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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Websites could get film-style ratings

The kind of ratings used for films could be applied to websites in a bid to better police the Internet and protect children from harmful and offensive material, Culture Secretary Andy Burnham has said. Internet service providers could also be forced to offer services where the only sites accessible are those deemed suitable for children.

Burnham, who has three young children, pointed to the example of a 9 p.m. television "watershed" in Britain before which certain material, like violence, cannot be broadcast, and said better controls were needed for the Internet.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

RIAA Confirms It Will Take Piracy Fight to ISPs

The Recording Industry Association of America confirmed that it will abandon its practice of suing individuals for online piracy in favor of working with Internet service providers to track down offenders.

The RIAA is partnering with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and several undisclosed ISPs in order to alert the ISPs rather than the individual customer when it finds people who are swapping pirated tracks online. Instead of the RIAA sending lawsuits directly to consumers, the RIAA would notify the ISPs, who would then contact their customers.

People who ignore the warnings from their ISPs could be subject to a slowdown in service or loss of service completely. Pending lawsuits, however, will continue, and record companies have the right to sue those individuals who ignore the warnings from their ISPs.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Businesses say they'll add Macs in 2009

The number of businesses planning to add Apple Inc.'s Macintosh desktops and laptops to their corporate mix has doubled since earlier this year -- part of what an analyst calls the "consumerization" of IT.

68% of some 700 companies polled said they will allow their end users to deploy Macs as their work systems in the next 12 months. Approximately 30% of the IT professionals polled said that the Macs in their organizations are running Windows XP or Vista in virtual environments, up two percentage points since the earlier 2008 survey.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Google Chrome Out of Beta

Google has officially announced that its Chrome browser is no longer a beta version and made a full version of the product available for download.

Chrome programmers say they have fixed a multitude of bugs that plagued the browser's early days, including video and audio glitches and other plug-in performance-related issues. Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine is also said to have grown 1.5 times faster since the software's first beta release.

Other improvements in the first full Chrome release include improved bookmarking options that make importing and exporting saved sites simpler, as well as a retooled privacy control panel within the program for more user-friendly access.

Other progress expected for Chrome includes the addition of Mac and Linux support.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Worm spreads on Facebook

Facebook Inc. is resetting some user passwords and scrubbing the service of malicious links in an attempt to eradicate the fast spreading Koobface worm that redirects infected machines to a little known search site.

Facebook users began reporting receiving spam messages such as "You look just awesome in this new movie" or "You look so amazing funny on our new video" that tried to dupe them into clicking on a link. Then they were taken to one of several compromised sites that then displayed a fake error message claiming that Adobe System Inc.'s Flash was out of date, and prompted them to download an update.

The "update" was nothing of the kind, but instead was an executable file that installed the Koobface worm, which in turn installed a background proxy server that redirected all Web traffic.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Google called off Yahoo deal as DOJ closed in

Google called off its proposed search advertising deal with Yahoo just 3 hours before the U.S. Department of Justice was to file an antitrust complaint aimed at blocking it.

Shortly after the deal, which would have had Yahoo running Google advertisements alongside its own search results was announced in June, Google and Yahoo came under fire from large advertiser groups, which charged that the arrangement would diminish competition and raise online advertising prices.

The chairman of the U.S. Senate's antitrust subcommittee in October urged the DOJ to closely examine the proposed partnership, noting that it could lead to higher advertising prices and create unfair market conditions. Microsoft and other companies lobbied the department to block the proposed deal.

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Spam on the increase a couple weeks after major spam shutdown

Security researchers who warned the shutdown of McColo Corp. would only lower spam levels for a couple of weeks were correct, as one of the largest botnets on the internet, Srizbi, has been resurrected.

After two ISPs stopped offering service to McColo about two weeks ago, global spam mail dropped 70 percent due to the shutdown. Since last Sunday, spam volume sent rose around 37 percent of the original amount before McColo was pulled offline on November 11.

Srizbi, Asprox, Mega-D, Rustock, and other spam botnets are fully operational again, and in several cases using ISPs located outside of the United States. Any time a botnet is hosted on an ISP not within the United States, it becomes even more difficult to shut down, security experts say.

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