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Tech: Zen ISP Monthly Newsletter no 115 Sep 10

Arthur_itus 02 Sep 10 - 08:56 AM
The Fooles Troupe 02 Sep 10 - 06:25 PM
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Subject: Tech: Zen ISP Monthly Newsletter no 115 Sep 10
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 02 Sep 10 - 08:56 AM

I always find this a good read and informative.

Your Free Internet Newsletter
Issue 115, September 1st 2010
Hackers have siphoned off almost one million pounds from British bank accounts recently using a variant of the Zeus Banking Trojan, according to M86 Security Labs. The theft was discovered after M86 gained access to a server in Moldova, the company revealed in a paper published last month (PDF, second link below). In July alone, hackers stole £675,000 from the customers of one of the biggest UK high street banks, according to Mark Kaplan, M86's chief security architect. He said that 37,000 British computers had been infected by the Trojan as part of the attack, with around 3,000 bank accounts compromised. The Zeus Trojan, also known as Zbot, steals data by logging keystrokes and is acquired when users click on links in unsolicited messages and on pages at misappropriated Web sites.

A new report from Internet security company BitDefender says there have been significant changes in the UK's 'e-threats' landscape during the first six months of 2010. Britain has emerged as one of the top five countries harbouring malware, the result of successful penetrations of UK computers and Web sites by international cyber-criminal gangs. The UK ranked 3rd amongst the top global Web hosting locations of phishing pages, behind Russia and China, and was 4th, one place above the USA, in the world's top countries hosting malware. Full report (PDF):

If somebody sends you an invitation to get a Facebook 'Dislike' button, think twice before you click on the link. It's likely to be part of a new scam from malware or spam creators, according to security firm Sophos. Facebook's Like button is spreading across the Web and the ability to indicate approval of something with a simple click is making it very popular. Users have been asking Facebook to take the logical next-step and provide a Dislike button too, but the social network operator hasn't taken to the idea, claiming "it would create too much negativity". A third-party developer, FaceMod, stepped in to meet the demand for a Dislike button, but this was soon followed by a scam substitute that tricks you into giving permission to access your profile and post spam messages from your account. If you want to try the genuine FaceMod button, you can get it directly from the Firefox Add-ons page (second link below).

A new security study claims that of all malware served up by major search engines in a two-month period, Google came out on top with 69 per cent; Yahoo! came in a distant second with 18 per cent and - with a 12 per cent score - Bing's search results included the least number of listings that had links to dangerous Web sites. Google's popularity with users - it deals with many more search queries than any other search engine in every country except China - makes it the prime target for cyber criminals, especially those using quickly generated rogue sites that claim to have information about breaking news. The complete Barracuda Labs 2010 Midyear Security Report (an 80 page PDF) can be accessed via the second link below.

The organisation that oversees the Internet's unique identifier naming system has joined forces with Verisign and the US Department of Commerce to make Web site visits safer. The Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has arrived at a solution for the security flaw found in the Domain Name System (DNS) more than a year ago by ex-Cisco scientist Dan Kaminsky. DNS is used to convert Web addresses - such as - into the numerical sequences used by computers to route Internet traffic around the world. The flaw involves the way that DNS Root Servers, some operated by Verisign, translate Web addresses into the numbers that handle the requests they get. Unresolved, the flaw makes it easier to operate phishing scams, in which users are directed to fake banking sites and tricked into disclosing credit card details or other personal data. The ICANN task force deployment - known as DNSSEC (short for DNS Security Extensions) - provides a new level of assurance that Web users will arrive at the site address they typed, rather than a convincing copy site operated by criminals.

The Internet is coming to the end of the road in its present form because it is running out of digital addresses. IP (Internet Protocol) addresses are individual numbers given to each computer on the Net. The last 234 million numbers in the system will all be used within the next 12 months, according to one expert. The present system is based on 32-digit numbers. A new system with four times as many digits - already used by Facebook - has enough addresses for everyone on the planet to have millions each.

The NHS spends £86m a year on thousands of Web sites that are difficult to find, badly designed and irrelevant to patient needs, according to a leaked government report. The Department of Health's digital communications review, which looked at more than 4,000 NHS sites, found that a quarter were no longer accessible and a third of the rest had "at least one notable deficit in standards". The current NHS budget is more than £100billion, roughly equivalent to a contribution of £2,000 per year by every man, woman and child in the UK.

Bournemouth's ambitious scheme to sink miles of fibre-for-broadband below ground without digging, by routing it through the ready-made network offered by the town's sewers, has been axed. Wessex Water, the company that manages Bournemouth's sewerage systems, told ZDNet UK that plans to run core fibre through its waste-water infrastructure never got past the pilot stage. Instead, the deployment will have to rely on digging up roads and pavements, like most other fibre rollouts.

The Dundee-based computer games company Realtime Worlds - founded by the creator of Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto - went into administration last month. Professor Bernard King, principal of Abertay University, said the collapse was sad news, adding: "As the jewel in the crown of Dundee's computer games development sector, Realtime Worlds epitomises the creativity and determination of the entire Scottish industry and the university will deploy all its resources, including the new games industry business support mechanism launched by the government in July, to support whatever new business structures might emerge from the administration process".

