IT News for 2008-12-15

Internet Explorer suffers from zero-day vulnerability

Recent patches from Microsoft have failed to protect against a zero-day vulnerability.


Microsoft acknowledges IE 7 zero-day attacks

The exploit was mistakenly released by a Chinese security team.


IE7 Exploit Also Affects IE5, IE6 and IE8! More Users In Trouble

I’m sure you’ve heard about the Microsoft IE7 Exploit that allows Remote Code Execution on XP & Vista, it turns out it’s actually much worse than first expected.

The exploit also affects IE5.01, IE6 and IE8 on all OS versions! That’s a pretty worrying turn of events for MS especially as they are seemingly leaving it unpatched.


Zero day exploit for Internet Explorer is spreading

According the security firms, more and more servers are being compromised so that seemingly trustworthy sites launch the particularly dangerous attacks on Internet Explorer


Social networking dominates Google searches in 2008

Popular social networking website Facebook was the most searched item on Google in the UK in 2008.


Symantec security update

A flawed driver in Symantec's anti-virus products can be exploited to crash a PC


Google Chrome bottom in Password Security

Password management in major browsers is still somewhat insecure and according to a security expert, Google Chrome and Safari 3.2 for Windows are the worst offenders


From Fake Banking to Regionally Targeted Malware

From fake online banking to regionally targeted celeb porn - that’s just two days in the life of a “FormSpy” (a.k.a. “Infostealer”) malware campaign. In the past few days a spam run started to promote a fake “Bank of America” web site, announcing a change of the online banking’s interface to its “customers.”


Identity Theft, Organized Retail Crime On The Rise

Security managers should consider doing more information sharing, nonprofit group says


Test Center preview: Windows Azure Services Platform gives wings to .Net

Microsoft intends its new Windows Azure Services Platform to be a serious cloud computing platform for a broad range of developers and scenarios, from lone developers starting up a new Web-based company on a shoestring to large teams of enterprise developers looking for high-performance, highly available, and scalable Web sites, computing, and storage.


Delta to offer Wi-Fi on Shuttle Flights

Delta Airlines is teaming up with in-flight communication company Aircell to provide Wi-Fi Internet access on shuttle flights between Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.


Intel, Qualcomm Grow Chip Revenue but Semiconductor Industry Sinks in 2008
The world’s semiconductor makers watched their revenues fall by more than 4 percent in 2008 as the ongoing financial crisis continues to have a major impact on IT companies and technology vendors.


Aptana Releases PHP Development Tool

Aptana releases Aptana PHP 1.0, its integrated development environment for PHP development. Aptana PHP extends the functionality of the company's Aptana Studio tools suite, which is an Eclipse-based IDE for AJAX and Web development.


Windows Vista SP2 Beta Preview

Is Microsoft finally getting Vista right? The recent release of the Service Pack 2 beta is a step in the right direction. This update not only installs cumulative security and compatibility fixes, but also adds a few goodies like simplified wireless network setup, Bluetooth 2.1 support, and the ability to burn Blu-ray discs.


Brazilian hackers blamed for aiding Amazon deforestation

Malicious hackers have been charged with all manner of misdeeds, from mounting the biggest military hack ever to sending Viagra to Bill Gates to crashing sewerage systems. On Friday, Greenpeace accused cybercrooks of conspiring to allow actions that threaten the balance of nature by helping to destroy the Amazon rainforest.


AT&T, T-Mobile Fined For Voice-Mail Security

After a string of high-profile hacks, the Los Angeles district attorney has filed an injunction against the carriers for overstating the security of their voice-mail systems.


Poor Computer Security Putting Immigrant Data At Risk

Vulnerabilities are common where money transfers, check cashing, bill payment, travel services, auto insurance, or notary services are provided, a research firm found.


Chip Industry Revenues Drop By $12 Billion

To weather the economic slowdown, Garter said semiconductor companies would have to focus on preserving cash and managing inventory.


Ad-Aware gets an antivirus cousin

Lavasoft on Monday unveiled a new antivirus application it hopes will do as well as its runaway hit Ad-Aware.


Mahalo expands human-powered search with paid Answers service

Jason Calacanis is adding another human-powered angle to the Mahalo curated search page service he launched in May 2007. Mahalo Answers, launching Monday, lets users ask specific questions of the Mahalo audience, and, of course, answer other users' questions as well. The twist on this standard model (see also: Yahoo answers) is financial.


RadioShack to sell Acer netbook for $99 - with 2-year contract

RadioShack will put an Acer Aspire One 3G Netbook on sale Sunday for $99. But there's a catch. You also have to buy a two-year AT&T DataConnect contract.


Sun exec OK with rant by MySQL co-founder

Michael "Monty" Widenius, the original developer of the MySQL open-source database, put a damper on Sun Microsystems Inc.'s recent release of MySQL 5.1 by sharply criticizing the decision to make the update generally available.


Spam levels rise again after McColo fallout fades

Spam volumes are creeping up again after plummeting four weeks ago when a rogue hosting company was yanked off of the Internet.


Microsoft update leaves some bugs unpatched

Microsoft Corp. last week acknowledged that its massive December security update didn't include patches for potentially critical vulnerabilities in Windows and Internet Explorer.


WiMax market set to slide next year

The market for WiMax is set to decline in 2009, as mobile WiMax is hit both by the economic squeeze and competition from the LTE standard, according to an analyst report.


Attack of the quarter-ton, 'fridge-sized' killer jellyfish

The US government has warned that enormous swarms of killer jellyfish - some the size of fridges and weighing up to a quarter of a ton - are ravaging the world's oceans. Particularly aggressive specimens are said to be capable of causing serious damage to ships, and have even managed to knacker nuclear power plants.


Five Best Sites for Finding Deals Online

Did your holiday gift budget shrink considerably this year? Your friends and family need never be the wiser: You just need to know where to find the best deals



Sleep Issues

Yeah for Friday! I picked up a new CPAP mask yesterday and slept very nicely last night. Woot! Plans for tonight involve getting dinner and maybe watching Band of Brothers at home. Today is the 75th anniversary of the repeal of prohibition. I may just have to celebrate with a cold brew. *chuckle* I can't get too wild and crazy as I've still got to get up early to work at my part-time job tomorrow morning at 6am. Then I have to run home and change and head to lodge as it is the annual Christmas/Holiday party, which is mainly for the kids. Since the ladies of the house won't be able to make it, I'll be showing up to assist with food prep and cleanup. Still hoping to have a few friends over Saturday night to open up some of the pumpkin ale, but I've only heard from one of the people I've invited over that is able to make it. Everybody else seems to have plans. Darn.

Last night, we attended a parenting seminar at the pre-school Munchkin attends (Little Guppy). The topic of the seminar was "Sleep Issues." The seminar was presented by Nancy Birkenmeier from St. Luke's Hospital Sleep Medicine & Research Center, which is one of the largest sleep clinics in the country. There were over 24 people that were signed up for the seminar and I was planning on helping out with watching the kids (ie spend more time with the Munchkin). Only 6 parents showed up (counting me), so I didn't need to be with the kids as they had staff there for that and there were only 4 kids to watch.

