Elite News

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Elite News Update

I've been really busy with a couple of projects lately and haven't had time to post. I will note that Howard has been doing a great job in presenting interesting articles. But, I have done a lot of work is behind the scenes.

Recent Changes to ELITE NEWS
- Atom and RSS support
has been added to widen our audience. Use the links on the side with your favorite Atom or RSS program and you will get up to date news as it comes out.
- New look! Updated to match our sister site http://www.elitedevgroup.com
- Googlfied. Soon, you will be able to find Elite News in a few of the major search engines including Google and Yahoo. Also if you haven't notices, there is a Google Ad.

Future of ELITE NEWS
As Elite News grows, we hope to continue to bring you quality news and information regarding security and technology.

As for myself, I have many article ideas that I want to publish. While I am going to present interesting articles or news I find, I also want to write some unorthodox blog entry's that share some of my knowledge with you. I plan on producing a series of articles that teach you how to protect your website. Maybe I'll even write some "how things work" articles and show explain how to protect yourself against certain weaknesses.

Each of us have our own style, interests, and goals; which is great because it will mix things up a little and be more entertaining and educational.

I hope you enjoy your stay here at elitenews.org.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Google now does Mars!!

Ever wonder what mars looks like? Want to find your way on mars like you can from google earth? Well, you can now with google Mars!! www.google.com/mars / gives you a nice satellite view of mars. Happy red planet viewing!

Thanks rocketboom for the news!

First storage system used by Google

This was the first storage system google used. It was built by the co-founders of google themselves. Quite interesting isn't it? Matches the google color scheme too!

And do you want to know what the first Random Access Memory (RAM) looks like?

"The Williams Tube, designed by professor F.C. Williams at Manchester University in the 1950s, was the first random access memory." -C|net

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Windows More Reliable than Linux?????

Microsoft has made the statment stating that its Windows Server operating system is being chosen over UNIX and Linux because it is more reliable. If that doesn't perk your interest, read this article to get the statistics on how many is switching from UNIX/Linux to Windows...

[ source ]

Which do you prefer?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Vista Graphics on a Mac? O_o??

"Microsoft will bring some of the graphics destined for Windows Vista to the Macintosh, phones and older versions of Windows next year through a user interface toolkit."

So I guess they copied the mac OS so they can convert the Mac OS to look like windows????

Vista Delayed!!

It has been announced! Vista will be delayed till January of 2007, missing out on the holiday season. Why the delay? Explained by Windows Chief Jim Allchin, they are trying to raise the security level and work out some kinks of usability issues. [ ]

Thursday, March 16, 2006

/. is changing!

slashdot.org is going to change it's look and feel for the first time after many years of stable green looking website. With ajax and the web 2.0 concept, they are upgrading to make their website much neater and much more better for both their editors and their users. They are also thinking about implementing a user rating system, in which case will make their site similar to digg.com. The funny thing is, i believe digg.com's creator, Kevin Rose, got the idea for digg from one of the co-creators of slashdot.org during a lunch meet. And now, slashdot.org is going to upgrade and become more like digg. However, slashdot is still regulated by editors and not competely by the users like how things are at digg. Don't expect the change any time soon though. It is still in the works!

Keylogger trojan hits Brazilian banking sites

Mouse-aware malware expected to spread beyond borders

News Story by Dahna McConnachie

MARCH 16, 2006 (COMPUTERWORLD AUSTRALIA) - A new, advanced keylogging trojan targeting users of financial Web sites can record mouseclicks as well as keystrokes, warns PC Tools.

The trojan, a variant of PWSteal.Bancos.Q, has so far affected only Brazilian banking sites, but is likely to spread, according to PC Tools' malware research center which discovered the trojan Wednesday.

The trojan monitors users Internet usage, collects all login information entered by users on financial Web sites via mouseclicks and keystrokes and then sends that information back to the author of the trojan.

"Many online banking sites have instituted the use of virtual keyboards in an effort to avoid keylogger infections. With this new variant of the keylogger threat, however, PC Tools cautions this security measure may not be sufficient," said PC Tools spokesperson Magida Ezzat. More information about the threat can be found on the PC Tools site .

