hankwang writes: The European commission fined a number manufacturers for pricing fixing of cathode ray tubes in the period between 1996 and 2005. The total fine was EUR 1.47 billion (USD 1.92 billion), for Philips, LG Electronics, Samsung SDI, and three other firms. According to the European Commission: "For almost 10 years, the cartelists carried out the most harmful anti-competitive practices including price fixing, market sharing, customer allocation, capacity and output coordination and exchanges of commercial sensitive information. The cartelists also monitored the implementation, including auditing compliance with the capacity restrictions by plant visits in the case of the computer monitor tubes cartel. "
hankwang writes: The Dutch telecommunications authority OPTA has announced that Dutch hotels must register as internet providers (Original version in Dutch) because that is what they formally are according to Dutch laws. It is well possible that once hotels are officially internet providers, they will also have to abide the European regulations on data retention and make efforts to link email headers and other data traffic to individual hotel guests. Could this also happen in other European countries? This is probably not likely to lead to a more widespread adoption of free WiFi services in hotels.
hankwang writes: The Belgian authorities uncovered an international network of online banking fraud, which has been going on since 2007. (Story in Dutch and Google translation). The fraud targeted customers of several major banks, which used supposedly secure two-factor systems that required the customer to generate authorization codes from transaction information (random code and amount or recipient's account number) that is manually keyed into a cryptographic device (Flash demo from one of the banks, Manufacturer's website). Trojan horses that were planted onto the victim's computer would generate a fake error message and requested to re-enter authorization codes. This way, amounts up to €4,000 were transferred to foreign bank accounts.
The worrying part is that many cases were never reported to the police, with the bank preferring to refund the money to the victim rather than risking their reputation. The extent of this type of fraud is unclear.
hankwang writes: "Did you know that Microsoft has ethical guidelines? Think of how "Microsoft did not make any payments to foreign government officials" while lobbying for OOXML, and how "Microsoft conducts its business in compliance with laws to designed to promote fair competition" every time they suppressed competitors. In their Corporate Citizenship sction, they discuss how the customer-focused approach creates products that work well with those of competitors and open-source solutions. So all the reverse-engineering by Samba and OpenOffice.org developers wasn't really necessary. It makes one wonder how people got all those weird ideas about the ethical company Microsoft?"
hankwang writes: Security researcher Petko Petkov, who is known for his recent discovery of a vulnerability with Quicktime in Firefox, claims to have discovered an exploit that allows arbitrary code execution when a maliciously crafted PDF document is opened in any version of Adobe Reader. Petkov did not disclose any technical details other than a video, but claims on his blog that Adobe has acknowledged the vulnerability. If this exploit goes wild, it could cause some serious problems, as PDFs are usually automatically opened from web browsers and widely used and trusted by corporate users. See also Petkov's original blog post [Coral cache].