Mo and I had attended this same seminar two years ago, when it was presented by Children's Hope International. Nancy had helped us out 2 years ago, when we figured out that Munchkin had some real sleep issues (in addition to other problems). The upshot was that we couldn't address anything else until we tackled the sleep issues first. Sleep issues will exacerbate other problems that a child will have and it is so hugely important that they get enough sleep (not to mention adults really need enough sleep too). Children that are sleep deprived have very similar symptoms as those children with ADHD. The problem that Munchkin was having was that she was waking up multiple times a night and would cry until we went to her and soothed her back to sleep. Neither Mo or I was getting enough sleep by far. I definitely recommend contacting the Sleep Center at Saint Luke's if you have similar problems. Their phone number is 314-205-6030.

Some of the things that came up in the seminar (and I'm typing off the list they handed out):

Signs of insufficient sleep in children:

  • Falls asleep in the car, in a high chair, or when watching TV when it is not nap time
  • Frequently awakens tired and crabby in the morning and following naps
  • Seems irritable, low tolerance, difficult to please off and on during the day, especially between 4pm-6pm. May hit, spit, or bite during this time if significantly sleep deprived
  • Appears unusually clingy and will not let Mom out of sight intermittently during the day, especially between 4pm-6pm.
  • Has to be awakened most morning, looks as if he could easily sleep another hour
  • Often has a very short attention span, can't sit to look at books with parent for more than a few minutes. When sleep loss is severe, appears overactive or "wired".
And we were provided with a quick chart of what the average sleep time requirement is, broken down by age. Especially with the younger children, they don't get all that sleep at one time, they will get the biggest chunk when they sleep at night, but then they make up the rest by taking naps. Around age 3, most children are down to one nap a day and by age 4 they stop taking naps or may take naps 2-4 times a week.

AgeAverage Total Sleep Time per Day (in hours)
0 - 6 months
14 - 16.5
6 - 12 months
14 - 15
1 year
13.75 - 14
2 years
12.75 - 13
3 years
12 - 12.5
4 years
11.5 - 12
5 - 7 years
8 - 9 years
10 -11 years
12 - 14 years
15 - 24 years
25 and older
7.5 - 8.5

With most sleep issues children have, the sleep clinic doesn't usually need to see the children. They interview the parents and then develop a set of strategies and instructions for the parents to follow and then provide follow up calls. Most insurance pays for it, so there are usually limitations to the number of visits, the fewer the better. They will see children when they are diagnosed with stuff like sleep apnea, sleep terrors or sleep walking.

Just so you know, winter operation hours have started at Saint Charles County parks and continue until March 1, 2009. All parks, except the Youth Activity Park, will be open from 7am to 6pm during the winter. If you want to use Klondike, Indian Camp Creek or Quail Ridge parks outside of those hours you must obtain a special use permit from the director and rent the Quail Ridge Lodge, Curt Loupe Conference Center or a camping facility. The county operates eight parks. For more information, call 636-949-7535 or visit http://parks.sccmo.org/parks.

And there is a lot of stuff going on this weekend in the area.

Job's Daughters, Bethel 4, will be having a egg, sausage and pancake breakfast at the Applebee's at Olive and 270 (11950 Olive Blvd, Creve Coeur, MO 63141) this Saturday (Dec 6) 8am-10am. I'm pretty sure that Santa may be showing up. Cost is $7 for adults, I'm not sure what the child price is.

Samaritan Lodge #424 in Bonne Terre, MO on Saturday (Dec 6) is having an All-You-Can-Eat-Breakfast from 6:30am-10:00am. Breakfast is Eggs,Sausage,Biscuits & Gravy. $5.00 They say to come early and help them prepare breakfast.

Another Breakfast with Santa, this time at the Lower Level at Memorial Hall-Blanchette Park from 9am - 11am. Cost is $8 per person and it has to be pre-paid. The breakfast is eggs, sausage and biscuits. After breakfast, Santa will meet with each child and even pose for pictures. Some Christmas crafts will also be available. Registration: 949-3372 or online

The Tree Lighting in the New Town neighborhood is on Saturday (Dec 6) 4pm-6pm at the Town Hall. They will have holiday activities for the kids, holiday music, free cookies (provided by Whittaker Homes) and free coffee (provided by Marsala's Market).

And in downtown St. Charles city, the Las Posadas Procession is Saturday (Dec 6) at 6pm. Begins 1000 S. Main - Ends with program in Frontier Park. Mary and Joseph travel along South Main looking for room in the "inn". The evening culminates with a living nativity program and Christmas sing-a-long around the Yule log bonfire in Frontier Park.

Next week, Art Schneider will host a karaoke session at the Brickhouse Bistro on Tuesday December 9, 2008 from 7pm - 11pm. Along with a large selection of music, Art is including Christmas selections. This is a great opportunity to see the changes the ownership have made to the Bistro. Not to mention enjoying Art on stage. (3245 Rue Royale, St. Charles 63301) For more information 636-493-1900

Pinhedz (3212-1 Rue Royale, St. Charles, MO 63301) is supplying anyone who has a competitive bone in their body a chance to snag some quick cash. Yep, Richard Kennison is conducting a pinball tournament for the lightning fingered, flipper flappers at his new place…Pinhedz Pinball Arcade. Call 636-724-7501 for more info.

Details follow for tournament:

1. $5.00 gets your anxious carcass a position next to the machine of the month – Lord of the Rings.

2. Your first game is free…after that, the rest are on you.

3. Play as often as you want in your quest to top the current high score…139,000,000 (Larry Duffy).

4. The high score at the end of December claims the braggin’ rights and collects the booty…which is half of the collective entry fees, an additional prize, and a photo of your mug on the ‘Wall o’ Champions’.

5. High scores will not be recognized, unless you first register for the tournament. No previous high score funny business here…

6. Once you’re registered, you can play towards the high score at any time Pinhedz is open. If you succeed in topping the current high score, simply notify the arcade staff, and your score becomes the new target.

7. Your e-mail address is requested on the registration list allowing Richard to inform everyone of a new high score when someone beats the target score.

8. Anyone can play, so tell your friends… The more who enter, the more booty someone will collect.

IT News for 2008-12-05

Rogue DHCP servers

Fellow researchers from Symantec posted technical details about an interesting variant of a well known DNSChanger malware. The analysis is available at http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2008-120318-5914-99&tabid=1

The DNSChanger malware has been in the wild for quite some time and already drew our attention previously when authors started attacking popular ADSL modems. As the name says, the malware changed DNS server settings, typically to servers in the "popular" 85.255 network. We published several diaries about this malware, the most recent one from Andre is available at http://isc.sans.org/diary.html?storyid=5390.


Been updatin' your Flash player lately?

We received a couple of submissions from ISC readers that indicate that a new wave of rogue "Flash Player" updates is making the rounds. This latest version is pretty artfully done - the pages hosting this malware actually do contain a real flash movie that is not malicious and plays in a Youtube-like embedded frame. After the movie has been running for a couple seconds though, a pop-up opens that indicates that a "Flash Player Update is available". It all looks credibly enough like one of those usual auto-update pop-ups, but if you click OK, you get an EXE which isn't really a Flash player update of course.


2008: A year of cybercriminal innovation

With the emergence of new attack techniques and the reinvention of old ones, 2008 has been a year of cybercriminal innovation.


Spam declines, Web-based attacks rise, says MessageLabs

Spam was down 3.4% in 2008, but attacks on social networks and flaws in websites are rising, according to an annual report from Symantec's MessageLabs.


