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Beware: Apple iPad searches poisoned to lead to malware

Apple iPad related searches can lead to malware

The Apple iPad, Apple’s latest release has received rather mixed opinions from both experts and followers; it has, nevertheless succeeded in getting a lot of public attention.

Hackers have found a way to use the iPad’s popularity for their own benefit – launching a Black hat Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaign to take advantage of security loop holes in blogs and other such sites using PHP to lead the user to malicious websites. The fraudsters put popular keywords such as “iPad” and “apple tablet announcement” in “compromised legitimate’’ websites to trick the search engines into directing people to them. Interestingly, the websites are in no way related to the iPad. They are related to“fake antivirus” software.

Trend Labs warns that such search results will direct to fake anti-virus software, “Live PC Care” which, when executed, will warn you that your computer is infected. If you are lured into installing the software, you will be taken to a phishing page asking for your credit card information.

Other popular web searches that have fallen prey to such attempts by hackers include the crisis in Haiti, the movie Avatar, Google’s new Nexus One smartphone and the death of the pop king, Michael Jackson. Beware while surfing the net, it’s a dangerous world out there!

-Think Digit

Key ministry officials asked not to use Blackberry for emails

The National Technical and Research Organisation has advised the officials of all ministries, especially the Defence, External, Home and the PMO to forego the use of Blackberry for official purposes.

Against the backdrop of concerns over hacking of crucial official websites, central security agencies have again warned the government about the use of multi-tasking blackberry instruments by some of the officials working in sensitive ministries including the Prime Minister’s office.

Agencies have also cautioned against the practice of connecting official computers and laptops with unsecured internet connections by some bureaucrats thus compromising security.

With hackers mainly from China very active and having penetrated deep into the cyber space, the security agencies had asked all ministries especially the Defence, External, Home and the PMO to separate their official computers with those used for internet connection.

The recommendations of the central security agencies seem to have gone unheeded. An official maintained that their suggestion was only recommendatory in nature. The National Technical and Research Organisation (NTRO) also circulated the Do’s and Don’ts to key ministries recently after attempts from hackers were noticed.

A quick random check was carried out during which it was found that some of the officials in the Prime Minister’s Office were using Blackberry services and had linked their official emails on the handset, which is not allowed.

A PMO official said there were routine attempts to hack various systems. The PMO has its own system in place to protect against such attempts, the official said, adding, there has been no security breach.

Intense negotiations were held prior to the starting the Blackberry services in India and finally the Department of Telecom in 2008 decided to side-step the opposition of the intelligence agencies and permit the services, being operated by Canadian-firm Research-In-Motion (RIM).

Another problem dogging the cyber space in the country was constant use of official computers by the officials in key ministries despite a warning from security agencies not to link them with the internet.

Security of many of the computers in the Ministry of External Affairs and its Missions abroad was compromised with forcing a security audit of the machines and segregating the virus-affected ones out of the system.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has a separate server for its computers and there have been no attempts to hack its system since it has another server with internet facility. A surprise check of all the computers was being carried at regular intervals.

The National Informatics Centre, the organisation responsible for maintaining government servers and providing internet and intranet facilities to various key ministries, had also faced hacking problem. According to a Canadian firm SecDev Group, which investigated the hacking of the Dalai Lama’s computer in late 2008, as many as 12 computers of NIC had been affected by the Chinese hackers.

The group also surprised the government when it mentioned that computers in nine Indian Missions abroad which included key countries like the US and the UK had been affected by the Chinese hackers.

Giving details, the report said the GhostNet system directs infected computers to download a Trojan, known as ghost RAT, which allows attackers to gain complete, real-time control. These instances of ghost RAT are consistently controlled from commercial internet access accounts located on the island of Hainan, People’s Republic of China.

“Our investigation reveals that GhostNet is capable of taking full control of infected computers, including searching and downloading specific files, and covertly operating attached devices, including microphones and web cameras.

“China is actively developing an operational capacity in cyberspace, correctly identifying it as the domain in which it can achieve strategic parity, if not superiority, over the military establishments of the United States and its allies.

“Chinese cyber warfare doctrine is well developed, and significant resources have been invested by the People’s Liberation Army and security services in developing defensive and offensive capabilities,” the report said.

According to them, an email message arrives in the target’s inbox carrying the malware in an attachment or web link. The attackers’ objective is to get the target to open the attachment or malicious link so that the malicious code can be executed, it said.

Wipro and Oracle launch Process Integration Pack

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Wipro Technologies, the global IT services division of Wipro Limited, and Oracle on Tuesday announced the launch of the co-developed

Oracle Application Integration Architecture (AIA) Process Integration Pack (PIP) for the retail industry.

The Oracle AIA PIP integrates Oracle Retail Merchandise Operations Management and the Oracle E-Business Suite Financials using Oracle Application Integration Architecture (AIA) to offer customers a pre-configured, supportable and upgradeable integration of the retail merchandising execution applications with the financial operation control applications, a Wipro statement said.

“This Oracle AIA PIP addresses some of these key financial operation control processes for retail merchandising system including – Inventory Valuation, Revenue Recognition and Merchandising Procure to Pay”, it said.

This Oracle AIA Process Integration Pack development is part of the larger co-innovation agenda between Oracle and Wipro and is driven by master services agreement signed earlier in 2009.

Wipro is one of the first partners to sign such an agreement with Oracle wherein end-to-end industry process solutions across five industries including communication, retail, consumer products, hi-tech, and industrial manufacturing would be developed.

Apple Tablet to Hit Market in March

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The frenzied speculation around Apple’s highly anticipated Apple tablet device—if it exists, that is—was ratcheted up another level after The Wall Street Journal reported that the tablet will ship in March, quoting sources briefed by Apple. Previous reports suggest Apple is planning to announce the touch screen device at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco sometime between Jan. 25 and 27. The tablet, which hasn’t been officially named yet, is likely to measure about 10 inches and offer Wi-Fi connectivity. The paper also reported Apple is working on two different finishes for the tablet.

