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Compromised Government and Military Sites For Sale 51

Khopesh writes "Imperva blogged today about the sale of compromised .gov, .mil, and .edu sites, illustrating that cyber-criminals are getting bolder. Krebs on Security has an unredacted view of the site list. Perhaps the biggest threat is yet to come; if an industrious criminal can break into top government and military sites, so too can government-backed teams, proving that GhostNet and Stuxnet are just the beginning."

Mozilla Flips Kill-Switch On Skype Toolbar 284

An anonymous reader writes "Whenever Skype is installed or updated, it automatically installs the Skype Toolbar add-on for Firefox. Unfortunately, the add-on causes serious performance problems, slowing down some operations by a factor of 300 and is one of the top causes for Firefox crashes. As a result, Mozilla has decided to 'soft-block' the add-on, effectively killing it on all Firefox installs unless the user intentionally re-enables it. Given the extreme popularity of Skype, this has ramifications for millions of users."

Google Fires Back About Search Engine Spam 270

coondoggie writes "The folks at Google are taking issue over spam and the quality of Google searches, which some claim has gone down in recent months. Today on Google's official blog, Principal Engineer Matt Cutts said, 'January brought a spate of stories about Google’s search quality. Reading through some of these recent articles, you might ask whether our search quality has gotten worse. The short answer is that according to the evaluation metrics that we’ve refined over more than a decade, Google’s search quality is better than it has ever been in terms of relevance, freshness and comprehensiveness. Today, English-language spam in Google’s results is less than half what it was five years ago, and spam in most other languages is even lower than in English.' Cutts also explained that the company has made a few significant changes to their method of indexing."

Woman's Voice Restored After Larynx Transplant 246

mvar writes "A woman in the US is able to speak for the first time in 11 years after a pioneering voicebox transplant. Brenda Jensen said the operation, which took place in California, was a miracle which had restored her life. Thirteen days after the surgery she said her first words: 'Good morning, I want to go home.' It is the first time a larynx and windpipe have been transplanted at the same time (image) and only the second time a larynx has ever been transplanted. In October, surgeons at the University of California Davis Medical Center removed the larynx, thyroid gland and 6cm of the trachea from a donor body. In an 18-hour operation, this was transplanted into Ms. Jensen's throat and the team connected it to her blood supply and nerves. Thirteen days later, she was able to speak her first croaky words and is now able to talk easily for long periods of time."

RIAA Threatens ICANN Over Music-Themed gTLD Standards 174

think_nix writes "A letter to ICANN (PDF) from Victoria Sheckler, Deputy General Counsel for the RIAA, demands modifications to the future implementation of the .music gTLD, threatening to 'escalate the issue' if certain concerns about 'wide scale copyright and trademark infringement' are not addressed by ICANN in compliance with the RIAA. 'Under the current proposed standard, we fear that we will have no realistic ability to object if a pirate chooses to hijack a music themed gTLD to enable wide scale copyright infringement of our works,' Sheckler said."

Sony Planning Serial Keys For PS3 Games? 283

Stoobalou writes "Rumor has it that Sony is looking to the PC games market to help solve its growing piracy problem on the PlayStation 3 — with the introduction of serial keys to its games. According to 'a very reliable source' quoted by PS3-Sense, Sony is attempting to address the recent revelation that it failed to properly secure the private signing key for its flagship console — leading to clever tinkerers producing third-party firmware that allows unofficial software and illegitimately downloaded games to run on unmodified hardware — by looking to the PC retail market for solutions. Unlike the PS3, the PC doesn't have a hardware DRM system built in to it — despite attempts by groups like the Trusted Computing Group, formerly the Trusted Computer Platform Alliance, to introduce such a thing — relying instead on software-based DRM and a surprisingly old-fashioned guarantee of a game's uniqueness: a serial key."

Does Google Pin Copyright Violations On the ASF? 136

An anonymous reader writes "Florian Mueller claims to have produced new evidence that he believes supports Oracle's case against Google on the copyright side of the lawsuit. Oracle originally presented one example to the court, and that file was found to have been part of older Android distributions, with an Apache license header. Mueller has just published six more files of that kind and believes the Apache Software Foundation will disown those just like the first one because those were never part of the Apache Harmony code base. Furthermore, various source files from the Sun Java Wireless Toolkit were found in the Android codebase, containing a total of 38 copyright notices that mark them as proprietary and confidential, but Google apparently published their source code regardless."

