Posts belonging to Category Media Technology



Half of critical private networks hit by political cyber attacks

By Gautham Nagesh – 10/06/10 09:47 AM ET

Half of the companies that provide critical infrastructure such as utilities or communication services have experienced politically motivated cyber attacks, according to a new report from Symantec.

survey of critical infrastructure providers found 53 percent suspected they had experienced an attack with a specific political goal in mind. The companies affected reported being attacked an average of 10 times over the past five years. Half said they expect another attack in the next year and 80 percent believe the attacks are becoming more frequent. The respondents said the majority of the attacks were somewhat to extremely effective and cost firms an average of $850,000 each.

“Critical infrastructure protection is not just a government issue. In countries where the majority of a nation’s critical infrastructure is owned by private corporations, in addition to large enterprises, there is also the presence of small and medium-sized businesses,” said Symantec chief information security officer Justin Somaini.

Somaini cited the Stuxnet virus, which has disabled physical security features at factories around the globe in recent months, as evidence that the threat to private networks is evolving. The survey also showed the energy industry is most ready for an attack, while the communications industry was least prepared.

“Security alone is not enough for critical infrastructure providers of all sizes to withstand today’s cyber attacks,” Somaini said. “The Stuxnet worm that is targeting energy companies around the world represents the advanced kind of threats that require security, storage and backup solutions, along with authentication and access-control processes to be in place for true network resiliency.”

Protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure from cyber attacks is an increasing priority for the Obama administration, which asserts it already has the right to act to protect private-sector networks in the event of a catastrophic cyber attack that could cost significant loss of life or financial damage under a little-used clause in the Communications Act passed in the wake of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

For more, visit TheHill.com

Apple says it has patch for remote attack on iPhone, iPad

Apple is quietly wrestling with a security conundrum. How the company handles it could dictate the pace at which cybercriminals accelerate attacks on iPhones and iPads. Apple is hustling to issue a patch for a milestone security flaw that makes it possible to remotely hack —or jailbreak — iOS, the operating system for iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch.

The patch is completed, Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said in an interview. But Kerris said on Friday that she was not able to give a time frame for its public release. Jailbreaking refers to hacking iOS to download Web apps not approved by Apple. This used to be difficult. This spring, a website came along called JailbreakMe.com that made it trivial to jailbreak your own iPhone or iPad. Last week, a technique for remote jailbreaking appeared on the site. It’s now possible to access the operating system of an iPhone or iPad owned by someone else.

An attacker would get “fairly complete control of affected devices,” says Michael Price, an operations manager for McAfee Labs. No such attacks are known to have happened yet, he says. For the moment, the most visible concern for Apple has been pranksters going into Apple and Best Buy retail stores and jailbreaking display models, according to tech blog Engadget. Yet, the security and privacy issues are serious.

Security experts expect the pattern that has come to dominate the PC world to begin to permeate smartphones. Bad guys continually flush out new security flaws in PCs, then tap into them to launch malicious attacks. Good guys, meanwhile, scramble to patch and block.

Now, cybercriminals are rapidly adapting PC hacking techniques to all smartphone platforms, including Symbian, Google Android, Windows Mobile, RIM BlackBerry and Apple iOS.

“It’s a brand new game with new rules,” says Dror Shalev, chief technology officer of DroidSecurity, which supplies protection for Google Android phones. “We’re seeing rapid growth in threats as a side effect of the mobile Web app revolution.”

IPhones, in particular, have become a pop culture icon in the U.S., and now the iPad has grabbed the spotlight. “The more popular these devices become, the more likely they are to get the attention of attackers,” says Joshua Talbot, intelligence manager at Symantec Security Response.

Apple’s problem is singular. The company has made a big deal about hiding technical details of iOS, allowing only approved Web apps to tie in. This tight control initially made it easier to keep iOS secure. But now Apple may have to share iOS coding with anti-virus firms, says Sorin Mustaca, development manager for anti-virus firm Avira.