- source [computerworld]

Adobe fixes critical Flash vulnerabilities

Security holes affect both Windows and Mac OS X media players

News Story by Robert McMillan

MARCH 15, 2006 ( IDG NEWS SERVICE ) - Adobe Systems Inc. has patched a number of critical vulnerabilities in its Flash media player that could be used by attackers to take over affected systems. The bugs are severe enough that Microsoft Corp., which distributes the Flash software with its Windows operating system, has also warned its customers of the issue.

Attackers could theoretically exploit the bugs by tricking a user into loading a maliciously encoded Flash movie file, which would have a .swf extension, Adobe said in its , which was posted yesterday.

The vulnerabilities can be found in Flash Player Version 8.0.22 or earlier; Breeze Meeting, Version 5.1 and earlier; as well as the Shockwave player, Version and earlier.

Adobe's advisory credits Microsoft with discovering the vulnerabilities, but both the Windows and the Mac OS X operating systems are affected by the problem, according to Adobe.

The Flash format is a popular technology used for viewing and designing Web animation, and the Flash Player is widely distributed as a plug-in component for Web browsers. Flash was developed by Macromedia Inc., which Adobe acquired last year.

Microsoft's security advisory can be found on its TechNet site.

- source[computerworld]

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Vista Windows

With Vista looking more and more like mac OS X and becoming more graphic intensive, I wonder how many users' computers out there can actually handle Vista. According to c|net news.com
"Although Vista is months away from launch, Microsoft has yet to give much in the way of specifics on what hardware will be needed. Thus far, the company has suggested 512MB of memory, a graphics card with a Vista-specific driver and a modern processor." Now, the industry standard for ram is 1 gig these days. But working in IT, we know that most users' systems are barely 512 MB of ram. Besides that, what does "Vista-specific driver" mean? Do we have to wait for device drivers writers to come out with correct Vista drivers for our graphics card, or spend more money and get a brand new one. It looks like Vista is a luxury most users are probably going to wait upon.

Elmo asks: Do you want to die?

here's a bit of off beat news. Someone had the vanity to purchase an Elmo read along book and hacked it so that Almo asks "Do you want to die" when you reach a certain page. This person than had the nerves to return the book back to the store knowing that it willl get repackaged and resold. This was obviously discovered by an angry parent who now most likely has a tramatized kid who no longer likes Elmo. Imagine your kid using that book to read, flips the page and then hears Elmo ask, "Do you want to die?"

Tag, You're it! It's the RFID tag game!

You know those RFID tags that everyone is talking about? Well, guess what? They are prone to viruses too! :-O

My sources tells me that (and I quote) " The attacks can come in the form of a SQL injection or a buffer overflow attack even though the tags themselves may only store a small bit of information, the paper said. For demonstration purposes, the researchers created a proof-of-concept, self-replicating RFID virus. " Of course, the good news is that this virus only exists as a proof of concept as of today. No dangerous virus writers out there are exploiting RFID's yet. (Or none that the media knows about...) But obviously, once everything has RFID's (including humans cuz some companies already have their employees tagged by these things), we're bound to see a lot of headaches and mishaps with this iffy technology.

What kind of mishaps you ask? Well, there are plenty, but to name one off the top of my lips, I quote my sources saying " RFID systems may be attractive to criminals since the data contained on them may have a financial or personal nature, such as information stored on digital passports. In addition to causing damage to computer systems, RFID malware may have an effect on real-world objects, the paper said." Let me expand on the RFID tags in our passport for a little bit. Having RFID tags in our passports holding our information that can be picked up and read by some random scanner is kind of like using your sensitive bank account password at a open wireless hot spot (which we all know, or should know, is very insecure and a very bad idea). Having that information in a chip that can be read by any modified scanner is like walking around in public with a long name tag that has all your private information written neatly on it for anyone to read. An ID thief can just steal all our precious information without even having to pick pocket us. I hope some where in the future, someone will invent a RFID jammer like they do with Cell Phone Jammers. This way, at least when you are standing in line at the airport, only when you hand your passport over to the security screener can it be scanned to verify your passport is real and you are who it says you are. But as the beginning of this entry was mentioning, if someone can hack the RFID database by infecting an RFID tag with a virus, then maybe even the information that pops up on the screener's monitor might be false...

So what's your two and a half cents on this issue? I sure was troubled by the potential misuse of RFID's when it first came out. Now I'm even more troubled... maybe i should just toss out my computer altogether and live like an amish?