One component of the launch that is keeping analysts guessing is the price of the tablet; Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Yair Reiner wrote a December research note predicting a price point of around $1,000—the price of Apple’s least expensive notebook. In comparison, semiconductor manufacturer Freescale Semiconductor recently announced its plans for entering the tablet market with a $200 device.

Regardless of price and final design, the impending product launch, which sources say company CEO Steve Jobs has made a top priority since his return to Apple, spurred a massive amount of speculation from analysts and the technology community, including a former Google China executive reportedly wrote in his blog that Apple expects to sell 10 million tablet PCs in its first year out. Lee Kai-fu, former president of Google Inc. Greater China, claimed on his blog that Apple will release the device in January, for less than $1,000 and that it will feature a 10.1-inch multitouch screen with 3G graphics.

The day before Christmas, a report by the Financial Times’ blog quoted unnamed inside sources that said Apple rented the stage for several days toward the end of January, in preparation for “a major product announcement” on Jan. 26, a Tuesday. Other recent reports, including a research note by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who said there is a 75 percent likelihood that Apple will have an event in January and a 50 percent chance that it would be held to launch the Apple Tablet.

Earlier this year, Munster issued a report suggesting that the tablet would feature a 7- to 10-inch screen and retail for between $500 and $700, effectively filling a strategic gap for Apple between the iPod Touch and its low-end Mac desktops. Munster wrote, “We believe an Apple tablet would be priced 30 to 50 percent below the $999 MacBook, and would offer best-in-class Web, e-mail and media software. In other words, we believe Apple’s tablet would compete well in the netbook category even though it would not be a netbook.”

From:- Eweek

Google Gears to die; will power the tubes no more

 

Yes, Google has decided to officially dump its own Google Gears framework for the offline functionality coming with HTML5.
Google Gears is a browser plug-in which allows for web developers to create online applications which can work even when the user is offline. For the rest of us, it means that we can be sure that the application will continue to operate even when you go offline.
This allows for the creation of hybrid online / offline web applications, where the website serves the local content in the absence of an internet connection. It has been the technology responsible for the offline functionalities of quite a few of Google’s products, such as Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Reader, and even Gmail through a Gmail lab option. With these technologies you could use Gmail to compose emails while offline, and use Docs to edit old documents… all while offline. The next time you went online, all your changes were synchronized with the Google server. Besides Google, other websites such as Zoho, have also been using Gears for providing offline functionality.
Google Gears adds many interesting features to the browser which can allow for much more powerful web applications. It includes a LocalServer which you can use with cached content from your website to provide the basis of offline functionality. It includes a database backend which allows you to store data into an offline database on the user’s computer, by serving and storing content into this database while the computer is offline, the user can perform pretty much the same operations offline as they would online.
Gears also includes a Geolocation API allowing for web applications to be aware of the user’s location, and a "WorkerPool" API which would allow web application to perform threaded operations, making the interface more responsive.
As the HTML5 specification has evolved, these features are now becoming a core part of the web browser. Version 5 includes support for offline functionality in web applications, has a GeoLocation API which is already present in Firefox, and supports webworkers to allow for multi-threaded web applications.
HTML5 is already seeing its way into more and more browsers, and is sure to be the future framework of the web. While adopting standards is surely the way to go, and Google is wise to discontinue something which is sure to be obsolete in the future. Even Adobe has shown love for the HTML5 Canvas element, despite the fact that it has been touted as a Flash killer.
With all these features already present in future browsers there will be little incentive for people to download yet another plug-in to make a few websites work a little better. Although those already using Google Gears for Google (and other) applications, need not worry as Gears will not go away any time soon, and you will continue to be able to run Gear-based application in the meantime. As your browser becomes more HTML5 capable, Google will surely port their current offline functionality to one which is standard compliant. Once the standards are complete we will see more web applications which use offline functionality, and hopefully just in time for Chrome OS.

                                                                                – Courtesy tinkdigit.com

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Soon, your cell phone number may have eleven digits

Why not get 20 digit phone numbers and save us the trouble for another couple centuries? Like this brilliant idea which might ensure we never face a problem like Y2K or Y10K ever.

All 500 million mobile users in the country may have to change their phone numbers from January 1, 2010, and adopt a 11-digit cellular Mobile Facts on Indians mobile connections Are touch-screen phones user-unfriendly? number if a DoT proposal is accepted by the industry. But, all leading operators said that it would be ‘next to impossible’ for the country to move to a 11-digit mobile number by January 2010 as this would involve making massive technical changes to both softwares and mobile network configurations, while adding that this process could take up to 12 months.

The DoT has prepared a draft notification in which it wants all mobile users to adopt a 11-digit numbering plan by pre-fixing ‘9’ to their existing cellphone numbers. A DoT official said that the country will eventually have to move to a 11-digit cellular numbers system.

The logic: Under the current 10-digit numbering scheme, only a maximum of one billion mobile numbers can be issued and the mobile connections in the country will cross this mark in the next couple of years. Pre-fixing an additional digit will allow the Indian telecom operators to issue up to 10-billion individual mobile numbers.

The existing numbering plan that was fixed in 2003 was expected to be in place till 2030. This is because, based on 2003-projections, India was expected to touch 500 million mobile customers only by 2030, but the country has reached this mark 21 years ahead of the projected date. India has been the world’s fastest growing cellular market for the last three years. Thirteen mobile phone firms are jostling for space in the Indian market that most analysts feel can support only 4-5 operators. India is adding an average of 15 million new cellular customers every month.