The World’s Fastest MD5 Cracker - BarsWF

BarsWF is basically an MD5 cracking tool and at the moment, is currently the fastest. Right now on nVidia 9600GT/C2D 3Ghz CUDA version does 350 M keys/sec, SSE2 version does 108 M keys/sec.


Update for SquirrelMail resolves cross-site scripting vulnerability

Using maliciously crafted HTML code in emails, it was possible to trick the HTML filter into executing JavaScript in the user's browser when opening an email


ClamAV 0.94.2 resolves buffer overflow when scanning JPGs

A recursive buffer overflow could occur when checking malformed jpegs with embedded thumbnails, effectively crashing the program


Trillian Multiple Vulnerabilities

Some vulnerabilities have been reported in Trillian, which can be exploited by malicious people to compromise a user's system.


BlackBerry Maker RIM to Make $52 Million Bid for Certicom

BlackBerry maker RIM (Research In Motion) said on Dec. 4 it plans to make a direct takeover offer to Certicom for $52 million in cash.


External Disk Storage Market Dodges Recession Effects

Researcher IDC reports that third quarter factory revenues posted solid growth of 8.8 percent year over year, totaling $4.9 billion in the quarter. Total disk storage systems market grew to $6.6 billion in revenues, up 1.1 percent from the same period a year ago.


The Good and Bad in 64-bit Vista

If you're buying a computer this holiday season, you're very likely to end up with Windows Vista. Not just any version of Vista, a 64-bit version. For most people, that's actually good news because of better memory use and potentially improved performance. But it can cause a problem with certain applications -particularly if you're buying a laptop you'll need to connect to a Cisco VPN.


Electric car seller hits brakes as UK EV sales plunge

Electric cars sales have tanked in the UK. A mere 156 EVs were sold between January and October 2008, compared to 347 in the same period in 2007 - a drop of 58 per cent. To deepen the gloom, the Nice Car Company has gone into administration.


MIT boffins crack fusion plasma snag

Boffins at MIT say they have cracked some tricky problems in the design of power stations running on nuclear fusion, though they hasten to add that many more hurdles remain before fusion energy becomes a reality.


Second Firefox 3.1 beta under starters order

A second beta release of Firefox 3.1 is on the starting blocks, with the publication of an almost ready version of the latest edition of the open source browser due in days. A third beta is expected before Mozilla ships a final version of the software next year.


Atlantis Hubble mission set for 12 May

NASA has announced that the space shuttle Atlantis's STS-125 mission to the Hubble Space Telescope will finally blast off on 12 May next year.


Microsoft preps IE 8 for the web-challenged

Internet Explorer 8 will feature a user-generated list of "compatible" web sites, after trials found many ordinary surfers and major web sites can't work with Microsoft's next browser.


SanDisk Offers Secure USB Flash Drive For Mac

Features include log-in and shutdown access to the encrypted storage area and the ability to change and manage passwords and to change contact information


Microsoft Overhauls Online Services Group

Qi Lu will report to CEO Steve Ballmer and take over after former aQuantive chief Brian McAndrews departs.


E-tailers ready for cybercrooks this season

One predictable trend in recent years has been a sharp increase in online attacks directed against retailers during the holiday shopping season.


Web attack might have guided by phishing trap

A phishing campaign in October may have given criminals the information they needed to seize control of payment processor CheckFree's Internet domain this week


RIM gets hostile over security firm

RIM's hostile bid for Canadian security firm Certicom could make the BlackBerry a safer choice for enterprise customers, particularly within the public sector, according to industry analysts.


A $100 Midget PC at the local dollar store? Not so fast

A number of prominent websites have recently reported that Coby Electronics, a company that specialized in manufacturing low-end electronic devices is preparing to launch its own line of systems. Dubbed "Midget PCs," it's been widely reported that these Linux-based portables will feature 7"-9" screens, use a Chinese "Longsoon" processor, and cost just $100. It's Nicholas Negroponte's dream of a $100 laptop made possible by Chinese technology, right


Yahoo launches iPhone-friendly Flickr with video support

Search engine giant Yahoo has formally launched an updated version of Flickr optimized for mobile phones and with special formatting friendly to the iPhone, including a newfound ability to watch streaming videos.


The Votes Are In: BlackBerry Storm Sucks

Though Verizon says the Storm is its fastest selling handset yet, the touchscreen phone is also generating more negative buzz than any BlackBerry before.


Japanese Start-up Readies Flexible, Transparent Plasma Screens

A Japanese start-up is trying to shake up the display scene with the latest version of their flexible display prototype. Shinoda Plasma's three-meter wide, 1 mm-thick plasma made some waves earlier this year, but the new panel shown at the FPD International show in Yokohama, Japan, is the almost-final version they’ll be releasing next year.


Food vs Fuel: Saltwater Crops May Be Key To Solving Earth's Land Crunch

Saltwater-loving plants could open up half a million square miles of previously unusable territory for energy crops, helping settle the heated food-versus-fuel debate, which nearly derailed biofuel progress last year.


Large Hadron Collider gears up for July restart

According to an internal report sent to the physicists working on the giant particle-smasher at the CERN laboratory near Geneva in Switzerland, the LHC should be ready to collide proton beams at the end of July next year.


Spanish Inquisition left genetic legacy in Iberia

It's not often that cultural and religious persecution makes countries more diverse, but the Spanish Inquisition might have done just that. One in five Spaniards and Portuguese has a Jewish ancestor, while a tenth of Iberians boast North African ancestors, finds new research.


Iran to Launch Animals to Space

Iran is planning to launch animals into space. According to Mohammed Ebrahimi from Iran's Aerospace Research Institute, in the near future, the Kavoshgar-3 and -4 rockets will use animals as test passengers before they attempt a human mission.


Teddy Bears Go To Space

I don't think this is what Iran has in mind about launching animals into space, but … you never know. Four teddy bears voyaged to the edge of space on Monday, December 1st via high altitude helium balloon.


Job losses may hit 30-year high

Government expected to report that November ranks as worst month for jobs in at least 30 years: 350,000 more jobs gone; unemployment rate up to 6.8%.



Starting to wind down the week

We managed not to get all the snow and other freezing precipitation that was being predicted for the St. Louis metro area. After hearing that it was sleeting in Fenton and the wind blowing past the house around 30 mph, I was not very enthused about Mo wanting to go shopping. Mo, Munchkin, and Mo's mom and sister are heading up to Chicago for a fun girls weekend. And Mo needed some stuff to take with them. They are traveling up on the Megabus so they don't have to deal with vehicles. I know that they are planning on getting to the American Girl store, Macy's, and the old Navy pier.

I also know that I'm happy that I'm not being forced to go shopping. There isn't anything wrong with it, but my approach to shopping is to research possible targets, identify specific target, identify store with best price, execute purchase, withdraw back to home base. Mo's approach is to identify what she wants, go to store and pick up product, and then browse the store for a couple of hours to see if there is anything else she needs. And in the case of clothing stores, no wait, lets not go there.

Munchkin seems to be picking up on the shopping gene from Mo. She loves to go shopping with Mo. Which can end up being a very frustrating trip for both mother and 4-year-old daughter, especially when said 4-year-old is already tired. And it gets compounded when Mo is also tired.

