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New Tool Blocks Downloads From Malicious Sites 192

Hugh Pickens writes "Science Daily Headlines reports that a new tool has been developed (funded by the National Science Foundation, US Army Research Office and US Office of Naval Research) to prevent 'drive-by downloads' whereby simply visiting a website, malware can be silently installed on a computer to steal a user's identity and other personal information, launch denial-of-service attacks, or participate in botnet activity. The software called Blade — short for Block All Drive-By Download Exploits — is browser-independent and designed to eliminate all drive-by malware installation threats by tracking how users interact with their browsers to distinguish downloads that received user authorization from those that do not. 'BLADE monitors and analyzes everything that is downloaded to a user's hard drive to cross-check whether the user authorized the computer to open, run or store the file on the hard drive. If the answer is no to these questions, BLADE stops the program from installing or running and removes it from the hard drive,' says Wenke Lee, a professor in the School of Computer Science in Georgia Tech's College of Computing. Blade's testbed automatically harvests malware URLs from multiple whitehat sources on a daily basis and has an interesting display of the infection rate of different browsers, the applications targeted by drive-by exploits, and the anti-virus detect and miss rates of drive-by binaries."

New Chinese Rule Requires Real Names Online 193

crimeandpunishment writes "According to a human rights group, a leading Chinese Internet regulator is calling for new rules requiring people to use their real names online and when buying mobile phones. New York-based 'Human Rights in China' says it has obtained the complete text of a speech Wang Chen, director of the State Council Information Office, made in April, and they quote him as saying 'We will make the Internet real name system a reality as soon as possible.'"
The Internet

Washington Wants 10,000 Web Surfers 147

crimeandpunishment writes "This one sounds too good to be true: surf the Web, and you'll be helping the government. The FCC is looking for 10,000 volunteers to take part in a study to determine if broadband providers are really providing Internet connections that are as fast as advertised. The broad look at broadband will involve special equipment installed in homes across the country to measure Internet connections and compare them to advertised speeds." Here's where to go to apply.

Internet Probably Couldn't Handle a Flu Pandemic 341

Several readers including mikael and gclef noted a report from the General Accountability Office suggesting that it should be Homeland Security's job to make sure the nation's business can flow during a pandemic. In particular, if H1N1 sends workers and schoolchildren home in large numbers, GAO thinks it might be a good idea for ISPs to prioritize traffic (favoring commerce over games, say), to reduce network speeds, and possibly to shut down high-traffic Web sites. DHS retorts that not only isn't it their job to control the Internet in this way, but the GAO is naive to believe it's even possible: "An expectation of unlimited Internet access during a pandemic is not realistic." "[DHS] does not even have a plan to start work on the issue, the General Accountability Office said. But the Homeland Security Department accused the GAO of having unrealistic expectations of how the Internet could be managed if millions began to telework from home at the same time as bored or sick schoolchildren were playing online, sucking up valuable bandwidth. Experts have for years pointed to the potential problem of Internet access during a severe pandemic, which would be a unique kind of emergency. It would be global, affecting many areas at once, and would last for weeks or months... Many companies and government offices hope to keep operations going as much as possible with teleworking using the Internet. Among the many problems posed by this idea, however, is the issue of bandwidth..."

"There are things that are so serious that you can only joke about them" - Heisenberg