Saturday, December 29, 2007

Program uses Google to find website flaws

A program named "Goolag Scanner" enbales people to use Google to scan websites for security flaws, media reported Monday.

Infamous computer hacker group Cult of the Dead Cow (CDC) said the software tool based on work done by a hacker using the name "Johnny I Hack Stuff" is available for free download at its website.

The tool lets people with fundamental programming skills check websites or Internet domains for weaknesses that could be exploited by hackers, according to CDC.

The group said it uncovered "some pretty scary holes" through random tests of the tool in North America, Europe, and the Middle East.

CDC advised website operators to use the tool to find and patch vulnerabilities before hackers use it for crime or mischief.

"If I were a government, a large corporation, or anyone with a large web site, I'd be downloading this beast and aiming it at my site yesterday," CDC spokesman Oxblood Ruffin said.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Judge OKs class action lawsuit vs. Microsoft

A federal judge in Seattle said on Friday consumers may continue a class action lawsuit against Microsoft Corp. because of how it advertised computers loaded with Windows XP as capable of running the Vista operating system.

The lawsuit claimed Microsoft's labeling of some PCs as "Windows Vista Capable" was misleading because many of those computers were not powerful enough to run all of Vista's features, including the "Aero" user interface.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman certified the class action suit but scaled down its scope to focus primarily on whether Microsoft's "Vista Capable" labels created artificial demand for computers during the 2006 holiday shopping season, and inflated prices for computers that couldn't be upgraded to the full-featured version of Vista, which was released at the end of January 2007.

Neither of the two people who filed the original lawsuit participated in a program Microsoft devised to help people who bought new computers before Vista's launch upgrade later to the new operating system, but they argued nonetheless that people who bought "Vista Capable" computers were harmed because they could only run a basic version of Vista.

The judge said if they added a named plaintiff who did take part in Microsoft's "Express Upgrade" program, they could pursue that claim as well.

Microsoft said it was reviewing the ruling.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Microsoft to stop making HD DVD players

Microsoft said it will stop making HD DVD players for its Xbox 360 video game system and said the move won't have a material impact on its video game business, media reported Monday.

Toshiba Corp. ceded the high-definition video format battle to Sony Corp.'s Blu-ray. Toshiba President Atsutoshi Nishida last week estimated about 300,000 people own the Microsoft video player, sold as a separate 130 U.S. dollars add-on for the Xbox 360.

Microsoft said it would continue to provide standard warranty support for its HD DVD players and is looking at how the HD DVD technology it has developed, such as HDi, which adds interactive features to HD DVDs, and its VC-1 video encoding technology, can be applied to other platforms.

"HD DVD is one of the several ways we offer a high definition experience to consumers and we will continue to give consumers the choice to enjoy digital distribution of high definition movies and TV shows directly to their living room, along with playback of the DVD movies they already own," Blair Westlake, a corporate vice president of Microsoft's media and entertainment group, said in a written statement.

Microsoft was one of HD DVD's main backers, along with Intel Corp. and Japanese electronics maker NEC Corp., and its support for the format was seen as a big win for Toshiba's format.

But support for the HD DVD waned as major movie studios — Sony Pictures, Walt Disney Co., News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros. Entertainment — picked blue-ray to distribute high-def DVDs.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Battery of Samsung laptop P10 model melts

A battery in a Samsung notebook computer P10 model melted in South Korea's capital Seoul, but no people were injured or killed, media repored Monday

"After being used for about three and a half hours on a pillow on Sunday, the laptop battery emitted smoke," a fire department official in Seoul said. "The battery burned a bed and a floor a bit, but did not cause a big fire."

A Samsung's spokesman James Chung said the notebook was the P10 model, which was produced in 2002 but did not give further details such as a producer of the battery.

"We are checking details of the incident," said James Chung.

Last month, a battery pack in a LG Electronics Inc's notebook computer exploded while in the sleeping mode.

Friday, December 7, 2007

China's major websites pledge to boycott 4 categories of Internet unpleasantness

China's eight leading online media officially sanctioned to publish news signed the "Chinese Pact on the Self-discipline on Visual-Audio Programs and Services of the Internet" Friday, urging all domestic websites to spread positive, healthy programs and boycott corrupt, outdated ones.

It urges all the signers to abide by the country's laws, regulations and policies on the development and management of the Internet culture and boycott programs, including films, teleplays and cartoons that advocate elements in the catch-all categories of violence, pornography, gambling and terror.

It also calls for respecting and protecting the legal rights and interests of the copyright holders and service providers of visual-audio programs. An information-sharing and mutual assistance mechanism should be set up for visual-audio programs online, it says.

The pact is open to all domestic service providers of on-line visual-audio programs as all of them can apply for its entry, if they accept the conditions set by the pact.

The eight signers are the official websites of Xinhua News Agency, People's Daily, the State Council Press Office, China Radio International, China Central Television, China Youth Daily, China Economic Daily, and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

In recent years, the Authorities have taken a series of measure to deal with pornographic and illegal activities on line, and many domestic websites have been closed down for involvement in illegal publications or services.