So we had to run to Best Buy at Mid-Rivers last night to check on a few items, a couple of gifts and some stuff for the trip. Mo had picked up a portable DVD player on Black Friday and last night we picked up a case and an 8 hour battery. The DVD player only has a 2 hour rated battery and the trip to Chicago (without weather or traffic delays) is 5 hours. We also picked up a pair of child headphones. Didn't end up getting gifts.

Then we headed over to Target for some other home neccessities, plus a couple more things for their trip. Then it was time to finally head for home. Snow had ended by that time and the sky was clearing off, because we could see the cresent moon in the west. The wind was still blowing just a little and it was definitely COLD!

When we got home, Mo started making the cookies for the cookie exchange on Sunday. Munchkin went to bed, after she had a small melt down with me. She had fallen asleep in the car on the short trip from Target to home and she said she didn't really want to go to bed. Once Mo had calmed her down and got her into bed Munchkin pretty much went right to sleep. I knew she was tired. Anyway, Mo is making sugar cookies and I've got to pick up some pecans this afternoon so she can make the cookies tonight. I'll be going to the cookie exchange alone, because they won't be back in St. Louis until around 10:30pm Sunday night.

This morning was clear and it took a while to get the car warmed up and chipped out of ice. Because it was clear overnight temps were around 12-14 when I got up this morning. Actually wore a heavy coat today, which if you know me, you know I hate having to wear the heavy coat. *chuckle*

If you are down towards Bonne Terre, MO on Saturday (Dec 6), Samaritan Lodge #424 is having an All-You-Can-Eat-Breakfast from 6:30am-10:00am. Breakfast is Eggs,Sausage,Biscuits & Gravy. $5.00 They say to come early and help them prepare breakfast.

If you are in the New Town neighborhood on Saturday (Dec 6), the Tree Lighting is 4pm-6pm at the Town Hall. They will have holiday activities for the kids, holiday music, free cookies (provided by Whittaker Homes) and free coffee (provided by Marsala's Market).

Next week though (Dec 12 & Dec 13), Erin Bode is having a holiday concert at the New Town Chapel (3420 Civic Circle, St. Charles, MO 63301). Doors open at 7:30pm, but you have to get tickets ($20) at the Domain Street Wine Bar (3301 Domain Street #1, St. Charles, MO 63301). To get more information, call 636-90-0457. A portion of the proceeds benefits the New Town Trust for Arts & Entertainment. Cool, cool, cool. But then I really enjoy Erin Bode's music. Also happy that the Domain Street Wine Bar manages to get her and her band for so many concerts.

I'm having a few friends over Saturday night (some lodge brothers and some neighbors) to taste up my pumpkin ale, as well as drinking up some of the other stuff that is sitting in the basement. We'll see how that goes.

Read the story yesterday about the trail for a St. Peters man that was charged with killing his estranged wife in front of her workplace in 2007. The update this morning was that it only took the jury 15 minutes to return a guilty verdict. His formal sentencing happens in January, but it looks like he'll be serving a life sentence with no chance for parol.

Also in the paper yesterday, St. Charles County's Economic Development Center (EDC) announced some new tenants for their business incubators. At the EDC St. Peters branch,

• Respond Right, offers classes in first aid, CPR, defibrillators and extinguishing fires. Typically, the instructors visit businesses to give employees hands-on lessons on site;

• Advertising Communication, which operates KLPW 101.7 FM and is owned by Randy Wachter;

• Dijital Media, an e-marketing and IT consulting company started by Jit Gohill;

• The Envision Group, debt management services agent of United First Financial started by Jason McMillan;

• 2 PH Group, another debt management services agent of United First Financial with Dave Schwent;

At the EDC St. Charles branch, new tenants include the Law Offices of Kenneth P. Carp, and Edward J. Rolwes Attorney at Law with Rosenblum, Goldenhersh, Silverstein & Zafft.

The latest EDC tenant to expand is Keller Williams Realty/The Scotty Patton Group, a real estate brokerage firm formerly known as Camdyn Properties.

The latest company to graduate from the EDC incubator program is Spencer Web Design, now with offices in St. Peters.

And I have a new business hero. According to the St. Louis Business Journal yesterday, a one-man St. Louis startup called Ceramitron LLC has landed a $99,000 contract with NASA to build miniature sensors for weather balloons, land rovers and submarines. What is even better is that Philip Berger, the man behind Ceramitron, sees even more commercial potential for his invention, including monitoring landfills for greenhouse gas emissions. Sweet.

IT News for 2008-12-04

Apple drops support document encouraging anti-virus adoption

Apple has taken down its recommendation that Mac OS X users deploy anti-virus technology.


Apple yanks antivirus advice from its Web site

Apple Inc. late Tuesday yanked a controversial support document from its Web site that had urged Mac users to run antivirus software because the recommendation was "old and inaccurate," a company spokesman said today.


Report: Nearly all computer users running insecure programs

Only two per cent of computer users are fully patched and the other 98 per cent are running at least one insecure, unpatched program, security firm Secunia said this week.


FireFox 'plug-in' harvests web passwords

BitDefender report discovery of a new type of malware, a trojan that collects web log-in passwords by masquerading as a FireFox plug-in. A significant number of UK banks are on the target list.


Koobface remains active on Facebook

A new variant of Koobface (a worm that spreads over Social Networking sites) was recently making the rounds on Facebook. When a user follows the link, they’re redirected to one of many different compromised hosts, which displays a fake error message that the version of Flash is out of date. Next the user is prompted to download/open flash_player.exe, a new Koobface variant.


Popular Home DSL Routers At Risk Of CSRF Attack

Researcher demonstrates ease of hacking home routers with insidious cross-site request forgery (CSRF) attack


Copper Thieves Threaten U.S. Infrastructure, FBI says

Copper thieves, sometimes acting as "organized groups," are threatening what the FBI said is "critical" U.S. infrastructure, from electrical sub-stations, cellular towers, telephone land lines to railroads and crops, the agency said in an unclassified report unveiled Wednesday.


Valve says DRM is stupid, but Microsoft still doesn't get it

Valve's Gabe Newell calls most forms of DRM "stupid," but Microsoft's Randy Milller's response misses the point entirely. The war between PC gamers and publishers seems likely to continue.


Nearly all Windows PCs are security risk

Nearly every Windows PC harbours at least one unpatched application, and nearly half contain 11 or more programs at risk from attack, according to a Danish security company.


Tech jobs down sharply but not out

Online job listings for technology workers are down sharply, but there are still plenty of openings for people with the right skills, or for those living in the right metropolitan area.


Americans are Ferengis, Europeans are Vulcans

It's that time of year again. The organization's training and travel budgets need to get spent, or they'll be reduced for next year. So, it's time to hurry up and pick out conferences to attend that are scheduled for the last three months of the year.


IT faces 'dire shortage' of core skills

The lack of core IT skills is a major impediment to modernizing key IT assets, according to a survey by application-management company Micro Focus.


Microsoft boosts OOXML compatibility

Microsoft on Wednesday announced several incremental enhancements to the compatibility of its Office Open XML document format.