Read more here…

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Microsoft Launches PC v. Mac Website And Talks Some Serious Smack

By Alex Wilhelm Follow Alex Wilhelm on twitter on August 9th, 2010

It may be long overdue, but Microsoft is finally coming out swinging against the rise of OS X. Apple has long played the underdog against the giant, writing Microsoft off as stodgy, technologically backward, and problematic. Microsoft let them do it, focusing more on promoting their efforts than denigrating Apple’s products.

This stance confused some, why didn’t they bite back? It was on a long past episode of Diggnation that Alex Albrecht summed it up, saying in short that Microsoft didn’t even want to acknowledge Apple as a competitor. Doing that would give Cupertino market credibility. Now it seems that enough is enough, and Microsoft is finally fighting back.

Redmond has launched a website to discuss Mac versus PC that deals some serious blows to Apple, whether or not they are valid is up to you. Roughly broken into large sections, Microsoft says this

Having Fun: Macs Might Spoil Your Fun

Simplicity: Macs Can Take Time To Learn

Working Hard: Macs Dont Work As Well At Work Or At School

Sharing: Macs Don’t Like To Share

Compatibility: Macs Might Not Like Your PC Stuff

Choice: Macs Don’t Let You Choose

Read further here…

Tech Jives is proudly sponsored by CED Solutions!

Chrome Shows Off Some Fancy HTML5 Tricks

Google’s Chrome browser has a well-established reputation for being not only extremely fast at rendering JavaScript, but also robust in its support of cutting-edge HTML5 technologies.

Both of these capabilities are on display at Chrome Experiments, a site that Google set up to showcase some of the coolest demos on the web for JavaScript apps, intricate CSS layouts and animations done with Canvas.

Chrome Experiments now has over 100 demos on offer, and we picked out some of our favorites for this little gallery.

Interest is exploding in HTML5 and its companion technologies. The hope is that these emerging standards will be widely used to power new web apps, as well as for playing animations, songs and videos in the browser without any plug-ins. Developers and content providers continue to rely on plug-ins like Flash or Silverlight for such multimedia playback tasks for now, but they are increasingly turning to HTML5, JavaScript and other web standards as browser makers continue to build the new capabilities into their latest releases.

We tested all of these experiments in multiple browsers, and almost all of them worked in Safari and Firefox, though they performed much better in the latest beta of Firefox 4 than in the current stable Firefox 3.x builds. Some of them also work splendidly in the latest Microsoft pre-release, Internet Explorer 9 preview 3.

Of course, a few of the Chrome demos on the Experiments site use Webkit-specific technologies and CSS prefixes, so those only work in Chrome and Safari. Some have poo-poohed vendor-specific prefixes, and others see them as a necessary step to force browser makers to adopt the latest behaviors being used in the wild. Regardless of that debate, it’s encouraging to see the different browsers all improving their JavaScript capabilities, which all of these demos exploit.

Sean Christmann's HTML5 demo

In short, you don’t need Chrome to view these, but they will all be more impressive in Chrome than in other browsers.

For the rest of this post, including demos, visit Wired.com’s Webmonkey

How The World Spends Its Time Online [INFOGRAPHIC]

The web is diverse and users obviously log on for different reasons. From reading news, socializing on social networks, email and search, advertisers are always trying to understand where people usually spend their time on the web.

Using data provided by a recent Nielsen study, the infographic below provides exactly that.

So, which web services are used most actively? Email and search are the answers. More than 4 out of 10 users are using emails or/and search engines when connected. This data also explains the boom in search engine marketing over the past decade, whereby Google is the undisputed leader in this segment.

Getting news is also one of the main reasons why people log on to the web as users find it more convenient to consume news digitally.

Click here to display infograph and read more! (penn-olsen.com)

New laser shoots beams of night – New technology actually designed to reduce light

A laser that doesn’t produce light would ordinarily be a failure. After all, the first two letters of laser stand for light amplification, not light reduction.

But a new laser created by scientists at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology and JILA, a joint institute of NIST and the University of Colorado at Boulder, shoots beams of night instead of beams of light. The “dark pulses,” as the NIST scientists ominously call them, create areas absent of light.

The research could improve fiber optic communications. Pulses of light fade or degrade over long distances to cause noise and errors. Dark pulses don’t have the same drawbacks, which should improve the transmission and detection of light through fiber optic cables.

Read more here…(msnbc.com)