS problem. These are mature, sophisticated, profitable companies that have the wherewithal to protect themselves. I know that in my own law practice, whether I represent software vendors or their commercial customers, we typically provide for some level of indemnification. Perhaps Ameriprise and the other customer-defendants can count on Versata defending them against Ximpleware. Such a commercial dispute between big companies – even if it involves the GPLv2 software of a small company and separate indemnification for copyright or patent infringement – is between them alone.

But as to Ximpleware and its GPLv2 copyrighted and patented software, there are a few misunderstandings reflected in Aaron Williamson's article:

1. The notion of "implied patent licensing" has no clear legal precedent in any software licensing. While it is true that goods that one purchases include a patent license under what is known as the "exhaustion doctrine," there is no exhaustion of patented software when copies are made (even though copying of the software itself is authorized by GPLv2). For example, a typical commercial patent license nowadays might include a royalty for each Android phone manufactured and sold. Companies that distribute Android phones and its FOSS software acquire patent licenses so that recipients of their phones are indeed free to use those phones. But that isn't because of some implied patent licenses that come with Android software, but because commercial companies that distribute phones pay for those patent rights, directly or indirectly. I think it is entirely reasonable to require that commercial companies get their patent licenses in writing.

2. Versata's customers who received the (in breach!) GPLv2 software all moved to dismiss Ximpleware's infringement claims against them, pointing to Section 0 of GPLv2, which says that "[t]he act of running the Program is not restricted." What that sentence actually means is just what it says: The GPLv2 copyright grant itself (which is all there is in GPLv2) does not restrict the act of running the program. Nor could it; that is a true statement because running a program is not one of the enumerated copyright rights subject to a copyright license (17 USC 106). The authors of the GPL licenses have themselves made that argument repeatedly: The use of software is simply not a copyright issue.

3. Because there are U.S. patent claims on this Ximpleware software, Section 7 of GPLv2 prohibits its distribution under that license in the United States (or any jurisdictions where patent claims restrict its use). If Ameriprise and the other defendants were outside the U.S. where the Ximpleware patents don't apply, then GPLv2 would indeed be sufficient for that use. But inside the U.S. those customers are not authorized and they cannot rely on an assumed patent grant in GPLv2. Otherwise GPLv2 Section 7 would be an irrelevant provision. Reread it carefully if you doubt this.

The Versata customers certainly cannot depend on an implied patent license received indirectly through a vendor who was in breach of GPLv2 since the beginning – and still is! Versata ignored and failed to disclose to its own customers Ximpleware's patent notices concerning that GPLv2 software, but those patents are nevertheless infringed.

Should we forgive commercial companies who fail to undertake honest compliance with the GPL? Should we forgive their customers who aren't diligent in acquiring their software from diligent vendors?

As Aaron Williamson suggests, we shouldn't ignore the implications of this case. After all, the creator of Ximpleware software made his source code freely available under GPLv2 and posted clear notices to potential commercial customers of his U.S. patents and of his commercial licensing options. Lots of small (and large!) open source commercial companies do that. Although it is ultimately up to the courts to decide this case, from a FOSS point of view Ximpleware is the good guy here!

There is rich detail about this matter that will come out during litigation. Please don't criticize until you understand all the facts.

Lawrence Rosen
Rosenlaw & Einschlag (

Submission + - MIT computer program makes TCP twice as fast (

An anonymous reader writes: MIT is claiming they can make the Internet faster if we let computers redesign TCP/IP instead of coding it by hand. They used machine learning to design a version of TCP that's twice the speed and causes half the delay, even with modern bufferbloated networks. They also claim it's more "fair." The researchers have put up a lengthy FAQ and source code where they admit they don't know why the system works, only that it goes faster than normal TCP. On the same day that MIT went to court to stop Aaron Swartz's documents from being published, the school is devoting its main website to an animated GIF about faster TCP.

Submission + - Behind Apple's packaging designs (

An anonymous reader writes: Now it's no secret that Apple sweats every last detail when it comes to their products — which if anything, is quite an understatement.

Apple's attention to detail stretches out far beyond the product itself and even encompasses the packaging said products are shipped in. Is it any surprise that Apple, in addition to its slew of technical and design patents, also has a number of patents pertaining to package design?

While packaging may seem secondary to most consumer electronics companies, Apple takes package design very seriously and even has a secretive packaging room within Apple HQ that is only accessible to a select few.

The Internet

Submission + - SPAM: Talk to your computer in 2 years from now

southspy3 writes: "Browsing the internet will become much easier for the visually challenged and those who find the computer keyboard or typing difficult. Such users, or anybody wishing to do so, will simply have to speak to the computer, which will browse the internet and get back to them with answers in the same language."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Researchers develop advanced lithium-ion battery f (

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers have developed an advanced lithium-ion battery, having high energy content and rate capacity, to make electric vehicles a more realistic alternative to gas-powered automobiles. They used an unique electrode combination — a tin-carbon anode and a lithium-ion cathode — to form the high-performance battery.