IBM offers a 'Microsoft-free' desktop

IBM wants corporate customers to cut the cord with Microsoft. The tech pioneer is launching a Linux-based collection of virtual desktop applications that run on a server without the need for desktop hardware--or Microsoft software, according to a report Wednesday evening on The Wall Street Journal's Web site. The Linux-based software package, which is available now, runs on a back-office server and is accessible to customers on thin clients, the paper reported.


Online Money: Fidelity expands online news focus

Fidelity Investments is joining the rush to satisfy investors' growing appetite for news about financial market turmoil.


NFL offers first live game broadcast in 3-D

In broadcasting the world's first live 3-D football game to theaters in Los Angeles, New York and Boston on Thursday evening, the NFL promises an "up close, personal, visceral" experience that could open a new revenue stream for the league.


IDC sees decline in US PC market next year

U.S. shipments of personal computers are expected to drop nearly 3 percent next year, while demand in much of the rest of the world will slow down quickly as the financial crisis spreads, research firm IDC said Wednesday.


Server Market Sees Largest Drop In Six Years

In the U.S., weak demand and intense price competition drove x86 server revenue down 12.2%, according to IDC's numbers.


Fun And Games Dominate iPhone App Chart

The success of the App Store has not gone unnoticed by Apple's rivals like Google, RIM and Microsoft.


eBay Holiday Contest Overrun By Automated Scripts, Honest Users Disgruntled

E-commerce juggernaut eBay is under fire because of a holiday giveaway contest gone awry. On Tuesday 25 November, eBay announced its $1 Holiday Doorbusters deals promotion, giving away 100 gifts ranging from jewelry, clothing, digital cameras, GPS devices to a brand-new Chevrolet Corvette for a $1 fixed price on a daily basis


GoDaddy Uses Standard Tactics To Warehouse Domains

Having working in the domain name industry myself for a couple of years, I’ve always been intrigued by the fact that there’s such a big business formed around something as trivial as a bunch of letters and numbers used to ‘translate’ IP addresses. And when there’s a big business in something, you just know there will be a grey area as well where ethics are left at the door sometimes


YouTube Uglifies Embedded Videos With A Search Bar

YouTube added (without warning) an fugly search bar to embedded videos. if you want to turn it off, simply add the parameter “&showsearch=0.


Logitech Ships One Billionth Mouse

At nearly the same time as the world celebrates the 40th anniversary of the computer mouse, which occurs next week, Logitech announced that it has shipped its billionth one of the ubiquitous little devices.


AMD tweaks 2009 chipset roadmap

AMD updated its chipset schedule for 2009, adding plans for a new low-end, integrated graphics processor chipset based on the 780G architecture catering to budget DirectX 10 gaming.


2500 Theaters to go 3-D by April 2009

Jeffrey Katzenberg boldly predicted Monday that there will be nearly 2,500 screens ready for 3-D in time for the March 27 release of DreamWorks Animation's "Monsters vs. Aliens."


Apple argues only a fool would believe its iPhone 3G ads

Apple isn't lying in television ads that tout the iPhone 3G as twice as fast as its predecessor, but customers would have to be fools to take those claims at face value, the company argues


Apple's unexpected iPod shortage spreading

Although Macs and iPhones were seen as Apple's ticket to a healthy holiday quarter, the electronics maker has reportedly been struck by surprising demand for iPods and is now scurrying to restock some of its reseller channels.


First superconducting transistor promises PC revolution

The world's first superconducting transistor, a long-standing goal for applied physicists, could lead to dramatically faster microchips.


Megathrust earthquake could hit Asia 'at any time'

A devastating "megathrust" earthquake could occur at any time off the Indonesian island of Sumatra, according to new research. Previous quakes have failed to release all of the energy that has built up over hundreds of years, leaving the fault zone vulnerable to another large earthquake.


Head-sized Meteorite Found From Canadian Fireball

Several more fragments have been found from the 10-ton asteroid that exploded over western Canada on November 20, including a head-sized piece weighing 13-kilograms (28 lbs). Imagine that landing on your house or car (or head!).


Thousands of New Species Discovered on Tiny Island

An expedition to a tiny island in the South Pacific's Republic of Vanatu has yielded hundreds of new species, including possibly 1000 new species of crab.


Alternative Currency



Already the middle of the week

Good morning! The weather people are calling for some interesting weather for us over the next 24 hours. It is supposed to start raining around noon, switch to rain and snow this evening, and then switch over to all snow overnight. Yeah. Of course, now Mo says "Let's put up the outside Christmas decorations."

I received an email from my friend Angie about her class project. She says, "I just wanted to let you know about my project. I made a delivery yesterday and my Saturn was full. I had to put the seats down to get it all in. That was just the first delivery too. There will be one more delivery to the center tomorrow. " Very cool.

My lodge (Polar Star Rose Hill Lodge #79) has adopted a nursing home. We want to help out those people that aren't able to get a lot of the things we tend to take for granted and they may not have easy access to. We're currently collecting items such as shampoo, toothpaste, tissues, crossword puzzle books, etc. If you are interested in assisting, please contact me and I can arrange to pick up or let you know where you can drop it off. We are also in the middle of a canned food drive. We will be collecting canned food and taking it to a local food bank for distribution. We are also involved in a project to help out local school children that have a need for basic necessities like pencils, pens, notebooks, paper, coats, shoes, hats, etc. If your school is in the St. Louis metro area and you would like to be included, please send me an email with the contact info for your school and I can forward your school's info over to the coordinator for this project.

Locally, St. Charles County is honoring 12 local eateries with the "24 Carrot Gold Food Safety Excellence Award." That's a mouthful of a title. This is the second year for the award and to be considered, the restaurant has to have had no critical violations for the last twelve months and no more than six non-critical violations at the same time. It is a diverse collection of places to eat and who would have suspected school cafeterias would have been on the list? Here is the list of honorees:

* Assumption Church School Cafeteria, 405 N. Main Street, O’Fallon
* Louis P. Balducci Vineyards, 6601 Highway 94 South, Augusta
* Burger King, 2882 Highway K, O’Fallon
* Denny’s 1423 South Fifth Street, St. Charles
* O’Charley’s, 2204 Highway K, O’Fallon
* Orchard Farm High School, 2165 Highway V, St. Charles
* Wentzville Prairie View Elementary School, 1550 Feise Road, O’Fallon
* SSM St. Joseph Health Center, 300 First Capitol Drive, St. Charles
* Schnucks, 8660 Veterans Memorial Parkway, O’Fallon
* Fort Zumwalt South Middle School, 300 Knaust Road, St. Peters
* Steak ‘N Shake, 1134 Pearce Boulevard, Wentzville
* White Castle, 2000 S. HIghway 94, St. Charles

Job's Daughters, Bethel 4, will be having a egg, sausage and pancake breakfast at the Applebee's at Olive and 270 (11950 Olive Blvd, Creve Coeur, MO 63141) this Saturday (Dec 6) 8am-10am. I'm pretty sure that Santa may be showing up. Cost is $7 for adults, I'm not sure what the child price is.

Christmas party with Santa and MoCHIP event at the South Side Community Center in St. Louis, sponsored by The Patch Center on Saturday (Dec 6) 10am - 3pm.

Even though St. Louis unemployment rose 6%, according to a survey reported on in the St. Louis Business Journal, 13% of St. Louis CIO's plan to add IT staff during the 1Q2009 and 2% are anticipating reductions. This ends up being a 1% decrease from the 4Q2008 forecast. The good news is that IT employment in the St. Louis metro area is up over nationwide trends. The survey and report was conducted by Robert Half Technology and they surveyed 200 local CFOs from companies with 20 or more employees.

