30 July, 2004

Bulk of year's PC infections pinned to one man - News - ZDNet:
Sven Jaschan, self-confessed author of the Netsky and Sasser viruses, is responsible for 70 percent of virus infections in 2004, according to a six-month virus roundup published Wednesday by antivirus company Sophos.

The 18-year-old Jaschan was taken into custody in Germany in May by police who said he had admitted to programming both the Netsky and Sasser worms, something experts at Microsoft confirmed. (A Microsoft antivirus reward program led to the teenager's arrest.) During the five months preceding Jaschan's capture, there were at least 25 variants of Netsky and one of the port-scanning network worm Sasser.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said it was staggering that one person could be responsible for so many infections. Richard Starnes, president of security industry group ISSA UK, was also impressed: "Is he going to put this on his CV?" he asked.

29 July, 2004

ZDNet India : Details of Microsoft antivirus software leak out

..Microsoft has been rumored to be seeking a high-profile acquisition in that arena, and security specialist Network Associates was said to be on the company's radar..

28 July, 2004

Secure Wi-fi ...802.11i standard:
The 802.11i standard encrypts data sent along wireless networks to protect it from anyone who may intercept it.

The most significant feature of the 802.11i standard is Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), a strong encryption standard supporting 128-bit, 192-bit and 256-bit keys, said Robin Ritch, Intel's director of security industry marketing.

27 July, 2004

Yahoo! News - Web Worm Spreads, Slowing Online Search Sites

A fast-spreading computer worm disrupted the world's most popular online search sites on Monday, scanning the vast databases of Google Inc. and other search engines to find the e-mail addresses of new victims.

26 July, 2004

Web Services

Web services is a new software model that doesn't simply extend existing models but reinvents everything from scratch. It addresses software applications architecture within the context of the Internet. Web services allow Web sites to programatically expose their functions to other Web sites or applications (on the desktop, palmtop, or whatever).

Web services use the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) to connect to each other. This is akin to HTTP that connects browsers and Web applications. The fact that SOAP is XML at the core, and that it is an open W3C standard adopted by all platforms, means it should be possible to easily build bridges across Web services, irrespective of whether they were created on .NET or Sun ONE.

25 July, 2004

Broadband Blueprint :
The TRAI''s roadmap for broadband will have far-reaching implications. Broadband connectivity, as defined in the TRAI report, is always-on connectivity of 256 Kbps or higher. While one can argue about the connection speed, that is a big leap from what is advertised today (64-128 Kbps). Broadband is the end game for the computer, communications and consumer electronics industries.

"The problem in India, as we have all experienced, is connectivity. TRAI has estimated that bandwidth in India costs 1,200 times more than in south Korea, which is the most wired nation"
Subscription prices of broadband services in India are 60 times higher than those in Korea, which translates to 1,200 times higher considering purchasing power

One of the most important TRAI recommendations is that of local loop unbundling. In simple words, this means that the incumbent telcos (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd) need to open up access on their last mile to others for an appropriate fee.

This way, others do not need to replicate what is an expensive last-mile infrastructure. While the concept is sound, this is a non-trivial decision for the government-owned telcos. The interests of a few are likely to supersede those of many.

Let us set a goal of providing a "whole solution" of hardware (access device), software, broadband connectivity and tech support for Rs 700 per user per month. Of this, broadband access (512 Kbps or higher) should cost no more than Rs 250 a month.

21 July, 2004

Click Fraud
Click fraud is perpetrated in both automated and human ways. The most common method is the use of online robots, or "bots," programmed to click on advertisers' links that are displayed on Web sites or listed in search queries. A growing alternative employs low-cost workers who are hired in China, India and other countries to click on text links and other ads. A third form of fraud takes place when employees of companies click on rivals' ads to deplete their marketing budgets and skew search results.

Human operations can be more difficult to detect because a wide network of people can click on ads from different computers across many regions, without a steady pattern. According to a report in the India Times, residents are being hired to click paid links from home, with the hopes of making between $100 to $200 per month.

In other instances, the source of bogus clicks can be much closer to home.

Joe, the chief executive of an Internet marketing company, enjoys clicking on his rivals' text ads on Google and Yahoo because his competitor must pay as much as $15 each time he does it. Eventually, such phantom clicks can add up and drain a rival's budget.

Read some more here.

10 July, 2004

ZDNet India : Old-school worm loves Windows applications

Although the latest Lovgate worm does not delete any user data--such as documents or spreadsheets--it replaces executable files (with the .exe extension) on the local hard drive with further copies of itself. This process can leave an infected computer effectively useless because it is unable to run any applications.

"The virus might do this renaming operation to hundreds of .exe files in one go. The end result is that instead of finding one or two infected files, the user will find masses of them. With Lovgate, this is normal,"
ZDNet India : Budget 2004-05: Weak links, contentious issues

Good: Eliminating excise on PCs.

Bad: Eliminating excise only on PCs. This benefit given in isolation will adversely affect the local manufacturers of components such as monitors, UPS, and motherboards as importing will become cheaper than buying locally.

..."Computers are being fully exempted from excise duty from the present 8 percent. Parts/components manufactured and captively consumed in the factory of production of computers are also being fully exempted. Computer for the purposes of the exemption would include a central processing unit (CPU) cleared on a stand-alone basis as well as when cleared together along with a monitor, mouse, and keyboard. However, accessories such as monitor, keyboard, mouse, modem, UPS, web camera etc. cleared separately would not be covered under this exemption." ....

08 July, 2004

ZDNet India : Cheaper storage prompts email providers to offer larger boxes

...From the storage point of view, costs have come down by 50 percent in last two years...
ZDNet India : Indian president calls for open source in defense

In another public-sector boost to open-source software, Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam called for his country's military to use such nonproprietary technology to ward off cybersecurity threats.

06 July, 2004

ZDNet India : Sun wrestles with open-source Java

Sun Microsystems is grappling with applying an open-source philosophy to its Java software as the company weighs risks and benefits over whether it should jump in further or not. But some experts are suggesting a middle ground.

Open-source software, best exemplified by the Linux operating system, holds the promise of fast innovation, widespread adoption and a lively developer community. But Sun, which invented and oversees Java, has expressed worries that making it open-source software could threaten its essential promise of compatibility.

Placing Java more firmly in the open-source realm could let allies and foes manipulate it for their own ends. Not doing so could push programmers toward Microsoft's .Net.
ZDNet India : Bagle author releases 'dangerous' assembler code:
...the author is spreading the source code to as many PCs as possible so that if he is arrested, he won't be the only person to have that code on his computer...