A car design task that at key moments needed more computing power than the Met Office has produced a vehicle capable of setting a new world land speed record for Britain. The current record of 763 mph was achieved by Andy Green OBE in the twin turbofan jet-powered ThrustSSC in 1997, but a new project, dubbed Bloodhound, is aiming to trounce that figure by topping 1,000mph (Mach 1.4). The team behind the Bloodhound Project announced several milestones last month on the way to their goal of setting a new world land speed record. The biggest was the unveiling of a 1:1 scale replica of the car at the Farnborough International Airshow, alongside its principal power source - a Eurofighter Typhoon jet engine - that will help to drive the rocket-shaped 3-wheeler from standstill to 1,000 mph in 42 seconds. Intel's Atom processors, normally found in netbooks, will be helping to keep things steady, running the car's propulsion and in-car control systems. Supporters and sponsors are being welcomed. Individuals can get their name on the car's stabiliser fin, in something like 12 point type, for as little as £10. For £50, businesses can get a more prominent showing, plus a linked entry on the project's Web site.

Could 'social viruses' ruin your company's reputation? Can you insure against disgruntled customers or envious competitors using social networks to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt about your products? There's no 'click here' solution, but there are ways to grow a healthy resistance to such infections. Building sensitivity and concern for customer communities is part of the answer. Unfortunately, says one critic, this business philosophy may be alien to the majority of companies, which still treat their social networks only as sales and marketing tools, rather than living, breathing symbiotic organisms.

If you are a freelancer or a small business owner who frequently creates and sends invoices to clients via the Web, you might find Invoice Bubble useful. It is a free and simple online invoicing system with a straightforward, intuitive interface that integrates well with Paypal.

If you need a logo and your small budget doesn't allow you to hire a professional, head to LogoSnap. It's a user-friendly Web site that can be used by anybody to create an instant logo online - and it's a free service.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but can a thousand words - or even just a few - be worth a picture? Wordle is an entertaining online toy that lets you create a wordy masterpiece from a passage of text or the words on any Web page. The results can be anything from the basic cloud type of graphic seen on many blogs to something much more telling. After all, Cubist painters integrated letters and words into their still life works, linguistic manipulations were key to Dadaists, and Marcel Duchamp, best known for conceptual art objects that came from plumbing merchants, was also a master of artistic wordplay.

Before you post photos online of your expensive new motorbike, classic car, or your latest valuable antique acquisition, you might want to stop and consider that computer-savvy burglars will probably be able to use that image to find out where you live. The same goes for pictures of your family, or anything else that you don't want strangers to be able to locate. Tracking people and things via posted photographs is known as "cybercasing" and it's possible because many digital cameras and smart phones, including the iPhone, automatically geotag images by embedding the longitude and latitude at which they were taken. Even after being uploaded to a Web page, the images can retain the location coordinates, which can be used with and services like Google Street View to find an address or nearby identifying landmark. In a report published by the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI), researchers explain how they obtained the home addresses of people who had posted photos in online classified ads, despite having opted to keep their addresses hidden when using the advertising site.

According to new research released by eMarketer, US businesses will spend $1.7 billion on social networks advertising in 2010, accounting for 6.7 per cent of all online ad spending. The dramatic rise - with growth of 20 per cent this year and a projected 24 per cent next year - helps to explain why Google, the biggest player in online advertising, is busy with its own plans to enter the market with a social network offering that will sell advertising space.

It seems Google hasn't finished acquiring companies to bolster its rumoured social networking product, Google Me. Early last month, the search giant announced that it had purchased social application startup Slide and three days later TechCrunch was reporting the purchase of Jambool, the maker of a payment platform for social games. Jambool confirmed the acquisition on August 13th.

After a difficult summer with football battles lost in South Africa and the threat of all-out-war with its southern neighbour, North Korea marked last month's 65th anniversary of the country's liberation from Japanese rule at the end of World War II by joining Twitter. Under the user-name @uriminzok - Korean for "our people" - the republic headed by Kim Jong-il opened its first micro-blogging account with tweets with links to speeches by the regime's "dear leader" and rejections of allegations about its involvement in the sinking of a South Korean navy vessel earlier this year. In July, North Korea introduced the country's official YouTube channel and has been uploading 2-3 videos per day since its launch. Professor Hazel Smith, a North Korea expert at Cranfield University, said we shouldn't be surprised. "It is not a technologically underdeveloped country. It's extremely poor, but by no means isolated. They've been investing in IT-related training for at least 30 years".

A new search engine, likely to go by the name "Goso", is planned to compete with Baidu and Google in the Chinese market. The Chinese regime's Xinhua News Agency and state-owned China Mobile have signed a contract to co-create the new resource. The move by the two government companies comes amid upheaval in the Chinese online search market following Google's partial exit from the scene after a dispute over censorship. Xinhua says the purpose of the new search engine will be to "better serve the work of the Party and the nation and to practically protect national interests and to expand the reach and the ability in and outside China of the country's mainstream media to guide public opinion". China's 420 million Internet users already make up the world's largest online audience, but search providers see years of further growth ahead.

The transition by Yahoo! to Microsoft's Bing for its search results began last month for users in North America. Although results will be coming from Bing, Yahoo! says the typical search experience will remain much the same and Bing isn't expected to replace Yahoo! search globally until 2012. Microsoft claims that Bing will account for 31.6 per cent, or 5.2 billion searches every month, when the transition is complete.

SEARCH ENGINE OF THE MONTH is nicely done and different enough to make a refreshing change. It's also useful if you want to get away from the helpfully UK-centric view that Google and Bing tend to impose on British users. Where most search engines offer only one type of search at a time, Nibbo offers a configurable mix, and shows an unobtrusive preview of its multiple search types along with the number of results that can be expected from the different sources. The type and order of previews can be changed as well as the default search settings. As an option, Nibbo also lets signed-up users create custom search engines by providing a list of keywords or specific site addresses.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Zen ISP Monthly Newsletter no 115 Sep 10
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 02 Sep 10 - 06:25 PM

Cool, Ta!

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