Just across the Missouri River from where I live, Dickies has opened a retail store over at the St. Louis Mills Outlet Mall in Hazelwood, MO. This is apparently their first store in Missouri. Guess we'll have to get over there at some point. Or the next time Mo is planning a trip to scrapbook store at The Mills, I'll at least have someplace I can wander through.

If you are planning on being out and about near Highway 270 and 40 this weekend, expect traffic delays. According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, they are planning on re striping the interchange in preparation of the December 15th re-opening of Highway 40's western portion. Personally, I'm not going anywhere near it this weekend.

IT News for 2008-12-03

VMware security advisories

VMWare have today released a security advisory, and updated another.

- VMSA-2008-0019 (new advisory)



Sun Java 6.0 Update 11 is now available

Our carbon based RSS news reader known as Roseman has alerted us to the availability of a new Java release. Sun Java 6.0 Update 11 is now available!


Sonicwall License Manager Failure

Details are still sketchy as to the cause of a failure overnight of the Sonicwall License Manager Server. We are receiving reports from Sonicwall users that the server "reset" (meaning invalidated) the licenses on all of their email security products. The customers are reporting that this is causing them to be unable to login to their own systems. It is reported that the support calls are not being answered and are going straight to voicemail.


Worm exploiting Microsoft vulnerability developing into botnet

The "W32.Downadup" worm, exploiting the patched Microsoft's Windows Server Service (MWSS) vulnerability, is the key component in a developing botnet, researchers at Trend Micro said this week.


SquirrelMail Malformed HTML Mail Message Script Insertion

Unpatched. Do not open untrusted e-mail messages.


Hulu Competitor Sling.com Launches Public Beta

Think of the new Sling.com as the cloud destination for all of your Slingbox content. If you're used to receiving your Slingbox video subscriptions wherever you are around the world, the new video website, opening today, gives you the opportunity to check it out on one more platform: the browser.


Odd microtransactions may point to credit card breach

A recent rash of small microtransactions, often followed by larger expenses, have consumers up in arms. Adele Services is always the company behind the fees, but the people running Adele itself remain elusive.


Rumor: White knight wants to take Yahoo private

Yahoo is yet again the subject of takeover rumors, this time with a new twist: a former head of AOL is supposedly trying to line up backers for a bid to take the company private. It's scenario that makes sense, but will be tough to pull off given the state of the economy.


Yahoo shares climb on hopes for $30B takeover bid

Yahoo Inc.'s stock rallied Tuesday on a report that AOL's former chief executive believes he can raise enough money in a worsening recession to buy the struggling Internet company for as much as $30 billion.


Another Bogus Yahoo Takeover Story - The WSJ Gets It Wrong

Today’s Wall Street Journal story talking about yet another takeover attempt of Yahoo is incorrect, say our own sources. And unlike The Times’ story over the weekend, which was equally fictitious (and, here’s an interesting fact - both publications are owned by News Corp.), this story had direct consequences in the market.


Time for forced updates? Conficker botnet makes us wonder

New to the botnet scene is Conficker, a botnet that exploits a critical security vulnerability Microsoft actually patched in late October. It may be time for Microsoft to begin forcing critical security updates upon home users.


Sorry, Beaumont! AT&T brings (more) bandwidth caps to Texas

AT&T is expanding its usage caps to another market. The company has identified a great method to determine where to roll out this potentially unpopular scheme: pick a location where another ISP is already limiting customers.


Windows 7 will sport a DX10 "software GPU"

Microsoft has spilled the beans on WARP10, a technology slated for Windows 7 that will bring DirectX 10 capabilities to systems that don't even have GPUs.


Windows workgroups get encryped sessions

Unisys has come up with an encryption-based method that lets "communities of interest" using Windows securely share data based on group policies.


World gets peek at Vista and Server SP2

Microsoft has given its MSDN and TechNet subscribers access to the beta of Service Pack 2 for Vista and Windows Server 2008 and will make the software available to the general public in two days.


Microsoft releases Vista SP2 beta

Microsoft Corp. today released the beta of Windows Vista Service Pack 2 to subscribers of its developer services and said it would open the preview to the general public on Thursday.


Clues point to Jan. 13 release of Windows 7 beta

Microsoft Corp. will have a beta of Windows 7 available shortly after the first of the year, the company has hinted on its Web site.


Report: Hard drive shipments slumping

Worldwide shipments of hard disk drives (HDD) used in PCs and other consumer electronics gear will be flat or could even decline in the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to last quarter, according to iSuppli Corp.


CIOs vote on Vista for '09

The latest silicon.com CIO Jury has unanimously voted that they are not ready to invest in Microsoft's latest OS Vista.


Vlingo one-ups Google with a better voice-powered iPhone app

Voice-transcription service Vlingo has launched a really fantastic new iPhone application that lets users talk into their phones to search the Web, dial contacts, and update their status on Twitter and Facebook. Much like Google's iPhone app which was released early last month, users are able to do all this without ever having to use their keyboard.


Twitter CEO: The revenue's coming soon, but I won't tell you how

At a Churchill Club event in San Francisco on Tuesday, Twitter co-founder and CEO Evan Williams brushed off--again--criticisms that the company is slow to turn on its revenue-generating engines.


Nokia device to challenge RIM and Apple next year

Nokia Corp., the world's largest maker of cell phones, is launching a new phone next year that is designed to compete with Apple Inc.'s iPhone and Research In Motion Ltd. BlackBerrys at the high end of the market.


Firefox's Market Share Increases, IE's Falls

Also showing steady growth is Apple's Safari browser, which rose to 7.13% after starting the year with a 5.82% share, Net Applications' figures showed


Employees Suing Sprint Over Commission Snafu

The wireless carrier is facing a class-action lawsuit over allegations that it shafted employees of commissions totaling more than $5 million.


Apple's Ban On iPod Sync Software Stymied By Wikileaks

The iPodHash project is an effort to open the iPod and iPhone to third-party media software other than Apple's iTunes.


Google Chrome Claims Facebook May Be A Phishing Site (Update: Safari Too)

Conspiracy theory lovers are going to have a field day with this one: when you try to access Facebook using the Google Chrome browser today, you’ll get a warning that the social network may in fact be a phishing site.


SpringSource Teams with VMware for Virtualized Spring Solutions

In a move considered a precursor to a full-fledged cloud computing play, SpringSource announced a partnership with VMware to help virtualize its Spring software. The arrangement includes integration between SpringSource Tool Suite, an Eclipse-powered development environment for building enterprise applications using the Spring Portfolio, and VMware Workstation to enable the dynamic creation of virtual machines on the developer’s desktop.


Internet Policy Advice Rolls in for Obama

From a national broadband policy to open government proposals to federal financial incentives, President-elect Barack Obama is being swamped with high-tech ideas for his new administration. Getting Americans connected to the Internet, though, remains almost everyone's top IT priority.


Be Creative and Win Stuff from Intel

If you have that precious creative spark, get ready to use it. Intel is running a contest called What's Inside You, and you can enter today by submitting an image, an audio file, or a video file to the chip giant.