Submission + - MSC Launches First QSeven COM To Feature ARM CPU

Blacklaw writes: MSC Vertriebs, a German company specialising in computer-on-module designs, has announced the first Qseven COM to feature ARM Cortex-A9 processing cores in the form of Nvidia's Tegra 2 system-on-chip. The MSC Q7-NT2, which makes use of the Qseven format co-developed by MSC Vertriebs back in 2008 to pack all the components needed for a modern computer into a tiny 70mm module, is the first ARM-based CoM design to use the Qseven bus — replacing the traditional Intel Atom chip used in the company's previous products.

Submission + - Australian ISP's Copyright Win (

jaa101 writes: "Medium-sized Australian ISP iiNet has won a copyright case against the major movie studios. Local studio Village Roadshow was joined by 33 others, including the US majors, in arguing that iiNet was not doing enough to stop its users pirating content. iiNet may have been chosen as a target big enough to set an example but small enough to beat. Today's victory was on appeal in the Australian Federal Court, confirming an earlier ruling a year ago that was won with costs."

Submission + - WikiLeaks Defenders Threaten Amazon (

healeyb writes: CNN is announcing that, starting at 11 AM EST, the hackers (coined Operation Payback) responsible for the DDoS attacks on MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, and PostFinance have promised to commence an attack against Amazon for their revocation of the WikiLeaks EC2 account. — They released a do-it-yourself hacking tool online Thursday so other people can help with the attacks they say took down the websites of MasterCard and Visa...

Submission + - WikiLeaks & Operation Payback turn into cyberw ( 2

BussyB writes: The two causes on their own were noteworthy, but had weaknesses that kept them docile. WikiLeaks had controversy and the attention of mainstream media, but lacked muscle to defend themselves from oppressors. Operation Payback, on the other hand, had plenty of eager hackers at their disposal and a passion to fight for their internet freedoms, but couldn’t quite capture enough of the spotlight to grow and support their cause. Together, WikiLeaks and Operation Payback now have both the fire and fuel that are combining to form what is turning into an all-out cyber-war like nothing the world has witnessed before.

This week, Operation Payback decided that WikiLeaks “freedom of information” platform so closely resembled their own that they should begin to fight for that cause as well as their own. So far, Anonymous has launched DDoS attacks upon PayPal, MasterCard, and Assange’s Swiss bank. Meanwhile, Pirate Parties around the world have begun helping WikiLeaks stay online by hosting over 300 mirrors of the site on their servers. The site now has so much strength that analysts are saying that even if the site ends up shutting down in the future, “bits and pieces of its content will probably be mirrored forever,” on the Internet.

“While we don’t have much of an affiliation with WikiLeaks, we fight for the same reasons,” Anonymous said in a statement on its website. “We want transparency and we counter censorship. This is why we intend to utilize our resources to raise awareness, attack those against and support those who are helping lead our world to freedom and democracy"

The group is now conducting what they have dubbed “Operation Avenge Assange.” The operation consists of the following...

Submission + - Wikiwar: blow by blow (

An anonymous reader writes: While the northern hemisphere media outlets slumber, SC Magazine in Australia keeps updating the unfolding cyber civil war that pitches Anonymous against those arrayed against Wikileaks and its publisher, Julian Assange.

Submission + - Malicious Online Retailer Ordered Held Without Bai

Zaphod_85 writes: You may remember the New York Times story from a couple of weeks ago regarding Vitaly Borker, an online retailer intentionally harassing customers in order to gain linking points in Google's PageRank algorithm. Now, not only has Google altered their algorithm in order to prevent this tactic from being effective (Though according to Katherine Noyes at PCWorld, this tactic may never actually have been benefiting the website in the first place), Now Mr. Borker has the Feds to deal with. He is being charged with cyberstalking, wire fraud, mail fraud, and making interstate threats, and faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted on all counts. Given his disturbing behavior that brought about the charges, a federal judge has ordered he be held without bail while he awaits trial.

Submission + - Retailer accused of inflating Google rank arrested ( 1

alphadogg writes: An online retailer who boasted that complaints about his business helped boost its standing in Google search results was arrested Monday.

Vitaly Borker, 34, was arrested at his home in Brooklyn, New York, and charged with fraud, cyberstalking and harassment, the U.S. Department of Justice said. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

According to the complaint against him and a profile that appeared in The New York Times last month, Borker made abusive customer service his signature style. Prosecutors say he shipped counterfeit or defective products and threatened customers with violence if they complained.

It was all part of a scheme to boost his online presence by getting people to discuss and link to his online store. Even if the links came from people complaining about his business it still drove traffic to the website.


Submission + - Hacker takes over Kaspersky website (

angry tapir writes: "On Sunday hackers hit the website of Kaspersky Lab. Someone took advantage of a bug in a Web program used by the website and reprogrammed it to try to trick visitors into downloading a fake antivirus product. Kaspersky said it was in a "third-party application" used by the website. The website was redirecting users to the rogue antivirus site for about three-and-a-half hours."

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