J.J. Abrams Promises 'Fringe' Will Die Fighting 392

An anonymous reader writes "Fringe creator J.J. Abrams has said of the show's much-maligned move to Friday nights, 'Fringe deserves to live beyond season 3. If we're going to fail, let's go down doing the most bad ***, weirdest, interesting, sophisticated version of a series that we could possibly do.' Previous announcements about the move were more defensive, claiming that Fringe's shift to Fridays was an attempt to draw younger viewers back to the 'dead zone' of Friday nights. But season three has been confused enough in tone and approach that it's no surprise to hear yet another contradictory statement about its future..." Good episodes of Fringe have been great TV. I've really enjoyed the first half of the season and am looking forward to seeing what they do with it. A lot of mediocre SciFi has been shut down recently (Caprica? SGU?) and a lot of bad SciFi continues (V?) but Fringe flirts with greatness with regularity. I hope it makes it... even though on Friday it's not likely.
Hardware Hacking

The Case of Apple's Mystery Screw 845

Pickens writes "Network World reports that in the past if you wanted to remove the outer case on your iPhone 4 to replace the battery or a broken screen, you could use a Phillips screwdriver to remove two tiny screws at the base of the phone and then simply slide off the back cover. But now Apple is replacing the outer screw with a mysterious tamper-resistant 'pentalobular' screw across its most popular product lines, making it harder for do-it-yourselfers to make repairs. What about existing products in the field? Pentalobular screws might find their way into them, too. 'Apple's latest policy will make your blood boil,' says Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit. 'If you take your iPhone 4 into Apple for any kind of service, they will sabotage it by replacing your Phillips screws with the new, tamper-resistant screws. We've spoken with the Apple Store geniuses tasked with carrying out this policy, and they are ashamed of the practice.' Of course, only Apple-authorized service technicians have Pentalobular screwdrivers and they're not allowed to resell them. 'Apple sees a huge profit potential,' says Wiens. 'A hundred dollars per year in incremental revenue on their installed base is a tremendous opportunity.'"

Australian Government Denies Microsoft Bias In OOXML Choice 193

An anonymous reader writes "It looks like the Australian Government is not taking criticism of its decision to mandate Microsoft's Office Open XML standard lying down. 'The policy is vendor-neutral which allows its principles and standards to be used across any platform,' they said this week. Yup ... except for the fact that almost no other office suite apart from Microsoft Office supports writing to the standard. And as for Firefox? Turns out 96 percent of Australian Government desktops use Internet Explorer. Looks like bureaucracy is winning here."

Underwater Nuclear Power Plant Proposed In France 314

nicomede writes "The French state-owned DCNS (French military shipyard) announced today a concept study for an underwater nuclear reactor dedicated to power coastal communities in remote places. It is derived from nuclear submarine power plants, and its generator would be able to produce between 50 MWe and 250MWe. Such a plant would be fabricated and maintained in France, and dispatched for the different customers, thus reducing the risk for proliferation."

Apple Patent Hints at Net-Booting Cloud Strategy 156

An anonymous reader writes "Apple has received a patent that hints at the intent of providing network computers that will boot through a 'net-booted environment.' It may seem that Apple is moving slowly into the cloud computing age and that it has many assets that are simply not leveraged in what could be a massive cloud environment that could cause more than just a headache for Google and Microsoft. However, it appears that Apple has been working for some time on an operating system, conceivably a version of a next-generation Mac OS or iOS, that could boot computers and other devices via an Internet connection."

Unwise — Search History of Murder Methods 532

nonprofiteer writes "Mark Jensen's home computer revealed Internet searches for botulism, poisoning, pipe bombs and mercury fulminate. A website was visited that explained how to reverse the polarity of a swimming pool — the Jensens had a pool — by switching the wires around, likening the result to the 4th of July. The State pointed out the absence of Internet searches on topics like separation, divorce, child custody or marital property. Julie Jensen died as a result of ethylene glycol in her system, an ingredient found in antifreeze. On the morning of her death, someone attempted to 'double-delete' (apparently unsuccessfully) the computer's browsing history, which included a search for 'ethylene glycol poisoning.'" What if searches for devious, undetectable methods of murder were in everyone's history?

Android Text Messages Intermittently Going Astray 325

theodp writes "Reports from Engadget and others suggest that Tiger Woods and Brett Favre might want to avoid Android for the time being. It seems Android's default text messaging app still has horrible text messaging bugs that can that intermittently send texts to the wrong person. 'This is ticking me off like no other technology glitch that I experienced in recent years,' reads one unhappy camper's post on a lengthy Help Forum thread opened on March 16th. 'If a bank deposited my paycheck into another person's account I wouldn't stress so much cause I can always get the money back. How the hell do you take words back? "Oh sorry boss you had to find out that I think you're an idiot, can I still keep my job, please please please?"' Over at Google Code, Issue 9392 — SMS are intermittently sent to wrong and seemingly random contact — carries a priority of 'Medium,' even though it has 600+ comments and has been starred by 3,600+ people."

Hungarian Officials Can Now Censor the Media 185

An anonymous reader writes "Hungary is set to regulate the media, including web-published content, under a new law applicable today. The law requires all the media to provide a 'balanced view' and must not go against 'public morality,' and places all publications under the control of a new regulating body, whose top members have all been nominated by Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Orban, whose strong ways have been compared to Putin's, has been tightening his grip over Hungary. 'In the seven months since Orban came to power with a two-thirds parliamentary majority, he has implemented retroactive taxes in violation of the constitution, curbed the Constitutional Court's power, effectively nationalized private pension funds and put ruling-party allies in charge of at least four independent institutions, including the audit office.' Citizens sentenced in application of the new law can still challenge it at the European Court of Human Rights — see you in a few years."

You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements. -- Norman Douglas