Dell opens up on NAS gateways

Dell is to produce a NAS gateway for its EqualLogic PS iSCSI-attach block storage arrays. At a Dell Enterprise Vision day event this week, Joe Joseph, Dell's VP for EqualLogic storage marketing, said: "A NAS gateway sitting on top of EqualLogic is probable."


Review: Logitech Digital Video Security System

We’ve seen a number of PC-based home security systems in the past, but they all tend to share one common – and fundamental – flaw. The standard approach is to use motion-detection software running on a PC to tell the camera to record video footage of anyone that’s sniffing around your home or office without your permission.


Online payment site hijacked by notorious crime gang

Online payment service CheckFree lost control of at least two of its domains on Tuesday in an attack that sent customers to servers run by a notorious crime gang believed to be based in Eastern Europe.


Apple's Snow Leopard still evolving, developers say

Although there's been some evidence to suggest Snow Leopard could hit the market several months ahead of expectations, new information reveals that Apple remains heavily engaged in building out some of the features first previewed back in June.


Battlestar Galactica prequel shuns space, spaceships

Battlestar Galactica, the hit sci-fi thriller about humans searching the galaxy for a planet to call home, will be spun off into a prequel that is set 50 years before androids rebelled against their makers and destroyed civilization as it was known.



Another month, Welcome to December

Well, I'm still holding out hope that my day is better today than yesterday.

My car broke down and I had to have it towed to my mechanic yesterday. Basically, driving along and a loud fwapping noise coming from the engine and I lost power steering and power brakes. Fortunately, it happened before I made it to the highway. Mechanic called back after they had a chance to stick it up on the rack. My problem was a large rat. Yes, a rat. Apparently climbed up on the engine because it was warm and ended up getting caught between the belt and pulleys. I took a picture and it is definitely a size LARGE rat. I haven't had a chance to take it off the camera yet, but I'll get it up here as soon as I can. One of my co-workers says it looks like a river rat to him. Weird things always seem to happen to me. *sigh* And not in a fun way.

Anyway, good weekend, what there was of it. Saturday we spent the day cleaning up the house and Mo had a hair appointment in the afternoon. Munchkin stayed home with me and watched TV while I used the carpet cleaner to try and get some spots out and I washed some of the big pots. We were getting ready to have our immediate family over for our Thanksgiving at our house, more of an intimate affair. Mo picked up the ingredients for brining the turkey and got it all in the big pot (my big brew pot - so that she doesn't feel bad about me spending the money on buying it). The turkey came out of the brine at 2:30am. Then we had to wash it down and put it in the fridge to rest. We went back to bed.

Munchkin woke us up later with a blood curdling scream. She was having a night terror and it took a while for us to get her to wake up. I hate it when she has night terrors because we are powerless to resolve the situation until she wakes up. It took about 5-10 minutes before she "woke" up. Then we finally got out of her that she had dreamed that she was playing and a stranger came up to her and when she would not go with him, he chased her and was trying to catch her.

After munchkin was squared away, we started cooking. Mo got triple chocolate mud pie and pumpkin pie (made from fresh pumpkin) in the oven and I started on peeling 10 pounds of potatoes. We got the turkey into the oven around 2:30pm and continued getting everything going. Family started showing up around 4ish and we were still cooking. It took a lot longer to get the potatoes boiling than I thought. Anyway, my mom & sister and Mo's mom helped us get the food finished. Our menu for Thanksgiving Sunday was:
  • 17 pound Turkey
  • home-made mashed potatoes
  • home-made mashed sweet potatoes
  • home-made cranberries
  • stuffing
  • salad
  • corn
  • triple chocolate mud pie
  • home-made pumpkin pie
  • home-made apple crisp pie
  • brownies
  • chocolate chip cookies
  • pumpkin bread pudding
We had a lot of food. Which (even though my mother was upset that we ended up with so many leftovers) was part of the plan. We're going to have a few meals off that turkey and fixings. *chuckle* Mmmmmmm

Bad news this morning, about 53,000 Ameren UE customers lost power this morning around 4:30am down in the South city area we used to live in. A transformer caught fire near Shrewsbury this morning, and Ameren customers from Clayton to South County are in the dark. There is an article about it in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

In St. Charles county, consignment stores are reporting a spike in sales and new consigners, and the county's three MERS Goodwill stores are reporting modest gains, while pawn shops are reporting an overall downturn in business. Lisa Korn (owner of Changing Hands in St. Peters) attributed the sudden boost in sales and consigners to the falling price of gas. "When gas dropped below $2 it got crazy. People suddenly could spend money."

This morning, I read a report from an American Forces Press Release blog about Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Sims (Sgt Sims and his wife call St. Charles, MO home). Sgt. Sims was wounded three times during his yearlong deployment to Iraq with the 1st Armored Division's Company B, 270th Armor Battalion, out of Fort Riley, Kan.

Sgt. Sims, a medic, was riding in a tracked ambulance between two M1-A1 Abrams tanks when a roadside bomb detonated. Shrapnel pierced the vehicle and penetrated his flak vest, puncturing his left lung. He was evac'd to the hospital in Balad. He spent about three weeks recovering before returning to his unit.

Three months after he'd returned to duty, his unit was on a foot patrol when it started taking enemy mortar fire. One mortar landed near Sims. "Shrapnel hit near my lower left leg, penetrating through the front lower part and coming out the back," he said. "[I] almost, almost lost that limb in that incident, but everything's fine now." Sgt. Sims spent another four weeks at the hospital in Balad before rejoining his unit to complete his tour.

Company B was patrolling one of the Main Supply Routes around 4am when Sgt. Sims, who was riding in an Abrams tank, detected flashes in the distance. That is all he remembers about the incident however. "I took a sniper bullet – 7.62 mm – to the front of the helmet -- straight in front, almost right between the eyes," Sgt. Sims said. The bullet fractured his neck and skull and knocked him unconscious. As he fell unconscious, he fell into the tank turrent. As the turret turned to return fire it broke his right femur.

Sgt. Sims returned to the hospital in Balad for another two months. Sgt. Sims tour in Iraq has earned him three purple hearts. He said that he would not hesitate to return if called upon. Which is good, since it would appear that his current unit, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 15th Engineer Battalion based out of Schweinfurt, Germany, is certain to deploy.

Personally, I hope that when Sgt. Sims returns home that St. Charles chooses to honor his service. I don't recall hearing anything before today about it. In fact, I'm going to drop a letter over to city hall with the info from this press release and see if they had done anything to honor this man's service to the country. All I can say is wow. This guy is awesome. Sgt. Sims has said that he like to become a doctor or a physician's assistant. Sgt. Sims has served ten years in the military since enlisting out of high school.

[Update] Steve, from the Urban Review St. Louis blog, is putting up two tickets to St. Louis’ 2009 Inaugural Ball, sponsored by the St. Louis African American Caucus Foundation and the St. Louis Young Democrats and held inside the beautiful rotunda of the St Louis City Hall. Tickets for this black-tie event are $50 per person or $125 per person for the VIP ticket which includes valet parking, a cocktail party and dinner. The Ball starts at 8pm with the VIP events starting at 6:30pm. He has two regular tickets (non-VIP) for a lucky reader. The contest is open between now and 5pm Friday January 2, 2009. Head over to this blog entry for more information about entering.

IT News for 2008-12-02

McDonalds phish being dished out

A new phishing scheme is masquerading as a McDonald's member satisfaction survey, researchers warned on Monday.


US central command hit by malware

The United States central command was hit by an attack and affected computers in combat zones in the Middle East


Microsoft learns of successful RPC worm infections

Microsoft said a number of customers are infected with worms that successfully exploit the RPC flaw and download malware.


Malware Researchers Discover Rootkit HKTL-BRUDEVIC Similar to Sony CD Malware

You might remember the Sony BMG Rootkit fiasco back in 2006 when the whole Internet was up in arms about Sony installing a rootkit in the name of Digital Rights Management.


Email Trojans threaten to block email accounts

The "account-rendered" Trojan is appearing in a new guise, alarming its recipients by threatening to close their accounts. So far, only a few virus scanners can recognize it


Botnet rises again

Srizbi, one of the largest known botnets, appears to be regaining strength. Following the loss of their main artery of communication, the bots have switched to a kind of emergency communication


Apple recommend anti-virus software [Update]

Apple suggests Mac users should install anti-virus software, but not because of any viral outbreak


Microsoft, Yahoo coy as reports of new search deal surface

After the messy breakup between Microsoft and Yahoo, most observers never expected the two to get back together. But after a brief rebound fling with Google that eventually went sour, it seems as if Yahoo has been driven back into the comforting arms of Microsoft—at least according to the latest rumors. Over the weekend, news leaked that Microsoft was in new talks to buy Yahoo's search business for $20 billion, but the two companies aren't ready to discuss any possible deal just yet.


Major e-stores malfunction on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Sears, Saks Fifth Avenue, Costco, Dell, Victoria's Secret, Bloomingdale's and Williams-Sonoma all saw their sites malfunction at some point between Friday and Monday, according to companies that monitor Web performance.


New Windows worm builds massive botnet

The worm exploiting a critical Windows bug that Microsoft Corp. patched with an emergency fix in late October is being used to build a new botnet, a security researcher said today.


Hackers boot Linux on iPhone

A new front has opened in the ongoing arms race between Apple and iPhone hackers, with one hacker group making the iPhone boot with a Linux 2.6 kernel.


Intel, Hitachi to develop solid-state drives

Intel will target solid-state drives for server computers in a tie up with Hitachi that was announced Monday night.


Malware is Getting Smarter, CA Warns

Online attacks will be dominated by smarter malware and bots targeting Web users ranging from gamers and social network users to the elderly and unsuspecting parents.


OneCare Was Not a Failure, Microsoft Exec Says

Critics asserting that Windows Live OneCare didn't succeed on its own have got it wrong, according to Microsoft's chief security advisor for the EMEA region. Roger Halbheer, in a blog posting on Monday, said it was "nonsense" for anyone to suggest that Microsoft's consumer antimalware security solution had somehow "failed."


Server Revenues Down In Tough Economy

The sales drop in expensive servers was particularly felt by vendors of RISC-Itanium Unix servers.


Intel Arms Lenovo ThinkPad Laptops with New Anti-theft Technology

Lenovo ThinkPad T400 series notebooks will be the first laptops to use new Intel anti-theft technology called Intel Anti-Theft PC Protection. This anti-theft technology, which Intel is building into the chip set, will work in conjunction with Lenovo ThinkPads that use the newer Intel Centrino 2 platform and Intel's vPro technology.


HP, IBM Watch Server Revenue Drop as Financial Crisis Continues

As the financial crisis continues and as the United States officially enters a recession, top server vendors Hewlett-Packard and IBM watched their revenue drop in the third quarter of 2008. In addition to HP and IBM, Dell and Sun Microsystems watched their server revenue fall in the third quarter. In terms of shipments, HP and Dell managed to increase their share.


Call of Duty: World at War--ATI vs. Nvidia

Our series looking at graphics performance in the hottest fall PC games continues, following our looks at Far Cry 2 and World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King.


Panasonic, Samsung Invest in SiBeam

Wireless multimedia chip developer SiBeam said Monday that both Samsung and Panasonic have invested in the company, although the amount of the investment was not disclosed.


Windows internet share drops below 90 per cent

The number of Windows users surfing the web fell below 90 per cent for the first time, making for Microsoft's biggest market share drop in the past two years, according to new statistics.


Study spanks Adobe Flash for abuses of power

We've known for years that graphics based on Adobe Flash and other third-party programming software can be clunky, time-consuming affairs that put our security at risk. Now comes new research suggesting they needlessly consume more power too.


Apple swings DMCA at Hackintosh maker

Just two weeks after US District Judge William Alsup threw out wannabe Mac-clone vendor Psystar's countersuit against Apple, the One True Mac-Maker has un-holstered another weapon in its campaign to crush the Florida-based upstart.


VMware to cut desktop storage by 80 per cent

VMware is rebranding its Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) technology as VMware View, and having virtual desktops built from a generic golden master and user-specific files that cut VDI storage space by up to 80 per cent.


Pentagon Shoots $22 Million Into Guided-Bullet Tech

What if a sniper could fire a bullet that changed course in midflight, to hit its target? The Pentagon is handing out nearly $22 million to try to find out.


Top 5 Nintendo Wii Games of 2008

Nintendo's little console that could is shattering sales records left and right, and might just move more units in 2008 than any game system in history.


4,000 Electric Vehicles To Be Leased by US Army

Considering that many of its higher profile vehicles really suck fuel like there ’s no tomorrow, you may not think that the US military concerned itself much with reducing fuel usage, but based on a recent announcement that’s apparently not the case.


Safari Tops 7% Of Browser Market Share, Mac OS X On The Rise

Apple's Safari web browser has crested 7% of worldwide browser market share according to online research firm Net Applications.While Safari's accomplishment is significant the biggest winner is clearly Mozilla's Firefox which crested 20% market share and climbed nearly an entire percentage point in one month.


Boeing Airborne Laser Weapon Fires for the First Time

Boeing and the US Air Force keep advancing in their airborne high-energy laser weapon, the modified 747-400F that is designed to shoot down missiles as they fly to their targets. Last week they fired the entire laser system for the first time ever at the Edwards Air Force Base in California.


Left 4 Dead carries Linux binaries

Though some will protest that its DRM system is detestable, Valve's Steam platform is by far one of the best compromises between publishers and gamers, and it's a key contributor to the overall health of PC gaming.


Made in Korea: Lunar Lander Unveiled

Everybody wants to go to the moon! Scientists from Korea recently unveiled a spacecraft developed completely in-house that could potentially be used for robotic exploration of the Moon.


Just How Stupid And Poor Are MySpace Users, Exactly?

If you thought Randall Stross’ attack on Tesla yesterday was in poor taste, wait until you read what Michael Wolff has to say about MySpace.


This Bear Market, Brought To You By Jack Daniels

File this one under “Unfortunate Ad Placements.” On a day that the Dow dropped 680 points (7.7 percent), MarketWatch ran the Jack Daniels banner ad in the screenshot above.


Memories may be stored on your DNA

Remember your first kiss? Experiments in mice suggest that patterns of chemical "caps" on our DNA may be responsible for preserving such memories.


Brains of autistic children slower at processing sound

Communication problems associated with autism may be explained by the discovery that the brains of autistic children are a fraction of a second slower to react to sounds than those of normal children.